Travelling to a new country exposes you to new sights, weather, people, food and language. It is an opportunity to find inspiration and your creative spirit. This article is for everyone who wants travel to become a deeper experience and allow themselves to be surprised.
All I know of you is all the sights of war.
A film by Coppola, the helicopter’s roar.
One day I’ll touch your soil.
One day I’ll finally know your soul.
One day I’ll come to you.
To say hello… Vietnam.
-Translation of “Bonjour Vietnam” sung by Vietnamese-Belgian singer Quynh Anh about her feelings as a small girl who had never seen her homeland. The song is truly special for the Vietnamese and was played when our flight landed in Vietnam.
Why did we choose Vietnam? We could have traveled one of the many European countries that are still on our must-visit list. Why Vietnam? The answer lies in Mahesh’s visit to Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) 4 years back for a business meeting. He was instantly bowled over by the food and something about the culture had an inexplicable spell on him. And he knew he had to share it with the Yellow Periscope team.
Taking to the streets
I have noticed many people booking themselves into standard tour itineraries and missing out the experience of exploring a new place by themselves. While package tours serve as a starting point, exploring the streets by yourself is the best way to feel the vibe of a place, meet local people and sit down for a leisurely drink at a roadside cafe. Not to mention get great photographs and write a blog about it. You could even sit down in that cafe and sketch.
So like many of our earlier trips we explored Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi by walking the streets.
Discovering Vietnamese Culture
When we were inside the One Pillar Pagoda in Hanoi, I asked a tour guide what religion do people follow in Vietnam? He said “now we not interest in Buddhism, we interested only in moneyism“. Just like people in other Asian countries, the Vietnamese are ambitious and industrious. At the same time they are friendly, hospitable and highly respect their older generation and family.
Haunted by the Horrific War
In Vietnam you can feel the remnants and see the reminders of war everywhere.
At Ho Chi Minh City’s War Remnants Museum, one of the galleries exhibits photographs that helped turn the course of the Vietnam war. These award winning pictures are spine chilling, disturbingly real and played a major role in turning public opinion about the war across the world. In the end is a list of photojournalists who died while shooting the war so that its horror was relayed to the rest of the world. It is a must visit for people in the creative industry to realize what powerful tools lie at your fingertips should you choose to harness them.
A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving