I spent two and a half weeks with my sister Fia, my brother-in-law Joel and these three goofy girls, Somara, Ava and Lily, travelling around Vietnam. Fia thinks 5 minutes of unplanned time is an opportunity to cram in another activity; so we did A LOT in that time.
First we met in Hoi An, an ancient city in central Vietnam. And from there we went on a wild adventure eating strange food, changing beds every few nights, waiting for transport, rushing to catch it, cycling, kayaking and hiking in 30 plus degree weather; going flat out to take in as much as we could before Fia and her posse had to return to Canada. And even though there were times when the girls didn’t want to eat what was on offer, or they were ‘too hot’ or ‘tired’, they more than embraced the experience. For me they came to define the experience, taking it to another level.
For one thing, they saw the fun in everything.
They had no fear of getting close to really look at or pet things.
They were door openers, receiving invites to places we might never have gone. After travelling 5 hours north of Hanoi we landed in a small village near Sapa, home to most of Vietnam’s ethnic minorities. The staff at our home-stay immediately asked if we would like to teach an English class. So even though they’d been up early, travelled all morning, and some-one (no names) had puked on the bus, they were keen to trek up the mountain and meet the locals.
We spent the better part of two hours helping 8 or so kids with their English vocabulary, pronunciation and spelling. Our girls took turns playing teacher and eventually the kids sang for one another; Ava, Somara and Lily in French and English, the local kids in Vietnamese. And for one last blast of fun, we all did the Macarena.
Everywhere we went they became a main attraction. This young guy started doing stunts on his buffalo as soon as he saw them. Do you think he was trying to impress them just a little bit?
On another expedition to a famous pagoda, called Bai Dinh, we spent a significant amount of time with local tourists who wanted to be photographed with the girls. (I think they asked my sister and I to be in some just to be polite).
Travelling with kids can be a hassle, but so can travelling with adults. I’m so grateful that I spent my first weeks in Vietnam with these three gorgeous monkeys.
P.S. When culling through photographs I found a few more that reminded me why I love to travel with these guys. No matter where we are they can conjure up a dance routine, a tune, or just go with the moment.