Traveling Light as an Expat in the Philippines

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About Me.. Since 2012 I’ve been traveling through various islands of the Philippines as a full-time Expat. (Mactan, Bohol, Panglao, Moalboal, Dumaguete, Bacong, Boracay, Cebu) I recently spent the year living in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

Share with me here my ongoing adventures of life in the Philippines. Dating, vlogging, cooking, traveling, expenses, visas and the information you need to make your own plans for living as a full-time expat in Southeast Asia. Subscribe for my upcoming videos and Click the Bell for notifications.
— Reekay

In this video I discuss

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  1. George Carlin on, ‘Stuff’..

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    My Story:

    After 49 years of doing the hamster-wheel in California, I finally left it all
    and decided to see what Southeast Asia had to offer. I moved to the Philippines
    for 6 years, experienced some of the best times of my entire life!

    Now, I am exploring again and living in Vietnam. Join me as I venture out to see
    more of Vietnam and the surrounding areas. I will share with you my thoughts on
    what I see and how I handle the various challenges of living as a full-time expat
    in Southeast Asia. For more photos and non-Youtube videos, join or follow my
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    — Reekay

  2. Eventually all I want is just me and a Backpack, then I can go anywhere. “Travel Light” best concept when traveling.

  3. “Old Man and the Sea” Was set in Cuba but could easily be set in the Philippines even now in any fishing village…..Great book! Actually was a very good Movie starring Spencer Tracy I believe…

  4. I totally agree. I spent my adult life in the Army and hate it when I get to much stuff. Love your videos.

  5. Another great 1 sir. Keep the great ideas coming. Im just the opposite of this lol. Even on a short 5 day trip i have 1 case just for my shoes and toiletries hahahahaha. 1 of the things you must do to keep a happy wife😀

  6. It’s all true except me gym gear. It’s hard and expensive to get good ones on the road.
    So I have to take an additional bag with me.
    Except of those – I can buy all I need in a less than $100.

  7. Take note of what Reekay is saying. Very wise on this issue. I had to learn the hard way my first time coming to PH. Unless you live in LA, San Francisco, or NY city, your gonna have to take a minimum of 3 flights, not including ferries or ground transportation. Lugging around a treasure chest when taking 3 flights is miserable. Now I just leave things with my Filipino family or buy it when I get there. I use my Loctote bag and that’s it. Freedom. I don’t have to worry about checking my bag to wait in line for an hour. I recommend getting the trusted traveler or TSA precheck. Will save you an hour going thru security in LAX.

  8. Can I find size 12 shoes in Southeast Asia? I looked for copy Adidas Boost in Thailand, no size 12.

  9. Yes absolutely agree with all of that. I used to take a larger case with me but now always, just enough for one week, even if Im travelling for two months. That’s why if I move there I will never buy, or rent unfurnished accommodation, I like to be free to travel where I want when I want. That’s probably why I will never get married again. Great video and topic Reekay.

  10. Another reason to travel light as an ex Pat would be in the unforeseen situation that you need to make a quick break For whatever reason.

  11. Hurley Phantom is the best shorts I have ever had. You can wear a polo with them for dress, jump in the water for swimming, they dry in minutes. They have mesh pockets. You only need 2 pair being they dry fast.
    From Hurley web site. The Hurley Phantom Shorts have you covered, whether you intend to get wet or not. Their quick-drying and stretchy fabric provides comfort and flexibility where you need it.

  12. Great timing! I’m just about to leave for a 4-5 month trip to the Philippines! I have a question though… how do I bring back the clothes I buy in the Philippines? They will not fit in the roller bag and small extra bag I brought with me!

  13. Minimalism- Everything you own in a backpack. Sleep in the streets at night. No cell phone, car, bed, extra clothes (1 set of clothes only), extra shoes, camera, & etc. Eat food from grocery store garbage bin. Don’t brush teeth or shower. That’s real minimalism!

    1. Say a person has a decent income but wants to practice minimalism and is a tightwad.

    2. yah.. back in the states we call that, being homeless and unemployable.

