On Leaving Vietnam

Viet Nam was never on my list of countries to visit on this trip to SE Asia.  I have other travelers to thank for strongly influencing me to go there, particularly Lauren and Natalie who invited me to travel with them there.  I stayed for the entirety of my 30-day VISA and feel like I really got to know the country as well as one can in only a month.  I don’t know if it was because I was there longer than the other countries I went to in SEA, or if it was the culture, the food, the people, the nature, the history… or most likely a combination of all those things… but Vietnam was definitely my favorite SE Asian country that I visited.  Followed closely (very closely) by Indonesia.  (If I had spent more than two weeks in Indonesia, it’s very possible that it would have been my favorite.)

Vietnam just has so much to offer: from beaches to mountains, hot/humid climates to frigid weather, cute villages to big, modern cities, wonderful people, cheap and delicious food, a fascinating history, and a never-ending list of places to go and things to see.  I would have loved to stay longer.  I could see myself living there some day, maybe teaching English or working as a travel guide.  I met a couple of North American girls and one British guy who were living there, teaching English, and they said that life is good there and that they enjoyed their jobs.  I felt inspired by them.

 

I spent my final days in Viet Nam back down in Ho Chi Minh City.  On my very last day there it rained all day, mimicking my mood.  I was sad to leave.  But I wasn’t just sad to leave Vietnam, I was really sad to leave Asia.  I had the sensation that I was tearing myself away from something that I didn’t want to part from.  I wasn’t ready to leave.  But I had to… I had a timeline to stick to for meeting other people in other places.

……………

If I could have stayed, I would have gone back to Indonesia and explored more of its islands.  I would have gone to the Thai islands, which I missed while I was in Thailand.  I would have traveled to the Philippines, which are supposed to be spectacular and home to the friendliest people in SEA.  I would have gone to Myanmar, which was temporarily on my list of places to go but was replaced by Vietnam (no regrets there).  Maybe I would have gone up to China or over to Japan.  I could have spent many more months in Asia, but alas, I will have to save all these plans for a future trip.  I know I will return.  Maybe sooner than later… depends on how things go in South America, I suppose.
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