The 2nd country I came to when I ventured out of Europe and started my love Affair with South East Asia.
The 1st one that I fell in love with.
& one that will always have a special place in my heart.
It’s coming up to a year and a half since I first came here – and it’s taken longer than I intended but I have finally made it back. So as I’m sat here in a Cafe in Da nang, Vietnam, enjoying the coffee that I’ve fantasied about since I left it seemed like the perfect time to look back on something I wrote on one of my many long bus journeys the first time I was here but never ended up posting.
Sometime in January – 2018 (on a bus between Mui ne & Dalat)
Some ramblings of my inner thoughts expressed into words and stored on the “notes” app on my iPhone
A lot of my random thoughts end up here – it’s like a place that I store a written version of the crazy train of thoughts that passes through my mind. The thoughts that I attempt to express into words but decide to hold on to and keep to myself for one reason or another….. Although these particular words weren’t held back like most, they were momentarily lost due to a technical issue and rediscovered at a later date, at a time when posting them no longer seemed relevant.
I started authentic gems with the intention of finding and blogging about the individual places I found whilst on my travels, that would make me believe authenticity could still be found in the world. I have found a lot of these places. But more than that what I didn’t account for was to see the complete authenticity in an entire country, a country that everyday reminds me why I was never truly happy in the western world I was born into, a country that never fails to remind me that the things that people care about back home have so little meaning when you take yourself out of that world, a country where the people I meet constantly remind me to see the beauty and positivity in everything around me.
Trying to pinpoint what it is I love so much about this country and why I feel so much that right now it’s where I belong. The best way I can think to describe it is imperfect beauty or beautiful chaos. The beauty of the landscape is brought back down to earth by the rugged metal buildings, the many building sites, and the vast amount of rubbish visible everywhere. This may not be everyone’s idea of a beautiful place but to me its its own kind of beautiful in an imperfect and authentic way.
It’s a country that has had so many struggles, it’s people have so many reasons to be bitter, or hateful towards foreigners and yet they accept and invite you into their world. It’s a place where you can walk into a bar and a group of locals will invite you into their group, buy you drinks for the entire night, and make you feel so welcome even if they don’t speak hardly any English. A place where the children are so happy to see you, you can see the joy on their faces when they wave and shout hello. A place where the people are so keen to practice there English they will ask you questions about every part of your life.
The Vietnamese people have so much pride in their country, that when they won in the semi final of the under 23 Asia cup it felt like the whole city of Ho Chi Minh was out on the streets celebrating. People were on there bikes moving nowhere just enjoying the moment, whilst people tried to weave amongst them, not really getting anywhere but not really caring. The police on the street seemed more like they were there just to celebrate rather than having any real work to do.
I’m not sure I could ever get bored of just watching the Vietnamese people go about their daily life. Of watching the craziness of the traffic and learning to never be surprised at what is possible to fit on a motorbike.
I fell in love with Vietnam, and when I returned home for the 1st time for my nephews 1st birthday, I left again with plans to travel to a few other countries and then go back to Vietnam. As is usual with me plans changed and I fell in Love with another country and so took a lot longer to make it back.
My mum was always asking when I was going to return to Vietnam. It felt like there was always something that would happen to change my plans every time I was thinking of heading back. I started to wonder, when I finally made it back how would I feel about the country? I’d changed a lot and experienced a lot of new and different things in the time since I left.
When I finally made it on a flight to Vietnam, I felt like I was a very different person than the one who had left Vietnam just over a year earlier. I’d just experienced a year in which I feel maybe I’d changed more than in any other 1 year period in my 27 years of life.
But as I’m sitting here a week into my time back in Vietnam, I’ve realised however much I have changed, my love for this country hasn’t altered.