  14. My father was in the Airforce too, I’ve been through all that traveling too. I’ve been to Japan, Hawaii, Awake Islands, Guam, England and all over the states

  15. I am the same as you. When i moved to korea i had 2 pieces of luggage and my back pack. Clothes and my electronics. That’s all i brought with me.

  16. I’m exactly like yourself. Invested in a good tsa lock samsonite suitcase when I came here in 2017 w/no carry ons. Been here 2 1/2 yrs & 3 days ago FINALLY bought a 3 pc LR sofa w/round table. Been getting buy w/used sofa I bought, couple wooden tables & plastic chairs. Don’t need it, don’t buy it. I usually don’t stay in one spot longer than 6 yrs anyway so when my time comes getting out of dodge quite easy & will not take much $ loss. Also, forget the idea of selling something here & getting some money for it……

  17. You hit that on the head. I hated hauling around two suitcases and two backpacks in my travels around the Philippines. Unfortunately, being 6’5″, with size 15 shoes makes it difficult to add to your wardrobe there. My next trip, though, I will be streamlining, having already decided essentials only, and that less is most definitely more.

  18. Good info, all I have is a backpack when I travel from my home country to the Philippines, I find the check in luggage way to much of a hassle. While I’m in the Philippines traveling around I just use a backpack. Just so you know we do have a house in the Philippines, and everything we need is already there. Love the vids , one day hope we can hook up.

  19. I remember when I got my divorce about 8 years ago. I packed my car one day pretty much it was just my clothes, computer, some pictures, and a few other things. I learned that all these other things I’ve been accumulating meant nothing. Then I buy a two-bedroom condominium and I fill that up. I just sold it to move it to a friend’s house. This time I got rid of a lot of more stuff but I added a lot more stuff like kitchen supplies I never had before. But this is all good. it’s a transition since me and my girl will be moving to the Philippines in about two-and-a-half years. Besides kitchen stuff and clothes and the few electronics we have mosty sleep baby clothes and baby stuff will go since we have two babies. Lol
    I’ve been doing a lot of scanning of my paper and stuff like taxes should be on PDFs anyways and I’m even taking apart books and scanning them or writing notes and giving them away. In reality we are all dust in the wind and even our pictures won’t mean much since people looking at them after we’re dead won’t care.nice video.

  20. Like you Henry, my Dad was in the Merchant Marines… I was born in Houston, Tx, and then we moved in close proximity to where he could ship out on a job… Washington St, Coastal Mississippi, Arkansas where he was from… I would change schools every 1 1/2 to 2 years.. I hated it, losing your acquired friends, new little league teams, you know… If you take a 5 day trip to a vacation spot here in the Phils, you must be very selective with your baggage… As you know the airlines, and ferry companies are very anxious to charge you extra on overweight bags… I hate paying them extra… I usually have one bag in the hole, and one carry on… Thanks for the video… You seem to be doing more vid’s on the Phils, and less on VN.. Is this for the subscribers you gained over the years??

  21. I am defitely a minimalist by nature, even my personal condoHawaii is like that. I have no problem giving things away or throwing them out. But when I travel, I don’t nececcarlity bring the smallest suitcase since I always check in the luggage at the airport, so it doesn’t really make a difference. I’ll pack the extra space with things like toilet paper – so when I return, I’ll have more space for other things to bring home (but in the Philippines, there is really nothing I bother with). Based on my experience with the Philippines, there are some things that aren’t the same there. But one thing is for certain, you really don’t need to dress up there. I just bring a six pack of white T-shirts that I end up dumping before my return home.

  22. Normally a minimalist when travelling, I over-indulged a wee bit & bought the most comfortable queen-sized bed & frame I could find in the city I lived in! lol!

    In my own defense, however, I was living in a beach bungalow with a hammock, and none but the most acrobatic of women found it appealing. Yes, I moved it to an apartment, when the time came, and had them remove the supplied-“torture rack”. I left it there, along with some weights, when I left the country.

    For guys who have longish feet, like me, I highly recommend bringing extra shoes & sandals, because finding same in SE Asia is difficult and they break-down quickly, if you walk/run a lot. Aside from shoes, a rain-proofed windbreaker & long pants, however, clothes are much cheaper to buy in most SE Asian countries.

    I used to carry shaving gear, yet, a shave or hair cut/shave is only $1-$4, in most places.

