Cindy with cocktail. Saigon, 2017 #cindyproject

Life Lessons I’ve Learned Living in Saigon For 1 Month

Saigon, 2017 #cindyproject

Life lessons from Saigon:

One. I love living in a hotel.

The last month, Cindy and I have been living in a $20 a night hotel. I love it.


  1. I don’t have to clean. Saved time.
  2. I don’t need to cook breakfast for Cindy. We go upstairs for breakfast buffet.
  3. No time wasted grocery shopping. I ask for 6 boiled eggs at breakfast, and I eat them every evening at around 8pm (yes, after eating dinner).
  4. Cannot accumulate stuff: limited space is good. We don’t buy pointless shit.
  5. Focus: We go back to the hotel room at the evening, and we relax by reading, Cindy makes art by scrapbooking or working.
  6. Also we’re lucky, wifi in this hotel very fast.
  7. Makes me more human: I always do small talk in Vietnamese with hotel staff. Front desk, breakfast staff, and general staff. Lots of fist bumps.

Honestly, $20 a night is awesome. Only $600 a month (food and wifi included). If I were a bachelor, I’d probably live in Saigon forever.

Two. Happiness is making art


I define happiness as “eudaimonia”, aka “human flourishing” in Greek. I’m only happy when I’m making stuff.

I’m flourishing creatively when writing, making videos, reciting poetry, writing poetry, writing blog posts, walking and making photos, or sketching digital illustrations.


I have figured out: having money won’t make you happy. Cindy and I have saved up over $150,000 USD in our savings and I still feel anxious about money.

Also, you eventually get bored with material pleasures. Restaurants get old. Entertaining movies get boring. Shit all gets boring. Shopping gets boring.

To avoid boredom, make art. Make street photos, sketch, draw, trace, and play like a kid.

Another lesson:

Nobody knows what makes them happy. The best way to be happy is to avoid boredom.

Three. Limited tools better for creativity and innovation

The last month I don’t have a phone or laptop. Just iPad. And I’ve made a lot of shit. Lots of writing in IA WRITER and ULYSSES, lots of reading ebooks (Will to Power by Nietzche).

I learned: man, I can do a lot on an iPad.

I always make excuses that my equipment is never good enough. The truth:

My tools don’t fail me, my lack of creativity fails me.

Solution: Apply more “creative constraints” to my life, and making fewer excuses.

Make less excuses and more art.

Will keep you updated with more life lessons as they come.


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