In order to understand this trip properly an explanation of my story is needed. When I was 15 years old I was forced to move to the United States, concretely to New Jersey, leaving in the process Vigo, the city where I had lived all my life. I stayed in New Jersey for a year and a half where I finish High School and work as a busboy for a Spanish Restaurant in the area. After a thorough thinking process, I decide to move back to Vigo in order to continue with my studies. In this particular moment, I suffer what is called “Inverse Cultural Shock”, something that some of you already know because it might have happened to you as well. You come back home, to your city, but even when some things look the same, something inside of you knows that everything has changed, you have changed. The time you’ve spent abroad makes you perceive everything from a different perspective and after few weeks you start to feel like a foreigner in your own city. After some time you start to integrate again, new relationships begin new challenges on the horizon. Everything makes sense again but even at that point, you know that nothing will be the same anymore.
This feeling of stateless in my own town together with other personal and labor factors made me move to Amsterdam 8 years after my return from the United States. After 5 years in the Netherlands, I accomplished many things; I have grown as a professional working in different fields, I’ve improved my English considerably and I’m about to graduate from my Bachelor Degree in Communication. I squeezed my time here, the fact that I’ve been living abroad by myself for 5 years made me grow up and evolve faster. Even though all the positive factors related to my stay in the Netherlands there have been difficult times as well, these moments when you feel lonely, far from home, from your family and also the problems arisen from the cultural differences between countries like mine (Latin country) and a north European country. Fortunately, I’ve been always surrounded by friends who care about me to a greater or lesser extent. This situation turns your friends in your family, the bonds get tight with the people surround you when you miss your family.
At the end of 2015, I started to notice that my adventure in Amsterdam was about to end. This perception became even clearer in December during my first trip to Asia, more specifically to Vietnam. The fact that I was able to travel by myself to a country so remote as Vietnam made me feel capable of almost everything and it was the spark that generated the flame of curiosity in me, a flame that keeps on growing every single day.
In Vietnam, I discovered a paradise of fascinating spots where its exotic culture and the warmth of its people intermingle with the chaos and confusion of the traffics in the big cities. A disorganized and chaotic country where you can wait hours in the queue just to get a simple paperwork done but also a place with lots of possibilities for the visitor. Paradisiac beaches, towns hidden between mountains and rice paddies or boat trips along millenary caves. During my 14 days of stay in Vietnam, I tried to visit the most interesting spots.
I started my trip in Ho Chi Minh (Saigon) where I spent 4 days. In Saigon, I visited the most remarkable places of the city, temples, museums and I also booked a tour through the “Cu Chi Tunnels” (The tunnels built by the Vietcong during the war against the US). After Ho Chi Minh I moved to Vung-Tau where I had the chance of walking through its fantastic beaches, enjoyed its tasty seafood and paid a visit to the Lighthouse and the huge statue of Jesus Christ, only smaller than the one in Rio. The initial plan was to stay only one day there but one local girl called Hanna made me extend my stay for a few days more. She was a fantastic guide and showed me these hidden spots that you always miss if you don’t know the area. My next destination was the ancient town of Hoi An, the capital of Vietnam back in the days. In this fantastic place I spent the last days of December, actually I spent New Year’s Eve here with two Argentinean siblings who have been reunited after 3 years. My trip ended in Hanoi with two visits to the Buddhist temple of Ninh Binh, in the region of the Red River Delta and another one to Halong Bay, one of the most famous places in Vietnam. In future posts, I will furtherly explain this trip to Vietnam in 2015, but now it’s time to explain the purpose of my incoming trip.
In less than a month, November 14th, I’ll be leaving Amsterdam and heading Bangkok, Thailand, which will be the first of the 6 countries I’ll visit during the next 4 months. After Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Philippines, and Indonesia will become my short term home during this exciting adventure that I’ll share with all of you. During my trips, I’ll be uploading a written post every week (Wednesdays) and a video (Sundays). Through these two platforms, I intend to show you not only the places I visit but also the personal relations with locals. The main difference between this blog and other travel blogs is actually this one, I would like to show you the places I visit, the food, music, etc. But I would like to focus mainly on people, I want to give names to the unknown, show you how they are, what they think, what their objectives are, basically, I would like to tell you stories of people with a background and origins completely different than mine and yours.
This trip takes place at the same time of my Bachelor Thesis so depending on my workload I might be late uploading content sometimes, however, I’ll try to inform you every time that happens. My Bachelor Thesis is based on an ONG located in Cambodia so during my trip there I’ll do a special report about them in order to show you how things work in an Asian NGO.
That’s all folks!!, I just wanted to thank you all for following me and I really hope you enjoy all the content I’ll be uploading soon. The digital platforms used to keep you up-to-date of my trip will be this blog, through which you will have access to all the written posts and videos uploaded to Youtube. Twitter where I’ll be posting mainly pictures in real time and Facebook which I’ll use for both pictures and live videos. Don’t hesitate to participate and share your thoughts and opinions. See you soon!!