<![CDATA[Ryan Doner - Blog]]>Sun, 03 Jan 2016 22:24:12 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[Ho Chi Minh Hustle]]>Thu, 28 May 2015 11:08:26 GMThttp://ryandoner.weebly.com/blog/ho-chi-minh-hustleUpon arrival in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam (aka Saigon) I was fully overwhelmed by culture shock. I knew to expect a big city but I wasn't quite prepared for the thousands of motorbikes with a singular goal of mowing down tourists. While I strolled down a busy street to find a bite to eat after the looooooong commute (about 20 hours of nonstop travel), a Vietnamese man dragged me by the arm into his restaurant. Reluctantly, I sat down and was immediately solicited by Vietnamese prostitutes. The man who dragged me in relayed the message that one of the girls "thought I was cute". Even though I could tell she had a fine taste in men, I had to turn her down. 

The next day, I set out to acquire my Thai visa from the consulate in Ho Chi Minh. I quickly learned to avoid the rides offered by the bicycle taxis as they were much pricier than an air conditioned car taxi. I paid 150,000 dong (~$7.50) for a ride from a bicycle taxi whereas I paid only 50,000 dong for the same ride from an Uber. It only took 24 hours for the Thai consulate in Ho Chi Minh to process the visa so if you are stupid like me and wait until the last minute to research visas, know that it's fairly easy to acquire in a neighboring country. 

The worst thing about walking around with a map is getting continually harassed by the same guys asking "where  you going? where you from?" so they can offer you a ride on their motorbikes. I turned down some guy at least 20 times. Despite dodging between traffic and turning down a side street, he still managed to find me again. They're relentless here. I swear they can smell the slightest scent of a lost tourist.
<![CDATA[Why I'm choosing to forgo Grad school to travel the world]]>Wed, 29 Apr 2015 19:55:33 GMThttp://ryandoner.weebly.com/blog/why-im-choosing-to-forgo-grad-school-to-travel-the-worldOne of the most memorable points in my life was going for a morning run on the island of Corfu, Greece (picture at the top of this page). I had woken up early just after the sun had risen, while all my friends were still asleep. I chose a destination a couple miles down the beach and went blindly in that direction. I discovered a trail that took me through the bramble and into an area where only locals lived. I knew zero greek and wasn't sure how to get back to the hostel but I was okay with that. In a totally new environment with no goal in mind, I felt totally liberated. 

Contrast the experience of getting lost in a foreign country with the daily grind of going to school and working. These obligations cage in your freedom of thought and dry up all spontaneity. Why would you want to live a life where you already knew what was going to happen? The world is a huge place full of different cultures and new experiences. There is so much to do outside of chasing the American dream. Sure, living affluently in the United States is alright but how can you ever appreciate it without truly experiencing the other side of the coin? 

Some people put off travel, saying they're waiting until they have enough money. One friend who is going to get an MBA told me he wants to make enough money so that he can travel whenever he wants. I can think of two main reasons why you shouldn't wait to travel:

1) Getting a job brings it's own obligations but acquiring money and possessions also tie a person down mentally. It's not easy to drop everything and change directions when your momentum has already taken you so far. If you are used to living an affluent lifestyle, it's much harder to live a poorer, vagabonding lifestyle. 

2) Time is the most valuable commodity. Money can be made back but you can never reverse the clock. Being young is by far the best time to travel because you're still developing and getting shaped by your experiences. If you wait to travel until you're in your 30s or 40s you've probably already become accustomed to a certain lifestyle and you may have already started a family. These factors greatly limit your ability to drop everything and go adventure. 

If traveling gets tiresome, it's easy to come back home and recuperate. The hardest part is dropping all the obligations, which is why I'm taking my opportunity to travel now. 
<![CDATA[Gearing up for graduation]]>Tue, 28 Apr 2015 00:42:24 GMThttp://ryandoner.weebly.com/blog/gearing-up-for-graduationMy impending graduation from the University of Arizona has me really nervous yet excited for the future. There are going to be a lot of big changes with friends moving away and social groups changing. At least I have some direction of what I want to do with deciding to travel and getting dive master certified. I've been watching a lot of Departures on Netflix and seeing their experience makes me nervous and about getting homesick. I've never been out of Tucson for more than a month so being halfway across the world for 5 months is going to be a really novel experience. I really hope I can make a solid group of friends while I'm on Koh Phi Phi. A girlfriend would be awesome too but I don't want to get my hopes up too much. 

I also feel a little lost having so much free time this semester. I basically ditch class everyday at this point. I think when I start diving nearly everyday, I'll be able to establish a daily routine that will keep me tethered down. I only have 18 days left until I leave Tucson so I'll just have to maintain my current routine of working out, and working on my blog.