Sunday 19 November 2023

The Big Five Oh

Fifty orbits around a burning sphere of hydrogen. Fifty arbitrary time-units as an impermanent coalition of quarks and electrons, gravitationally bound to an encrusted sphere of liquid iron. In a form conscious not only of its existence, but also of its ultimate demise. Beholden to, and limited by, seemingly universal physical laws. No choice in the matter - simply thrust into the glaring light of being, endowed with only the evolved faculties of a primitive ape. It's all so mind-bogglingly bizarre.

Thursday 31 August 2023

ER2@48 - a year in

So then, aye, a full year of early retirement in Kampot. Has it been everything I'd hoped? Spose so aye. Can't overstate the gratitude I feel to be unencumbered by the trivial and mundane. Free of petty managers, mono-dimensional colleagues and insipid grind. A visa not contingent on thumbing-in-and-out of a prison. No longer a number on a ledger. A whole year. Free.

Thursday 15 June 2023

17 years, Man and Boy

Bokor Sunset
Laid in the hammock observing sinister cloud formations over Bokor. Next door's fluffy dog on my lap. As the seasons shift from hot/dry to cool/wet the sky is often pregnant with electrical energy. Distant arcs of lightening, count the seconds, 15, so roughly 5km, a while yet before hammock-evac.

Tuesday 25 April 2023

Rotting in Kampot

Lotus pond sunset


June 2023 marks:
  • 1 year in Kampot
  • 17 years in SEA
32 when I left, 49 now. The social and technological changes have been staggering. The early blogs were hastily cobbled together in internet cafes - normally in an hour. Phones didn't have cameras so the 2006 - 2009 era is light on pics. I had a habit of drunkenly losing USB sticks and cheap digital cameras - most of the photos back then were courtesy of transient girlfriends.

Sunday 5 February 2023

The Xi'an Glimpse

Feeling an overwhelming sense of gratitude to be here. To be alive. It's been a surreal few weeks.

It may have inadvertently
started when a Manc septuagenarian began to (randomly) recite passages of Othello while downing cans of Black Panther. Auld Dave's as tough as they come having spent decades as a boxing coach. The last thing I was expecting was a broadside of Shakespearean prose as I scoffed me pie n chips - tremendous.

Monday 2 January 2023

Don't go chasing Waterfalls

Loving Kampot. Seven months here. The blink of an eye.

Kampot-time flashes by whereas Saigon-time wades, waist-deep, through putrid 

How? Simple. Physics tells us that time dilates depending on an observer's relative velocity and/or location within a gravitational field. Clearly, Saigon must be orbiting a massive black hole at incredible speed giving rise to its lethargic clock.

Was grateful to visit TWO waterfalls on the back of antipodean Simon's AirBlade - like shit off a stick that thing. He rented "The Pumphouse" back in the day before escaping to Kep. A most convivial companion - perfect for splodging up jungle streams and clambering over slippery rocks to 
reach the refreshing ទឹកធ្លាក់វាលពួច.

Saturday 19 November 2022

49 times around the buoy


Lying in the hammock enjoying the evening chorus of croaking frogs and chirping crickets. Not a breath of wind - palm fronds motionless in the still air. Winking stars dot the blackness - incomprehensibly distant. The moonless night rendering Bokor Hill invisible. Perfect. I feel ridiculously grateful to be here.

Friday 14 October 2022

Kampot Capers


Hunkered down in my $70 room sheltering from
Typhoon Nora. On Wednesday the 28th of September it slammed into Danang after killing 6 in the Philippines a few days earlier. It reached the peak classification of Violent Typhoon with wind speeds of 255 km/h. Like most of SEA, Kampot was caught in the wash. The half dozen water buffalo roaming around outside the room bore the brunt of it, poor buggers.

Monday 5 September 2022

ER2@48 - pulling the trigger.


September 2022 and I've only written two entries this year. Shocking. Saigon literally extracts the creativity from your soul. Meanwhile, I'm stunned to see the hit count approaching 500,000 ... quite something considering this blog is essentially the aimless ramblings of an eccentric loon.

Monday 27 June 2022

Kampot - 16 years in Asia.

