On My Way to Asia

Map of ThailandI had been living in Mexico for a little over a year, and it was time to continue the adventure in another venue. I knew when I started this “slow travel” retirement dream that I would get attached to places and not want to leave. San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico is truly an amazing place and I could see putting down more permanent roots there. That, however, was not the plan or the promise I had made. I know there is a propensity for people, myself included, to fall in love with a place and before you know it you find yourself more or less permanently ensconced. After 25 years of being relatively stationary, I wanted to. Indeed I had to, keep exploring the world, meeting new people, learning new things and continue this new and magnificent phase of being.

I had ideas of many places in my mind where I wanted to go but no firm plans of where I wanted to commit. There is an underground among long-term travelers that I have discovered. People that have been out there for a while having adventures, collecting experiences and building an internal database of what they love about the world and the best places to find it. I don’t know if it was merely a coincidence, karma or my current mindset but, among all the good people that I met that had been there, everyone said I had to go to Chiang Mai in northern Thailand; I would love it, and Asia was what I was seeking.

I had never been to Asia before, but the thought of it did excite me. Everything I had read or heard about it made it seem mysterious and exotic; almost impenetrable somehow.  The cultures, the food, the art even the landscapes all seemed so different and a challenge to my western mindset. Illogically, I even expected that even gravity might somehow behave differently. The more I thought about it, the more excited I became. I had completed a little tentative planning that would make the move simpler but only three days before I left, I bought a ticket.

It is a strange and exciting experience to pack everything you own onto a commercial airline flight and leave for your new home, not knowing exactly where it will be. I was at the airport in Atlanta waiting for a flight to Seoul, Korea that would eventually connect me to Chaing Mai when I finally booked a hotel for a place to base while I looked for something a little more permanent. I knew no one there and little about my destination but it was exciting. I was on my way and beginning year two of LifePart2; my retirement travel adventure.

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Author: Jonathan Look

In 2011 Jonathan Look decided to change his life and pursue adventures instead of comfort and possessions. His goal is to travel the world solo; one country at a time, one year at a time. To accomplish this he got rid of most of his possessions, packed up what little he saw as necessities and headed out. His goal is to spend ten years discovering new places, meeting new people and taking the time to learn about them, their values and their place on this tiny planet. He embraces the philosophy that says a person is the sum of their experiences and rejects the fraud of modern consumerism that makes people into slaves of their consumption. He doesn't intend to be modern day ascetic, just more mindful of his place in the world and to make decisions according to that new standard.

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