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MJ Resurfaces
Old 03-19-2007, 02:10 AM   #1
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MJ Resurfaces

Hi Folks,

Billy and Akaisha have "forced" me to write this a bit sooner (coming out of my closet). Sorry for the long silent spell. Being overseas, without my laptop has made it difficult for me to compose long messages at my leisure so that I could share some of my experiences with you. I never got around putting a blog together, it takes too much time (for me). I am still around the Chiang Mai region.

A lot has changed with my plans. Soon after arriving in Chiang Mai I met a beautiful European farang 21 years younger than myself in Chiang and had a roller coaster romance. What ride!. This long time travelling woman would have been a dream come true as a traveling partner but alas, she only wanted my aging body and soul for a limited time. Luckily, I was aerobically in better shape than she was, so she couldn't keep up with me. Then just as quickly as she came into my life, she moved on after the new year, never to be heard of again (and I have tried).

As a result of our separation and her influence, I began doing yoga. I also went on a 21 day meditation (vipassana) retreat. It was a learning experience. I meditating almost everyday day now. I am also rethinking my travel plans for the next time. Instead of bringing my wonderful bike with me which can be a burden in some parts of the world, I might just take 30 lbs in a backpack to roam the world more freely. This is my 1st PT experience and the last 4 months have gone by too quickie. I still wonder, what have I done all that time. So far, I am enjoying my time here and hope to continue my new vagabond lifestyle for many years to come. I will be off to Laos in a few days, doing some light bike touring for about 3 to 4 weeks then back to North Thailand. Then I may head to the South where I haven't been before.

Eventually, i'll put my photos on the web, so you guys can see a bit of my adventure.

As a side, this farang semi-ER story is an interesting one. She decided when she was 20 that she wants to travel most of the year and work just enough to support her travel habit. She found a simple formula. She became a (legit) masseuse. Between working 3 to 4 months a year, making big euros and $rent from a couple of apartments she bought, she has been travelling around the world for the past 15 years.


Till the next time.

sawatdee krap, a bientot,

MJ (vagabond at large)

PS: Thanks Billy and Akaisha
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Re: MJ Resurfaces
Old 03-19-2007, 11:12 AM   #2
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Re: MJ Resurfaces

Hey MJ!!!!

I was getting a bit worried about you - but I got word that you were alive and well from Akaisha. Its great to hear (and see!) that you are in good health and relaxing a bit as you are exploring the world.

That 21 day meditation retreat sounds like a life-changing event. You'll have to fill us in on it one of these days.

Take care guy.
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Re: MJ Resurfaces
Old 03-20-2007, 09:25 AM   #3
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Re: MJ Resurfaces

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Originally Posted by shiny
Hey MJ!!!!

I was getting a bit worried about you - but I got word that you were alive and well from Akaisha. Its great to hear (and see!) that you are in good health and relaxing a bit as you are exploring the world.

That 21 day meditation retreat sounds like a life-changing event. You'll have to fill us in on it one of these days.

Take care guy.
Thanks Shiny
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Re: MJ Resurfaces
Old 03-20-2007, 09:01 PM   #4
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Re: MJ Resurfaces

MJ, you have made some amazing lifestyle changes. It took a great deal of courage to go through what you have gone through. I admire that you had the presence of mind to take advantage of a 21 day meditation retreat because you found yourself in turmoil over your relationship with this young woman.

Good for you!

See ya when you get back from Laos!

Be well,
Akaisha
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Re: MJ Resurfaces
Old 04-29-2007, 07:55 AM   #5
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Re: MJ Resurfaces

I recently returned from Laos where, I had a real nice time relaxing and biking around Vientiane, Vang Vieng and then onto Luang Prabang for the New Year celebration which was a blast. My folding bike and I did use buses to get from town to town since my bike doesn't have the low mountain gears needed for the steep mountains on Laos. I am back in Chiang Mai where the air quality is back to breathable normal. it is wonderful to wake up to see the beautiful gentle western mountains once again from my 2nd floor balcony.

I know I have contributed squat since I left the states in November but I thought my thread would get a few more replies besides Shiny and Akaisha who have previously contacted me personally which I did appreciate.

Thought, I would put in a small gripe.

You can all go $#@!! yourselves.

Now I feel much better.

JUST KIDDING!

MJ (vagabond at large)
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Re: MJ Resurfaces
Old 04-29-2007, 08:27 AM   #6
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Re: MJ Resurfaces

We are just jealous.

Glad to hear from you. If you have pictures, post some.

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Re: MJ Resurfaces
Old 04-29-2007, 09:14 AM   #7
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Re: MJ Resurfaces

Quote:
Originally Posted by vagabond
I know I have contributed squat since I left the states in November but I thought my thread would get a few more replies besides Shiny and Akaisha who have previously contacted me personally which I did appreciate.

Thought, I would put in a small gripe.

You can all go $#@!! yourselves.

Now I feel much better.

JUST KIDDING!

