Malaysia! Now What?

Boy what a rollercoaster it has been!

I arrived at KLIA on the 3rd of September and it has been an absolute blast. The food was inexpensive and delicious. The people are so heartwarming and welcoming that it puts us Americans to shame.

Week one was the week of arrivals. Rezal and Karen had a lot to do before the start of their wedding that upcoming weekend. First of the arrivals from our group was me, arriving on the 3rd. My boyfriend Scotty made his arrival just a couple short days later on the 5th along with other members of the wedding coming from California and Minnesota.

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We all hung out as a group, seeing the sights. Fast-forward to Friday, the day before the wedding. A lot of things still need to get done. All the small, but important details. Actually, let me rewind a bit. The day of Scotty and everybody else’s arrival, we were all slated to go down south to Kluang for the bride’s side of the wedding. Because of all the gifts that need to be brought down, there wouldn’t be room for me, Scotty and our other colleagues and their monumental amounts of luggage. So Rezal and Karen decided that it would be best if Rezal took Karen’s friends down since they needed to be down south ASAP anyways. Me, Scotty and the others would need to take public transport down. Not a big deal. Apparently it was because some of us overpacked and didn’t want to try and live like locals. For Scotty and I though it would be an exciting walk in the park!

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As soon as we got wind that our other colleagues would be skipping the wedding they said they were going to help with and fly to Poland, Scotty and I didn’t wait and wanted to get down ASAP so we can join in on the fun, too!

First step, grab our bags and buy a ticket to TBS, which is a bus terminal. At this point, the 6 of us were still at KLIA2 getting food and SIM cards for those who just arrived. While the others were getting situated, Scotty and I grabbed our ticket to TBS — of course, the bus from KLIA2 to TBS doesn’t leave for another couple hours, so we elected to give our tickets away to those who were queueing to purchase one. We decided we’ll take a Grab to TBS (Grab is like an Uber/Lyft here in the States). The Grab driver though says they’re a few minutes away, made us wait another half hour looking. I decided to cancel the Grab, regardless of what the driver said and elected to grab a traditional taxi over.

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Since Scotty and I booked our ticket from TBS down to Kluang online, we had a deadline to meet. Our taxi driver was beautiful in the way he got us over to TBS with some time to spare. Unnnnnfortunately for us, TBS wasn’t exactly laid out friendly. Kiosks galore from all these different bus companies going all over Malaysia and indeed all over SE Asia. We had to find the green kiosk to print our tickets. Otherwise we can’t get past security. Thankfully for both Scotty and I, we’re both colorblind, so finding the kiosk was a stressful endeavor. Asked for help and found the line. Waited and printed our ticket. Out bus leaves the station at like 4:20pm or something like that and we got to the terminal at 4:22 with no bus outside the doors. SHIT. We’ve just missed it by MINUTES. We asked the nearest security agent if the bus just took off. He said that it hasn’t arrived yet. Oh, thank God.

We waited then boarded the bus at around 4:40pm and made it down to Kluang. Now we had to find a Grab that’ll take us from the terminal to Hotel Anika, which we found one quite quickly. It was a short 5 minute ride for RM4, which is just about 1USD. Cheap as chips!

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Checked into the hotel, got situated and started sight seeing while Karen and Rezal were helping get their wedding setup. Fast forward a couple days and we’re into Friday, one day before the wedding starts and Rezal’s best man is just flying in from Minneapolis. We’re all down south and Dan is arriving to KLIA. He’ll need to take public transport, however… Rezal and Karen both forgot some stuff back in Kuala Lumpur, so I volunteered to drive up and grab their stuff and pick Dan up at the same time. Get two birds with one stone, which actually ended up working out beautifully.

Dan, Scotty and I arrived back in Kluang late in the evening. Thankfully Dan got some sleep in the Proton Waja I was driving so he was slightly rejuvenated by the time we arrived at Hotel Anika. We all decided to have a little mini bachelor party at a local bar called ASAP (As Swag As Possible) and it was a damned good time.

The next day — the big day. The official day. Rezal and Karen get to marry! I’m not going to bore you all with the boring details, but it was such a beautiful ceremony that I started crying. I had the privilege of being their photographer, so I was working very hard to get all the photos taken. I got some pretty damned good ones too!

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To kind of wrap up this post, we all had an amazing time in Malaysia. The second wedding was just as amazing and all the places we’ve seen and experienced together was amazing. The resort in Batu Ferringhi was awesome. Unfortunately because my accounts kept getting frozen overseas, I got spooked and decided to fly both Scotty and I back to Minnesota.

