Lets Go. No. Really, Let’s Go.

Ever wanted to just stop everything and go travel? A loaded question but still important to ask. I once believed that it took half a lifetime of work to finally sit behind the wheel of an RV or join some senior tour group caravanning through Europe.

Tangent: Hard to imagine an entire generation that had to endlessly toil just to stay barely fed. Or a single mom with two jobs riding the city bus. Not much in the way of folks being overfed during the deepreshin’. Here I am talking about airplanes and leisurely international travel.

So why not go now, besides the inconvenience of finding work when you get home? Why not take time and travel? Be damned not having the stability that affords so many pedestrian lifestyles. Such lifestyles rarely even fathom the idea of international travel.

Some people are perfectly content being comfortable in their own state or region and since the United States is so massive, being sequestered to your own area often means having an enormous amount of land to explore and enjoy, so why would you go anywhere else?

Vacations, staycations, whatever the reason, the travel should be pleasing and observant of the beauty in cultural variety and beautiful differences.

Go! Pack a damn bag and go!

I want to work in Vietnam, save up for a conversion van, come home and drive me and my sweetheart across this great nation in which I was born. After that, the idea of jetting from Southeast Asia to France for no good reason other than to just do so, is truly a dream so grand I can barely wrap my pea brain around it.

I want to die in France. Paris awaits me and I shall do what it takes to get there, live there, be there, indefinitely. Grow old and more beautiful in a country built by style and grace and dressed in love and simplicity. Where else would I possibly belong?


A Few Pictures From Vietnam

Snorkel Notes

Chinese kid losing cell phone. Turned boat around to fetch it. Kept boat waiting for 35 minutes. He moped horribly when he got back on board. Wept, shivering in inner tube on the water, filling his goggles up with tears. Eventually had to be carried off by his friends. One should never invest that much into inanimate objects.

Karaoke in drag, coconut bras and a makeshift 4-piece whose drums were soup pots and flattened hub caps.

Snorkeling tour becomes a dance party with drunken Canadians and German girls whose monkey toes gripped the boat planks with long, knuckled feet, terrible American pop music blaring across the bay as we sail pointlessly to islands which no one leaves to visit. Ain’t no Black Eyed Peas on any of them islands!

Body bashed against rocks slick and barnacled, the snorkeling was less like a tropical excursion and more like a choppy battle against waves splashing down through the top of the tube.

All the fish went home for Tét, anyway.

What What?

The absurdity of the club lifestyle while touring internationally is wondrous. Subsidized by faraway parents and unsavory menial temporary jobs, those who party as if they were back home ride that transcendent level of douche untouched by cultural relativity. The consumer-driven mentality of chest bumps, popped collars and jäger shots is truly worldwide.

(I actually LOVE Pitbull.)

VN Jan 21, 2013s

Where does it begin? Rise early in Hue, fog lines the roofs, grab a steaming bowl of soup for an American buck, a cup of coffee then hop our eager rears on the backs of rented motorbikes and off we go down Highway 1 in search of the beach.

4 hours of meandering, bombing through beautiful, backwoods neighborhoods, past translucent green paddies where lumbering, glistening water buffalo wallowed away from the heat. Vast, vibrantly colored cemeteries line hillsides and roadsides, dozens of schools where hundreds of students strolled, biked, played, mere feet from where these wheels would zip by.

After about 4 hours of winding roads, canopies of palms and endless farms, we reached the bridge that led us to the beach. That sweet, salty tributary of the South China Sea, the water was balmy but more than warm enough for us to strip down and dive in.

The random house where we stopped for food (banh xeo) greeted us with a heaping plate of fresh greens, peanut sauce and delicious delicacies only found in the inconspicuous reaches of town. The family was glorious and generous, absolutely wonderful people.

About 25 kilometers from town Uncle took a dip on the motorbike after avoiding a truck and other obstacles, gashed up his knee and elbow, I had to ride his crooked wheeled scooter home.

After fouled spark plugs, running out of gas, cock-eyed handlebars, being lost virtually the entire time, it was a pretty incredible time.

VN Jan 20, 2013

Assigned to a seat listening to Australians snicker at the fact that Americans are frighteningly ethnocentric and me trying to make up for 300 million of us.

Arrived in Hue after a rollicking and seemingly endless 14 hour train ride.

It’s 80 degrees here and a wonderful change of pace from Hanoi’s bustling, narrow-street crowds of traffic and vendors. Hue is quiet and elegant, clean and stunningly beautiful. The food is (believe it or not) tastier and less expensive. The river is named “Perfume” and the women here exhibit a certain style and grace that transcends description.

Woo hoo.

VN Jan 19, 2013

The bus ride back to Hanoi from Ha Long will be slow and sleepy.

The boat ride was beautiful but meandering and when you’ve seen one rock formation you’ve likely seen them all so we’re all chomping to get on to the next adventure. All the while floating in a traffic jam with dozens of other boats thinking the same thing.

Brutal small bus ride back to Hanoi, ineptly chose a seat above the rear wheel well so my knees were pinned to my chest from noon to 4 pm.

When we finally got out of the bus my legs wobbled themselves to a cab to the train station and from Ga Hanoi we trundled onto a train embarking on a 14 hour ride across the countryside.