October 11, 2018

7,830 miles

The path to Southeast Asia

I landed in San Francisco this morning.

It was chilly outside.

After spending 5 weeks in 100-degree weather, I needed a sweater.

As I walked to Uniqlo, I passed this sign.

It’s 7,830 miles back to where I came from, back to where Elizabeth started her SE Asia trip.

October 9, 2018

Scrolling and scrolling and scrolling

The current US-based opinion of Facebook is that it’s on the decline. The narrative seems to be that 1) less people are using it; and 2) the people who do use it are using it less.

Traveling, though, has convinced me that Facebook is stronger than ever.

When I was walking around a clothing market in Chiang Mai, I’d see the stall owners scrolling Facebook on their phones while waiting for customers to pop in.

When I crammed onto the train in Bangkok, everyone had their phones out, scrolling away. About 80% of the time it was Facebook. 10% of the time it was YouTube. 10% of the time it was Other.”

And it’s not just Asia. The same was true for all of the food stall vendors I saw in Mexico City. Everybody is looking down, scrolling the News Feed.

I think Facebook’s power is (unfortunately) underestimated internationally.

Facebook on the train

Facebook on the train

October 7, 2018

Mr. Singh

Near the end of this yellow brick road and tucked to the left is the Hangover Hostel. When you walk up, there are a few chairs on the patio. Mr. Singh was sitting in one of them.

Elizabeth?” He asked before we could say Hello.

Yes!”

Welcome.”

He made copies of our passports, and then slid open a large glass door. We were immediately inside our dorm room.

There were 12 beds inside. There was a sink and two bathrooms. That’s it, except for the life lessons posted on the walls.

When we showed up, two girls who we’d met in Pai were there. Elizabeth went out to dinner and drinks with them while I stayed behind.

Around 10 PM, Mr. Singh started placing bottled water next to everyone’s beds.

The internet was blazing fast.

When I needed dinner, Mr. Singh walked me down to a local restaurant and asked them to stay open a little bit longer to make me fried noodles.

He warned me about eating the pizza after midnight.

When I came back into our dorm room at 1 AM after a call, he asked, Hey Will - do you have everything you need?”

Mr. Singh’s one-room hostel was the best place we’ve stayed.

10/10. 5 Stars. Two Thumbs Up.

Hangover Hostel

October 7, 2018

Not Pictured

Lookout office 📍 Koh Phi Phi, Thailand

Not Pictured:

  • 38°C Real Feel temperature
  • Intermittent internet
  • Calvin Harris blasting in the background
  • Instant coffee
  • Three employees sanding down wooden tables off to the right
October 3, 2018

Chinese hotspot, made for an Indian network, unlocked in Laos, for worldwide internet

This is an Airtel 4G hotspot1. It takes cell service and turns it into WiFi.

This particular device is only compatible with the Airtel network in India. But everyone in Laos uses it to connect their phones to the internet.

We bought one from a street electronics vendor in Luang Prabang. They buy them in bulk from the manufacturer in China, and then open them up and change a firmware setting in the software to unlock them. That way, any GSM SIM card will work.

Elizabeth got two vendors into a bidding war. She got them shouting back and forth lower and lower prices. Our first quote was 440,000kip. We ended up paying 280,000kip (~$30).

After buying it, we opened the case, dug behind the battery, and put in a Unitel SIM card. 10,000kip bought us 5 GB of data for 2 days.

In Thailand, we opened it up again and put in a True Move SIM card. 600 baht for 30 days of unlimited internet at 6 gbps.

Traveling and working has been really tough, but would have been impossible without this device.


  1. Airtel 4G unlocked hotspot

October 2, 2018

Goodbye, Pai

Every traveler that comes to Pai ends up extending their visit. People come here and decide they never want to leave.

An Australian we met back in Laos decided she was going to move to Pai for 6 months starting in 2019.

It’s easy to see why.

It’s surrounded by jungle-covered mountains. There are waterfalls and swimming holes. The locals are relaxed and friendly. Nobody honks or shouts.

The food is fresh. There are vegan restaurants on every corner. The Pad Thai and the Kao Soi are incredible.

We intended to come for 3 nights. We stayed for 5.

Goodbye, Phai-Mae Hong Son.

Goodbye, Pai.

An amazing food truck 3 nights in a row for dinner