So, on October 1st we left the apartment I’ve rented from Rezal and hitched a ride with Karen to KLIA2 where we spent the night at the Capsule Hotel in KLIA2. Had dinner with Karen, Rezal, Adriana and Scotty at KLIA2, visited AirAsia’s RedQ Headquarters and had a perfect cherry to top our Malaysia story. They gave us a ride back to KLIA where we’re slated to catch a flight to Shanghai, then San Francisco then back home to Minneapolis.

As for the what now? This post will be the swan song of The Nomadic Tire I think and I’ll be focusing on my freelancing gig. As I continue to grow and gain more clients and create more content, I think I’ll start blogging again and maybe even start a YouTube channel?? It’ll probably all be under a new moniker. Until then, hope you all had a great time reading about me growing and traveling.

Until then, Ciao!

-Kevin

Getting Over The Initial Hump

What a whirlwind of a travel saga this has been! There has been a lot of ups and downs when beginning to travel long-term for the first time.

Travel blogger after travel vlogger, they’re all saying the same damn thing — and it’s true. The first time you leave is the hardest and will be the hardest. But they say it gets easier.


Leaving Home.

Getting things ready to go back at home is one hell of a process. From packing, to getting rid of the rest of your possessions, to cleaning up your room, seeing friends and family and everything else. This is a process I wish I would’ve taken more time to do. One week is just not enough time — at least for me. This is a process where I would recommend at least 2 weeks to get all of your affairs in order.

Then comes a day where you’re in your final 24 hours. You can’t sleep. You’re exhausted and your ride is waiting to drop you off at the airport. This is it. Your big finale. Mom wanted to drop me off — I asked her if it’s okay she dropped off my friends as well since we’re all traveling together. She happily obliged.

It was a quick ride to drop us all off at the airport. I said my goodbyes, and took the final selfie with mom before heading inside Minneapolis-St. Paul International.


No Looking Back — At Least Try Not To.

Stepping into the airport and watching mom leave for work was tough, but the excitement of traveling around the world was something that quickly squashed the sorrow.

Check-In, check. Security, check. Breakfast, fail. After we all got checked in and breezed through security, we had just over an hour before our plane even started to board from MSP to HND (Tokyo – Haneda International Airport). We found a place that served breakfast and sat down. Before even looking at the menu, I was browsing through Facebook with all the excitement in the world until this picture came up in my timeline feed posted by mother dearest:

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The caption reads “Hard to say good bye to your kid, but I am happy that he is doing what he loves. Safe travel, Kevin. Remember this will always be your home. Love you.”

From that moment on – it was queue the waterworks.

I could not stop sobbing at the restaurant. Ordered my breakfast and a mimosa, to calm my nerves. Chugging down that mimosa didn’t help much. I needed another, but I shouldn’t. I’ve decided that I should stay away from Facebook to try to get my emotions in check. That helped. I had to excuse myself to the bathroom for a good 20-30 minutes. Quietly sobbing in the bathroom stall. In between all the flushes, chit-chat, hand driers whirring and people farting in the stall next to me, was me trying to sob as quietly as possible. I returned back to the restaurant tired and dehydrated. I’m sure the people sitting next to us was wondering what the hell I was crying about. Probably thought I was getting deported or something — who knows? It’s Trump’s America, now!

The emotions of leaving your mom back home. Your sibling, friends and other extended family behind in the United States while you’re about to go travel the world is almost a feeling of guilt and regret. The feeling of letting down your friends and family, that you’re ditching them for your own selfish reasons. Leaving them behind. It’s one of the strongest feelings of sorrow I’ve ever felt, behind visiting my late friend Brian in hospice.

You’re thinking that you should call back your ride, beg them to take you back home. You want to reverse this process and go back to your norm. You just can’t bear to leave your family and friends. Let me tell you again, it’s the single most difficult thing you’ll ever have to do in your lifetime.

Is it worth it? Only the person asking can answer that. For me, it’s undecided. I really miss my mom. I really miss everybody back at home, but I really want to travel some more and explore more of the world with my own eyes, not just behind a computer screen or though a magazine. See, touch, smell, taste. Take in all of your senses and immerse yourself into a completely different culture and world. Until I am able to come to a definitive conclusion if it’s worth it to me or not, I’ll continue on my travels.

I’ll be writing about more of my travels here in Malaysia in a future post. This will probably be a multi-part series on Malaysia travel.

This Is The Most Difficult Part

This is the bit of the travel journey that everybody has to start off with. This is the bit of the journey I wish I never had to do. The actual good-byes. Actually leaving. Actually selling your beloved car. Actually hugging your mom for the last time in a while is definitely a sobering feeling.

I was actually doing well for quite some time. Went through check-in, security with relative ease. Took all of what — 30 minutes? Maybe? Spent the next hour exploring Minneapolis St. Paul’s International Airport for a while — got some food. Two drinks in and the sobbing has for the most part stopped.

