Back From Southeast Asia!

My Secret Notebook
5 min readJun 1, 2024


I got back earlier this week from my SEA trip, and I’ve been dealing with jetlag and the creeping stresses of work coming back.

It’s been refreshing to up early today, but I kind of know things will crash in the afternoon D:

Wanted to get some reflections in, even though morning isn’t my most reflective time of day.

Here are some key takeaways from my trip:

  1. I don’t like cold water. That means beaches and other water related stuff isn’t really my thing. But I like spas.
  2. I don’t prefer less developed areas. I liked developed cities (ie. Singapore) and first world countries/amenities. I didn’t like people touching my food with their bare hands.
  3. I like Korean spas and onsen. This is how I like to relax.
  4. I value physical fitness and I’m vain. When I strip away the daily focus on media, I realized that I value people a lot by how they look, as in how physically fit and attractive they are. It’s very basic and vain and even “immature”, but it’s a self-realization, even after all this “work” I’ve done to focus on the “unseen” as value. I remember seeing a older vietnamese guy with a big gut even though he was skinny, and I thought that might be me if I don’t shapen up. No matter how much money you have, if you don’t have health and a good body, that detracts from your “value”.
  5. I’m not built for travel and non-city life. I’m a city boy, and I’m very sensitive to a lot of things: car/plane/sea travel, dust, wind, sun, water lol, light, sound, etc. But focus here is on motion sickness and nature. When I travel, I can’t do other stuff much because I get motion sickness easily, and I get indigestion easily (ie. caffeine, or motion sickness). I love to explore, but my body won’t let me do it often.

I checked off the list Malaysia, Vietnam, and Thailand from places I’d retire to. Singapore is a big maybe because I like the safety and developed aspect, but the hot weather and lack of gay marriage is holding me back. I also like that everyone in Singapore speaks English and is ethnically mostly Chinese. Big pluses.

Singapore and Taiwan are probably the most likely places I’d live in longer. Maybe even Shanghai, but I’d have to visit first. I’d be taking travel slowly from here on out.

Some topics to talk about on my gay youtube: people cruising at spas in Singapore/Thailand, the LGBTQ history tour in Singapore (and getting groped by a white guy lol), brainstorm on moving to Asia or not.

I’m still rethinking how to orient my life based on my new findings and just in general. But maybe now is a good time to do an intial introspection/evaluation. Let’s hit the main topics:

  1. Work: I am tempted to quit my second job, and just do 1. It will alleviate stress and give me more capacity to focus on health and building my future (ie. doing more cooking, researching raising kids, etc). But it’ll take away my financial capacity and slow down early retirement plans. My plan now is to keep job 2 deprioritized and maybe even let it suffer if needed. Just BS my way through and collect that sweet check lol.
  2. Romance: Roy and I aren’t at a place to really move quickly in our relationship. He’s so burned out and overworked. And that’s really his priority. He doesn’t have a strong desire to really move our relationship forward or build a family. I’ve also had my backseat moments in the relationship too, and maybe it’s a good thing to keep relationship and my other personal life/life goal stuff separate. But I wonder if future kids would feel bad about the arrangement, especially with outside influences. Right now, I just plan to keep the status quo and work through our issues naturally with the therapist. We can bring up big ticket items in therapy and keep the peace on the day to day.
  3. Children: I’m making big strides on fertility work. I’m very fortunate and thankful that Dorath is helping me with egg donation. But the big question is when and if I’d actually have kids. I’ve been saying 2–5 years, but I need to “do the work” too during this time: preparing myself for kids and evaluating if it’s what I want. To prepare, I want to make space to discover my strengths/weaknesses in home-keeping and childrearing. That means doing more cooking/cleaning/choresy stuff and to ease myself into those habits, so that when kids come along, I will be ready to add them into my already organized life. While I’m still living at home, I want to learn some more recipes from my aunt/uncle. But working so much sort of hinders it. After I move out (which I’m looking at 1.5–2 years, which feels too soon somehow), I’ll be spending more time on choresy stuff. I’m afraid of moving to that too soon, but I feel it is a necessary move to become more independent and live the gay dad life I really want to live. Things will probably move fast once that time comes, but I want to do what I can now in preparation. Things like planning for caretakers and/or how Roy will fit in if at all. And if I’d work/how much I’d work. Right now, I think I would just work job 1 and quit job 2 before the birth, so I can just take paternity leave from job 1, makes it cleaner. I’d hire caretakers for either day/night or both, and Roy would be as involved/uninvolved as he feels like — wild card.
  4. Personal enjoyment/enrichment: my core interests are board games, spas, exploration/learning, minor socializing, fooding, shows/movies, and health living. I can easily occupy myself with these things if I were to retire early. But what I really want to do is retire early, have kids, and still do personal enjoyment activities. I think for the first 1.5–2 years of kids, I won’t be able to do much of it. Then things may gradually open up for me. But financially, it might be safer if I still worked 1 job. If I didn’t have kids, I’d more comfortably retire early, but for the sake of health insurance, I’m not sure lol. I’d have to have more safety nets financially (and I’ll be supporting dad so…), TBD. A big TBD. I’m not entirely sure if I want to give up my personal enjoyments for kids. But even these personal enjoyments don’t see all that important in the life-changing way as kids do. I like travel, but even that is like probably not going to compare to parent-child love. I’m starting to feel like money being able to help improve health and quality of life is becoming more of a focus, but I think I’ll have enough, as long as I don’t have too much lifestyle inflation.



My Secret Notebook

Quirky, curious, and philosophical Asian American gay Ivy League grad living in Southern California.