Enjoying The Life

“Enjoying the life” is a Darling Man translation of a Vietnamese expression that I can no longer remember.

It’s an expression I use a lot because I love the quirkiness of it. The not-quite-right permutation of the phrase “this is the life” seems to capture the profound nature of what we really should be doing with what could be our one and only.

At the moment I really am enjoying the life of a travel guidebook writer, even though it’s a lot busier than I expected and A LOT more work.

I’ve been zipping around Southern Vietnam, exploring new places and revisiting others.

I’ve been staying five star (darlink!) and one star and I’m a bit ashamed to say I really do prefer the five star.

(But only when it’s free.)

I’ve traveled by bus, by train, by motorbike, by ferry, by boat and by taxi. I’m hoping to add bicycle to that list soon.

My rented beauty (a replacement to the one that broke down in the rain.)

My rented beauty (a replacement to the one that broke down in the rain.)

I’ve visited temples, pagodas, restaurants, cafes, hotels, resorts, cemeteries, beaches, markets, a giant Jesus and former royal residences.

I’ve eaten barbecued seafood on the beach, the fruits of a cooking course, endless bowls of noodle soup, hand snails (ốc bàn tay), the most disgusting mussels and scallops I’ve ever tasted and the most amazing eight course fine dining extravaganza in the history of the world. (Obviously the place that serves mud-flavoured seafood won’t be in the guidebook.)

I’ve eaten Vietnamese, Thai, Mexican, Japanese, French, buffet, a la carte, street food, shack food and market food.

Banh khot in Vung Tau

Banh khot in Vung Tau

I’ve seen more four-poster beds and deck chairs than I ever thought was possible.

I’ve seen incredible sunrises and sunsets.

Con Dao sunrise

Sunrise on Con Dao Island

I’ve had absolutely wonderful afternoon naps with no one to interrupt.

I’ve fallen in love with Con Dao Island and Sa Dec in the Mekong Delta. I’ve discovered a little town called Tra Vinh full of gorgeous Khmer temples.

I’ve seen monkeys, bats, birds, buffalo, cows, crocodiles, a five-flippered turtle, geckos galore and two enormous spiders. I missed the turtle nesting on Con Dao Island by a week.

And right now I’m in Nha Trang with my four-year-old “research assistant”. I’ve taken this questionably professional decision to *collaborate* (sounds so specical, doesn’t it?) with Miss M because it’s school holidays and I have so much work to do I don’t think I can take a week off.

Plus, I thought it would be fun. And so far it has been.

My research assistant hard at work looking at things, after a long morning jumping on things, jumping off things, swinging on things, eating chocolate and talking.

My research assistant hard at work looking at things, after a long morning jumping on things, jumping off things, swinging on things, eating chocolate and talking.

Because the biggest drawback of this fantabulous new job of mine is having to leave my family to travel.

The first night is great: I can sleep through the night and wake up whenever I feel like. But I wake up at 5am anyway, the time the baby usually signals sleep time is over and party time is ON.

(Sometimes party time begins at 3am. On those days I’m happy to be far away.)

It’s nice to eat in total silence, all alone with maybe a book for company. But only for one or two meals. After that I miss the chatter and craziness of four-year-old conversation.

While I’m away I keep myself super-busy — taking notes, taking photos, rushing from here to there and there to here just so I don’t have very many moment to think about how empty my arms are without my enormous happy baby and my long, tall, talkative four-year-old in them.

My Halloween baby

My Halloween baby

I am so SO incredibly lucky to have this job and Darling Man to look after our kids while I gallivant around.

Because if it was a full-time gig I don’t think I could manage.

It’s only possible for me to leave my baby because I know it’s a short-term assignment.

At the end of December I will be done.

Life will be back to normal, except I will have a long list of places in Southern Vietnam that we have to visit as a family.

Oh yes, we definitely need to come back here.

Oh yes, we definitely need to come back here.

If you want to keep up with my travels, Facebook is the way to go. So if you haven’t done so already, like The Dropout Diaries

5 years ago

By: Barbara

A career girl who dropped out, traveled, found love, and never got around to going home again. Now wrangling a cross-cultural relationship and two third culture kids.

6 Comments

  1. Soak it in sister! It;s not really work when you’re enjoying it this much. 😉

  2. Holly says:

    Paid to travel – yep, that sounds fabulous. But tough being away from the little people. And wow how your little man has grown! Such a cutie.
    Holly recently posted..{Review} Play N Wrap Hobby Mat

  3. Jan says:

    Love your very happy Halloween cutie. We loved Nha Trang – reminded us of North Qld.

  4. Stacey says:

    I’m so happy for you!

    Also, don’t talk about the food. You’re making me miss it too much!

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