On Feb. 25, 2015, I booked a flight back to the motherland and it might be the scariest and most exciting thing I’ve done in a while. I haven’t been back to Vietnam, my place of birth, since 1997. Actually, I haven’t visited Vietnam since I came to America.
For the past year, I’ve been putting a little bit of everything I earned into a pocket of my savings account in hopes of affording a plane ticket, a visa, and spending money to venture to Vietnam after graduation. On May 26, 2015, I will finally head back to the place I once called home.
Why am I so scared?
I always tell the world that I’m fluent in Vietnamese. For those who have heard me speak Vietnamese, my theory doesn’t seem to be false. While my level of Vietnamese is above average for someone who has lived in the states for the majority of her life, it still does not compare to those who have lived in Vietnam.
Another concern is that I fly to Vietnam immediately after graduation. The university-wide commencement ceremony with all the fireworks is on May 23…I leave 3 short days after. The things I do to avoid high-season prices. There’s a huge fear that in the process of trying to move all of my stuff out fo my apartment and packing my belongings, I’m going to forget something important.
This is also the first international flight I’ve taken since coming to America. I’ve traveled a lot domestically in the past couple of years between PRSSA and visiting people I care about, but there’s a huge difference between a 3-hour flight and a 23-hour flight.
Communication is also another factor that comes with any international flight. Do I use my handy-dandy iPhone 6 or suck it up and use a vintage phone for local calls? Probably a combination of both. I’ve been hysterically asking my jetsetter friends who have ventured on their fair share of international trips for advice – every bit has helped.
But I’m also really excited!
I wanted to visit Vietnam right after graduation because it’s the last time I’ll have a long break without having to use vaction time off work. While I consider myself an American, I’m still Vietnamese and it’s important that I understand where I come from and where my roots are. I hope to improve my Vietnamese, learn more about the culture, and be reunited with relatives I haven’t seen since I was a 4 year old getting on a plane headed to America.
I’m spending a month traveling across the country starting at Saigon, slowly making myself north to see Ha Long Bay, venturing to visit relatives in Ha Noi, and then heading back down south to catch a flight back stateside.
I don’t exactly know what to expect, but I’m looking forward to every minute of it.
Follow my adventures!
I’m leaving from DFW on May 26 and returning on June 20. Send me suggestions on Vietnam and international travel in general. Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and this blog.