Changing Travel Plans
I was really hesitant to tell people my travel plans becauseI was about 90% sure I would change them.
A chronically indecisive person, I often don’t know what I’m going to order until the waitress stares me down, I can’t tell you what my favorite color is and if you ask me my life plans I could give a hundred different ideas depending on the time of day.
I was pretty sure I wanted to travel in China and would have stayed longer except the damn commies kicked me out (not bitter) and I loved my month in Nepal-but after that I had 5weeks of freedom that I loosely planned on spending in Malaysia, Cambodia, and Thailand. I heard travel was cheap and easy in these places and I wanted to see what I would find.
Except then I changed my mind. I had made some really good friends in Nepal and they were carrying on to Vietnam, a country I had frankly never really considered because I heard the people were rude and the fact that I primarily associate Vietnam with the war. The idea got stuck in my head though and I flipped through my friends Lonely Planet feeling tempted.
I was in Kuala Lumpur for2 days before I bought a$45 flight to Hanoi.
Malaysia…. will have to wait.
I really had no idea what to expect. I landed inthe airport with no idea what the exchange rate is or how to get to the city center. I stared out the windows at all the ladies biking by with their rice hats on and ordered a vietnamese coffee while having no idea what I would get. I just vaguelly knew that Vietnam has some big caves, some good food, and there was a major war here.
Freedom From Expectation
In some way travelling here while having no expectations has been really lovely. I’m content to wander around, to eat anything that looks delicious and go anywhere that sounds fascinating. Every place we’ve gone to so far has been based on other travelers recommendations. I’ve barely looked at the guide book and we’re just slowly working our way from North to South.
I’ve become obsessed with Vietnamese coffee. China never really does coffee well, and in Nepal the situation was even worse. Vietnam does coffee well. Strongly brewed some cups mixed with sweetened condensed milks and its amazing albeit extremely sweet.
I’ve been reading a lot about the history of the country, from its colonization by China, then by France, and then the very sad war with the States. I’m fascinated by all of it, especially seeing Confucianism and Buddhism praciced here far more then it is practiced in China now and the differences and similarities between the countries. I was a bit afraid I would find Vietnam to be China-Lite and its definitely not. Learning about the war is less fun but I also think its very necessary to learn from history. I supposed, like most Americans my age, I’ve always known the war was horrible but never wanted to really know the details of it, but when you’re in a National Park being warned that there are still many unexploded bombs that your country dropped…. you start thinking about it.
I love it. While I’m not quite loving the whole gap year, party scene, stupid 19yo backpacker crowd that is abundant…. Vietnam is lovely and travelling with few expectations is something I might do more of in the future. Maybe being indecisive isn’t a bad thing like people so often tell me it is, maybe being slow to making decisions and changing your mind just means your open to all the lovely possibilities life can throw your way