  23. During my last 7 months stay, I brought two large suitcases, one carry on bag and a small backpack. It really incumberted me from traveling freely. I could not be autonomous…needed help everywhere I went to. Never again. My usual M.O., is a large suitcase, a medium size box for gifts (I will dispose of that anchor upon my first friend visit.), a carry on suitcase and a backpack to carry my immedient valuables.

  24. More videos than usual about the Philippines. Getting homesick and thinking of moving back to the Philippines?

  25. I moved to Taiwan from the USA with only a suitcase and a backpack…all of my life’s possessions. Left nothing back in storage in the USA. Sold everything or gave it away. Minimalism is the way to go! My life is much easier and less stressful now. Less clutter in my mind as well.

  26. A pair of rain boots is so essential in tropical weather yet it’s one of the bulkiest item.

  27. Great video Reekay. Very interesting subject and one I need to get better at. Having been married for 25 years I did have the house and garage filled up with “stuff” but I’m in the process of selling my things and getting my house ready for sale too. Only things that are difficult for me are mementos of my kids like photos. Do you ever bring a few things like that with you so you have their pictures in your apartment to make it feel more like home? It’s also hard for me as a professional chef to not have my favorite cooking equipment too! That’s frustrating when I’m trying to cook there and I must use cheaper equipment. Haha!

    1. You can load thousands of photos on a zip drive and carry in your pocket. Print them if needed once you get to your destination

  28. I used to buy abandoned storage units for resale at swap meets. The people who got a really good deal on the stuff I was selling would take it home, where they had to make room for it by moving some of their older stuff to their storage unit. About half the time somebody like me would eventually end up buying it. The circle of stuff.

  29. Hello and thank you Reekay. This was my first year travelling anywhere and it was to the Philippines. I traveled very light. I only took a small carry on suitcase and a carry on backpack. My trip was only for 2 weeks but I found my luggage to be just the right size. My girlfriend that I should have used a larger suitcase. But she was surprised at what I was able to bring with me. I am also learning to be more of a minimalist. In preparation for my future move to the Philippines in a few years. Salamat po. Take care and be safe always. Cheers

  30. That was a great Carlin bit. He was great. So funny and he always seemed to hit the nail on the head. Thanks for the videos. They give me lots to think about as I am planning my move.

  31. 20k check bag and 7k computer backpack. Two weeks of clothes, rain coat/wind breaker, one pair decent shoes, two jeans. Size is an issue for me 3xlt, don’t like t-shirts.
    Saigon does have a decent big and tall store with online and delivery. They will deliver to other cities, Da Nang, etc., reasonable pricing.

  32. traveling light is a luxury in itself that you end up paying for if you give or throw away stuff every time you move only to accumulate it again at your destination. i will say though getting rid of crap thats mentally or physically weighing you down in life is an addictive and amazing feeling.

  33. I believe very few Americans ever explore what is the least it takes for them to be comfortable and content.When I was a teenager, a few of use loved doing survival skills, and would make up packs. Then I got older and accumulated crap! I had an emergency move, and ended up giving away 90% of my stuff, about $18,000 worth. After 3 days I realised all that stuff was a prison. I have a tiny place now and just started to go through more to remove out of my life.

    I needed to take a break and watch a couple of YouTube videos, LOL!!! Hahaha! Funny how Life Works! Salamat Po!

  34. I live in a hotel 12 months of the year so it’s very easy for me to hand in the door key and travel to the next hotel wherever that is.. living out of or travelling with my suitcase is second nature..

  35. “The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less.” Socrates

  36. Been living the minimalist ALL my life…….it’s BECAUSE the less “things” you have, the MORE money you can save! This allows me to retired at 49 years old (in 2015)……have been living stress free for 4 years now!!!

  37. If you are going to China for a long period take extra deodorant, you can’t buy it there, LOL.

  38. This makes total sense to me. I consider moving to the Philippines this december with no suitcase at all. Just a small hunting backpack with a laptop and some clothes, some stuff in my pockets plus a DSLR hanging from my neck. I will share this video on my FB page now.

  39. What is your definition of a comforter ? I thought it was a dummy, a rubber teat that babies suck on.

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