BinYenh Guesthouse
Was lucky to get the first week of May off, so spent it back in Mui Ne. Magical. Same room. Same routine. Rinse and repeat. Daily 9km walks along a NATO standard tropical beach - palm trees and strikingly blue sea. Destination: Teen Cafe and its prominent viewpoint.

Saturday 26 March 2022

Retire@39 fail. Retire@49?

I haven't written for a while. Truth is there's not much to write about. I'm simply grinding out the lifeless-life of a sector-7g worker drone, in a spirit-crushing urban hell-scape, stacking as much $Dong as I feasibly can in order to not have to do this again. I mostly spend the time daydreaming about my time in Battambang, Chiang Mai, Nepal and the many epic motorbike trips I enjoyed in rural Thailand. Treasured memories, getting harder to evoke, elusive, like grasping for smoky tendrils near a ceiling fan. Man, I couldn't be further away - in both spatial and temporal domains.

Sunday 26 December 2021

Amor Fati - Luxury is weakness

Sunday afternoon, December, 31C. Lovely, doubt I'll ever tire of tropical winters. Cocooned in a windowless bed-n-bog - insulated from the traffic - both the horns (aaahh) and the filth, though the air quality is treating our lungs to a rare day in the green.

Sunday 31 October 2021

You never know what's round the corner

Got double jabbed. I didn't want to get vaxxed but I do want to travel. Government overreach around the world has been terrifying. Some Europeans are protesting but compliant Asians have bent over and taken it - no lube. The Army starvation lockdowns in HCMC were brutal - the worst on earth!

Friday 3 September 2021

For this too shall pass

Today's title is culturally appropriated from ancient Persia, reflecting on the ephemeral nature of things.

HoChiMing had already been locked down for 3 months when they decided to bring the Army in. We can't leave our homes - not even to shop. If the coof doesn't get you - starvation and depression will. Welcome to the planet's most draconian lockdown.

Monday 26 July 2021

Lockdown blues

Eight weeks off - good.
In lockdown - bad.

HCMC has entered the mother of all lockdowns whereby we're only allowed out to the nearest grocery store. Given that I live in a windowless bed-n-bog, I've been eating anything that doesn't need cooked.

Dreams of clean mountain air in Dalat quickly evaporated leaving a residue of ham sandwiches and youtube.

Friday 11 June 2021

15 years in Asia

I left England 15 years ago today. The 12th of June 2006 to the 12th of June 2021. My last sight of Blighty were the remote Shetland Isles slipping away on a bleak southern horizon. The ferry was making its way north, through the icy Atlantic to Torshavn - the capital of the Faroes Islands.

I was 32 then. 47 now. I didn't plan to stay away this long, it just happened. Let's take a peek through the murky telescope of history at this roller coaster.

Saturday 5 June 2021

20 types of western teacher in Asia

I’ve taught in Asia since 2007. During that time I’ve encountered a whole spectrum of characters in a wide variety of roles. I’ve taught in Taiwan, Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam and China. I’ve taught online, in language centers, in government schools, in international schools and even as a private tutor. I’ve seen it all.

Friday 4 June 2021

21st Century Diogenes - a tribute

Not many people in life leave an impression. There’s been three men that have had a profound impact on how I view the world. Armin (Austria) whom I met in Malaysia in 2008; Joe (Australia) whom I met in Thailand in 2014; and Dave (Wales) whom I met in Cambodia in 2019. They’re similar in some ways yet as unique as can be in others. The underpinning characteristic they all share, other than speaking foreign languages, is that they most certainly do not follow the Nietzschean herd.

Sunday 21 March 2021

Pedagogical BS


I haven't written much lately. Working 50hrs/week impedes the flow of creative juices. Weekends are for recuperation. Additionally, there's not much here to inspire a man with an adventurous soul. This is hardly the Himalayas, Borneo or the Mongolian Steppe. This is Ho Chi Ming - a chaotic city of 10M souls. Why would humans willingly subject themselves to this much noise and depressing concrete? Is the gr$$n stuff really that powerful?

