Of Trips and Trepidations – REDACTED VERSION

Trips and Trepidations – REDACTED

If I’m being honest, a lot of what I’ve been writing and posting has all been anxiety fueled smoke and mirror distractions. I’m nervous about my trek to Vietnam. Besides the historical weight of colonialism, communism, war and crimes against humanity on all sides, I’m also just feeling … old? off? I’ve felt discombobulated for weeks, months even, and thus I’m not sure wandering around Southeast Asia is the best cure all.

I spent some of my layover in Tokyo re-researching Vietnamese phrases and sights to see. Of the former, my language skills are poor in general but they are especially so with this part of the world’s tongues. What’s the old joke? I speak all languages except Greek? What about Vietnamese, they say. Oh I don’t speak that, the reply; it’s all Greek to me.

A pronunciation guide:

I did find a different website that offered marginally more effective speaking guides for me personally. We will see how I do.

A revised pronunciation guide:


I spent my last hour in Tokyo’s Haneda Airport trying to figure out if I could book an afternoon half-day tour upon my arrival in Ho Chi Minh with little to no luck. There were a few possibilities, even an early 8 am one I *might* be able to make if immigration goes smoothly (I’ve had three different ticket counters ask about my visa; the two page PDF letter I got from that online service so far has been ok. Fingers crossed it’s legit when I land!). Still, I didn’t want to book the tour beforehand as that seemed certain to jinx my 5:15 am arrival into the former Saigon.


On top of the scheduling issues, there were a number of tours I was interested in yet they required at least two people to book. It’s a reminder from the universe and the communist commercialism that I am alone. Some days that’s easier than others; I’ve done such a poor job of prepping and planning this trip it’s a blessing perhaps that no one else is here to witness my half-assed efforts firsthand. Better to post it in a web blog blather for all the world to see and troll.

But there are times when I’m beyond alone and feeling lonely. I suspect heading to a land where I not only don’t speak the language but can’t make out the alphabet/symbol components will not help.



Right now it’s 3 am and I’m in seat 22K, cruising at 34,000 ft altitude toward Vietnam on JAL 79. I can’t sleep. <REDACTED>I’m feeling the push-pull anxiety, a tension in my chest wherein I’m excited and humbled by the opportunities and privileges afforded my nomadic wandering and yet equally embarrassed and guilty at not maximizing the adventures and enjoying it all as I should.</REDACTED>

<REDACTED>I should have thought more about what to see and do, known more, I should be doing more… not just for this trip but always. This is not an atypical state of me, albeit I’m feeling it a bit more as I travel this week. The sacrifices made by so many others, in war and peace, in work and play, it’s all left me feeling selfish and unworthy and just… disappointed in myself. It’s more than the sub-3 hour failures of this past weekend; I’ve of late been recognizing how I failed and let down others in so many avenues and contexts, and not just in this silly blog which has devolved into a therapist’s goldmine but in life as a whole… I’m feeling unworthy of so much.</REDACTED>
This will probably make little to no sense to my single digit blog visitors, <REDACTED>as often I don’t know what I’m saying or doing so why should any of you folks who are kind enough to surf this way now again be able to make heads or tales of this; </REDACTED> I bet it’s all Greek to you.

But in this case I know precisely what this is all about.

I’m feeling haunted. <REDACTED>By spooks, specters, and ghouls of my own making, of my own past … and I’m feeling haunted by that of the world itself. The Vietnam War, or as it’s known here in Vietnam “the American War,” was fought before my time yet resonates and reverberates through time and space. Its effects are still rippling; War of any kind always does, no matter how definitive a peace was struck and especially one tenuously achieved or stumbled upon. </REDACTED>The conflicts of the past wade into our futures.

I’ve long thought of life as a series of efforts to rectify or replicate the past, to pursue happiness by whatever means we can. <REDACTED>Often that’s all a way to make up for the past sins or to rediscover the joys of younger days and nights. I don’t know if I’m doing that these days… I don’t know if I’m searching for the illusory happiness of past or fixing the sadness of youth or if I’m just… existing. Wandering. </REDACTED> I think it’s the worry of a grand waste of time and energy, of taking for granted a multitude of advantages and luck that has me touring downward through a spiral of depression, guided by a knock off Virgil with I little more than a hack Dante wannabe.

No good things are written at 3 am on a plane… nor for that matter at 1 am as I forgot to set my watch back two hours for Vietnam.

I should just jettison these wallowing words; at the very least I’ll try and redact them once the sun rises.