Thursday, October 4, 2018

PHASE II: No Itinerary Desired

Where Phase I had to be planned out and scheduled (the train across western Canada ran only three times a week), Phase II was intentionally left blank. The goal was to get to somewhere in SE Asia / Oceania and chill out for a few months. I ended up going to Bangkok (where I am currently typing this with the aid of some Hong Thong blended whiskey). The goal-behind-the-goal is to get some writing done, which hasn't quite sparked yet (especially since I owe blog updates).

The big characteristic of this phase is that it should be spontaneous and cheap. With this in mind, let me go over the past few weeks. A couple friends mentioned that they had a couch for me in Los Angeles (thank you Sean & Rachel!) and another friend had a ton of suggestions for the city (thank you Jen!). The flight was cheap enough (indeed, cheaper than going from Anchorage to anywhere in SE Asia), so I went for about 10 days on September 14 (arriving September 15). After a much-needed centering, I went about looking up where could be hit for cheap. As you might suspect, Bangkok came up quite a bit.

After some debate (and given my propensity toward putting ease of travel first), it seemed the best way to get to SE Asia was to take the trip in three hops. On September 24 I flew from Los Angeles to Honolulu ($150, six? hours) where I did my best to be a beach bum. I followed that up with a flight on the 27th (which, due to the International Date Line, arrived on the 28th - $230+$120 upgrade to first, eight? hours) to Osaka, Japan. I again stayed for a couple days, intending to leave on the 30th, but, due to a typhoon, leaving on the 1st of October to Bangkok ($170. eight hours). This brings us up to where I'm at now.

I think (think!) my current path leads me south to Malaysia and Singapore. In line at the airport, I chose not to get the visa-on-arrival (up to 90 days) and went with the no-visa-needed option (30 days), so I need to (slowly) move toward a border. During this phase I hope to visit the following places: Japan (Osaka again, Tokyo, other), Hong Kong, Phillipines, Australia, and New Zealand. It would be great to visit the following: South Korea (have one contact), Indonesia, Guam ('murica!), and Vietnam. We'll see what shakes out.

NUMBERS: I'm going to set my budget at $15,000 for this phase, though that's feeling pricy, as I don't have anyone renting my bedroom in Philadelphia. I may "workaway" in some of the pricier areas (e.g. Australia, New Zealand). I was going to set the budget at $10,000, but I feel like the American stops really sucked up some money. Currently I've spent $2250 (ouch!) - most of that in America.

Phase II officially ends when I fly to Africa or the Middle East. Phase III doesn't really have a "feel" yet, but I (hopefully) have a few months to figure that out.

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