When we moved to Nha Trang at the beginning of the year, we were looking for a way to help the community. Vietnam has given us so much and we were looking for ways to give back.
Through a mutual friend, we met Eileen Brown. She is one amazing lady and also the founder of the Tuong Lai Foundation (TLF).
The Tuong Lai Foundation is a social enterprise in Nha Trang which is primarily focused on helping the orphans of Tu Bong orphanage.
Over the past few months, Eileen has become one of our close friends. She invited us to join the summer program at Tu Bong. The summer program was a 10 week program where the local children were taught English. This is what I have been craving to tell you more about! So let me get into it! Continue Reading…
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 so much more to Vietnam than Halong bay. It is a place where you will find the best coffee and food in the world. (According to us anyway) A place that will take your breath away. A place where people instantly become your friends. Vietnam is a country that you have to experience for yourself. If you ever wondered if you should go, we hope these photos will make you buy that plane ticket.
Here’s our top ten photos that will make you fall in love with Vietnam:
(Ok, so it’s more than ten photos but we couldn’t help it!)
If you want to see the “Real Vietnam” I would definitely recommend a motorbike tour with an Easy Rider guide.
In Nha Trang, the Easy Riders are everywhere! Every local person you smile at will come up to you and ask: “Where are you from?”. After a friendly conversation they will then try to sell you an Easy Rider tour. Being bombarded by these guys daily, it planted a little seed in our heads and we decided to talk to our hotel manager to find out more. She then explained how the tours work and told us that we should definitely try to go up to Dalat. “It’s the mini Paris of Vietnam” she said. “Romantic City!”.
So the next day she got us in contact with Mr Chanh and we booked a three day tour to Dalat. Continue Reading…
“Take the motorbike to Bai Dai Beach! Very nice!” We are standing at the hotel reception asking about surf spots. “Easy to get there. Long beach! Yes good!”
The hotel we stayed at rented motorbikes for 6$ a day. They get their bikes from other locals and you will probably end up fixing a wheel (or two) when you rent it from them. Luckily AJ used to own a motorbike so driving around wasn’t too difficult. That is off course if you go 20km per hour and the idea of crashing into someone else, or falling, doesn’t scare you. Continue Reading…
I think I am 50% mermaid as I am always craving a swim in the ocean. Little did I know that the snorkeling in Vietnam would be this amazing!
Nha Trang is a diving and snorkeling hot spot. You can find tons of tour operators and package deals to fit your needs. Just make sure you know what you get! There are party boat tours and fishing tours that all include snorkeling. If you just want to snorkel, I would suggest taking a tour that does just that, snorkeling! We booked a 15$ tour through our hotel. Continue Reading…
Saigon surprised me!
The streets of Saigon, or formally known as Ho Chi Minh City, is a beautiful place to explore.
Accommodation is super easy to find as there are plenty of mini hotels on every street. Prices will range from 6$ for backpacker dorm rooms to 11$ hotel rooms. ATM’s can be found in all the touristy areas and will dispense local currency, Vietnamese Dong.