Sometimes one must reach for the quiet times. Walking the cities often includes busy streets, rushing cars and motorbikes. Lots of pedestrians each going a certain way that you may not be going. Traffic often moves at a pace far quicker than you may want but you have to fit in the pattern. Crossing streets here like I posted is not a thing you do to stop in the middle. One must go.
But sometimes a person needs a quieter moment and Vietnam aims to please there too. There are quiet neighborhoods where the dogs bark, the children sing, the people sit over coffee at the small shoppe. There, you can hear laughter and perhaps talking the gossip of the day. Down the street is a nail parlor where the beautiful young lady sits on the porch admiring the day. Customers will come I bet for her but she takes a moment to admire the handiwork of the universal creator. If you don’t like the word God I’m good with that.
Quiet neighborhoods are all over. One must just know where to look. Down that side street ahead are groups of smaller streets. Each holds promise and mystery. Perhaps one will show you the greatest discovery of all time. But I can tell you the greatest discovery. Its to have time. Time in a day to see a street that has no blaring horns or motorbikes or tall buildings. Its the serenity that perhaps you have missed in your flight to the places. We seem to take the rush of time to see the museums, the galleries, and pagodas. I have done this too. It doesn’t help that Vietnam is full of wonders and some work best with a tour package. Often though what you need is the unplanned moment. Perhaps you find a street curb or building closed to sit on and watch the slow progression of another kind of life.
Maybe you see something like this around you.
Just a quiet block where the hurry has not reached. A moment of time you have to slow down to the speed of the street you are on. All the countries and continents matter not. What matters is what you have seen in each one. The rush of travel the rush of the tour, the rush of the dinner. The rush. Time seems to spiral downward to a least common denominator which is not enough of it.
We seem to lose track that time is not really real as James Taylor pointed out. We just use it to try to understand something so big, large, and complex that normal ideas just don’t work. So we create these things. Time and space. We need them to place ourselves down that small block.
What happens if you stop though? If you move slower than the cosmic race. Suddenly you fall outside and you are a wanderer like me. Time ceases to be important. Days are not units of time divided into seconds, minutes, hours. They are bigger. They are moments to use and when you run out of one another shows up. How about if you when you travel you slow down? What will be the harm at only seeing two countries instead of fifteen? Lesser passport stamps and Visas. Maybe when you get back people will say,
you only saw two places? You had three months. What’s up with that.
Then you have some hard explaining to do. You have to tell these well meaning but harried friends that time did not count there. The watch spring unfolded and stopped. Time and space became immaterial and the days in Vietnam unfolded as they should instead of according to the rush of the hour.
Give it some thought. Perhaps you have more time than you think. Or maybe time really could care less and you are the one imposing your own limits. If you want to be the round the world traveler; how about starting with a single place seen and reported on and tell me about the people you met. I have met a few here in Vietnam that have enriched my life a few fold. Its meant the difference as a solo traveler. Would I have accomplished the same on the rush to meet time and space? I doubt it. It took a different method of counting and it took slowing down to a pace where hours and minutes and seconds were not the force. Neither are the countries I have seen or passport pages used up. Instead of your twitter profile saying
45 countries in 180 days and three continents
What if it said
five countries where I met a person that mattered in each one
Give it some thought. You have time.