The Asia Jaunt: Month Four in Review
Was Month Four the best month yet?
I don’t say that to disrespect the other months. It’s just…IT WAS GOOD. SO GOOD.
As I said last month, every month has a theme.
Month One was about being thrust into long-term travel and going to extremes in just about every way possible.
Month Two was learning about my own competence and enjoying my solitude.
Month Three was about the joys of friendship and being in the heart of the backpacker trail.
Month Four was the month of Vietnam! This month, also, was about friendship and fun, and deeply delving into Vietnamese culture with some guys who probably got me to explore more than I ordinarily would have.
If given the chance, I’d live every moment of my time in Vietnam again and again. It was that good.
- Hanoi, Vietnam
- Halong Bay, Vietnam
- Hue, Vietnam
- Hoi An, Vietnam
- Nha Trang, Vietnam
- Mui Ne, Vietnam
- Saigon, Vietnam
- Mekong Delta, Vietnam
- Cu Chi, Vietnam
- Phnom Penh, Cambodia (visit #2)
- Designed a kickass pair of sneakers in Hoi An
- Drank snake blood and bile in Hanoi
- Survived my first real bout with illness since the trip began
- Endured the border crossing from hell, almost getting rejected and sent back to Vientiane
- Sailed and kayaked through Halong Bay
- Celebrated Tet with fireworks in Hoi An
- Fired a gun for the first time in Cu Chi
- Became “one of the boys” for the first time ever
- Came to grips first-hand with the horrors of the Vietnam War
- Was delighted by water puppetry in Saigon
- Enjoyed Nha Trang’s infamous boat trip
- Rocked karaoke in a private room for the first time ever!
- Learned how to ride in Vietnamese city and highway traffic, almost getting run over by buses!
- Went to a party in the countryside outside Phnom Penh to celebrate the harvest with local Khmer families
- Attempted to become a proper English girl, or at least talk like one
- Celebrated my first Australia Day with Aussies in Hanoi
- Rolled down a giant sand dune in Mui Ne
- Played the greatest drinking games of all time in Halong Bay
- Tore up dance floors in Nha Trang and Mui Ne
- Got a haircut in Hanoi, and it wasn’t terrible
- Stayed at the best hostel ever, and the best guesthouse ever
- Shared a dorm with five boys and lived to tell the tale
- Jumped off the top of a really tall boat into the water
- Taught a boy to foxtrot on the beach
- Fit three people into a cyclo in Hanoi
- Had a date on Valentine’s Day (!!)
- Swam to my first floating bar
- As always, SO many things that can’t be mentioned here!
- Chuc Mung Nam Moi! — Happy New Year!
- Xin chao — hello
- Tam biet — goodbye
- Cam on — thank you
- Kem — ice cream
- Bia hoi — really, really cheap beer (think ($0.15/glass)
I learned so much about myself this month. I’ve always been very open to change, but I thought that there were at least a few absolutes about myself — disappointing things — that I knew for sure.
Well, it turns out that, to my sheer delight, some of those absolutes weren’t so absolute after all.
It’s so easy to write off certain happinesses for yourself, assuming that they’ll never happen to you…and then you’re hit with a sledgehammer. I’m never denying myself the possibility of happiness ever again.
Am I being deliberately vague? Probably.
What a month.
I’m still low on cash — by quite a bit, too. But things are different from last month in that I now have a lot more ad offers and freelancing opportunities. I’m thankful to one travel blogger in particular for hooking me up with some work.
But most importantly, I believe that I will make enough money to make it to the end of the trip successfully.
The Next Steps
I’m currently back in Sihanoukville, Cambodia, the backpacker beach town that I love so much. My original plan was to work at one of the bars; however, after seeing the reality of what that entails, I don’t think it’s the best choice for me, or for anyone who enjoys sleeping from time to time.
The plan now is to hunker down, live cheap, and work like crazy. I’m currently developing a new project, and I’m very excited about it!
As for travel, I plan to return to Thailand and hit up the island of Koh Chang next, then swing into Bangkok for the fourth time. I have three major priorities for the remainder of the trip: Bali, Singapore, and the Full Moon Party on Koh Phangan.
For many reasons, some fantastic and some thoroughly annoying, I will be canceling my May 23 flight home and Korea stopover and flying a different route home.
We’ll see what happens. It’s always an adventure!