First of all, let me apologize for being a bit absent from this blog. I guess I needed some time to clear my mind and to settle in a bit. You see, we have moved to Vietnam!
We first visited Vietnam over two years ago and immediately fell head over heels for the country! We couldn’t stop thinking about all the beautiful places and the lovely people that we met during our travels. You know that saying “This place keeps calling me back”? Well, Vietnam did that to us. I never really understood this saying. I mean the world is so big with so many places to explore! But after visiting Vietnam we realized that a place can really creep into your heart very quickly.
Di Linh Vietnam
Never give up on your dreams!
Fast forward to the present moment and I am writing this post from our house in Nha Trang. We just spent the morning at the beach and went for a lovely drive along the coast. I can also tell you that we had some of the best coffee in the world and we will probably pick up some street food for dinner.
You are probably wondering what happened in our lives over the past few months? Well, here is a little update. We both found great jobs. AJ is working hard on his dreams and teaching English in the evenings and I am a preschool teacher at an international school. When we are not working we are doing volunteer work at an orphanage. (More about this later) When we have some free time we go for a swim at the beach or drive around the countryside. Life has been really busy and I have so many things to tell you! So I promise to keep you updated on a regular basis!
One thing I have realized is that if you want something in life, work hard at it! Focus on your dreams and do not let anyone tell you that you cannot do it. Dreams don’t just happen. YOU need to make it work.
When we were living in Hong Kong we knew that we wanted to return to Vietnam one day. So we worked hard and built up a safety net for ourselves for when we were ready to take the leap. It wasn’t always easy. Even though we really enjoyed working and living in Hong Kong, some days got the better of us. We got frustrated, we worked long hours and the busy hustle and bustle of the city was tiring at times. But we kept going. We worked extra hours to add to our savings and never gave up on our goals.
“I’m not telling you it’s going to be easy – I’m telling you it’s going to be worth it.” – Art Williams
People always tell us that they wish they could be like us. They wish they had the money to travel and to explore the world. “You guys are so lucky!” they will say.
Well let’s get really honest here for a bit. Before we moved to Hong Kong we were quite broke. I think we had about 2000 USD between the two of us to buy plane tickets and to survive for a month. For our first month we lived off the cheapest meal you can get. (AKA MacDonalds! We really don’t recommend eating junk food for a month! YUCK!) We had to make sure our money lasted until our first paycheck so our budget was tight! But somehow we made it work.
What I am trying to tell you is anything is possible! If you want to travel the world, start a business, buy a new car or spice up your wardrobe make sure you set mini goals for yourself. Think of ways on how you are going to achieve it. (If you want to know how we saved up for our backpacking adventure you can read more over here)
Moving to Vietnam didn’t happen overnight. It was hard work but I am proud to say that we made it.
There is this hidden language when we travel and this, my friends, is called kindness.
It’s probably around 8pm. We are standing at the train station in Jiaoxi trying to figure out what time the train will arrive back to Waiao beach. Everything is in Mandarin. The ticket, the signs and the map. Not knowing where to go we hand our ticket to an old couple sitting on the bench at the platform.
“Excuse me sir, can you tell me what time the train will arrive?” I asked. He looked up and smiled. “Young man! Young man!” he says. He calls a young guy entering the station and hands our ticket to him. They both start to speak in Mandarin and before we know it, three other people from the other side of the platform are called to assist. They are all speaking mandarin pointing to our ticket and their phones. Eventually the man comes over, gives back our ticket and points to his watch. “30 minutes” he says. We say thank you and he just laughs while he walks away. “No English” he says as he walks back to the bench shaking his head.
Somewhere in Yilan
This is the language of kindness. A Language spoken not in words but in actions.
These are the things that we treasure and hold close to our hearts. Little acts of kindness spoken to us in this universal language. It always amazes me how friendly strangers can be and this is why I love sharing these stories!
Stories about how our concierge came and fetched us on his motorbike, while we were walking the streets of Siem Reap at night. He drove up and down looking for us as he was afraid that we got lost somewhere. Or that time when we met a random couple and were given a free guidebook as they heard we were headed to Vietnam. Maybe I can sit and talk to you about the time that we met this amazing tour guide who we are still friends with today? Or the elders that came to greet us in the village? When I think about all these stories I want to burst through my skin from happiness! It gives me goosebumps knowing that there are people out there who care. The ones that put our faith back in humanity.
2016 May not have been the best year with all the bad news going around, but I promise you that there is still so much good in the world! I want to share all these things with you. This language of kindness that we can all understand. Maybe this will be my goal for 2017, to bring you more positive stories. Real stories from real experiences. I want to remind all of us that we are human, all of us trying to survive in this crazy place we call home.
In the end, if there is one thing this year has taught me, its that kindness costs nothing and a smile goes a long way.
I know I haven’t written on this blog for a while but the last few months have been a whirlwind of experiences. Teaching English, although tons of fun, sure keeps you on your toes! 🙂
Becoming a TEFL teacher seemed like a dream out of my reach. For the past three years I have been reading blogs and forums of people traveling the world and teaching English. I wanted to jump into every photo and experience everyone’s journeys for myself, but I never had the guts to actually do it. Continue Reading…
Sometimes, after an adventurous trip abroad, we find ourselves in a little depression state. Even though we are happy to be back home with our family and friends, our thoughts cannot help but wander back to our travels. We are constantly thinking about the days lazying around on beach, relaxing in hammocks, driving on motorbikes through rice fields and living like there is no tomorrow.
But why should we only experience this thrill of life when we are away? Why not keep this adventurous spirit when you return back home?
You might think that you know the place where you live like the back of your hand. You walk the same road everyday, buy from the same grocery store and visit the same places. But what about exploring your home city and taking a different route to your local hangout spot? Continue Reading…
I only recently discovered what it really means to “follow your heart”.
If you asked me, five years ago, what I wanted to do with my life, I would probably have told you that I wanted to live close to the ocean and explore the world. Forward to the present moment and I find myself living in the beautiful city of Cape Town! I have traveled extensively through South Africa, backpacked through Southeast Asia and have traveled to Mozambique and Botswana. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think that life would take me on this wild adventure! Continue Reading…