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Letting It Out – Living In Hoi An, Vietnam

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Letting It Out

I can’t seem to bring myself to share my journey on social media anymore. I can’t take the pressure and fakeness that comes along with having to make a post. Being a slave to ‘likes’ sucks. It makes people fake. It make’s me fake. All I was doing is appeasing people rather than doing it for myself. The dopamine rush for another like or comment just isn’t worth it anymore.

I don’t want the pressure to have to post on social media. I want to be able to share what’s in my heart as I travel the world. The good, the bad and the ugly. Truth again.

The Past

Let's get caught up. I was a bartender and restaurant manger for 10 years before falling into a deep pit of alcoholism. I ended up living on the streets as a homeless alcoholic for months before my kidneys started failing. The doctors gave me the ultimatum to get sober or die. I chose sobriety.

I have been sober for 9 years, married the woman of my dreams, built a successful business and now travel the world 9 months of the year.

Sounds perfect right?

That’s how it seems on social media but it’s far from the truth.

LIFE IS HARD no matter what. Things can be great but can also be really hard. Damn Hard. 

My wife Kashlee and I grew a huge six figure business and watched it fall apart overnight. We have gone from having all the money in the world to just getting by. We lived a life with fancy cars, a dream condo, designer clothes and luxury vacations. We were on top of the world but times change, trends change and overnight businesses can change.

In one year our income went down by 80% and our life changed fast. 

Instead of letting it sink us, we changed the way we lived and the way we thought about life. We decided to live a life of experience rather than hoard material things.

We sold it all.

 I mean everything including our condo. We bought an RV to live in during the beautiful Kelowna summers and decided the rest of the year we would live in cheap countries all over the world.

We started thinking about business in a different way and instead of putting all our eggs in one basket, we started to diversify. We built an online digital marketing company, started a travel blog and still have our online health and fitness business. 

As we were trying to pick ourselves up and build new income, the world dropped out from underneath us again.

The world dropped out from underneath us

I found out my Dad was dying last March. We flew home to be with him but nothing can ever prepare you to watch a loved one die of cancer. It’s awful. He passed away in April and our family was devastated. 

I was devastated.

Something changed inside me. I saw the world differently. I was more thankful and grateful for what I had. I realized money isn't everything.

I realized I need to be doing the things that I love now rather than later.

The thing I love most is traveling the world with my wife. Exploring new cultures and discovering the truth in the world.  So that brings us back to today. We are building our businesses, traveling the world and not taking a single moment for granted. I am living in honor of my Dad and know he would be proud.

He taught me that there are going to be multiple times that we're brought to our knees but it's how fast we get back up that matters.

Although I have faced some of the hardest times of my life over the last year I have stayed committed to my sobriety. 

My Dad and I

Moving Forward in Vietnam

I am bouncing back after having a rough 2018. My wife Kashlee has been with me every step of the way. I know that our first year of marriage was tested but we made it through and now we are moving forward, step by step, together. We are rebuilding and healing.  

So where are we and what the heck are we up to!? 

Wild and crazy Vietnam is where we call “home” right now.

Prior to Vietnam we had been living in Bali for the two months.  After three flights to get from Bali to Vietnam and some extreme turbulence along the way, we arrived safely in Hoi An, Vietnam.

Most people in North America haven’t heard of Hoi An. People usually say “oh you mean Hanoi?” No, I mean Hoi An. It’s a small town about 45 minutes from Da Nang and known for its UNESCO World Heritage site Ancient Town.

The town takes you back in time. There are no supermarkets, fast food stores or any chains yet. The town has managed to preserve its ancient way of life even though tourism continues to grow. Every night you will find people lighting candles and floating them in lanterns along the river.


Lanterns in Hoi An
Lanterns lit up along the river every night in Hoi An

The night market goes into full swing with delectable street food and Hoi An becomes a magical place. Other than the crowds of tourists in Ancient Town (which are increasing every year) it has been of our favorite spots in Asia so far. 

