Matt's Blog

My trip to Taiwan and Việt Nam - Closing

by bagnaram

Closing Remarks & Wrap-up

I spent some of that flight writing up this blog post, listening to music, and sleeping. It has been a fulfilling but tiring two weeks. I need some time to process everything. As I write this memoir of such a life-changing trip, I cannot but stop and think about what a blessing this opportunity was. The ability to visit such a different place. The process of trusting despite the unknown. I would have never thought of doing something like this on my own in my past. But, hey, sometimes that trust in something outside of yourself is what gets you through. In my case, my faith and beliefs in Jesus Christ, coupled with support from friends and family made this trip possible. This has been a life-changing experience, and the context change has really given me an opportunity to evaluate my own life and think about things in an entirely different perspective. Coming to a greater appreciation of humanity and differences in culture. Learning (or attempting to start) a new language Vietnamese has been a challenge, but I learned so much from my 1 week in country. If anything, it confirms the test. Attempt to learn the language of where you are visiting for a much more fulfilling trip!

I continue learning vietnamese little by little. It might look like I did not have much of a plan but who cares? I have meet 3 wonderful families who graciously invited me on their adventures. I might have missed Ha Giang and other destinations but I managed to avoid the major tourist spots and have had a truly authentic trip! In fact I met very few foriegners my entire trip. Instead of being a tourist, i was treated like family for the little Vietnamese I know. Oh and the trái cây was everywhere! What a truly charming time. A+ would visit again!

I hope this story encourages you to do something the same. Step out of your comfort zone. Try something new, explore, and learn about yourself. This is the theme of the trip, and you will make some new friends, discover yourself, and possibly do something like this again in the future!

Some Apps and Things That Helped

Learning Vietnamese

  • AnkiDroid

AnkiDroid

https://f-droid.org/en/packages/com.ichi2.anki/

Anki is a program which makes remembering things easy. Because it is a lot more efficient than traditional study methods, you can either greatly decrease your time spent studying, or greatly increase the amount you learn. AnkiDroid is the Android port of Anki, and is compatible with Anki data.

  • DuoLingo

https://www.duolingo.com/nojs/splash Another great app with language lessons. Supports VN.

Travel

This site is a flight aggregator. It hooks into the major booking services Amadeus and Sabre. In otherwords, search for flights on here, then book the tickets through the resulting airlines. I got roundrip NYC-Taipei-Hanoi for 800USD.

  • OSMAnd~

OSMAnd~

https://f-droid.org/en/packages/net.osmand.plus/ This is my default navigation app. Does streets, maps, and biking. Used this to download maps locally, along with planning my cycle route.

Whatsapp(Whatsapp)

[https://www.whatsapp.com/] I used this app to add frinds so I can chat with them using an international number.

  • LINE

LINE

https://line.me/ Same as whatsapp. Used heavily in Taiwan.

  • CouchSurfing

http://couchsurfing.com/

Use this service to meet local friends to hang out with. Much success.