The plan and why I’m not planning

The game plan for my SE Asia trip hasn’t changed much since my first blog post.

So far, I still only have a 1-way ticket to Bangkok plus a place booked for my first few nights. I have an idea of the countries I might want to hit, but not much else.

This lack of having a “concrete plan” is by design, of course. But it is starting to freak me out.

In fact, it goes against every fiber of my being.



I’m usually that guy who plans out his day by the hour. I live by my calendar – if it’s not on there, then it doesn’t exist. So as you can imagine, not knowing exactly where I’ll be one week from today sits outside of my comfort zone.

And I love it.

The plan is to vagabond, as coined by travel writer Rolf Potts in his book “Vagabonding.” Here are some of my favorite definitions of vagabonding:

  • “Vagabonding is about refusing to exile travel to some other, seemingly more appropriate, time of your life.”
  • “Vagabonding is about gaining the courage to loosen your grip on the so-called certainties of this world.”
  • “It’s about being a student of daily life. It requires only that we walk through the world in a more deliberate way”

I find the uncertainty of vagabonding to be incredibly exciting. While to some people it may spell out a recipe for disaster, I think there’s so much to learn from it and I want to embrace it. I also believe that this mentality and flexibility may lend to more spontaneous, genuine experiences.

Unplug and connect

Another part of the “plan” is to unplug a bit from the frenetic pace of our digital lifestyles. So, I’m not going to bring my laptop with me. And I’ve set my inbox such that I only check my email 1-2x per week (gasp).

It’s so easy for us to remove the uncertainty in our daily lives, alleviate loneliness, or simply not live in the present moment by falling back to our devices. If I must know what’s going on in the world, then I’ll pick up a newspaper or ask someone. If I need a recommendation on where to eat or stay, maybe I’ll ask a local instead of resorting to some mobile app.


Where I think I’ll go

I do have a list of activities that are high on my list, such as climbing in Thailand, surfing in the Philippines, diving in Bali, biking across fields in Vietnam, beaching in Cambodia, etc. And I do have some of the usual tourist spots on the list as well.

All in, I’ll likely hit Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Philippines, Myanmar, Indonesia, Japan (definitely), Malaysia and possibly more/less in some sort of order.

But what I’m most psyched about is learning and connecting with other people. To me, that is the true essence and real reward of traveling.

I leave tomorrow night. I can’t believe it.