Courage to walk


You can travel the world and see so many different wonderful things but sometimes you need something to put it into realisation. Coming back from travelling I got my realisation by saying “Back when I was biking through Vietnam” a sentence I never thought I’d be able to say.
Plentiful are the reasons to head to Vietnam but at the top of them list for me was always the chance to ride a motorbike through the outstanding sceneries. I’d only ever sat on the back of a motorbike before getting to Vietnam but this was my big chance to change that.
I got off the plane from Malaysia to Hanoi arriving in the midday September monsoon season humidity and immediately headed for the centre of the city.
Having travelled for 6 weeks before getting to Vietnam I decided to take minimum fair taxi from the airport to the city centre getting dropped on the outskirts. With a tourist map in hand I headed for the centre. However I soon stumbled across my first hurdle. I never thought at the age of 23 I would be so in need of the ‘green man’ and a set of traffic lights to help me cross the road. I was stuck opposite side the Museum of Vietnamese History trapped by an endless supply of 100cc motorbikes.
I am not one to stand around and wait but I was finding no other way to get past this point, until I turned to console and shade myself out of the sun, when a local Vietnamese man said simply, “just walk”. There are not many occasions where you would trust someone that tells me to “just walk” especially when this means walking into definite chaotic traffic. But I felt some faith in this old man and decided to follow his advice. With a racing heart and small audience of him and his friends ready to laugh at my failure, I took my first step into the road and my first experience of crossing the road like a local. To my amazement although petrifying, each motorbike driver that raced past seemed to be trained with some ninja ability to dodge each other and pedestrians.
Hanoi was crammed full for the 1000 year and it’s no mistake to say how scared I was when seeing the amount of motorbikes that crowded the streets. Even more so I was rightly apprehensive about the way these motorbikes were being driven around. It’s no word of a lie to say that when going from A to B in Vietnam by motorbike you take the quickest route possible and whilst acknowledging the traffic signals or pedestrian areas the Vietnamese do not necessarily abide by them.

It took a few days to get the confidence to be able to drive a motorbike around Vietnam but once I did I never looked back. Being able to drive through un-touched luscious sceneries on an empty Highway with only the locals drying their rice grains the other thing on the road is nothing short of astonishing! You see everything from the crazed people in the inner cities to the laid back beach towns to the little known towns with marvellous wildlife, waterfalls, national parks and more in between. Even having a friend crash their bike became another interesting factor in seeing the local culture and the way things
are dealt with. With a currency where every tourist is made to be a millionaire nothing can’t be achieved.
With enough courage you’ll be able to experience the best and craziest thing you’ve ever dreamed of.

O Webb

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