We all have a place where our souls feel at peace... For most, it is a place of familiarity, like the homes where you grew up and where your family is. But for some, it is a place where you have no belonging, a place that is far removed for your natural life but for some reason there is special connection. Vietnam is that place for me.
I have traveled to Vietnam 4 times in 6 years. it is a place that brings much comfort to my soul, a place I always yearn for when things in my life feel out of context. In the beginning i thought Vietnam would be place i could escape to and let my body drift into a timeless space, where nobody would recognize me or find me a distraction. At first you feel alone and then you begin to find comfort in it, then slowly something inside of you begins to loosen.. you stop holding it in; you breath and let go.
Exploring unfamiliar territory has always made me feel alive, the rawness of the unknown gave me such a fierce appetite for fear and excitement. Its forces you to give in and let the place completely take over you.
Some say its not the place but the people… This rings true in Vietnam, as I have never met such warm people that took me in as if I was close relative coming for a long awaited visit. I felt as if they understood where I was in my life and the comfort I yearned. They never asked for anything in return, just my presence was enough.
I stayed with my surrogate family for weeks at a time, I became especially close with the kids. We formed an unspoken bond that I will always hold tight. Even though my soul felt at peace, i knew it was not sustainable. When the time came for me to leave, we cried. I remember the last meal we had together, our hearts in our throat keeping our food from passing through. I remember wondering what impression i was leaving behind… I felt slightly guilty as I would be moving on while they would stay behind.. as I rode off, I remember thinking how amazing it is to feel connected.. it reminded me that it was time to return to the place I called home.