asia | vietnam| hanoi & Son Tinh Camp & Red river 
it takes me quite a while usually to write about a travel experience because I want to share more than just pictures and stories; I want to share the lesson(s) I have learned. Vietnam is no different, except that maybe it took me nearly 7 months to be able to articulate what I learned. but I’ll start at the beginning..
having just arrived a few weeks earlier, leaving Australia to go to Vietnam ignited conflicting emotions. I was excited to see my travel friends – who had just recently moved to hanoi. and even though I knew I would be returning to oz in a month or less, I felt something I hadn’t felt in a while – sadness about leaving someplace too soon. experiencing new places, cultures, people and food is part of the reason I travel. and yet, I wasn’t sure about Vietnam.
I had never had a burning desire to travel through southeast asia – not like I’ve experienced with other places. but here was an amazing opportunity to explore a new country with my favorite travel couple, who I hadn’t seen since last fall in Aachen. how could i not go when i was so close? with an uncertainty in my gut I focused on the possibilities of Vietnam and booked a flight to Hanoi via Singapore.
never having been to THE Singapore airport I was slightly concerned that I had a 9 hour layover…but once I was there, I made a note to get a longer layover the next time. the Singapore airport may be my favorite airport in the world. and before you start thinking, ‘why is she talking about an airport?,’ know this – when asked where of all the places I’ve lived/travelled I felt the most at home, I answered airports. don’t worry, Nicaragua is still my home in my heart…but there is something about being in an airport that comforts me. I know the rules, I know how the system works, I can navigate and survive in ways I don’t always feel I can in the world. I move through airports with comfort and ease – never running or full of anxiety [even when I’ve been detained].
but seriously, Singapore airport is ridiculous. they have: a koi pond, an outdoor sunflower garden where you can breathe fresh air [well, outside air at least], a movie theater, 24-hour food options [if you’ve ever been stuck at lax overnight, you understand how great this is], free wifi, and, if you’re really in need, a 24-hour transit hotel where you can sleep for a couple hours and shower for a low cost. Singapore international airport greatly reduced my uneasiness.