And so the saying goes, all good things come to an end.
For some people, they’re usually ready to go home after more than a few weeks away. For others, they never want the holiday to end… I fall into the second group of people.
Although I was all packed and ready to leave, listening to the girls make their near-future plans to visit Cambodia and the islands south of Thailand, I still did not feel like I was going home. Maybe I was in denial. Or maybe deep down, I knew I wouldn’t be home for long?
My final day in Ho Chi Minh City was a wet one – I guess the city was weeping for my inevitable departure. But determined not to let the rain defeat us, we still managed to enjoy breakfast at one of the many restaurants on the main backpacker street, Pham Ngu Lao. And to keep our tastebuds on edge, we found several beautiful bakeries full of decorative cakes & pastries – although we did learn that many of these look better than they taste!
Nearby, in district one, there’s a great, famous market called Ben Thanh Market, where you can pretty much buy anything you can think of. This seemed like a great activity for a rainy day, as it’s indoor so we spent a few hours buying souvenirs and keepsakes.
It was not until the taxi arrives, and after a final group photo, that I started to feel emotional. I don’t want to leave. I don’t want to leave.
I don’t know what’s waiting for my future back at home in England. All I know is that the travel bug has bitten me hard.
As the plane ascends into the sky, I wave goodbye to Vietnam, goodbye to Asia and release a silent tear.
Things I learnt from my Asia backpacking trip…
- We are not invincible . The world is a dangerous place, and there won’t always be people to save us.
- The world is a beautiful place and it would be a shame if we didn’t get to see/experience it.
- The world is not perfect. There is crime, violence, cruelty, poverty everywhere. We should not pretend it doesn’t exist. We should not be “protected” from it all.
- Very little will happen on time… but it usually does happen.
- Imodium is necessary!
- Animals don’t have rights, and we the tourists, are the reason.
- We have to change our perspectives. Just because the street is dirty, doesn’t mean it’s a bad place.
- Trusting in others is important, but it’s important to be aware.
- I am able to manage my money better than I thought.
- Confidence attracts more people than shyness.
- Travel opens your eyes, heart & soul.
- We need to be aware of, and respect, other cultures, especially in their own environment – awareness of wearing tank tops and mini skirts in a predominantly Buddhist country, or drinking too much and throwing up in their street, etc.
- Locals love it when you can say hello & thank you in their language.
- If you’re not wearing harem pants, you’re not a real backpacker.
- There are no copyright laws, so you could end up going to a fake hostel or travel agent because they’ve copied another company’s name.
- A heavy backpack is a hated backpack
- There’s always a place to stay – you don’t always have to book somewhere.
- Two months is not enough!!!