Happy belated New Year!
I’ve been rather inactive lately as I attempt to recharge my batteries and form new travel strategies. As we enter the 2018, I thought now would be a good time to share some of my upcoming plans in terms of destinations and creative output.
I’ve learned that it’s impossible for me to stick to a specific plan particularly one planned too far in advanced. I’ll mostly be playing this year by ear, but I do have some rough plans forming already.
While I’ve spent time in quite a few of the states, there’s so much of the US that I haven’t seen. Even some that I have seen, I only stayed in for a brief time or at too young an age to truly appreciate it. Before heading abroad again, I want to explore a bit more of my homeland.
So for 2018, I plan to at least triple the number of states I’ve visited (shown in white). Next weekend I’ll be in Dallas for a bit and then head over to Florida which might be my home base for a while as it has a lot of cheap flights to other cities in the region. I’ll be sticking with more temperate areas for the first few months. I don’t have a set itinerary, but the rough list currently includes Orlando, Miami, Tampa, Nashville, Memphis, New Orleans and Puerto Rico.
Around March, I’ll head back to Texas, Nevada and California to catch up with friends and family. Then I’ll head to the East Coast (perhaps with a fews stops in the flyover states). After a month or two in that area, I’ll head up to Canada briefly before returning to Texas in time for the Fourth of July and finally Nevada for a wedding.
The second half of the year is much more vague at this point. However, I plan to spend the summer and fall around Europe including stops in England, Ireland, Sweden, Slovenia and Poland. Europe is so densely packed though that I’ll likely visit many other countries via trains and such.
Depending on whether or not I can make the visa arrangements before I leave the US, I plan to eventually get out to Russia. Due to the size of it and the cost of the visa, I’d want to spend as much time exploring it as possible so I may be there for a couple of months before eventually heading back to Japan for Christmas and New Years.
One of the most draining parts of my time in Asia was that for the most part, I slept in a different place every day. While it was a good way to see as much of each city as possible and helped me meet many new friends, it also became a strain physically, mentally and financially. I do love small spaces but it’s weird to have to always be quiet while also dealing with random noises throughout the night as other people pack and such.
So this year, I plan to book places for 4-10 days at a time. Rather than staying primarily in hostels, I hope to utilize Airbnb for most nights. This way, I can buy groceries for a few days and not have to always eat out or get prepackaged meals. I’ll still occasionally stay at hostels in order to meet fellow travelers and save a few bucks.
At the start of 2017, I set a goal for myself to publish an album and a book by the end of the year. The former was achieved fairly early when I released Saga in July but I was never able to settle into the right state of mind for the latter. Having a less chaotic and more private living situation should help me finally get some writing done.
I’m currently planning a non-fiction book on minimalism in addition to a few novel ideas that I’ve been toying with for years. If all goes well, I’ll publish two books in 2018. But given my short attention span, it’ll be a miracle if I get even one done.
My plan to release daily vlogs in Asia quickly became impossible to maintain as I rarely had the time each day to create & edit them. So in 2018 I will shift my focus to writing this blog. While I may occasionally post summaries of daily events, I want to mostly cover specific topics as the inspirations strikes me; with no set schedule and not limited to a specific theme or format.
I have sort of a love hate relationship with videos. First, YouTube is currently in a weird place with monetization and promotion so it’s not the best time to jump into it. There’s also a lot of aspects of the whole “YouTuber” style that bothers me so I’m still trying to figure out the tone I want while avoiding annoying cliche’s. Also, capturing and editing videos is much more time-intensive than photos or writing. Finally my videography skills & tools are fairly limited. So it’s a lot of effort for very little reward in terms of quality and viewership.
Still, I do enjoy the learning process and it’s nice to look back at old footage. So while I’m not 100% sure what style my future videos will follow, I do intend to keep experimenting. Instead of running through the events of each day, I’m hoping to go into specific topics (possibly to supplement blog articles) or document a single activity/attraction that I come across as it happens. Additionally, I’ll try to release a weekly(ish) montage video with any decent B-roll I capture during the week.
I might also experiment with Instagram/Facebook stories for quick & dirty daily recaps. I’ve never really liked the format or temporary nature of those, but they’ve grown popular and would be an easy way to release content that doesn’t warrant a full video or blog post.
I finally replaced my old Canon T2i from 2009 with a Sony A6000 which opens up some new options with my photography workflow. In addition to saving RAW files to process for my portfolio, I will also be saving JPG’s of each photo which can be wirelessly copied over to my phone. So rather than selecting random photos from the past, I might start posting a few from the current day with occasional old ones added for variety. My photo feed should then have a more cohesive timeline.
At this point, I’m running out of new names for photos as I’ve already used so many. It’s slowing down the publishing process and doesn’t add much to the images. So I may soon switch to more generic names (ex. Cat in Bangkok) with exceptions if I’m ever particularly inspired.
Last year was easily the most surreal year of my life so far. I bathed with elephants. Drank Vietnamese Happy Water with an Iron Chef judge. Was chased by wild dogs. Sang an impromptu duet of “Non, Je ne regrette rien” with some random older woman at a karaoke bar. Ate at a condom-themed restaurant. Went to a clothing optional beach (I opted to keep mine on). Was chased into the mountains by some women over a can of soda. Was groped by an old man on a plane who had long, sharp finger nails. Ate crickets, giant water bugs, pigeon, blood sausage, frog, snails and natto (thankfully not in one sitting). Witnessed a man being rescued from a suicide attempt on a subway platform. Cleaned out a hoarder’s home. Accidentally crashed a wedding. Was served absinthe by a clown (and part-time kick boxer) while a taxidermy badger glared at me from atop a taxidermy camel. You know. The usual.
I can’t wait to see all the strange and wonderful experiences I’ll encounter in 2018.