I’m struggling to keep my composure and not make a fool out of myself by sobbing at an airport terminal like I’m being deported or something. For god sakes. You never really understand the gravity of the situation until it’s actually happening. Right in front of your eyes.

Do yourself a favor. Tell your friends and family that you love them. Hug them dear. It may not be as long as a good-bye, but it’s more of an extended “see ya later.”

WARNING! DO NOT USE SIMPLE BANK.

Alright. Here’s the skinny. As some of you may or may not know, today’s my last day in The United States. I’m pretty much all packed, got my finances in order, passport is ready. I’m ready to go!

… or am I?

Here’s the thing on the finance side of things. If you’re planning on doing any type of extended travel abroad, DO NOT use Simple Bank (BBVACompass). Let me explain…


They’re “Not Equipped” For Long-Term Int’l Travel.

Sure, an online bank is perfect for expats and digital nomads alike, right? Not all online banks are created equal. Simple is not equipped somehow to handle long-term international travel. Unfortunately, I found out about this the hard way — ONE DAY BEFORE TAKING OFF.

Now, I let them know roughly 5-6 months in advance my travel plans. I haven’t heard anything as much as a peep from the regarding the extended travel and the inability to accommodate. I would be much less stressed and upset if they’d let me know, I don’t know, even a week before leaving? That gives me enough time to find a new bank to transfer before flying out.

Alas, they’ve said absolutely nothing all the way up until the day before the big off. Talk about a coma-inducing stress spike! They’ve single-handedly screwed me up the butt with no lubrication.

Here’s how all this went down…

Right as I was selling my car to her new owner this morning, I received a notification from Simple, saying that a new notification is in the app. So, naturally I open up the app and read the message. Here’s the message:

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You have got to be kidding me. Not only have they denied me access to my money abroad, I have a finite amount of money I can take out per day via ATMs. So, on one day before leaving the country, Simple has:

  1. Effectively locked all of my money in their account due to lack of notice;
  2. Made me scramble to find a suitable bank that’ll be able to accommodate such short notice;
  3. Created a loss of time to get other things done by searching for a new bank;
  4. Spiked my anxiety and stress to levels I haven’t experienced before.

Bank #1 — Wells Fargo

I’ve previously had dealt with Wells Fargo in the past, and when I opened up my Simple account, I transferred all of my money and payment instructions from Wells Fargo to Simple about 8-9 months ago. They’ve tried to get me to keep my account open — and I really should have. Because of me leaving my day job and effectively reducing my income technically to $0 annually, they were unable to accept my application to open up a new checking account with them.


Bank #2 — US Bank

A good friend of mine has US Bank, so I thought I’d give them a shot. She seems to like them. Naturally, Murphy’s Law… when it rains, it pours. DAMN was it pouring.

I arrived at a US Bank branch. Their servers were down and everybody and their mothers were on a backup server. That slowed the process down to open up a checking account with them to over an hour of agony.

My banking rep was kind — albeit scatter-brained at my situation. I asked her all the questions I needed to ask such as “will I be able to use this temporary debit card overseas?” “How much is the daily limit on purchases and ATM withdrawals?” “How long of a process is it to mail out a permanent card to my mother’s address?” “As soon as my permanent card is shipped to my mom, can it be activated abroad or will it have to be done within the US?”

Somewhat difficult and unique questions to be asking, but when Simple shits on you this hard, you have to ask these questions, otherwise you’ll be left without any money whatsoever.

She assures me that my temp debit card will work Internationally and will have a $500/day ATM withdrawal limit and a $1000/day POS spending limit. Great! Think this is the light at the end of the tunnel.

Remember a few paragraphs ago when I said that US Bank’s servers were down and were on a backup server? Well, that ended up screwing me along with either a bold-faced lie or inaccurate information from one of US Bank’s reps.

After I finally opened up a US Bank account, I tried to tie my Simple account to it so I can transfer from Simple to US Bank… couldn’t log in to US Bank. After about an hour of trying, I finally get it working and I immediately transferred $2000 to US Bank from Simple so I had some spending money for when I go abroad.

Great! All is well — but wait, there’s more! I tried to put in travel plans through their app with my first international country — Japan. 10 hour layover in Japan, I’ll want some spending money to explore, grab some food, etc… The app continually said that they were unable to “display the information” in regards to the dates I will be in Japan. Tried, tried and tried again. Couldn’t get it to work. Their servers must still be down. So, I called. After being on hold for 15 minutes, I finally get a rep that has to put me on hold again for about 5 minutes, verifies that I just opened up the account today and places me on yet another hold for about 10 minutes. He then informs me that they are unable to put a travel notice on a temporary debit card (not what my original branch rep told me!).

Great, now even US Bank won’t work when I travel tomorrow. Thanks, Simple. You really F*CKED ME OVER.

