As we wrap up our time in Hanoi, I want to reflect on some of the lessons we have learned as well as explain what lead us to this point. The challenges we have faced have taught us a lot about ourselves and we are more determined than ever to achieve our goals. We can’t wait to see what else we will learn in the next few months of travel.
Sean and I will leave Hanoi and head to our next destination, Hong Kong, in one week. This comes as a relief for Sean and me since we would not only appreciate change, but we have also had a difficult time in Hanoi. We’re particularly excited about being in a country where we are slightly more familiar with the culture and language, having been to China before. We look forward to having opportunities to practice our Mandarin and to experience southern Chinese cuisine.
Sean and I realized we haven’t been super clear about our goals and plans for the next few months so I’m going to try to lay that out for you here. At the beginning of this trip, we didn’t really have a plan for how we were going to spend our time here. We figured we might try teaching English online or start our own web development business, but we found that those ideas were either uninspiring or over ambitious. We started planning this trip with a fantasy about being digital nomads traveling throughout Asia with our location-independent jobs. In reality, we were surprised to find how much we missed living in Seattle and the comforts of having a place to really call home. With this realization in mind, we decided that what we really wanted was to take these 5-6 months abroad to prepare ourselves for an improved life in Seattle. We loved living in Seattle, but we felt a bit stuck in our jobs and felt a need for a change of pace. Since timing of our lease and Sean’s contract lined up and we had managed to save up enough money, we decided it was time for that change. After selling everything and saying goodbye to dear friends, we road tripped back to Asheville, NC to visit family and prepare for our travels. Here is what remains of our SE Asia trip:
- Now – Feb. 4: Hanoi, Vietnam
- Feb. 4 – Feb. 11: Hong Kong, Hong Kong
- Feb. 11 – Apr. 4: Shenzhen, China
- Apr. 4 – Apr. 18: Chiang Mai, Thailand
- Apr. 18: Asheville, NC
- ???: Seattle
The date we move to Seattle depends on when Sean or I get a job in Seattle. We hope that our efforts on this trip will pay off and allow us to quickly move to Seattle after our return to Asheville. Besides the programming skills, our time abroad has taught us so much about ourselves. We still have MANY moments of doubt or lack of motivation, but Sean and I are always aiming to learn and improve. I’ll admit that I’m proud of how far we have come. We have learned so much about managing our time, pushing through the moments of homesickness and uncertainty about our decisions, as well as recognizing when it’s time to step back and pause to appreciate our accomplishments and struggles. Our final goals by the end of this trip are to have numerous experiences in the places we will travel to between now and mid-April and to gain the software development skills necessary to get well-suited jobs in Seattle upon our return.
Thank you all for your words of encouragement and for following us as we explore new places and figure out what we’re doing. I look forward to sharing our adventures in Hong Kong, next week!