Soon as you walk one or two blocks away from the busy Ancient Town, the tourists disappear, and you can see how the Vietnamese go about their regular daily life. It's been a perfect place for reflection and focusing on the future. 

We had heard so many times before arriving that the Vietnamese people can be rude and see foreigners as walking bank machines. That has been the furthest from the truth from our experience. 

We have been treated with warmth and kindness by the locals in Hoi An. 

Don’t get me wrong, there are still people trying to sell to you in the touristy areas. I know they are just trying to make a living and if you treat people how you want to be treated, you get the same in return. We have found it far less aggressive than the sales tactics than we experienced in Bali.

Busy Hoi An Ancient Town
The middle of Ancient Town Hoi An is bustling with mostly Korean tourists

We are staying in a hotel called the Gem Riverside Hotel. It’s a beautiful place at only $40 a night and the staff treat us like family rather than guests. In January we are moving to a homestay that is cheaper and more central for walking around Hoi An.

 Every day we wake up early around 7:00 and enjoy a buffet breakfast before working on our laptops in the restaurant overlooking the pool until about 2 in the afternoon. 

We then take a 10 minute walk across a bridge over the river for lunch and to get some exercise. In the late afternoon we’ll either finish up some more work, walk around Ancient Town or have a cappuccino while doing some people watching. 

It’s rainy season right now so temperatures average 25 each day and around 18 at night. It's a nice break after dealing with extreme heat in Bali. We are looking forward to the sun returning though which we've heard will come mid January.  After dinner Kashlee loves to do some reading and her exercises. I usually will go and get a massage at the spa beside our hotel. We then wrap up our day with a movie or show.

Our routine helps us stay focused on building our business. Otherwise we tend to get lost in the tourist mindset of relaxation mode and accomplish very little. 

The view from the bridge we cross in Hoi An
The view from the bridge we cross over daily into town

Most of our time is spent living a regular lifestyle that follows a routine but just in a different country. It beats having to get up in the freezing cold winter and drive to work in the snow. On the weekends, we usually become tourists again! We tour around to check out the beauty of Vietnam and learn about the culture. 

It's so cheap in Vietnam!

 This is by far the cheapest place we have lived. For example, 4-star hotels from $35 a night, 1 bedroom apartment in city center for $250 a month, mid range restaurant meals are around $7.00 for a 3 course and 1 hour massages for $7.00. Everything here is a great price and you could live EXTREMELY well here for $1000.00 per month. So even if you were only earning 12K a year, you could totally make it work!

As we build our online businesses again, it’s the perfect place! The cost of living compared to being in Canada is 75% cheaper so it gives us more time to build our next empire.

The last thing I want to do is go back to working for someone in Canada. I would rather live in Asia cheaply until I build my own business again. My Dad believed in me and I know he is watching from above cheering me on. 

Kashlee and I at Christmas in Hoi An

Why did we choose Vietnam?

It's cheap, beautiful and has amazing culture. Mass development is happening all over Vietnam and we wanted to see it before it becomes just another tourist mecca. As we drove along the 40 km coastal stretch from Da Nang to Hoi An, we can see what is coming.

It's resort after resort being built to accommodate a growing surge in tourists that will forever change Vietnam. We wanted to see it at the mid point.  Infrastructure has all the luxuries of home (western toilets, electricity, internet etc..) but it's still a completely different culture. 

I wish I could describe the freedom I feel in a developing country. The spirit of entrepreneurship rather than corporate chains, the feeling of gratefulness rather then entitlement.

I could go on and on about why we travel the world, what we’ve been up to and all the places we have visited. I just had to get some of these first thoughts out of my head. I had to share without feeling judged or expecting likes. I just had to write for me.

This is the beginning and I can’t wait to start sharing more of the journey with you. 


Thursday 15th of December 2022

Thank you so much for letting g me in to your journey, i too am a recovering alcoholic, and am thinking of joining my sponsor who left the UK 4yrs ago to live in hoi ann, i am a 52yr lady and am very scared of taking the huge step of joining her my 78yr young sponsor who taught me so much about living, pls can I talk more with you Julie Taylor x