I see it everywhere; recommendations upon recommendations, big social media influencers who push a certain type of living while you travel; dollar coffees and luxury villas, cramming museum upon tour upon everything else. It’s easy to be persuaded when you see gorgeous, heavily edited photos and videos taken by drones. Most people don’t show the dirty side of traveling; no one wants to show reality anymore. You can do all of these things, follow the guides and recommendations of influencers on the ‘best ways’ to do anything, but here’s the thing they don’t tell you: there’s more than one way to do it, and sometimes, their way isn’t the best. It’s easy to be blindsided and to be told what you want, but a lot of the time, only you know what you want. Who says there’s a right way to travel?
Being in the rural countryside of Northern Vietnam allowed me to take the term “veg out” to a new level. At home, veg out means sit in bed all day with your hand in a bag of chips while you watch Netflix and never see sunlight. At least, that’s what it was for me. There, though, I was able to veg out and write… a lot. I was able to watch some Netflix, decompress, and appreciate my surroundings. There’s this misconception about traveling that you always have to be doing something; you don’t want to miss out on anything. But that’s how you burn out. You have to push yourself so far out of your comfort zone and it’s beyond exhausting to do that; you have to let yourself have a good mixture of comfort and non-comfort in order to be happy and sane when you’re doing something so huge. It’s not the same if you’re only traveling for a week, but even so, you have to know what your mind and body needs and not just what you think you’re supposed to be doing.
People need to stop encouraging unrealistic lifestyles and fast-paced travel. I have found that I am so much happier when I take my time and spend more time in a single place. When I’m constantly on a schedule, it’s hard for me to appreciate where I am because my mind is already on the next place before I’m even there. I’d rather not just go through the motions of experience; I’d rather wholly, openly experience the people and the culture that surrounds me. That’s what traveling is for me. I know that it isn’t that way for everyone because some people only have small amounts of time to travel, but even in those circumstances, many forget to simply relax and enjoy themselves. I think people miss the point. It’s not about getting that Instagram photo and making those back home jealous; it’s about experiencing what you wouldn’t experience elsewhere. It’s about making memories with people and places that stay in your heart and live there.
Create those memories and enjoy the life you’re living.
Thanks for reading my little rant blurb.
Until next time,
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Hands guiding hands; at Uncle Ty’s Homestay in Hao Bin province, my expectations were exceeded. While I was imagining myself enjoying myself in nature and away from the city, I never imagined such great hospitality from the sweetest family I could have ever come into contact with. On my last day, they showed me how to make a traditional rice dish wrapped in bamboo leaves (which I definitely needed a lot of assistance with). — I thought four nights in a single place would be a lot, but it wasn’t enough. Even with a language barrier, I played with the children, hung out with the neighboring family members, drank beer, rice wine, and made countless memories that didn’t even involve language. — I learned more about myself and my ability to communicate. I am eternally grateful for this experience, and I can’t wait to go back.