By the time I get off the phone and I open up the Simple app to cancel the $2000 transfer, it already has left my account and is in transit to US Bank. GREAT.

Now to find yet another bank… maybe 3rd time’s the charm?


Bank #3 — TCF Bank

I remembered that my buddy Rezal who is already in Malaysia has a current TCF Bank account. Awesome, surely they’ll be able to help.

Located and B-Lined it to the closest TCF Bank branch and told them of my rollercoaster of a situation. Not only were they able to print off a permanent ready-to-use debit card, they were able to help setup my online banking and also setup my travel plans for me! Now, after this post, I will call TCF Bank and verify my current travel plans, knowing my luck, the TCF Bank rep screwed that up, too.

Opened up the TCF account, got everything situated in less than 30 minutes. Only caveat? TCF Bank technically does not work in Malaysia for an unknown reason. So, I’ll have to transfer funds from the TCF account to one of my credit cards that should work abroad. After all, that’s what Rezal is doing right now. How hard can it be? With my luck, this is the beginning of a nightmare abroad.

One Week

This reminds me of the Barenaked Ladies song “One Week.”

It’s been one week since you looked at me, threw your arms into the air and said you’re crazy.

Coming soon it will truly be one week since I’ve seen any of my friends and family — some of them threw their arms into the air and said I’m crazy. Most congratulated me on making this decision and gave me hugs.

It’s crazy to think that this whole entire process started with meeting that one friend that has changed my life those 9 months ago — forever. Rezal, I’m looking at you. Check out his blog at www.gojirars.com!


No More Day Job!

This past Friday was my birthday, and what a more perfect gift to myself than to cease employment with the job that drove me crazy and stressed me to no end!

Don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy working at the dealership. The one thing that really stressed me out were the unrealistic customers who needed to have their hand held the whole time otherwise they’ll kick and scream and become a PR nightmare. Then they’ll get what they want for free. Because the customer is always right.

It was a bittersweet day on my birthday. Having the excitement of leaving the job, excitement of my birthday, sadness of leaving my friends that work there and some of the customers who were just absolute rockstars.


3 Days and 17 Hours Until Check-In

With the FlyDelta app on my iPhone, it tells me how many days and hours I have left until I can check in. Watching that figure go from months to weeks and now down to days and hours. It’s exciting as eff!

The flight from Minneapolis – St. Paul to Tokyo Narita is going to be one exciting trip! All the things that I can’t wait to do are soon going to be reality such as visiting an Onsen, eating at a true stand-up sushi restaurant, staying for a few hours at a capsule hotel. It’s all going to happen in less than a week!

Not to mention flying from Narita to Kuala Lumpur to see Rezal again. We’re all super stoked and excited to see him once more! It feels like it’s been ages since he left us for a better life overseas but now we’re going to be a group again! Then it’s time for Rezal and Karen’s big day — THEIR WEDDING! Josh and I have the honor of taking videos and photographs of their exciting moment. It’s a tall order for us lot, but for Rezal, failure is not an option.

I have to get back to getting shit ready for the off. Will likely post again once we’re at the airport waiting to board post-security.

CANNOT WAIT.

Starting To Say My Good-Byes

Holy moly does time fly by fast! A lot has happened since my last post. Here is my status update!


Work Place Changes — Again.

The service department at my dealership is basically playing Musical Service Chairs. First it was moving from Service Advisor to Warranty Administrator. Then Warranty Administrator back to Service Advisor, then from Service Advisor to Service Greeter/Bitch. My buddy Jesse is getting trained in to take over my position as I prepare to leave the dealership in about 1.5 months. Once he’s fully trained in as a Service Advisor, I move to a Service Greeter/Bitch position. I’ll be greeting customers while other advisors are trying to wrap other things up and preparing to check in a new customer. I will also help with shuttle rides, parts pickup from various other dealerships around the Metro area. What a way to end the dealership life with a bang, eh?!


48 Days, 12 Hours Until Check-In.

Holy shit. this is it. This is seriously the final moment here in the USA. As it starts to hit me harder and harder with each passing day, I realize that some of my most favorite customers from the dealership, I’m going to miss a lot, not to mention my colleagues. I swear to God that I’m going to be an absolute mess when my birthday/last day of work comes along.

To my dearest customers, I seriously thank you all for being truly amazing and helping make my hectic day at the dealership an absolute peach. In a highly stressful and fast-faced environment, your amazingness has really helped me get through the day without a mental breakdown. The words, laughs, handshakes and hugs shared between us is something that I will never forget. Trust me when I say when you congratulate me and wish me well on my endeavors whilst giving me a handshake or a hug, you guys have literally brought me to tears. I truly will miss you all!!