Friday 1 January 2021

Celestial Maneuvers in Mui Ne

As the earth completed another arbitrary orbit of our star, I spent the time reflecting on 47 years of sentience. The older one gets the more meaningless everything becomes, to the point of laughable absurdity. Life certainly seems to be a cosmic joke. Extended periods of suffering punctuated by moments of joy. The universe exercising its dualistic nature, happiness can't exist without pain. Light without dark. Once basic needs are met, the best one can hope for is contentment, whereby both bliss and suffering are attenuated, and a vanilla state of being is achieved. The middle way as Buddhists might say.

Saturday 14 November 2020

Sunday 30 August 2020



I'm writing this from a poky little bed-n-bog on the 4th floor of a small hotel in the pulsating heart of HoChiMinh City. It's taken some getting used to, the noise, the building shaking when a truck rumbles past, the horns, the perpetual white noise of traffic, music blaring from bars.

Did I mention noise? The last place you'd expect to find an AWOL Geordie.

Stop moaning. What've you been up to?

Monday 20 July 2020

Batshit in Battambang. Vacuous in Vietnam.

Well, well, well. I'm sat at Incheon Airport, a mere 35km from North Korea. WTF am I doing here? Good question. It all started back in April where a confluence of events conspired to chart a new course for my erratic life.

Monday 4 May 2020

Why I'm celibate and teetotal


I'd like to go a little off-piste today. Throw out some thoughts. I've been reading Nietzsche and Jung from the comfort of my small tropical apartment. It's somehow affirming to see some of your ideas stated succinctly in rational text. It's also jarring to see other beliefs disabused by those same texts. Either way it's always a worthwhile endeavour to re-evaluate your philosophical positions. Let's dive right in.

Monday 23 March 2020

Early Retirement and Minimalism in Southeast Asia


Early March, 1pm, well over 30-deg-C. Or, Harry Reddaz, as we'd say in the Royal Navy. I'm sat here, in glorious solitude, sipping a poolside coffee under the shade of a rainbow-coloured parasol. Rainbow? LGBTQ? From the West?

Not a twatpacker to be seen - they must be visiting the bat caves or something. Motionless palm trees remind me I'm in the tropics - mint.

The coffee's minging though - like mud.

Saturday 1 February 2020

Battambang Bliss

Early retirement

Been thinking about me old mate Aussie Russel who passed away a few years back. Sad.

One day, circa 2012, we were sat drinking Leo in his dream retirement home when I asked if he missed working?

Thursday 26 December 2019

New decade. New life.


Christmas night. Battambang. 32 deg celsius. A vindaloo settling - aye, there's an Indian here! Sat in my new apartment mulling over the last 3 months of retirement. Feels like a lot has happened since quitting the last spirit-crushing-teaching-job in Chiang Mai. I had $4,300 in a Thai bank on PDR (pay-day-runner) day. I now have $2,500 in a Cambodian bank. So $1,800 spent. Or $600/month. However, much of that was on unavoidable expenses. Let's take a look:

Wednesday 27 November 2019



Can't tell you how happy I was to see this in the passport. A one-year multiple-entry retirement visa. Haway the lads!! It's mind boggling that Thailand is so hostile while Cambodia rolls out a red carpet.

No 90day reports, no TM30s, no border bounces, no waiting for hours in immigration - ever, no landlords involved, no spirit-crushing jobs, no financial obligations.

Simply pay $300. Forget about it. Enjoy life in the tropics. 12 months later, pay again. Simple. Sabai sabai (Khmer style).

After my latest dealings with Thai immigration I'm sat here thinking I should've jumped ship earlier.

Tuesday 12 November 2019

Cambodia 1


Felt sad leaving the rice fields of HangDong. Had an awesome October cycling around the sticks. And not being at work. Caught my first ever Uber to ChiangMai Airport. Spent my final Thai weekend in Krungtep Maha-Nakon (Bangers).

Thursday 10 October 2019

Financial Independence Retire Early (FIRE)

Image result for schwab stocks sharesI've had a few questions asking how it's possible to retire early having lost $225,000 in 2014 at the age of 40. While that's true, this post examines how I bounced back.

The first thing to note is that I started with nowt. My parents (both passed) were far from affluent. I'm not complaining - I had a great childhood. Just stating a fact. I left school at 16. Joined the Royal Navy. Was trained as an Electronic Engineer and served on HMS Coventry (Balkans conflict 1994) and HMS Victorious (a submarine designed to rain nuclear horror on innocent civilians).