Yep, after a much-needed 4-week trip in magical Vietnam, you're going to have to expect some seriously fun, exciting and captivating fashion and beauty-related posts again from my end! :P
I must admit that at the end of the trip I did start to miss my comfort zone. I was skyping my parents non-stop and the fact that I only had one medium-sized luggage with clothes for an entire 4 weeks was starting to bug me.
But Vietnam has given me something I've never experienced before. I doubt that I can ever manage to start and explain how my heart just feels like bursting with happiness; a genuinely ultra-positive feeling where I just get to feel grateful and appreciate life.
I went to Vietnam to experience the things you usually look for when planning a trip; the sight-seeing, the food, the culture... However, what left the most impact (and immediately) was the Vietnamese people, their genuinty and simplicity, their will to work for a better living collectively, their hope.
I spent the first few days worrying about my belongings, on the lookout each time I'm carrying my luggage or paying a taxi ride so I get the correct change. But NO. After two weeks in North Vietnam, it was so evident that you could trust these Vietnamese fellas as much as they trust their families and friends - blindly. I once forgot a plastic bag full of face masks I had just bought. I forgot it as I was having a drink in the middle of a jam-packed street (and that's an understament) in Hanoi. Two days later, as I was packing my luggage to go to the next place, I realised the bag was missing. As we were doing one final stroll in the city centre, I decided to go ask for the bag - there was nothing to lose anyway. After 5 minutes of trying to explain what we were looking for, the nice Vietnamese lady who owned the shop went to find someone who speaks some English. As soon as she realized what we were asking for she rushed upstairs and guess what? She gave me the bag which I had forgotten under a stool in the middle of the street! She didn't try to open the bag or to barter the contents. She left it there, just in case I came back for it.
The views, the landscape, the smells, the music! These are a few of the things which I know I will never be able to forget; scenes and melodies I've seen and heard during the month spent in Vietnam which are now stored and saved in my memory and which I'm happily carrying with me.
We got to stay in homes with the locals; in a bamboo bungalow on stilts, in the river in the middle of nowhere in Ninh Binh; just us, the loud geese and the silent humongous mountains. We got to drive and ride a motorbike in the fields, no roads but barely a pathway filled with granite gravel. I used to close my eyes and just feel the wind as I hummed along to Tracy Chapman's ''Fast Car''. Yep, that's another memory which will always live with me...
The food?! Now that is something which I shall never attempt to explain in great detail because I will never be able to get close to the heavenly (again an understament) food we got to taste in every single kitchen, bar or restaurant we stepped into. Starting from the streetfood in Hoi An (nothing will ever beat the shrimp, noodle and lemongrass rolls and pancakes we had there) to the Bun Cha in Hue. And the coffee!!! We were stopping every hour or so to re-fuel and get to enjoy the Vietnamese Robusta and Weasel filtered coffee. The beer? Yummy, freezing Huda, BIA HOI, Saigon and 333 half pints in the middle of nowhere (The Pub with Cold Beer in Phong Nha); moments I will treasure forever.
What a glorious month spent in Vietnam; can't believe we did it, can't believe it's over, can't believe I get to say I've spent a whole month in Vietnam and travelled North to South and...
And whilst I must admit that during the last 4 days there I was indeed slightly homesick and needed some familiarity again, this experience makes me feel somewhat complete, as if I managed to attain something which could not be attained in any other way.