This question has been planted in my brain as my husband and I are 11 days out from Viet-freaking-nam. I remember Jonathan asking me why I wanted to travel when we first began dating. These were my answers.
- Allows me to grow
- Experience new people, places, and FOOD
- Travel forces me to be present
- Confront fears
Let me unpack this a bit. I don’t know what I don’t know. I have a belief system that is likely not all that different from the Americans around me. I love challenging my own beliefs and values. I love learning new ways of thinking and being in the world; travel gives that to me.
This trip in particular holds a special place in my heart.
It is a 3 year reunion with a country that changed who I am.
Almost three years ago, the vagabond friend I mentioned in my last post proposed we should go to Vietnam. I was intrigued, confused, and to be honest, a little terrified. Before I said all this, I simply said, “YES! YES!”. Even as we planned the trip, it felt unreal. We were looking up buses, trains, hostels, beaches, ect. and I still couldn’t wrap my mind around how it would be when we got there, and to be honest, IF we got there. Even after we bought the ticket, I was still uncertain we would go. As we neared the day of the trip, I was still waiting on my Visa on Arrival (VOA). I woke up the morning we were supposed to leave and I still didn’t have it in my inbox. I frantically emailed the company and they wrote me back in broken English saying they would finish it up. I just knew I had been scammed. Despite my skepticism, the company quickly sent me a VOA that morning. We were off!
All the reading and research I had done prior to the trip (or more Heather’s research I should say) still didn’t prepare me for the kind of trip we had. It was MUCH easier and less stressful to get around than I ever imaged it would be. There was WIFI at most cafes and restaurants and in the bigger towns, most people spoke English and were friendly and willing to help when we needed it.
People from my mother’s diner had warned me that I was going to get kidnapped, thrown into a bamboo hut, raped, and if I was lucky, murdered. Funny enough, the only thing we had to worry about was petty crime, not much unlike here in downtown San Antonio. I am more scared taking my dog out at night at my apartment than I was anywhere in the places we wandered in Vietnam.
The food, which we were skeptical to eat at first (especially the street food) was cheap, wholesome, and delicious. The landscape was unlike anything we had ever seen before. The mountains were lush and green, very different than the Rocky Mountains I grew up around. The beaches were clear, still, and beautiful. Vietnam, to this day, holds a very special place in my heart.
And now, in less than two weeks I get to share this experience with the love of my life.
Our tentative itinerary:
We are backpacking the North side of Vietnam (Heather and I stayed South for the most part), so that we can make brand new memories of this fantastic country together. We will take a boat ride around Halong Bay (and hopefully Cat Ba Island), ride motorbikes in Sa Pa, take a plane to Da Nang to swim at the crystal clear beach and perhaps visit the Marble Mountains. Next, we will retrace a little more territory from my last trip and visit Hoi An before heading to the historical site of Hue. That’s the tentative plan anyway, but as I’ve learned from past experiences, it’s better to book the first night or two and just go with it. We shall see where our travels take us!
Needless to say, I couldn’t be more excited! All of this has made me realize another important reason to travel:
5. To share the experience with loved ones
What more to life is there than experiences and memories? Wether those memories are 20 miles away or 9,000, I believe they are what make us human ❤