It's better to see something once then to hear it a thousand times...
Some people who haven’t experienced travel, or even some who have experienced travel that wasn’t the most fulfilling, may want to ask: what’s the point of traveling?
Traveling costs money, it requires time off from a job, and it can take patience and energy. No doubt it requires planning and researching (to ensure you’re staying at the best accommodations, eating at the best restaurants for your taste, and experiencing all of the things you hope to in your chosen destination).
So, is the juice worth the squeeze?
Most people can agree that the point of traveling to a new place is mostly, to see a new land! To see something new about our world, be excited to see how the people live there, meet some of the locals to hear stories and/or interact with people to understand their unique culture and way of life. Experiencing more places gives us a widened perspective of ourselves and the world which we all live in.
But also, let’s be real- we want to feel comfortable being away from home, and we want it to be fun! We hope to be visually entertained and see pretty things (worthy of updating our Instagram account ;) and capture moments of experience that are worth a lifetime. We want to eat well, enjoy our time, and feel that word that every travel guide under the sun urges us to feel: hedonistic pleasure.
Even if we are on a backpackers’ budget (ie. spend as little as possible each day), it is still imperative to feel good and do things that are enjoyable each day, even while in a new destination. It can be difficult to be away from home- and that’s often what separates the travel enthusiasts and adventure seekers from the homebodies! This feeling is understandable though, as some travel locales make these simple things much more difficult than others, often leaving travelers more exhausted and stressed than hedonistic-ified and fulfilled!
So what’s the answer- is it worth it? A thousand times, yes! Especially if you have the right destination…(cue the plug for Vietnam! ;)
An amazing place to explore AND the comforts and pleasures (and options for every budget) of delightful restaurants, accommodations and activities: Definitely worth it! And this is why we want to introduce Vietnam to anyone seeking these things out of travel.
You can ask any expat living in Vietnam why they have chosen to stay here, and surely you will be told that this country is too special, comfortable, always enhancing and full of possibilities to leave too soon!
Of course, it will serve you well to come with a mindset that is ready to explore and absorb a new culture, but also equipped with the knowledge and emotional flexibility needed to not be too thrown-off by culture shock.
The people of Saigon most definitely have a different style of living than most are used to. It is more fast-paced and aggressive in some ways: the motorbike traffic- yes, it’s crazy! But don’t let it affect your whole mood! If you accept it, it won’t bother you.
The way of life here can also be a bit more slow paced and indirect in some ways compared with many other modern societies (yes, a trip to the post office to mail something home may take a bit longer than we would all like it to! And the visa upon arrival game isn’t the most fun for most people- so be prepared!
As long as you minimize any new culture surprise by planning well, you should have a smooth-sailing holiday in Vietnam. This country is indescribably unique in it’s landscape, people, history, food, activities and fun on offer.
Vietnam is like a jungle gym for travellers to play on! Road trip across the country, wind-surf in Mui Ne, surf in Nha Trang, ride a junk boat in Halong Bay, stay at affordable five star hotels in Ho Chi Minh City, eat with the locals in Hanoi, or visit tribes in Sapa. Vietnam is bound to leave you with only the good feelings and memories of travel- and never asking ‘what’s the point.’
Those Instagram-able photos, or times with your family or lover or new best mates or independent moments, or amazing meals or views or sweet clothes you got made or important revelatory/tributary moments you experienced will be worth any tries at your emotional strength and flexibility.
The rewards of this uniquely magical place are sure to set you free. And maybe (if your schedule and your budget can afford it), will bring you to some of the most interesting sights and tours, the best spas and restaurants and bars, to lend you some of those hedonistic pleasures everybody’s raving about.