An Bang Beach in Hoi An. Did I steal this from my instagram,
or did my instagram steal this from my blog?

Over the past couple months I’ve begun examining the New Year Resolutions I made back in January. It’s a process that I’ve never really attempted before, but having them in writing has lent a certain amount of solidity and weight to them, and so I thought I might as well respond as I achieve, modify, or outright discard each in turn – a form of public self-reflection. This post is about Long and Short Term Planning, and prioritizing experiences when they present themselves.

Our lives are constantly changing, and I strive to be flexible, but I’m also committed to making noticeable forward progress. In many ways, it’s an interesting response to my own Resolutions, and one that is threaded throughout all the the ones I made this year: Do, Examine, Do Again. Baby steps to your goals, Ben!

Here and now! has been my rallying cry this summer… Let’s pull out my Resolution post and poke at it with a stick!

Here’s number three on my list of resolutions for 2014:

3. Plan for the long term, live for the short termI’m at a unique time and place in my life, and while my main impulse is to save, save, save, I have to recognize that there are things that I can only do here and now. I will spend the money I need to in order to get to where I want to. Experiences await! I’d also like to use the summer to get my CELTA certificate, which will allow me access to better jobs and more money internationally.

Plan for the Long Term:

Financially I’m doing fine. I’ve got dong galore. I’ve got contracts coming up for the next school year that I’m excited about. My 20-year plan originally had me seeking out an environmental NGO for part time work this coming year, but I’m flexible and certain opportunities have arisen that are too interesting to pass up. More on that after September.
A still from “What About Bob?” directed by Frank Oz.
I love this movie so much.
Speaking of my long-long-term plan, I pulled it out in June and was pleasantly surprised to find I’d achieved most of my goals for the past year! I had a few to move up to Year 2, but even here I’ve already begun to work at them. Things are going swimmingly. For the first time, I feel that a dream might be within reach, as long as I continue to progress one step at a time. Baby steps, get on the bus, as Dr. Leo M. Marvin would say.
Job-wise, I’ve been advised against getting a CELTA certificate, with the reason given that it’s very theoretical. People I trust that are in a position to know say that several years of experience in the classroom is much more valuable. For now, I will wait on the advanced certification. After all, this is not a career, merely a means to an end. I’m certainly not dealing with 50 kids in a room and a poorly-paid TA for my health.

Live for the Short Term:

I’ve really taken this part to heart so far this summer. Now that my weeks aren’t constrained by so many tiny little class periods at strange times, I’ve been able to be flexible with my schedule and visit many places that I’ve read and heard much about over the past year. This summer was all about the experiences.
And, true to the ideals I set forth in this resolution, I am a total tourist when I’m out and about! Pictures of everything. Sights, food, people. New glasses, t-shirts, trinkets, art… this summer has been all about experiencing Vietnam and all its crazy, diverse environments, and spending from my ‘be a tourist!’ savings fund I’ve accumulated so far.
(I never really post selfies, so forgive my blatant self-obsession in this post – Bens Across Vietnam! If they’re going anywhere, they really should be in a post about resolutions.)
Ca Phe Ben Da? With sugar!
I took in the culture, and humidity, of the capitol city, Hanoi.
It was only six hours, but I’ll never forget them.
I briefly saw Ha Long Bay, truly a natural wonder of the world.
I lounged on Con Dao, a pristine island to the south.
I played in the ocean in Mui Ne, resort playground of the Central region.
Scarf, sweatshirt, rainjacket… check.
I re-visited Da Lat, and found I liked it even more the second time.
What a strange picture. I don’t remember taking this.
I basked on the beaches and streets of Hoi An, Ancient Town. And apparently only took this one picture of myself in our hostel there. Weird.
I bought myself a few doo-dads, and a ton for mailing back home. I wrote postcards and letters and took pictures galore. It was a summer that took me to all parts of Vietnam, from islands in the south, to mountains and beaches in the center, to the conservative culture of the north and the limestone karsts of the Bay. It was fantastic, and I created enough memories for a whole year.
So, all around, good going on Resolution #3. Let’s keep up this energy through the rest of 2014!
Do you have unique and special places in Vietnam or surrounding countries that I need to check out? Please leave them in the comments!