MJ (vagabond at large)
Hey, I'd love to hear more from you about your traveling. It's hard to establish communication with a guy who spends more time on a saddle (bicycle) than at home in front of a computer. Now that you're back to CM, start contributing with a detailed report of your trips with pictures. Can't wait to read it.
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Re: MJ Resurfaces
Old 04-29-2007, 10:41 AM   #8
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Re: MJ Resurfaces

stories like billy & akaisha's & yours have really got me thinking about a vagabond life for myself. it sounds like a wonderful way to live. i'm starting to like the idea of vagabonding abroad even better than living aboard in the states. definitely would love to read more about your adventures.
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Re: MJ Resurfaces
Old 04-29-2007, 11:36 AM   #9
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Re: MJ Resurfaces

Nice to see your pixels......if you're thinking of giving up your bike for a backpack, take it from experience.....if you're carrying around 30 pounds, you have about twice as much stuff as you need.

I always smile a little at U.S. backpackers with their high tech equipment and all their stuff, when I think of all the people we've met all over the world traveling for YEARS with maybe ten pounds (or less) of belongings.

Start looking at what you could do without.....you'll probably be surprised.

Sorry your romance didn't work out, but it sounds like it was fun while it lasted....."to every thing there is a season".......

Enjoy your travels...LooseChickens
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Re: MJ Resurfaces
Old 04-29-2007, 11:43 AM   #10
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Re: MJ Resurfaces

Quote:
Originally Posted by vagabond
II know I have contributed squat since I left the states in November but I thought my thread would get a few more replies besides Shiny and Akaisha who have previously contacted me personally which I did appreciate.
MJ (vagabond at large)
I don't remember seeing this post the first time you posted it - I don't know why.
But, thanks for the update - you are doing great and are an inspiration.
Congrats
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Re: MJ Resurfaces
Old 04-29-2007, 12:06 PM   #11
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Re: MJ Resurfaces

Quote:
Originally Posted by loosechickens
when I think of all the people we've met all over the world traveling for YEARS with maybe ten pounds (or less) of belongings.
Ten pounds? Isn't that low? I thought 20 is the reasonable number. Can you itemize the 10# belongings?
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Old 04-29-2007, 12:24 PM   #12
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Re: MJ Resurfaces

vagabond,
Thanks for checking in, and make with the pictures already! Us stay-at-home types need to enjoy your trip vicariously.

Concerning backpack loads: The US Army has made tons of advances since WW-II in researching and procuring lightweight equipment. Packs, shelter, garments, canteens, web gear: everything has gottemn lightweight. And yet, the overall combat weight of a partrooper hasn't gotten lighter at all--80 pounds in the pack, plus extras (mortar base plate anyone?). They just carry MORE of the lightweight gear, then add ammunition until you get to 80 lbs.
I suspect a lot of new vagabonds do the same thing--keep adding nice-to-haves as long as they can get the ruck on their back.
Lots of peple building airplanes of their own are temped to add nice-to-have extras that all add to the weight of the airplane and lower its performance. Burt Rutan offered this half-joking advice to those building his designs. "If you're considering adding something extra, test it by tossing it into the air. If it comes back down, it weighs too much. Don't add it."
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Re: MJ Resurfaces
Old 04-29-2007, 12:52 PM   #13
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Re: MJ Resurfaces

Quote:
Originally Posted by loosechickens
I always smile a little at U.S. backpackers with their high tech equipment and all their stuff, when I think of all the people we've met all over the world traveling for YEARS with maybe ten pounds (or less) of belongings.
I'm told you can tell the new traveler because that don't carry their own toilet paper.
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Re: MJ Resurfaces
Old 04-29-2007, 01:00 PM   #14
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Re: MJ Resurfaces

Quote:
Originally Posted by samclem
Concerning backpack loads: The US Army has made tons of advances since WW-II in researching and procuring lightweight equipment. Packs, shelter, garments, canteens, web gear: everything has gottemn lightweight. And yet, the overall combat weight of a partrooper hasn't gotten lighter at all--80 pounds in the pack, plus extras (mortar base plate anyone?). They just carry MORE of the lightweight gear, then add ammunition until you get to 80 lbs.
On average, how many lbs of ammunition? And does this 80lbs figure include the gun?
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Re: MJ Resurfaces
Old 04-29-2007, 01:12 PM   #15
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Re: MJ Resurfaces

MJ, I would be interested in hearing more about your trip to Laos. We intend to spend time in Vietnam and would be interested as to how your compare the two countries. BTW did you every feel "threatened" in Laos - that is your personal security I am referring to.
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Re: MJ Resurfaces
Old 04-29-2007, 05:13 PM   #16
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Re: MJ Resurfaces

out in the middle of nowhere, you can usually tell the new travelers because they still think that toilet paper is necessary! :

Fifteen pounds is probably more doable, but we've met plenty with ten or less. A change, maybe two of clothes, a toothbrush, some iodine or a survival straw for water, a pocketknife, maybe a small pot to cook in and eat from,in warm countries a cloth to wrap up in to protect from mosquitos that has multiple other uses......