To my esteemed colleagues at Mazda Mitsubishi, I know that some of you actually read my shit that I post on here. I don’t know why you would want to read such a stale piece of article. Anyways, you guys are like my second family. We’ve been to two holiday parties, a housewarming party, a few birthday parties as well. We’ve all laughed, (I) cried, and we’ve said some extremely awkward things to each other in the past almost-three years. I know this isn’t my swan song with you guys yet, but damn, it certainly feels like it. With you guys, I’m either super happy, super tired or super stressed. Behind all of those facial expressions now lies a mind full of bittersweet memories. It’s almost kind of like facing mortality, except with leaving you guys and the USA to pursue a life-long dream. You guys have been an amazing support structure for me as I grew and matured. My last day with you guys I swear to God I am going to be a) absolutely useless, b) cry a shit ton and c) give you guys a lot of hugs. Yes, I will hug you guys. Get over it. You guys are truly like family to me, and I’m damn proud of it!! P.S. I’m still bitter that shortly after I leave, you guys will move into our brand new building. I’m expecting a lot of pictures posted on Facebook!

Lastly to my friends and family, you know that I love you all. I’m sorry that I haven’t been there much the past several months. Work has been hectic and I’ve been trying to learn and get as much done as possible. So many things to do yet and I only have 7 weeks left!! I will honestly try to be to as many events and gatherings as I can possibly muster. I apologize if either I’m too tired to go or I have something else planned. Do all the things!! I’m still trying to figure out where I’m going to host my going away/birthday party. I think I’ll just do an open invite to anybody who would like to join me at Cowboy Jacks in Plymouth.

I have to get back to other pressing things as I try to get my ducks in order so that my transition to freelancing and nomadic life goes as smoothly as possible.

The Final Countdown

Before I get started with the rest of the post — 4 more months! 1/3 of a year left. Still tons of stuff to do! It’s been 5 months since I’ve purchased my life-changing one-way flight to Kuala Lumpur! Since then, I’ve been working on expanding my knowledge of different programming languages such as HTML, CSS, PHP, Ruby, Python and Xcode. Along with that, changes to my health and employment has thrown the rest of my game plan off a bit. More on that below.


Changes With My Employer?

Yeah. My job title changed. Long story short: my employer knows that I’m moving out of the country later this year. Eventually they’ll need to find my replacement as a service advisor. Well, they found one. Which is perfect because the warranty administrator that was working for us quit. So I ended up being moved to warranty admin, and new Jen now took my place.

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This all started about a couple weeks ago, so it’s definitely been a learning curve when it comes to coding, closing and submitting warranty claims.

Decrease in pay, decrease in stress. I guess it’s a double-edged sword. New schedule, which is nice. I now get all weekends off.


What’s Wrong With My Health?

A lot, actually. In short, I’m just a broken down old (albeit still young) mess. Just had a surgery a couple weeks ago, so I’ve been recovering from that. So far it’s been a painful ride, that’s also quite itchy as my incisions are healing.

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That being said, looking for travel insurance when traveling abroad is hella expensive! World Nomads and IMG Travel Insurance are both asking for quite the premiums – hovering around $3-4k annually. Ouch!


Why TF Am I So Poor?

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Lemme tell you why. Car, motorcycle, insurance, loans, credit cards, gas, etc… Not to mention I’ve been paying on the Mazda every week. Total monthly contributions to both the Mazda and KTM including insurance and fuel is just about $2k a month. All this financial hardship so I can get everything paid off before the big off in September.

Let’s Talk About Regrets – Professional Lives

In my line of work, I deal with a lot of different people from different walks of life. From the wealthy driving a $50k SUV to those barely scraping by driving a 1990’s hoopty and everything else in between.

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To those customers who I’ve talked about my travel plans with, they usually always end up saying something along the lines of “Wow, that’s awesome! Good for you! You’re still young yet, I wish I can go travel like you.”

Well, sorry to burst your bubble, but you can travel at any age pretty much at any time. Provided if you have some obligations back at home, such as a glaring home mortgage, children, etc… you can pretty much just save up, pack up and go!

Let me ask you this: what’s really holding you back? For me, what held me back the most was the financial commitments that I had. Hell, I still have financial commitments now! Trying to pay off my car and motorcycle by September is proving to be very taxing on my bank account. I’ll be paying for both my car and motorcycle every week with each paycheck, leaving me with less than $100 to spend on food and gas for the week. Sure, it’s doable, but damn.

Not only that, but if I wouldn’t have ever bought my flight ticket to Kuala Lumpur, I would’ve never have gotten this far. The first step in location independence is forcing yourself to go. I’ve already invested a handsome amount of money to purchase my one-way flight out of the States, and I’ve also invested another $44 in the flight from Kuala Lumpur to Chiang Mai, Thailand as well.

