After 5 months of being back to the states and going through reverse culture shock(which is way, way too real), day dreaming of far off lands and cultures, jumping at the sounds of a foreign language, gasping and feeling my heart ache every time I hear a word like “Italy” “Africa” “travel” “ocean” “adventure” “flight” “any random country, destination, or different food”…, constantly making travel plans and ideas, airlines becoming my most frequented websites, and looking at maps daily…my wanderlust brought me to my next “world” to learn from: Vietnam.
Southeast Asia has been 3rd on my list (behind Italy and South Africa) to get to for the past 5 years, so accomplishing all 3 of these within a year is, to say the least, unbelievable. I realize that I put a high value on travel because travel is a means of deep growth and understanding of ourselves and others. It makes me come alive and tests who I am and what I believe in. Travel allows individuals to see a new light, a new perspective, and a new tune. This is all unbelievable, and it sounds like it is always fantastic, but trust me – no one ever said travel was easy, but the challenges are matched and matched again with rewards. These moments will impact the way I go about living and loving. That being said, traveling has turned into a means of growing, and when deciding to either sit in a seemingly comfortable environment or to take on a new world, I didn’t question my heart once. The states have taken a new tune in my soul, but the rest of the world has a vast array of tunes to blend and skip new beats in my step.
So I’ve been in Vietnam for 3 weeks, and have 10 days left. It all kind of happens quickly, and with that, I’ve been spending more time embracing each moment and letting the thoughts out in my journal and plan to blog as I go on.
A few simple words..I love it here, I love the people, I love the culture, and most importantly, I love the kindness. The people are the main reason I travel and the people here have made these experiences stick in my heart. I laugh and laugh and laugh constantly – through the attempts to say words with my students, oi es oi oi! (OMG) …my attempts at Vietnamese. Hey, I’ve gotten pretty good actually. The bike rides through absolutely chaotic traffic (somehow it flows ridiculously smoothly), and new conversations with all of the “Emilys” while I order more nem chua ran and zuc zich and bia. Everyone is caught off by my attempts to speak in Vietnamese and I always end with oi es oi oi!! If I am lost or confused. I laugh every single day for hours, oh these people are great.
However, like anywhere, there are hard times. I’m still emotionally challenged and especially adjusting to my first time to SEA and my first post-SAS trip abroad. I’m with a whole new group of people, and not all have their minds, thoughts, ideas, life…changed from SAS. I’m with a new group of people that haven’t felt and seen the same things, or well, been immensely effected by the world all together in the same way. It isn’t the same conversation or the same connection, and that has been noticeably challenging. But hey – emotions are a part of us and they always come and go. This experience evokes different emotions and has stimulated my mind and journey, and nonetheless, has been one of those valuable experiences of growth. The hard times are often the best times because they teach you and teach you again. That’s what it’s about, isn’t it?
Well, to end this rant, I said that the states can’t keep me for long..and that’s okay. There is an entire world out there to see and people to share our lives with. The states will always be there, and they will always be home. But home is a light term now. Nebraska is my home, and so is the MV Explorer, and now, Hanoi. Ultimately…the world is my home.