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Life Nomadic

For a long time now I've wanted to be a PT, or Perpetual Traveler. My recent massive simplification has been a step in the right direction. I used to have too much stuff to even consider going on the road. Living in the RV has been another leap towards PT.

But first... why be a PT?

The idea, at least for me, is this : there is no "best" place to live in the world. Tokyo has the best trains and a fantastic culture. The Caribbean has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Europe has the history and food. "Settling down" in one place seems a lot like "settling" to me. If I live in Taiwan for a couple months out of the year I can brush up on my Chinese and become more fluent.

The First Time Traveler's Guide to East Asia


Making your first trip to East or Southeast Asia? Wondering where to go?

Okay, I've spent significant time in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore. I can weigh in on those places for you. I haven't been to Macau, Laos, Burma, the Philippines, North Korea, or Indonesia yet - of them, I've heard great things about the Philippines and Indonesia in particular, but I can't comment.

So, some thoughts about every country -

Japan - Still the crown jewel of Asia, Japan has something for everyone. There's ancient and hyper-modern culture mixed all together. There's amazing technology, high levels of development, basically nonexistent crime, ridiculously high standards of quality and hygiene, and the people are friendly and polite. English isn't widely spoken, but the Japanese take being good hosts seriously and you'll be fine in any major city. You can find quite literally anything here - amazing camping and mountains and forests and oceans, or hyper-developed space-age districts in cities.

The downside of Japan - It's fucking expensive. Like, really really expensive. I hate spending money on eating and sleeping - every dollar I put into basic "staying alive" stuff is less money to be invested in commerce or philanthropy, or learning, or having unique experiences that are more interesting than... well, eating and sleeping. Yet, eating and sleeping is brutally expensive here. If you're not a veteran traveler and don't have friends here, you'll be hard pressed to spend less than $100/day in Japan. If you slum it hard, you can maybe get down to $50/day. Everything's ridiculously expensive, ranging from 400% to 2,000% higher than still-developing countries in Asia.

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