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You gotta take your time in getting things taken care of. You’ll burn yourself out very quickly if you’re trying to do so much at the same time (which is what I’m doing). Pay off your debts and loans as quickly as possible without putting stress on the rest of your finances. Enjoy your last year or so until your new life as a location-independent, freelancing Digital Nomad.

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Your life may suck now, but wait until you’re stressing yourself to the point of working a 10.5 hour day every day, including weekends. Let’s see how quickly you get burnt out. Your life will really suck then, but then again, there’s such a great reward at the end of the tunnel. If you’re impatient like I am, go for it. Just know it’s really going to suck before it get any better. Only one way to go but up from here, right?

Don’t let regret hold you back. Let regret be that learning tool to light that fire under your ass and get things going! Don’t wait. Before you know it, you’re literally too old to travel with too many obligations to think about traveling around the world long-term.

Let’s Talk About Regrets – Personal Lives

Listen, I’m no guru on interpersonal relationships. However, experiencing loss really makes you think hard about your relationships with those you hold dear. From friends to family and even to your significant other, loss makes you “re-prioritize” for a lack of a better word.

I’m here to tell you that though you may have some regrets in your life, regret should be taken as one of the best learning tools in your life. It makes you rethink what went wrong and put into perspective what needs to be done to correct it. Please allow me to indulge myself and tell you a little story about my past. This post will not include any photos, just out of respect.

Four years ago, my friend Brian passed away from an automotive incident at Brainerd International Speedway during an event called “Proving Grounds.”

How Brian and I met was through cars. Specifically Paul Walker’s untimely death in late 2013. I have met some friends through the power of the automotive community on Facebook. One of those friends was the one, the only, Brian O’Connor. Brian was part of a new car group in Minnesota called “InCarNation.” They were in the midst of setting up a winter cruise/benefit in the name of Paul. We’d create this massive cruise for all Midwesterners, chip in financially where 100% of proceeds would go to Paul’s charity “Reach Out Worldwide.”

I joined in on InCarNation in it’s early stages and was pretty much the social media guy. I’d answer questions asked on Facebook, help coordinate some scouting of venues to hold the start of the cruise and some of the backend planning. Brian and I became quick friends.

The cruise went off without a hitch, save for some trolls here and there. If I recall correctly, we were able to raise $3,123 for Paul’s charity. It was such an amazing feeling and really got InCarNation off the ground and thrusted into the Minnesota automotive community.

Fast forward a few more months and we’re all hanging out, planning new events and the like. For some reason I had this huge falling out with the rest of the group where it felt like none of my opinions or suggestions even mattered to the rest of the group. So I halfway left, halfway stayed. I kept my distance from the rest of the group.

During that time, Brian contacted me and reached out to me multiple times asking if I wanted to hang out with the rest of the group. Hang out with him on getting some stuff done to his Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart. Reluctantly, I declined every offer he made, and I made this sad excuse that I was too busy working. Some of it was the truth, some of it was a lie. I didn’t want to hang out with my friends, I didn’t want to hang out with Brian.

When it came time for the group to head up to Brainerd for Proving Grounds, again I was invited to join in on the festivities. I was not slated to work that weekend, I picked up some extra shifts so I can say that I can’t go because I got scheduled to work.

That fateful weekend, I was browsing though Facebook sitting behind the front desk of a local hotel that I worked at, seeing some of my other friends post saying there has been an incident with Brian. Immediately I started to send messages around and make some calls. He had been airlifted to Baxter, and at that time was currently en route to St. Cloud.

After work, I drove straight from Medina to St. Cloud, which is about an hour’s worth of a drive. When I got to the hospital, getting inside the waiting room was so surreal. It felt fake. The feelings I felt was simply-put overwhelming. Immediately I felt awkward, saw some friends and immediately broke down.

Over the coming days, Brian showed signs of improvement and decline. Then it came to the point where it went so far down hill that his mom asked us (his friends) what he would want. Would he want to become a vegetable? Or would he rather go out with dignity surrounded by friends and family?

We collectively decided to pull the plug.

The moral of this long ass story is that no matter what happened between you and your friends — they’re your friend for a reason. Be there for them. Be there with them. Especially when he call out on you. Because one day, you’ll never get to say that you’re sorry, you’ll never get to tell them that you forgive them. You won’t be able to say anything to them besides in spirit. Don’t make that same mistake as I did, because it’ll follow you for the rest of your life.

Holy Traveling! A Taste Of The Nomadic Life

These past two weeks have been absolutely crazy when it comes to traveling and working. The combination of working two jobs and traveling to three different states in a span of a couple weeks has me running on empty pretty much the whole time. This will be a fairly long post with lots of pictures, so bear with me on this long-overdue update in my life.


