Since I quit my job last September to take a trip around the world, life has been pretty great.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m still unemployed, alone and often confused. But that’s mostly by choice.
Well, maybe not the confused bit. While life is made much easier by knowing how to speak Vietnamese and being able to navigate Saigon’s legendary traffic, certain things are taking some getting used to ― like where to find things. For instance, when I first moved in, there was no shower rod or curtain in the bathroom. (Most Vietnamese are used to splashing water all over the bathroom and letting it dry.) Lots of older hotels (and most homes) still have a shower-right-over-the-toilet combo. While Saigon is slowly becoming more Westernized, Bed, Bath & Beyond still hasn’t made it here.
So it’s basically a matter of finding out where the industrial / home maintenance shops are clustered and then going from one to the other to ask. Believe me, my map is well worn… Moving to a foreign country always has its inconveniences, but I’m trying to embrace them rather than focusing on how different (and at times, irritatingly so) life is abroad.
Now about the unemployed part… You see, I intended to have a 6-8 month cushion of savings where I wouldn’t have to work. My entire life, aside from the odd 2-3 month trip somewhere, I’ve either been in school or working. I couldn’t imagine what a life of leisure feels like. I mean, what would you do all day? I imagined my life as a Bon Bons commercial, whiling the days away eating chocolates and reading witty internet blogs (OK, fine, fine, and watching funny youtube videos about lazy harp seals with which I can fully identify…)
After a month of apartment hunting and a trip back to Cambodia to lug the last of my belongings over, the last month or so has gone in a blur. My mornings are enjoyably spent doing volunteer work. My afternoons are spent playing tennis at courts just five minutes away. (Cost of the court? USD 3 per hour including the services of a ballboy who expertly picks up balls using a long-handled dustpan and bin.) Other times, I explore the city and take photos or conduct interviews for stories I want to write about. Then there’s Hulu. Loves me some Hulu.
But the most exciting thing that has happened in the last while is that I made it to the Top 25 Finalists in Conde Nast’s Dream Trip Photo Contest. Out of more than 20,000 entries, one of my photos got selected. How awesome is that? And the grand prize is a $25,000 trip to anywhere in the world. I simply cannot fathom spending that much on a trip but I’d do a heck of a job trying!
So please spend 30 seconds to click on this link and vote for my photo. You can vote once a day for the next two weeks. C’mon. It can be your good deed for the day. You will be absolved from holding doors open for old ladies, giving up meat (or your subway seat) or donating to pesky charities. Simply vote for me and your good deed is done! I’ll even send you a postcard when I win…
Voting is simple. All you have to do is click. Lather, rinse, repeat once a day for the next two weeks.
Update, May 24 @ 10:08 am: I am overwhelmed by the response I’m getting from friends, former colleagues, editors, the travel blogging community, people I’ve only crossed paths with, but who’ve gone over and above by forwarding this post, re-tweeting, posting on Facebook. I have no words. You guys are just so awesome. THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart! Keep voting guys and stand to win your own $23,000 Kenyan safari. It can happen for you too! Look where dreaming has gotten me!
Note: I’ve obviously been very
bored busy trawling the internet for image generators that you see in this post, all for you, dear readers!
Ransom note: I found this very cool site that generates ransom note style magazine letter cutouts. While there were many, this one was definitely the best. Check it out! You can even insert your own photo in the background. Very handy for when you can’t be bothered cutting out letters for your own ransom note…
Street Sign generator: A pretty nifty site which allows you to generate tons of custom pictures. Warning: You will spend way more time here than you planned…
Uncle Sam poster generator: Another huge time suck but with lots of images to goof around with…