Vietnam: The Planning Stage

No pictures yet, but this is what the preparation looks like.

No pictures yet, but here’s what I’m doing now.

Being on the other side of the globe sure makes the world seem smaller. I’m making friends from places like Nigeria and Singapore. I’ve hosted people that have done some incredible amount of traveling and residing in countries I’ve hardly even considered. I’ve even added a couple pushpins to my own map: one in Japan, and an obviously large one in Korea. Right now I’m preparing to add another pin right over Vietnam. The process has the same sense of excitement and adventure that fueled my research into teaching abroad. With each new blog and travel website I think “Wow, is it really possible that I’ll be there myself?” Sure Korea was a big step, but I’m still only slowly realizing how possible it actually is to go all over the world.

Vietnam is another step in that direction. It’s a comparably large step, too: I’ve never even been in a rural area outside of the U.S., I don’t speak Vietnamese, and I’ve never traveled by myself. Consequently, I’m taking steps to make it easy on myself. Rather than cram in all the sights from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh in eight days, I’ll be taking it somewhat slowly in the Mekong Delta. The Delta, known as the “rice basket” of Vietnam, produces over half of Vietnam’s rice crop. In addition to the rice fields, it’s also known for an abundance of floating markets. Boats filled with produce, meat, live animals, and who knows what else, swarm the canals, as customers float from vendor to vendor. Expect pictures. I’ll spend a couple token days in bustling Ho Chi Minh City, before I can hopefully enjoy these markets and the generally slower pace of smaller cities in the Delta region.

I’m really aiming for a slower, relaxing trip. Instead of being touted around by tour guides, and hitting a new city each day, I’ll be staying with friends and their families for a couple days in different small cities. I’m part of a network of travelers that love to share about their cultures with visitors, and often even offer a place to stay if you’re in town. I’ve met some great people from all over Asia so far, and I’m excited to get know more people from Vietnam. Besides, traveling alone sounds like it’ll get boring fairly quick, so it’s nice to have someone to talk to!

More than that, the details of the trip are a little hazy. With only five days to go, I should probably be more prepared… Oh well. Whatever happens, I’m hoping to have plenty of pictures and stories when I get back!