Minneapolis to Las Vegas (2 Feb – 5 Feb)

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This trip was probably the most anticipated trip of them all. My aunt Chau invited me out to Las Vegas. Purchased my round trip flight to and from Las Vegas. All I had to pay for was some food I wanted to buy and some drinks. I had absolutely no intentions on gambling when I was out there. Too much money was at steak and I decided not to risk it. (Good call, Kevin!)

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My trip to Las Vegas was over Super Bowl LII weekend. Which was kind of an oxymoron since the Super Bowl was happening in Minneapolis. However, not having to deal with the shitstorm of traffic in Minnesota is something that I actually really enjoy. That coupled with the fantastic weather out in Las Vegas just made it that much sweeter.

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Along with the Super Bowl party at The Mirage, my aunt, her friend and I also scored tickets to see The Killers at MGM. It was absolutely surreal. I remember listening to their music when I was growing up in high school and here they are right in front of me — playing live!

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This Las Vegas trip was definitely one to put onto the books as one of my most favorite vacations in recent memory.


Minneapolis to Chicago (8 Feb – 11 Feb)

Myself along with the slashMedia group and Randy from Victory & Reseda were able to secure credentials as part of the media at the Chicago Auto Show 2018.

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Here’s what the initial plan was supposed to be:

  • After work on Wednesday, head down to a Minneapolis Park & Ride to drop off my car.
  • Rezal will pick me up from said Park & Ride and we’ll carpool down to Burnsville to meet with Josh and Veronica, the rest of our esteemed group.
  • At Midnight Thursday morning, we will head down as a group in one car to Chicago.
  • We will work as a group on Thursday at the Chicago Auto Show for the day on Thursday.
  • I will then take the Blue Line Metro in Chicago back to Chicago – O’Hare International Airport and fly back to Minneapolis, then take an Uber to pick up my car when I land at midnight.
  • Go into work at Mazda and work the day on Friday.
  • Immediately after work on Friday, I’ll drive back down to Minneapolis – St. Paul and fly back to Chicago, then get picked up my Josh or somebody else from the group.
  • I will then stay for the rest of the weekend and be with the rest of the group hanging out.
  • Sunday afternoon we will check out of the hotel and drive back home to the Park & Ride in Minneapolis and I’ll pick my car up, then head home.

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Here’s what actually happened down in Chicago:

  • I ended up leaving my Mazda at the Bloomington Walmart, accidentally unlocked.
  • We left Burnsville at around 1am to Chicago.
  • Upon arrival to Chicago by car, I received notification by text and push notification on my iPhone that my flight back to MSP was canceled due to extreme winter weather.
  • I alerted my manager at Mazda back at home of the update, and was trying to find other safe and viable options back to Minneapolis.
  • We checked into the hotel and everybody else was very tired, so we spent some time trying to recuperate before we headed over to the McCormick Place where the Chicago Auto Show was being held.
  • While there, we were still so tired and out of it, that we weren’t really very invested into our work whilst at Chicago.
  • I then realized that the storm that was looming Chicago in the evening was much worse than I initially thought.
  • Then it was suggested that I take a bus back to Minneapolis in the middle of the snow storm, to which I reluctantly declined.
  • Staying thru Friday in Chicago I radio silence was maintained between my colleagues at Mazda and I, assuming I’ve royally pissed them off to no end.
  • Being really stressed out with missing work on Friday and feeling monumental guilt, I was absolutely not having it with trying to work the auto show. Therefore unfortunately I was pretty much out of action all of Friday.
  • Attempting to redeem myself from the lack of action on the Media day on Friday, Rezal and I went back to McCormick Place on Saturday — the first day open to the public. Sweet Jesus was it busy!
  • That evening, to revel in my “success,” I went out alone to go bar hopping and drinking all evening until about 4am.

“Success”

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One thing that one can definitely take away from this trip: of all the things that could’ve gone that, that went wrong — you can sweat the details on the things that you can control. You cannot sweat the details that you cannot control, such as the snow storm and missing work.

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Editing some of the photos that I managed to take during the auto show, some of those photos actually came out pretty decent. So, at least there’s that.

Make no mistake, I still feel very bad and actually pretty upset about having my flight canceled and missing work on Friday, but what can you do? Being our first auto show coverage together as a group, also considering all the circumstances of what we all had to deal with, professionally and personally, overall we had a pretty fun time. All things considered.

Maybe we’ll have better luck at the Tokyo Auto Salon??

The Waiting Game – Is Time On My Side?

Big shoutout to Rezal Scharfe from GOJIRARS for the featured photo!

Alright. Save for some miscellaneous clothing items and some electronics, I pretty much have everything else I need. Extra batteries for the Sony a7S, travel plug adapter, a travel backpack, a daypack and most importantly – my passport!


