Month 8: slow travel and people

March, the eighth month of my trip may seem boring to you. But for me somehow it was a breakthrough. Because I started travelling slow again and met the incredible people I need in my near bankruptcy moment to stand on my feet.

At the beginning of the month I was planning to fix my budget and then go to the Mekong delta, to the tunnels from the Vietnam War, to Da Lat and Mui Ne. Generally – I’ll start exploring again.

But – and here we are entering the realities of life of a travel blogger, who has to reconcile travel with blogging, both done full-time – catching up with my mails and blog posts is still waiting for me. February was intense – I finished the guidebook about Sri Lanka, which I have spent several hours a day working on. I was also on FAM trip in Nepal, where there is no time to do anything else except posting updates on Facebook. Backlogs were growing.

So in March I felt I had to slow down. Sit down and catch up with the job. Fix the budget and then explore. But I was so lazy to explore, instead I had huge motivation to work that I quit the idea of sightseeing. I stayed 2 weeks in Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) and then 2 weeks on the beach in Mui Ne.

Again, I was travelling slow, the way of travelling I love the most because it gives me the opportunity to establish deeper contact with people and get to know better the place where I am currently.

I spent 2 weeks in Ho Chi Minh City, of which over 10 days I worked in front of the computer. In the evenings fortunately I took a break and either went out with friends to eat something or had a beer (although we rather drank in the hostel because it costs only half a dollar) or we just watched movies. And we talked. With Mohammad, Elena, Olga, with many other people who were in the hostel.

We spent long hours, sometimes after midnight, just on talking. I love it. You will not experience this only ‘jumping’ from one place to another. You have to give yourself and other people time to build trust and open yourself.

Many of these people (all of them?) who lived in the Saigon Friends Hostel for a long time, was teaching English in HCMC. I was interested in the topic. What conditions have to be fulfilled to get a job? How much can you earn? How much does it cost to rent a room or apartment in Saigon or is it more profitable to live in a hostel? How long is the contract going? I took several job advertisements from my friends and started looking around.

But at some point I had enough of the city. I missed the beach, so I went to Mui Ne.

For 2 days I was in a rather dead hostel in a touristy part of the town where the beach was not very inviting if you could call it a beach at all. Then I moved to the backpacker resort – LongSon Mui Ne – a huge campsite with open dorms, bar, great food and huge beach.

the best dorm I’ve ever slept in

And wonderful people.

You know, seldom happens that in one place there is a team of 14 people including me and everyone is having fun, talking, chilling. No quarrels or misunderstandings. And you have the opportunity to work, because LongSon is such a big place that there will always be a square meter of peace, where no one is bothering you.

I planned to stay there 3 days, but I overstayed for 12 nights. 😀 In the morning I was bathing in the sea, then I was working in front of the computer, and in the evenings we watched movies, played poker and pool, we celebrated friend’s birthday, we were on the coolest pubcrawl in my life, we danced, we chatted, we laughed.

Does anyone else still wonder why I do not want to have a normal, settled life? What I’m living now is the best experience, it’s the relationships. It’s getting to know, traveling and living with people from different backgrounds.

Danny, Aaron, Emma, Suzie, Ryan, Elliott, Rachel, Ioan, Gus, Jamie, Jay, Joao, Dan, Kat and Hayden – I couldn’t dream about better team. On the picture we look a bit like a hippie comune, which I like a lot 😀

But the moment came when my whole body felt a moral hangover. I had fun, but it’s time to move on. I have to seriously think about the upcoming months – I run out of money and have to find a job. It’s a bit frightening perspective after working as a freelancer for last 4 years…

And at about the same time it turned out that part of our incredible team is moving to HCMC to apply for English teaching job.

It is easier to part when several people leave at once. And it’s easier to look for a job when the whole team is looking for it.

Jay went north, I come back with Danny, Ryan, Emma and Elliot to HCMC by hitchhiking 😀 (we got one car and then the bus, but we paid half price to Saigon – we paid only $3) 😀 Aaron joined us the following day.

I am in Cambodia now. I came here with Danny, who has already left to Kampot, and I am waiting for a 3-months visa to Vietnam in Phnom Penh and applying for a job. At the end of the week I’m going back to Saigon. Aaron, Emma and Elliot are looking for a house or apartment and it’s time to start serious life for a few more months (a year? depends how long it takes to fix my budget)

I’m glad I’m not in my financial black hole alone. Virtually over all of our group hangs some black clouds, but we are all supportive and motivating to each other. A few months and we will be back on our feet.

It is good that I end up to Vietnam. I can see light in the tunnel. 🙂

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