Alex James - The return home from Vietnam

The travel bug had well and truly bit. On the plane home from my 5-month placement in Vietnam all my thoughts gravitated around where my next destination would be, what else I could do, anything to keep the real world at bay. I’ll give you an insight into my train of thought at 10,000ft.

‘India. I’ve heard nothing but good things about India. Or Africa. I have a friend in South Africa. She wouldn’t mind if I came for a visit, would she? Wait. I need money. I need a job. Okay. How long will it take to save up enough? If I live off nothing but 2-minute noodles and tap water I should be able to save enough after 6 months. Good. I can do 6 months work, 6 months travel. For how long? Indefinitely, of course.’

However, reality isn’t quite so convenient. Eloping for half a year, every year, just isn’t practical. I have responsibilities. I have to get professional qualifications, a decent job, a nice place to live. A girlfriend wouldn’t be bad either. But how can I settle back into a neat routine? It occurred to me about two months into my stay that I was already planning on what I needed to change in my “back home” life. I had successfully dragged myself out of my cosy comfort-zone, I didn’t want to risk plodding right back into it. Whether this results in a change of jobs, a change of Uni course or even a change of friends it’ll all be for the best. It’s strange how being so far from home can give you such a clear perspective.

I know I’ll conquer the world again. In the meantime, I’ll make the most of my life back home. Rest assured I’ll be on that plane as soon as I can.

Quick facts
Capital: Hanoi
Government: Republic
Language: Vietnamese
Population: 88.1 million
Religions: Buddhism
Timezone: GMT +7
Climate: climate, with humidity averaging 84 % throughout the year
Currency: đồng
"Discovering Vietnam and how radically different it is from England (I really did fall in love with it) has also made me want to travel more and explore the world and all it has to offer. I would never have been this adventurous had I not been on this placement; it’s really opened my eyes to the world."

Marianne, English teacher