I get to find a variety of places in this slow vagabond life. Years ago I decided to not ever find a single place that I would call home but that changed first with Hanoi Vietnam and now it seems Merida Mexico is challenging. The rest of time I would just go slowly. Sometimes months in a place that I liked and very short times in places I did not. The other measure was how expensive it was. Often shorter times in places expensive that I still wished to see.
I also decided having “things” was not for me. I only ever wished to pack all my goods in a single bag and messenger bag. I’ve moved around with the gear a bit but now I have cheaper bags which work very well. For technology, I wished to have everything in the Apple ecosystem because I prefer it to Android or Windows or whatever. It just works for me. The new MacBook Air M1 is the best toy choice ever. The iPhone 12 Pro is the day to day companion that does it all for me. Finally the kindle offers reading without all the other stuff.
Finally, dedicated digital cameras fell away and I found for what I wanted an iPhone could do remarkably well at just letting me be me.
I think the bigger things in the adventures is just staying true to my course. I am able to pack my bag and go in about 30 minutes and leave a place without a thing left behind except what I no longer wish to have. I value experiences and moments and memories over things. Things were my downfall for decades. And more things. Cars and homes and apartments and all of this and some of that. All of these things cause one more thing. Debt. Debt to me occurs with things often. Each thing like a car brings about at least 3 different kinds of debt when you think about it. The car brings maintenance, licensing, gas, insurance. Homes are not much different. Things folks.
I read this interesting article recently about the benefits of slow travel. What this means is spending longer in places, learning them, becoming part of some fabric of living. We tend to practice the backpacker elite or gap year or whatever dynamic mode. Instead in my home in Hanoi, I just went. Day by day I learned two distinct neighborhoods and districts. The first one was very local in character and color. Ba Dinh seemed a reflection of all the things I truly wanted after years going and a recent visit to the US. Down my street, my Pho shop, my coffee shops, shopping in local markets. It was a wonderful period of time just for the going and after awhile I felt I had found this mix of the neighborhood and the walking each day. Every morning the neighbors would nod and smile and say hello in Vietnamese. I would stop and have a coffee and the wonderful lady would bring pastries out without being asked to share with me. She made sure all was how I wanted and I would sit outside and watch my neighborhood happen.
The second was the Tay Ho District which is Ex Pat central. I did not care for the expats all that much and still do not. They all seem touched by something. Instead though I found my local Bun Cha place and then the little cafes that dot the West Lake neighborhoods and go sit mornings and evenings enjoying whatever beverage seemed applicable. Mornings ca phe sua da or more often ca phe nau da. Evenings at the same cafe cold Hanoi beers that the folks would bring to me. It just seemed again that this slow movement after some period let me find the little neighborhood things. The small store with the cold Saigon beer, the local guy selling fresh chickens, more Pho places. Little neighborhood stores that sold everything I needed. Then there were the fresh fruit vendors. On motor scooter, bicycle, on foot. I could find the best of all the fruit I would want. So many different exotic fruits there I could enjoy.
Then there is Merida Mexico. Somehow this city has become my city and I found the neighborhoods that welcome me. Down the street a coffee place, wonderful small stores and a laundry with a wonderful woman I met. It all seems again the circle have come around to show me another place with all the things I could need all within feet of each other. Even a park to sit in and read or just isolate and be what I end up being.
I talked about things and being without things and finding the intangibles that really let me move through my slow travel places and find value, fun, and be greeted by local people with morning and evening greetings. The coffee shop where the girls will always see me and smile and greet me with such warmth. The small Lebanese restaurant where the owner comes to talk with me about their daily specials. His food is so good!
My adventures have always included finding things that mark my path, let me see some part of things which seem so simple but yet tell some story as I walk by.
I’ve realized with this blog it is a chronicle of sorts of the slow movement and those little adventures that touch my soul and spirit as I go. Windows and doors. Little things which may lead to others. The main thing in my adventures is to capture the moments.
Because I don’t do things.