Vietnam and my Newfound Bravery

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My body is in Ho Chih Mihn. Inside a tour bus that would bring us to a tile factory of some sorts. It’s all blurred not because it has been two years. It’s blurred even before the plane touched Vietnam grounds. I noticed how I have always been planning little escapes. I mean, I’m happy. Am I not? I just wanted to explore. Life is short. You know, YOLO. I just don’t know where I got the guts to start doing it on my own.

 

A typical poor Filipino expat will be saving her money and not splurge for some luxurious foreign thing called travel but I couldn’t help it. Rather broke than bored. You know. Their combination is more lethal making depression and hopelessness sound a bit more enticing.

 

As I look through Ho Chih Mihn’s super busy streets plagued by motorbikes, my entire body felt numb. How I got from the airport to my hotel was still a wonder and how I crossed the street to buy food still remained a mystery. Sure the lousy traveler in me hailed a cab from the airport but the driver let me out across the hotel. That meant I had to figure out how to stay alive midst the throng of raging motorbikes. The hotel’s guard in front of the hotel saw my agony. He looked to his left and then to his right but when two guests stepped over the hotel’s threshold, his face showed that he couldn’t leave his post to come save the damsel-in-distress in me. He nodded and closed his eyes as if to show me to just close my eyes and walk towards the hotel.

I hesitated for a moment. For few seconds I stood there not knowing how to make the motorbikes stop.

I could be waiting there until my knight in shining armor shows up but I haven’t set Tinder up so he wouldn’t have a clue that I needed saving. When I felt that none of the motorbike drivers picked up the mental signals I am sending them, I took a brave step forward with a shaky leg and crossed while calling out on every saint they introduced me in the Catholic school where my mom sent me. I lived in Manila. I will survive this savagery.

 

A motorbike’s tire almost touched my right leg but the driver maneuvered his bike behind me as if it was the most normal thing to do. I was surprised that I was not screamed at. I noticed that the drivers were avoiding me so I could cross the street. It was amazing. I felt special.

 

Later on I tried crossing the street with my eyes closed. I made it. I’m still alive and now inside the tour bus waiting for other tourists outside their hotels.

 

As the other tourists started pouring inside the bus, I was just filling me eyes of the new place. Tiny table and low lying stools splattered on the sides of the streets made Vietnam to have that warm inviting feeling that makes other races want to see it and stay longer than they originally wanted to.

 

I never saw myself without a Nem Cuon, the famous spring rolls, Pho or Bánh mì.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have heard English Teaching is such an industry here. (Get certified to teach English here and use village35 code for 35% discount). Do I want to live here? This country looks like my country only we didn’t have these low lying tables sprawled on the sidewalks.


 

My train of murky thoughts was interrupted by a bump on my right hip. Someone sat beside me. A girl. She’s white and blonde. I smiled and she said hi confirming my guess that she might have been an American.

 

“If he will not propose, I will say yes to a two year Peace Corps post in Africa.” she exclaimed. How come she said that, I couldn’t remember anymore. It was not even five minutes into pleasantries. What did you ask Danica?

 

I was astonished by the bravery this girl is emitting. I only recalled asking her if is she’s traveling alone. She said that she is supposed to be doing this trip with his boyfriend but he didn’t come with her. I thought stories like this only happen on TV or in one of those romance books that I couldn’t take my hands off to. Some of the facts might have been inaccurate. My head swirled and only focused on what she will do in case her boyfriend will not propose.

 

What did she lose telling me? Nothing. What did she gain? A lighter feeling and a fan in me. Chances are our paths will never cross again. She’s an angel who delivered an important life message to me. I must admit that my life has not been the same since that day. I no longer sit to wait for things to happen and for people to show up. I no longer kill time realizing that time is actually all I have and it’s slowly killing me. Time will not pause for me. Now is the perfect time to enjoy what I always wanted to. Now is the perfect time to be alive. I can no longer be a slave to something that makes me put the life that I want to live on hold.

 

Our conversation was interrupted by a Filipino couple behind us asking if I am a Filipino. The four of us ended up being together during the trip and for some beers and some more Vietnamese food later.

 

Though I normally travel alone, I never was really alone. I keep on meeting people on the road that seemed like bearers of important life messages and Philosophy teachers in disguise. They might not know it but my thoughts are now shaped differently than how it was when I was still in the safe premises of my little comfort zone and that my goosebumps never stopped as we cruised the Mekong River that I only heard of in History class.

 

Normally I wouldn’t ask a fellow traveler’s Facebook account when I’m on the road but fate wanted it differently. I sensed that I will be needing it for some more inspiration.

 

Few months later, I saw the girl posting pictures on Facebook showing that she is already teaching in Africa. I gathered that her boyfriend didn’t propose and instead of hosting a sob party, she carved out a path where she can pursue her passion. If that is not bursting with so much courage and bravery, I don’t know what is. She might not remember me anymore but the impact she made in my life will always be a reminder of how Vietnam started changing the direction of the wind that blows my sail.

 

The bravery I found in Vietnam is the same bravery I will carry wherever the wind will bring me.

 

What about you? How do you define bravery and what’s the bravest thing you’ve seen?

Mekong River cruise

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This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links, I will receive a small commission. This is at no cost to you but helps me to provide awesome content regularly. Thanks for your support!

About Us

 

Dani is a plus sized Filipina ADHD kid, recovering shopaholic, alcoholic and workaholic. She doesn’t take herself seriously. She has an insatiable wanderlust, out of this world food cravings and goof addiction. If she is not busy planning her next adventure, she will be spotted taking OOTDs and OOTNs. She took a break from the crazy corporate world to see the real one. This is not another travel blog. This is her journey to self discovery, embracing flaws and feeding her soul of what sets it on fire. She is out to prove that life begins at the end of the comfort zone.

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