Port of call: Klang, Malaysia

SE_ASIA_MAPI have just been informed that my container arrived in Malaysia, earlier than scheduled. I am – as some of you guys had guess – in Guam, a small island in the western Pacific Ocean. Guam is a U.S. territory and 200,000 Americans populate the island south of Japan. I always have been curious about this place, and I am glad I visited it. What strikes me the most compared to the places I have been recently is the silence within the island. I could not believe it the first day when, after arriving at 5 a.m. at the airport, I walked to the beach. Since I landed in India, there was noise everywhere, and now I could not hear a thing. Another surprise was awaiting me. People here actually stop to let you cross the streets. No need to run and risk your life!
Of course there are some drawbacks. The cost of life here is similar to the mainland United States, so it is hard to see all these dollars flying away. On one recent night I ordered a bacon cheeseburger, a delicacy I didn’t enjoy in months, but how painful it was when I received the check. US$9, an amount I could live on for several days in the developing world.
The cheapest hotel I found here is the Pacific Bay Hotel, where I stay for a little bit less than US$50 a night.

Around Tamuning, a lot of luxury shops for tourists.
Around Tamuning, a lot of luxury shops for tourists.

I shall fly back to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on October 29. From there I will drive north and complete an Asian loop which will include Malaysia, Thailand, Laos and Cambodia. I am pretty excited about my upcoming adventures which should feature beach and jungle background as well as great food. I don’t expect any visa difficulty but will have to stop in Bangkok to get a new passport, mine being full (again…).

Most tourists are Japanese. The island is too far from the U.S. mainland to attract Americans.
Most tourists are Japanese. The island is too far from the U.S. mainland to attract Americans.

It is unclear what will be the route after I complete this segment. I may drive back to Kuala Lumpur, or I may ship back the truck to the United States. If I choose to do that, I would continue my trip east by foot through China, South Korea and Japan. I would go by train through China and way of sea to South Korea and Japan.
But I am going ahead of myself, and should get ready for a lot of surprises in Southeast Asia.

From somewhere in the Pacific: Questions and Answers

The beach in the evening. This place is so quiet compared to Bangladesh and India, it is unreal.
The beach in the evening. This place is so quiet compared to Bangladesh and India, it is unreal.

As I write this post, I am awaiting my truck to arrive in Port Klang, close to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. I chose to do a little side trip in the meantime, and I am now in a beautiful place as you can see on the pictures in this post.
Let’s see if you guys can find out where I am. Please leave a comment with your guess.
Meanwhile, I thought it will be a good time to do a little Q&A with recent questions I received.

From Daniel:
I’ve been silently following your travels since you were in Central America. At first I thought you were crazy, in a good way, even sent you five bucks. Here are my questions.
– Have you found what you have been looking for?

I was not sure what I was looking for when I left, but I was looking to become a better and smarter individual. Not sure if I became better, but I am definitely wiser about the state of the world and a stronger person. I feel that I will be different when I will be back in New York, and maybe a more interesting character.
– Once you complete your journey will you stay in the US?
Yes, I will stay in the U.S. My world journey also reinforced my conviction that New York City is the best city of the world – for me – and the place I want to live in. I hope my kids will grow up there as well.
– If you leave the U.S., with your journey in mind, where would you move to?
If I had to leave NYC, I could live in other places, but I would hope I could travel a lot from where I would be at. I saw a lot of places that I liked, but I would not necessary like to spend my life there. Most likely candidate could be Mexico City or Montreal. For some reason I often think about La Paz, Bolivia as well…
– If you haven’t found what you are looking for, do you think it’s possible?
Many people, including me, will never find what they are looking for. And because of that we keep going and undertaking new challenges.
– What happens when you get back to the US?
I will try to find a job and start everything from scratch in NY. I made it there in the past, so I should be able to make it again. I hope I will find a job I love and have a great relationship and kids at some point. So as you can see, there’s a lot of work ahead of me.

I see you made it to my country–Philippines. Would love to hear what you think of it.

Hi Lucille, it is nice to hear from you. Thanks again to let me crash at your place in Oman. I just had a layover ion the Philippine so I couldn’t see the country. Too bad, it will be for next time. Be well.

When are you gonna be home? I want to start planning a trip! I wish it could be for NYE or around some holiday. I really want to be there for it!

Hey Dave, my old friend. I will not be in NY for few months. I imagine I will be driving in Asia for something like two months, and shipping back the truck to Los Angeles will take three additional weeks. So I will probably not be in California before February, and in NY sometimes in March. And this is without speaking about any unexpected events…
But I often think that it will be great to see you when I will be back in the U.S. Even in few decades I can picture visiting you and smoking the hookah together. As usual, I will bring the Ethiopian beer, but this time I will not have to smuggle it through the Djibouti border.

They even have Kmart stores!
They even have Kmart stores!

Sharat Reddy (Jay):
The Mercedes that I bought from you is running well. You can have it for a few days after you return to New York.

Hey Jay, please don’t speak to me about this car, I still miss it! Glad you were able to get it running right. I hope to see you back in NY. You should come meet me at the Georges Washington Bridge when I do my re-entry in Manhattan.

Joe from Bama:
World boy, its joe form bama, only got a sec, i will let you what’s up with me in the past yr, damn here they come… later…

Joe, I suspect you put yourself in some kind of trouble again. Almost one year we didn’t hear from you. Not sure who is after you, but if they are who I think they are, don’t let them lock you up.

Big follower here. You in Manila yet? Hit me up. Drinks on me!

Jojo, I should be in the Philippine for a layover of 15 hours or so very soon. I will send you the details and maybe we can meet. Thanks!

I would love to hear the radio interview! Any idea where I might be able to find that?

Jaime, unfortunately I have no idea where you can find the interview, didn’t hear it myself.

Perfect beach, transparent water and pale sand. Lot of Japanese in vacations.
Perfect beach, transparent water and pale sand. Lot of Japanese in vacations.

Have you encountered any other travelers from US or Europe recently? Since there are no women in the pictures I was wondering what it would be like for a female traveler to visit Bangladesh? What would the experience have been if Nadia was still traveling with you?

Judy, I saw one guy from France in Bangladesh, and a Swiss couple in Goa, India.
Although women seem to have more freedom in the way they can dress in Bangladesh than in Iran or the Emirates, this is still not the West. In general, women are expected to be accompanied by a male relative in public. I would think that visiting the country as a woman alone would be very difficult. If Nadia would have been with me, it would have been difficult to sleep in the same room because we are not married.

I am curious about you nightly routine when using your tent. Is it an easy set-up?

The tent is easy to set up. What is more complicated is that you need to put a lot of things out for cooking. When you have twenty people around, things get easily out of control.

Charles A.:
Hey Nick, I am curious what a custom made tail light lens looks like. Can you post a picture?

Hi Charles, I will post a picture when I get the truck back.

Did you look into crossing Australia and New-Zealand?

Sylvain, would love to go there, but it would be too expensive. Next time!

I’m wondering what you plan to do with all of this when you return home? Is there a book in the works perhaps?

No book in the work yet, but I will certainly consider it, if there is some interest. Of course it would not be my main project when I get back home. The first thing I would have to do is to find a job. Hopefully something I like. And hopefully I can get back to a normal sedentary life and enjoy it.

From several other people:
What will be the route you will follow when coming back in the U.S.?
It seems that I will reenter the country through Los Angeles, California. My father has express the wish to come along, so I hope it can happen. The route is not definitive, but there’s a preview here.