One day in Mid June, I was sitting around the office with my girlfriend Mariah, reminiscing on the fact that when were younger we would pack our bags and travel everywhere as long as our bank account has not emptied. Now, all we ever do is sit around the office and look at postcard pictures on the internet.
“Let’s go to Vietnam,” I can’t remember which of us said that first.
Two months later we have booked our plane tickets, gotten three more friends to join us for the trip, and accumulated papers of research on places we would go and things we would do. The thing about me is that I don’t like to be ‘touristy’. I don’t like going to other places around the world, only to end up in some overrated tourist beach and eating common western food and spending two days in the main city while claiming that I have visited the country. I like to get right under its skin. Eat its local food and visit places where everyday people do everyday things, while gawking in awe at the same time.
We decided to visit Vietnam – and by Vietnam, I don’t mean visiting the main city and peering at the museum windows. We wanted to backpack across the country, and so we planned our trip from North to South of the country, covering two large cities, one small town and one large bay.
Here are some things that you must, MUST BRING WITH YOU when you go on a backpacking trip
1. Clothes that can be worn at least two different styles. Who says you have to look like a slob when travelling? Then again, you don’t want to be dragging three suitcases filled with clothes.
2. Cash. Apparently, it’s hard to use a credit card in Vietnam, so this was a good move.
3. A small blanket – this can double as a blanket for cold plane/bus/train rides, a towel if necessary, and a mat if u need to have a small picnic at parks when you’re discovering a city.
4. Disposable undies – Super light in the bag, and nothing boosts your mood better than a pair of clean dry ones!
And here are some things YOU SHOULD FORGET ABOUT BRINGING with you.
1. Makeup – bring a lip balm, mascara and a compact, and that’s it. NO NEED FOR THE FOUNDATION.
2. Suitcase. It’s called a backpacking trip, bimbo. Not only does it make your life difficult by having to drag it everywhere, it screams ‘princess’ instead of ‘adventurous’. And nobody likes princesses in a backpacking trip.