A while back I went to travel with two really good friends, Elena and Kevin, to discover Vietnam. A couple to be more specific. Was I the third wheel? Yes, yes I was. Being single as one can be, it’s hard to avoid third wheel situations. But with these two, I didn’t feel like the third wheel. Together, we were the Three Stooges! Three nitwits motorcycling through Vietnam.
That was back in February. I know, it’s quite far back, but I had a hard time finding inspiration lately due to working all the time. Why I took the time to write now? Because I realized it’s important for my sanity to keep doing things that make me happy, like sharing nice adventures. You’re welcomed to do the same.
Back to the three stooges! We left Beijing quite excited. Arrived in Vietnam destroyed by the travel and the late flights… By the time we managed to finally get our hands on the motorcycles, it was already early afternoon and we had a lot of distance to cover. At this point, we are in Hanoi. Beautiful, peaceful, Hanoi… No one said ever. It was utter chaos! It took us the longest time to get out of the city, which was our objective. And once we got out, we started to go towards the mountains. But darkness was settling in. And it was colder then expected. Then the rain hit us. First day on the road and all three of us were starting to think that this was a terrible mistake…Go home? Curl in a little ball on the side of the road and cry? Scream? Lots of thoughts out there.
Imagine the following. You’re on a motorcycle, in another country. It’s dark, raining and cold while you go through twisted roads to get to your hotel. You were dressed for “Vietnam weather”. More like, you thought it would be hot… Basically, your lips are blue, you are shivering on your motorcycle. You can’t feel your hands anymore. You can’t see because of the rain and the other cars. Then you see a bus crashed. It slid on the road due to bad weather. You keep going, slowly, and you find another car crashed. You see a woman crying, there’s blood. People are assisting her, so you keep going. At this point, you are scared shitless. Then you take a turn, and before you know it, you’re sliding on the road, sideways. You just lost control. Didn’t even have time to have last thoughts.
That was my first day. I wasn’t hurt that bad. Some bruises, some road burns. Thank god for the helmet. But at this point, I wasn’t so sure anymore about the rest of the trip. But we are the three stooges! We are too dumb to give up. After that first day, we setup some rules. No night drive because of the horrible driving conditions. We always have at least two people together. We find check points where we wait for each other.
I wouldn’t say it was perfect from there on. But the views, the roads, the everything was just amazing. It almost put you in a meditative state while you reflect on your life, your decisions and what brought you up to this point. When you decide to stop because the view is just breathtaking, it centers you.
I needed it. We all needed this trip. We had fun, we cried, we got angry, we screamed, we drank and partied. We did it all. It was in all aspects, an adventure. Going through dirt roads, teaching Elena how to ride manual on a motorcycle, laughing to tears.
There’s nothing I regret about this liberating trip, even the bad moments. They make you grow. They put you in perspective and they push you to be more.
Our trio’s dynamic was quite fun too. Honestly, Kev and Elena made me the dad… It was really like traveling with two children. But sometimes, I was also the child, Lena the mom. And so on. Wait… Kev was always the child. (Joke, he’s a genius working towards his PhD.)
On our travels, we met with locals, with friends from Beijing as well as a friend from Canada. Small world! We went through mountains, beaches and forests. We went all the way down to Ho Chi Ming in two weeks. That’s over 2000km.
We left Hanoi and headed straight for the mountains towards the west. Then we stayed along the mountains most of the time until Nha Trang. We did a bit of coastal drive but preferred overall the mountains. We went back inland after Nha Trang towards Ho Chi Ming to reach our final destination.
While we traveled, there’s a lot of places you can find to sleep at. Some places are better then others, but honestly, you just want a place to crash from the travel.
IF I had to do it again, I would probably take a month instead of two weeks to lessen the burden on the body while riding. It isn’t for everyone.
Besides that, I would go on an adventure with Kev and Elena in the blink of an eye. Really hoping some of my folks from Montreal get to meet them someday. Maybe. Who knows what will happen in the future. That’s what makes it exciting I guess.
Three Stooges out!
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