Dalat 10.15.16

The last time I  long-term traveled I was 20 years old and in between study abroad semesters in Chile. I met many other travelers but one person, English Sarah (I was American Sarah), stands out.

English Sarah and I were roommates on a multi-week South American tour. She was closer to 30 years old than 20, recently laid off from work, and taking advantage of a great severance plus the opportunity afforded by unemployment to travel. English Sarah was an excellent travel buddy!

When we first met, I remember thinking, “How can anyone leave home at that age to backpack?” I knew I would never do such a thing….

Welp! Now I am the 29-year-old at the hostel meeting people almost a decade younger than me. When we chat about family, it is common for me to mention my younger sister (hi Wendy!). Often, at 26, Wendy is older than the people I meet traveling. We all get a good laugh at this realization.

The beautiful reality of travel is that no one cares how young or old we are. Employment status, skills, ability to network, possessions, or an address do not matter.  People are either friendly or, on rare occasions, they are not. The bonds I am forming with other travelers last for a conversation, a day, or even longer. Then, just as quickly as we met, we go in separate directions.

I am happy to be taking advantage of the chance to travel now, even if 29 is not the usual age for a backpacker.

From Hoi An to Dalat it was an 18 hour, two bus journey. I booked my tickets with a reputable company, Sinh Tourist, and had a comfortable experience. This journey coincided with the National Day holiday in China, a popular vacation time. Everyone else on the bus was Chinese!
I had a 2-hour stop from 5-7:00am at another beach city, Nha Trang. This city is a popular destination with Russian tourists. I enjoyed seeing the Russian language signs.
Dalat is in the central highlands. This city is known for being one of the coolest (by temperature) places in the country. Seeing pine trees and wearing jeans felt like a small dose of Minnesota fall.
The Crazy House in Dalat is a popular attraction. It is fantastical, whimsical, a little trippy and slightly dangerous all at the same time. I met three guys from the U.S. in the hostel. We walked to the house together and enjoyed checking it out.
Flower nurseries in the Dalat countryside.
A cricket farm. They were so loud!
A silk factory.
Elephant waterfall in the countryside.
Vietnam is a large producer of coffee. The most expensive beans are those eaten and then pooped out by weasels. The view of the plantation was marvelous.

10 Comments Add yours

  1. Sarah says:

    Wow, your comments about age are so interesting! We are at least 20 years younger than most motorhome travelers – I guess if we want some youthful fun we’ll have to stay in hostels when we get to Asia…poor Max! The other thing we have yet to see on our trip – Americans! We are a rarity.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We have three age groups represented among us and I’m surprised to learn that none of these ages are the “typical” time to travel. Who knew! Ehhh, I think the marshmallow has many more comforts than some hostels. Agreed – almost zero US travelers! Thanks for sharing from your travel experiences.


  2. Wendy Woessner says:

    Very good post! Finally reading it today!! Loved the pics and the journey

    Thanks for the shout out 🙂 Love Wendy


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Just wait for all the shout outs coming your way if we see each other next year…. 🙂 !


  3. Tina says:

    Hi Sarah! I enjoyed reading your comments about traveling at different stages in life. Based on my experiences of long-term travel and living overseas, the one thing that I appreciated when I was traveling at a more mature age is that I was actually able to connect with a broader spectrum of people and I appreciate that very much. In my late teens and throughout my 20s, it was often the backpackers circuit experience, but changed (for the better IMO) as I got older. It was no longer just the hostellers or the curious students of English, but also the people who lived where I was visiting: The mom with a family of her parents and an infant, the nuclear family with a couple of kids at home who hadn’t seen a foreigner before, the retired couple who were curious and friendly in equal measure, or the single career women who like to go out for happy hours. I still ran with the hostel crowd, but I noticed with a small streak of gray hair, the local connections were easier to make and maintain, which is a big part of traveling for me personally. My travel goals have remained the same since I was in my early 20s: #1 People (visit/make local friends, learn others’ perspectives, mutual understanding, etc.), #2 Learning (history, philosophy, etc.), and #3 Experiences (foods, cultural, etc.). Happy trails!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Tina! Thanks so much for your thoughtful share from personal experience. We have shared travel goals for sure and I look forward to hearing more of your stories when we see each other next.

      So, I should hope for just a bit more grey hair and the experience will be even more enriching 😉 Just kidding. I think you’re right – not quite the backpacker age does afford me advantages when meeting others. Be well!


  4. loripokela says:

    “The beautiful reality of travel is that no one cares how young or old we are. Employment status, skills, ability to network, possessions, or an address do not matter. People are either friendly or, on rare occasions, they are not.” Lovely. What an amazing way to exist!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes. And values we share too.


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