Just A Side Tangent…

Purchasing the one-way flight tickets to Kuala Lumpur for this upcoming September was an extremely liberating feeling. Purchasing the flight from Kuala Lumpur to Chiang Mai was a little less liberating, but liberating nonetheless. Then along came the Passport. To have your Passport in your hands. A physical book of possibilities. Memories to be made. The world is now your oyster. The amount of liberation that I felt when I received and held my very own Passport in my hands rivals the moment I first got my unrestricted driver’s license.

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When I first got my license, I wanted to start traveling around everywhere. Drive anywhere. Go anywhere. Didn’t matter where. Just to travel and explore the world around me. This is how I feel about my driver’s license and Passport: my driver’s license gave me permission and the ability to travel around the United States by land. My Passport now allows me to travel internationally by air, land and sea. This just expanded my “travelability” tenfold.


Time Is Not On My Side…

Time is moving too damn fast! So many things to do! So many things to purchase! So many things to pay off. There is so much that is going on right now, it’s almost hard to even just stay still and breathe. Between working at Mazda, working for slashMedia, working as The Nomadic Tire, traveling around, going to Underrated events, hanging out with friends, any free time to just sit back and relax is difficult to come by these days.

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For example: My aunt wanted me to come out to Las Vegas as kind of a last-hurrah in the States with her, and to watch the Super Bowl away from all the chaos that will be Minneapolis that first week of February. I fly out Friday the 2nd of February after work. Then the flight back to Minneapolis will be a red-eye flight arriving at MSP at about 6am. Then, with slashMedia, we were able to work the Chicago International Auto Show alongside with Victory & Reseda this second week of February. We will be dropping my car off at a Park and Ride by the Airport, then driving down to Chicago. I’ll be working the auto show that Thursday, then flying back to Minneapolis that evening and picking up my car. From there, I’ll go to work on Friday, then immediately after work Friday, I’ll head back to the Park and Ride, grab an Uber back to MSP, then fly back to Chicago to hang out with the rest of the group in Chicago. We then will drive back up to Minneapolis, then pick up my car from the Park and Ride.

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Among the immediate traveling plans, I find myself still struggling to even save for the bi move. Paying off my Mazda and KTM along with my loans, credit cards on a weekly basis leaves me with less than $75 to work with a week for food and gas. Doable, but with my typical lifestyle, it’s difficult to muster. Gotta start pinching those pennies.

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As of typing this blog post, I have exactly $0.00 USD saved for the move. Just been so consumed with trying to pay everything else off before I start saving money. It’s maddening to say the least. Worst of all, it’s disheartening.

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Why is living in America so goddamned expensive?!

Readiness Check. 2 DTCs Found.

Much like a car, I perform intermittent readiness checks just to make sure I’m still on track, that there aren’t any glaring issues. There are some issues, and they will have to be addressed. Soon.


P0420 – Motivation Below Threshold

Recently, motivation has been a little hard to come by. With 218 days and 16 hours left until check-in, things really should be pretty much all set – oh but how they are not. I’m yet to make some form of online income through TheNomadicTire or slashMedia. The learning of programming languages such as CSS, PHP, Ruby on Rails, etc… has been half-baked at best.

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Trying to keep the motivation up, I’ve been watching a lot of YouTube videos on travel – which got me onto an idea of making travel videos. Yes, I know. Travel YouTube videos has already been overdone and the locations that I’m traveling to have already been covered to death. However, what I don’t see too much is coverage of cars while abroad. Brainwave.

Also, I gotta get back onto the mindset that if I don’t start learning these programming languages, when it comes to the 11th hour, I’ll be completely and utterly screwed when time comes to fly out to Malaysia.


P0401 – Income Flow Insufficient

Continuing on from P0420, Income Flow Insufficient is a struggle. Mainly coming off from my day job as a service advisor, I make some pretty decent money. However it’s not enough to pay off everything on time and save $10,000 for the trip. Ideally, $5,000 would be the absolute bare-bones minimum I would need to have.

At least I finally closed my Wells Fargo account, I’ve officially have made the long and arduous transfer to Simple! Unfortunately, Simple cannot keep my account open as I learned if I travel internationally long-term. So Simple for now, increase my credit worthiness then try and reopen a Charles Schwab Bank account as they are the best for aspiring American Digital Nomads.

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As stated before, there is no income flow from TheNomadicTire or slashMedia as of now. What needs to be done is more learning from SkillShare so that I can continue on with learning CSS, PHP, Ruby on Rails and the rest of the programming languages. Also on top of learning those programming languages, learning how to master and utilize the power of this MacBook Pro and use Final Cut Pro X to edit videos to upload onto a YouTube channel specifically for my traveling endeavors.