Here is a list of things I did in my year in Laos for the first time:

– Learnt to speak a second language, albeit poorly

– Learnt to swim, albeit poorly

– Rode a bicycle almost every day after not riding one in 15 years

– Shared a house with three strangers

– Employed two household staff

– Never drove a car

– Never cooked a proper meal

– Lived in a country where I could earn the average monthly salary in a couple of hours work at home.

– Rode on a motorcycle a couple of times, though never as the driver. About half of those times I didn’t wear a helmet.

– Gained an appreciation for vegetarianism.

– Worked for a whole year without getting paid.

– Instead got an government handout for a whole year.

– Went go-karting. It’s harder than I thought it would be.

– Fired a gun. They now know me at the gun range and let me load my own bullets. Firing a gun is more fun than I thought it would be.

– Visited Thailand (Bangkok, Phuket, Ko Lanta, Ko Phi Phi, Krabi, Udon Thani, Nong Khai), Laos (Luang Prabang, Xieng Khuang – Plain of Jars, Vientiane, Vang Vieng, Savanakhet), Singapore, Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur, Penang) and Cambodia (Penom Pehn).

– Read some books, with the most interesting being: Richard Dawkins – The God Delusion (first chapter can be found here:,1) and Nicolas Nassim Taleb – Fooled by Randomness

– Owned a cat