Author Archives | Brian

How We Saved for Travel, and For Everything Else Too

Money

With New Year’s celebrations now over it’s time for the hard work of resolution honoring to begin in earnest. Many of us will start the year resolving to spend less money and save more. If you’re like Shannon and me, the objective may be to accumulate enough to travel the world; or maybe you’re trying to build a college fund or pad a retirement nest egg. All worthy goals.

Unfortunately our good intentions are typically doomed to failure right from the start. By mid-year most of us will have fallen back into the same bad habits we resolve each year to end. We do that not because we lack the necessary willpower, but because we lack the correct perspective. To change our financial behavior we need to fundamentally change the way we think about money. We need to find a way to turn human nature, which constantly tempts us away from our long-term goals, to our advantage. Fortunately that is easier to do than you may think.

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Where to Eat in Hoi An, Vietnam

Hoi An's Central Market

Head to Hoi An’s Central Market for the town’s best Cau Lao

Hoi An, as I mentioned earlier, was somewhat unkind to us. But it wasn’t just the rain. In addition to dodging drops we also had a terrible time finding good places to eat, let alone great ones.

Partly, I think we just got spoiled in Hanoi. It was so easy to find delicious meals in Hanoi that almost anywhere else would seem a disappointment by comparison. And so it was initially with Hoi An.

Don’t get us wrong, Hoi An is a lovely city. But it really is a tourist town. Unfortunately, many of its eateries reflect that. Too many cater to what they think westerners want and serve up mediocre food at inflated prices as a result.

In the past we’ve been able to side-step tourist cuisine by avoiding the places where tourists eat. But in Hoi An, that strategy didn’t always work. We had bad experiences at upscale places as well as downscale ones and everywhere in between.

Through sheer persistence, and a week of trying, we did eventually uncover these handful of standouts.

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48 New Pages of Possibility

US Passport

Our most recent purchase – a fatter passport

There’s something vaguely exciting about the blank visa pages contained within my passport. As much as I love the stamps documenting where I’ve been, it’s those empty visa spaces where all the possibilities reside; each one bursting with promises of travel stories as yet untold but yearning to be written.

Recently, though, we’ve been burning through our blank visa pages like rolling papers at a Colorado ski resort. The truth is that we’re traveling more these days than our passports were designed to accommodate. It’s a high class problem for sure. But it is a problem nonetheless. And one that we suddenly realized we’d need to deal with before we can board the flight we already booked to Greece this spring.

The good news is that the U.S. government allows its citizens to add up to 72 blank pages to their passports. The bad news is that they make doing so an unnecessarily ridiculous ass-ache.

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Postcard Pretty Hoi An

Hoi An, River Scene, Vietnam

Hoi An was unkind to us in a way. We knew we were visiting this central Vietnamese city near the end of its rainy season, but with a week to spend in the relatively small town we figured we had more than enough time to see and do everything. We were wrong. The rain was nearly relentless for seven straight days.

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