Beautiful Vietnam

I nearly didn’t make it to Vietnam. Can you believe it? After winning the trip earlier in the year, it seemed unlikely that I’d get there. All sorts of obstacles and challenges arose to prevent me. And I didn’t even get my visa until the day I left for the airport.

Perhaps the biggest obstacle, was my fear of stepping out of my comfort zone. Sure, I could blame hassles with getting all the right certificates to renew my passport. I could blame difficulties with finding suitable child care and pet care. I could blame lack of funds. But in the end, it was fear that caused me to drag my feet.

But despite being a scaredy cat, last Thursday, I got on a plane with my best friend, and was launched into the air, with my feet hanging, my heart shrinking, thrust higher and higher, until my comfort zone was a tiny speck far beneath me. There was no going back. Life was flinging me into the unknown.

On arrival, Friday evening, I started taking the  alternative to malaria tablets – gin and tonic. Lovely. Our tour guide, Cuong, affectionately known as, King Kong, was an angel and I felt really comfortable with the other people in the group.

Next morning, I couldn’t face visiting the war related stuff, so  instead of going with the rest of the tour, I decided to explore Saigon on my own.

At first, I remained on one side of the pavement; I figured I could circle the block without being forced into the chaotic swamp of motorbikes. I took photos of dogs, some pink lilies, trees, the blur of bikes, the high tops of French style buildings and banners of  Vietnamese writing.

Eventually, a man approched, his name was Tang, and he offered to give me the cyclo tour of ho Chi Mihn city for 250,000 dong. Which was about 10 dollars. I told him I preferred to walk and find a nice cafe. He very kindly helped me across the road to took me to a nearby place which sold strong, sweet coffee. I bought him a coffee too and he taught me a few Vietnamese words.

Perhaps it was the surge of joy from the caffeine, or the sudden realisation that I was free in a strange city, but suddenly, I felt brave. I decided to cross a road. I waited until a local stepped off the pavement and then I sidled up close. They didn’t seem to mind me at their shoulder, a little white shadow, closer than their coat, and I got safely to the other side with them.

Brave now, I challenged myself to go where my heart pulled me. I crossed large, busy roads and small laneways. I looked both ways. I relaxed. I walked further and further away from the hotel, until I was  blissfully lost.

Vietnam melted away my fears. Little by little, I discovered the brave woman I used to be, before I became a cautious, sensible parent. None of my fears manifested. The food was delicious. The people were so incredibly warm and friendly. The architecture was stunning. Even the coffee was good.

Each day bought new delights. My senses were treated to so many new sights and sounds and smells. The Vietnamese language is musical. The colours vivid and my photos really don’t do justice to the energetic vibe and colour of the place.

We all flew to Da Nang and visited the beautiful Marble Mountains – breathtaking temples and views. We had lunch at China beach. In Hoi An we stayed in a hotel that was so lovely I never wanted to leave. Gin and tonic by the pool? Magic.

One of the highlights of the tour was sailing on the boat in Ha Long bay.  We stayed overnight on the boat and watched a red sun descend into the still waters.

Although I didn’t see a single mozzie while I was in Veitnam, I remained diligent about taking my anti-malaria remedy of G& T. And there’s nothing like sitting on the top deck, sipping a drink and practicing my very poorly pronounced Vietnamese.

We had eight wonderful days over there and it seemed that before I could wear everything I packed, it was time to come back home again.

Thank you to Susie, my best-est ever best friend for sharing the fun.

Thank you to mum and Gunnel for looking after my angel and Tiger. Thanks dad for providing spending money. Thanks to Peter and Margaret for spoiling Holly.

A huge BIG thank you to Oxfam for the surprise prize. And a massive big bouquet of thanks to Cuong and Peregrine Tours for keeping this scaredy cat mum safe and sound and giving me the trip of a life time.

xxx Lisa

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37 Comments

Filed under books, travel, Uncategorized, vietnam, writers, Writing

37 responses to “Beautiful Vietnam

  1. This was such an inspiring post – thankyou! Extending our comfort zones is such a challenge and it’s so easy to find reasons not to so something. I think it is truly FAB that you took the plunge and went for it! Ella 🙂

  2. OH

    WOWWW!!!!!!!

    Sounds like a lot of fun. Glad you’re home safely though. 🙂

    Thanks for the pix!

  3. Yay! Sounds like you had a wonderful trip.

  4. I’m so happy you stayed brave and went on the trip. It sounds like you had a great time.

    I loved the pictures, by the way 🙂

  5. Woohoooo…….., I can almost taste the excitement! Traveling is my un-rivaled hobby ever. I’m happy for you darl. I’m pretty sure you deserved the great time.

  6. Wow..that looks like a fun adventure and I was thinking that I had to jump off a motorcycle or a horse for a thrill.

    Fun is in the eye of the beholder…

    If you think crossing roads was an adventure in Vietnam, you should try in India, it would be an act of madness 🙂

    Your smiles show off your relaxed attitude.

    Thanks for the pics.

    • My mum is a yoga teacher and often goes to India. I would definitely need to hold her hand to get across any roads there. I think your adventures in the mountains was showing true bravery, especially in dealing with the patches of black ice!

  7. Sounds like a very nice trip. Makes me want to go.

    Lee
    Tossing It Out

  8. Agatha82

    So glad you went and had a wonderful time. Looks like a lovely city. I can relate to the fear of crossing hectic roads. I am like that even in London lol.

  9. Sounds like you had a wonderful trip! I totally hear you about feeling scared of leaving your comfort zone behind and having to make a new one in a new place. Glad you did just that, Lisa!

  10. Sounds like you had a great time. 🙂

  11. Oh! WoW! What an amazing holiday! So brave to take the big leap and explore the unknown!

  12. Looks like a wonderful trip! Glad you returned safely and with no regrets.

  13. Wow!

    You almost make me want to put up with the TSA scanners and hop on a plane!

    So glad you had such a wonder-filled trip.

    Thanks for sharing it with us here!!!

  14. I have this beautiful country on my list of “must sees”. Thanks for sharing your adventure.

  15. Vietnam looks so…MAGICAL. Did you take along a video camera at all? It would have been a cool place to do a vlog.

    • Yes, you’re right. But my son went on school camp just before I left and took the camera. I watched the “movie” with him last night – quite hilarious seeing him and his mates mucking about.
      I’m quite happy viewing the stills of Vietnam for now. But next time….

  16. Sounds like you had a great time.
    Bet you’re glad you rediscovered your fearless side.
    Perhaps it’ll last for more than just the holiday

  17. What a tremendous experience!!! I’m so sorry I’m ridiculously belated in catching up on this! You rule. It’s a terrifying thing to tread outside the comfort zone, but what a sense of satisfaction and growth after you do and come out of it unscathed, only enriched. SO enjoyed your photos and experiences, thank you!

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