31 Hours to Paradise

So I’m off to Bali today from San Diego, and writing this post from the Bangkok airport (which, I can’t seem to understand

17.5 Hours of This

how the wifi works, so I’m typing it up and posting later). It goes like this:

SAN–>LAX–>BKK–>DPS (Bali)

It’s 31 hours of travel, including layovers.

But first…

Why Bali?

Well…for many years now I have wanted to visit Asia, to see this “up and coming” (or already there in some ways) part of the world. China doesn’t hold a lot of interest to me, but many other parts of the continent do.

I think my reading of Tim Ferriss’ Four Hour Work Week a few years ago and more recently Chris Guillebeau’s Art of Non Conformity got me thinking about traveling and actually LIVING someplace not just quickly passing through.

Then there’s my friend Dan Andrews, who moved from San Diego to Manila to Bali, and has been loving Bali for the last year and running his businesses from there and kicking some major butt in the process! I’ve been a listener to his podcast for over a year, and him mentioning things about Bali on nearly every episode had some influence.

Then there’s my friend Mike who spent a good amount of time in Bali, doing business and surfing. His exact quote was “It’s the most spiritual place on earth, and I’m an atheist.” He describes the beauty as nothing like what you will see anywhere else in the world, and the way of life and people as something you have to experience.

Then there’s my friend Craig who has been to and surfed Bali and always has stories.

So this trip will be a combination of being a tourist, and living in the area. The plan after 30 days in Bali is a flight to Singapore. Then it’s unplanned, but most likely I will be spending a few days in Singapore, and taking the train through Malyasia and up to Thailand for at least 15 days (crazy tourist visa restrictions but there may be a way around it). I’d also like to visit the Philippines. So I’ll be a busy bee there on the second half of the trip!

So leading up to the flights today was INSANE, I moved out of my place and ran into every glitch you could possible dream up (that damn murphy and his stupid law!), and BARELY got everything moved out and in storage and to the SD airport. But, we’re good so far!

The flight from LAX (which, BTW, does NOT have wifi, I guess they are living in the stone ages!) to Bangkok was 17.5 hours. Longest flight I’ve ever been on! But, it’s a pretty first class airline- good leg room, good food, attentive staff but not too attentive, and lots of movies to choose from with a cool remote thing that you can also use for music and check out where the flight is and bunch of other stuff.

I got really lucky with my neighbor. She was a tiny Thai lady, she lives in LA but is from Thailand and going back to visit. She’s was super nice and pleasant and was okay with letting me have the window seat, which was my preference. Since I pretty much don’t sleep on planes, I used a sleep enhancement this time (ambien)- and wow was I glad I did! I slept for close to 6 hours, and actually woke up feeling pretty refreshed- or as much as one can be refreshed sleeping in a sitting position! Also, luckily, I didn’t have to pee much and when I did my neighbor didn’t even have to get out of her seat because she was so little!

So the security thing, as usual, is just stupid all over the world. Even though I went through security in San Diego, AND LA, to get to my gate of course in Bangkok I had to go through security yet again (just in case I cooked up some explosives on my flight over!). So the Thai version of the TSA is almost identical to ours- body scanner machines, shoes off, and they stole my water and the guy searched my bag.

Alright I’m over this layover, I forgot that it was 3 hours, and I can’t get on the internet, and I’m a little jet lagged…but still thrilled to almost be in BALI! Just a 4 hour flight till my arrival. Then I meet up with my friend Elisa at the baggage claim…and I’m sure that’s after all kinds of bureaucratic fun times getting a visa and going through yet more privacy violations!

I tried to learn hello and thank you in Thai but I give up. It’s REALLY hard to say it right. I’m just going with English for now while I’m in the airport.

Alright, flight is about to board, on to Indonesia…

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Freedom Lovin in an Unfree World

Back in 2008 when I was living in a tiny apartment in Sydney, Australia, with my soon-to-be ex-wife, contemplating my life and the world around me, I ordered a book on Amazon that I had been meaning to read for a while called “How I Found Freedom In An Unfree World”, by Harry Browne.

For some time I had been obsessed with the idea of freedom, and always wanted to maximize my levels of it. However, I never “felt” free.

My first instinct was to blame the government. After all, the government represents the opposite of freedom! Just listen to Sammy Hagar!

2008 was the year I went from being interested in politics to interested in philosophy. It flipped my world around! I felt like I started using my brain for the first time…like, for real. A lot of my previous assumptions were challenged by some of the books I read, the podcasts I heard, and the movies I watched.

But I’ll get to those later.

For now, I want to focus on: What is freedom? How can we get more of it? How can we avoid feeling trapped, imprisoned, stuck, limited…or in other words, generally unhappy?

As defined by Google, which is of course all-knowing:

free·dom/ˈfrēdəm/

Noun:

  1. The power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint.
  2. Absence of subjection to foreign domination or despotic government.

Let’s focus on #1 for now and I’ll get into despotic governments later. 🙂

Back to the Harry Browne book I mentioned. When I got it and started reading it, I could not put it down. I’m a slow reader but I flew through that book. Most of it was about ways in which we sabotage our own freedom, never mind what the government does! His point was that yes, government is oppressive and will try to limit your freedom at every turn, but, fighting government will also not give you more freedom, and in fact, in many cases, much less freedom!

We trap ourselves with our perceived “unchosen” obligations. It’s expected that you get married. But what if you don’t? It’s expected that you will have kids some day. But what if you don’t want kids? It’s expected that you go to college. College is expensive and many degrees get you nowhere.

Do you hate cleaning your house? Find a way to earn the extra $50/week it would take to get a maid.

Do you hate cold weather? Find a way to move to a warmer location.

Do you love to travel but feel limited by finances, or your job, or your family? Keep reading…this blog, or hit up Chris Guillebeau’s “Art of Non Conformity blog for tips on unconventional strategies for life, work, and travel.

We trap ourselves by the thoughts of “well it’s always been this way so it will always be this way”.

These are just a few ideas from the book. We can also be limited by our peer group. Our relationships. Our communication. Even our stuff can limit our freedom!

In this blog, I plan to focus on these topics and more specifically how I act, speak, and think as I want without restraint, whether I’m traveling the globe or living a low-key life in San Diego, California.

Stay tuned!

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