“If a man is not ready to risk his life, where is his dignity?” – Andre Malraux
When I booked my trip to China, Vietnam and Cambodia my friends told me to take care, be safe, some places are dangerous over there, there are poor people so even more violence to get money from you etc.
In my mind it was just an other stereotype that the majority of the people have in mind when they stick to the news they read on the web. Danger can be everywhere at anytime. Even next to your home. So why being afraid to travel? Let’s pack the baggage and go.
So I did it. I took 10 days off to kind of escape from all the issues that I was facing in life, from family, work, cultural differences, street harassments etc. And it turned out to be the best decision ever: the right vacation, at the right time.
My mind was completely full of thoughts, wrong ones: I was just seeing black the whole time. No positivity at all, no patience, no faith or hope, nothing. I was totally unhappy and the worst thing was that I didn’t know how to make myself happy; I wasn’t even confident of my trip, my mind was having too much power on me that I couldn’t see clear, until I actually landed in Guangzhou, China. My China. When I first step out of the plane and I felt that stinky smell on the air, my first thought was:
“Oh my dear China, how much I have missed you!” – I was already happy there, even if the weather was bad. And that says already a lot.
Why did I go to China instead of going back to Italy if I was so worried about life? Just because I consider my previous Chinese experience to be one of the hardest ones of my life, where I had so many difficult moments for my first 9 months there, that I was going crazy about it… but somehow I managed to overcome that challenge!
I went from “I hate China, I wanna go home now!” to “I freaking love this place. The best life lesson!”
And going back to China reminded me that there is a solution for everything, I just don’t have to give up. =)
Worth to say also that I felt at home and so much loved thanks to my Chinese and Korean brothers, my previous company and previous customers from different part of the world. It is always amazing to meet people you shared meaningful experiences with, after so long time. Especially one: my funny, tall, smart and lovely brother Joohoo, from Korea.
I stayed in GZ just 2 days, and flew to Vietnam, Hanoi on June 12, where I stayed for about 6 hours, visiting the city ( that’s why long layovers are useful for), before heading to Nha Trang (South East of Vietnam).
I took the second plane and landed in Nha Trang beach.. I would say, amazing beach: clean, quiet, with a good nightlife. The place was full of Russians, but so full of them that local people was speaking Russian instead of English. And that’s the funniest part of my trip: I speak 6 languages, but not even a word in Russian. “-.- And of course all of the other 6 languages were not so useful to let locals understand me, unless they were tourist guides or so.
Anyway I stayed there three days, visiting the islands next to it: Vinpearl islands. My public transport to go there? The world’s longest cable car. =P
I used to walk a lot around the city and on the beach, while enjoying the panorama and the beautiful relaxing atmosphere. That’s all I needed: having fun while travelling, take a looooot of pictures, learn about the culture and the people, but more important discover myself, again and again. It’s like an endless lesson. Gandhi was right, we never stop learning.
And that’s the beauty of life: keep moving forward.
What did I learn besides the Chinese-Vietnamese culture and history? I learnt to forgive people.
My grandma used to tell me that, even before she passed away:
“You will never forget, but forgive them all. It makes your soul feel better. Remember from where you come from and be kind.”
With my difficult strong personality I rarely forgive someone that really hurt me in life, especially when I know I gave all of me to him/her, in terms of friendship, relationships etc. But that is something that is not useful at all: I created this armor all of these years to kind of protect me for being hurt, and then, it actually doesn’t protect me at all. It just makes people kind of afraid of me at first.
It’s a big discover to me! And I am glad I realized that. Of course I am not gonna change over night, but I already did some steps forward and I’m feeling much much better. =) =) =)
Where to end this “detoxing and discovering” trip if not in Cambodia?! The place where you realize that all your “problems” are nothing. You get to know what “humanity” really means over there.
I feel my words will be never enough to describe the kindness of people in Cambodia, so I’ll just say this: pure and simple. They don’t even try to rip you off (as a tourist, it always happens everywhere!). Sometimes they even refused my tips… O.o
Travelling from Phnom Penh to Siem reap by bus is the best choice: you’ll see the naked Cambodia.
Had an amazing time and kids were the image of happiness.
Before coming back to Colombo, I had a layover in Bangkok, Thailand… few hours to meet my close friend Sarah, eat some yummy food and take some of our usual selfies:
Briefly… it was all a gift. I came back to Sri Lanka with a big smile and a warmer heart.
The end of my journey – with a special thanks to my Nike sneakers.
“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.” (Marcel Proust)