Like a Flame to a Moth...

When I told friends that we were using our vacation days to fly out to Vietnam this year, most asked us, “Why? What’s in Vietnam?”


It’s a pretty typical question that I get each year by people who should probably know by now that I don’t really have an answer. What’s in Vietnam? People... food... things and places I haven’t yet explored... That’s it. I simply haven’t been there yet.

My last three vacations were more of what you might call explorations, or journeys, adventures, boot camps. Over the past three years, my boyfriend and I have seen a country stuck in time (Cuba), sunk a few floors to the middle of the food chain (Botswana), and witnessed the greenest green you can ever imagine (Vietnam). We were on an expedition, each time, and we summoned culture and discomfort like a flame to a moth.

And this year was a whole new ballgame.

Rice terraces look like grassy steps down a giant, green mountain.

The mighty cosmos brought us to northern Vietnam, just three weeks ago actually. I can still imagine the city of Hanoi, with the smell of seared meat and sweet street fruit living in my nose, the never-ending note of motorbikes honking and tires screeching, the cacophony of conversation, real conversation, and the still air pulling dewy sweat from my skin. I can close my eyes and bring myself right back to the fresh air of the mountains, momentarily clouded by exhaust from a passing truck or bike before returning to its coolness, and can still envision views that only dreams are made of.

A lookout on the side of the road along the Hà Giang loop.

A lookout on the side of the road along the Hà Giang loop.

The winding roads of the Hà Giang loop.

The winding roads of the Hà Giang loop.

It was wild yet somehow ordinary, and I did my absolute best to capture the wonder, nostalgia, scent, taste, texture, and beauty of the adventure. That’s what I love about travel honestly, the beauty of the everyday, the known unknown of what a foreign land brings, an alternate reality that feels so familiar and so bizarre at the same time.

And honestly, I think home can be that way too.

This next year, I hope to bring more beauty into the everyday, more wonder, nostalgia, scent, taste, texture, heart, heartbreak, grit, hope, and interest into what I do at home, what I do here. Travel is inspiring, but not an essential to creating art or creating value. It’s inspired me, no doubt, but if only to keep moving, to keep building and creating and finding the beauty out of what is, what already is. Life is full of moments to capture and stories to tell.

So let’s tell them.

Let’s tell the small ones and the hard the ones, the glamorous and the gritty. Let’s show off the beauty of the minutes that fill up our days, because without them, where would we be?

 

There’s adventure in the everyday.

So will you join me on this journey?

XOXO Alisa