Back to Ho Chi Minh City – reflections and thoughts

My last day was a transit type of day. I had some breakfast along with a few other Austrlian expats at the same place as yesterday and then relaxed for a bit in the room. I had to check out at noon so had them call a cab for me and went to the Ferry dock and had some Vietnamese coffee there and waited.

The ride back was a little over 2 hours and it was smoother than the ride going so no evident signs of sea sickness. I have to admit to feeling happy to get back to Ho Chi Minh City. I thought a lot about the expatriate population and how just about everyone down my street and in all the hotels were expatriates. It was hard to find local cuisine since all the places seemed to cater to the expats. I think the location I was in is one of the community centers.

Now that I’m back, I have less than 2 weeks left here and some things to do. I’ll be heading back out tomorrow to walk the city and take photographs. I may walk down to the Saigon riverwalk area and go the opposite way and see what I can see.

I also set a few dates for things so I don’t miss them as the time ticks down. I must get to Chinatown this next week and I think that will be a full day. I also must get over to the museum of history which is a good walk from here. Both of those are day long events since the Chinatown area is huge and I will want to see all I can by walking. The museum has an area beyond it I want to see so I will go exploring there as well.

As I traveled back, I was thinking quite a bit about solo wandering. I guess because seeing all the expats in Vung Tau made me realize there are so many ways of doing things. People see the world and turn on all different realities. There are those on the limited tour type trips. The longer stay people. The RTW people. The gap year or reset people. I’ve been reading a few blogs of the different types. Its healthy I think to question the steps I take and what I expect out of them. I could just leave Vietnam and then take another year long tourist visa and come back and live for up to a year and leave on visa runs every 90 days. I’m sure a lot of people do that. But there is nothing compelling for me in that. I would just settle down in a place and hang up the wandering shoes. I believe in what I’m doing and the pace at which I’m doing it. I have this basic plan of things and places. Some random but I have to say there are things that are not. I have specific dates for things. I have to leave Vietnam by 16 September. My visa runs out then. I will want to go by then. Cambodia calls for a year. I know without ever being there I want a lot of time in Cambodia. I want it to be a home base for me to support other travels into next year. It has the basic stuff I need and prices are reasonable.

So I pretty much knew I could never be an expatriate and find a place to settle in and call it home. I have to wander the roads and walk them and take pictures and prove out my lifestyle. I waited too long for all this to simply take one of the lifestyles and call it quits. I cannot see a year from now but I do know that I will be still moving slowly but through Cambodia or perhaps in Laos or Thailand or even flying on to India.

So all this reflecting stuff kept me busy on the 2 hour catamaran ride. I realized that solo travel is not for everyone. Its okay to have doubts and question things. I have realized though that there is nothing for me in the states either. No home, car, job, people that really care if I am there or not. Children grown, friends moving to their beats of life. I don’t want work any more. That tank is empty. So I know that this kind of travel is the best for me. The slow movements of months or so in each place. I get to get a sense about the life in a place. Walk the city streets, sit by the beach, drink a coffee or beer. But I know at some discrete moment out there I will leave. That’s okay too.

If you travel and you wonder what its like to go with no end in sight; its a heady thing. Being in Asia is a wonderful thing. Having time to walk and take photographs and see the things leaves me open to question critically the paths. Like today I knew that I would not settle down in some place and heed the siren call. My call is down the street, around the corner. On that bus going to Da Lat for months. If you are on the road, I wish you happiness and sadness. Success and failure. Wonder and disappointment. Most of all don’t lose the questioning. You need polar opposites I think to know the value of the thing you are doing. Its okay to question and have doubts. I do.