I'm not saying what you would be most comfortable with, but what you NEED. Those are two different things. (you can jettison the toothbrush and chew a twig if you need to).

We have traveled for months at a time with one small carry-on bag each. Mine would weigh less than ten pounds were it not for the books I try to sneak in. And in our travels, believe me, we've met some who make US look like overburdened tourists.

the point I was trying to make is that it is certainly possible with a whole lot less than thirty pounds of gear. At thirty pounds you are the slave of your belongings, and in the Third World, may well be carrying on your back more stuff than the average person owns. And they manage surprisingly well. You can too.

Carry on....LooseChickens
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Re: MJ Resurfaces
Old 04-29-2007, 07:00 PM   #17
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Re: MJ Resurfaces

MJ, good luck on your continued travels. I would also like to hear more details when you get a chance.

Quote:
out in the middle of nowhere, you can usually tell the new travelers because they still think that toilet paper is necessary!
This Fall I hope to be leaving for a multi-month journey through China and several Southeast Asian countries. While I am a flexible budget traveler who travels with a light pack, I do plan to have some toilet paper with me!! Walmart sells special rolls that are tightly compressed and light for camping. Even in countries that actually use TP (i.e., Mexico), it can be a precious commodity to have when you are out and about.

Quote:
We have traveled for months at a time with one small carry-on bag each. Mine would weigh less than ten pounds were it not for the books I try to sneak in. And in our travels, believe me, we've met some who make US look like overburdened tourists.
I may weigh my pack before I go and report back. I am curious about the weight myself. My pack is a little bigger than a carry on, but it can zip down to that size via an internal size adjustment zipper.

Re: Books
I may just bring along an electronic reader. The new Sony Reader's batteries can last for weeks without a recharge (only page changes use the battery). The Nokia 800 Internet Tablet is another possibility and it also has Wi-Fi and can surf the internet. But I will still have to lug a couple of guidebooks. I have mostly ruled out carrying around a laptop. Another way to be a slave to your belongings is not just weight, but carrying around too much of value.

Kramer
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Re: MJ Resurfaces
Old 04-29-2007, 10:09 PM   #18
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Re: MJ Resurfaces

Kramer,
How is that Nokia 800 Internet Tablet for internet banking and secured sites?
It is a great idea; instead of taking a laptop.
thanks
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Re: MJ Resurfaces
Old 04-29-2007, 10:19 PM   #19
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Re: MJ Resurfaces

Quote:
Originally Posted by dex
It is a great idea; instead of taking a laptop.
Have you tried using a device with no keyboard that doesn't run your favorite apps before? In my experience, the novelty wears off pretty quickly. I often carry a 4lb laptop with me when I travel, but Sony does make a sub-2lb laptop if you're really wimpy weight conscious.
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Re: MJ Resurfaces
Old 04-29-2007, 11:01 PM   #20
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Re: MJ Resurfaces

LooseChickens
Quote:
out in the middle of nowhere, you can usually tell the new travelers because they still think that toilet paper is necessary!
In Thailand the locals use a water spray. They think toilet paper is unsanitary. Can't figure out why we would ... uh... do what we do with it...

Quote:
the point I was trying to make is that it is certainly possible with a whole lot less than thirty pounds of gear. At thirty pounds you are the slave of your belongings, and in the Third World, may well be carrying on your back more stuff than the average person owns. And they manage surprisingly well. You can too.
Billy and I both brought less stuff this year than in previous years. (but we are techno-junkies and we manage our website and process book orders while on the road so we 'need' our digital crap equipment) I took an extra couple of days to pack for our one year journey away from home, and so I had more room in my luggage and more time to pack. And that stressed me out. I kept asking What am I forgetting? I have so much room! I'm not scrambling! what's wrong?

Kramer
Quote:
Re: Books
I may just bring along an electronic reader. The new Sony Reader's batteries can last for weeks without a recharge (only page changes use the battery). The Nokia 800 Internet Tablet is another possibility and it also has Wi-Fi and can surf the internet. But I will still have to lug a couple of guidebooks. I have mostly ruled out carrying around a laptop. Another way to be a slave to your belongings is not just weight, but carrying around too much of value.
Can you tell me more about an electronic reader? I have brought Books on CD and my girlfriend simply 'IPods' her stuff. that is lighter than bringing a 'regular' book -- but those guidebooks. Man are they heavy!! We usually sell ours overseas when we are done with them.

The number of used bookshops here in Chiang Mai has simply exploded. While you can get a simple brain dead novel for a buck, the 'really good ones' usually run $3.50 to $22 USD -- for a used paperback! This doesn't count the used guidebooks...

Hey MJ! You never even said 'So Long' the other day when you visited us at our poolside office! You simply made your way over to that poolside lovely.... and that was that! Didn't your momma teach ya nuthin'?

Be well,
Akaisha
Author, The Adventurer's Guide to Early Retirement
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