I don’t do karaoke

colourful incense sticks of VietnamAt home we often fall into the trap of not being able to see beyond the world in which we live. Tina Jensen’s story is about her journey of discovery in Vietnam, where she tried things that she would never do at home and gained a whole new outlook on life…

“Intrepid’s promise of “discovering worlds beyond your own” conjures up images of new places, faces, experiences, the excitement of the unknown. It gets people thinking. Gets people dreaming. Gets people wanting to get out of the confines of their every day lives and see more of the world. I love it!

So I booked my place on the 20-day Best of Vietnam tour. A fresh-faced, starry-eyed wanderer eager to experience all Intrepid has offered to show me. Imperial palaces, bustling night markets, the majestic Halong Bay, palm-fringed beaches, world heritage Hoi An, the energy of Saigon, sedate Dalat, vibrancy of the Mekong Delta – get me off the plane and let me start experiencing!

I finally make it to Vietnam. 20 days of seeing one small part of the world so different from my own. You were right Intrepid. But my greatest triumph is the realisation that life is not a noun, it’s a verb. That I didn’t only see the magic of this beautiful country, but I pushed myself to do things that I never thought possible, or was too embarrassed to even try.

I don’t do karaoke, but Celine, Tina and Elton had all better keep their eye out.

I fear heights, but there is a new flag flying over Cat Ba’s highest peak.

I hate getting dirty, but have plucked a chicken at 2am.

I wipe the rim of any glass before drinking at my local. But I enjoyed the thrill of not knowing what I was eating, joining the locals at street level for every meal.

I don’t talk to strangers, but my 12 travelling companions know all about my marriage break up, ambitions and passion for giving.

I love to write, but thought nobody would be interested; self doubt crept in. Now I want to tell my story, my words from the heart, my tales of romance, war, adventure and travels.

I don’t take time out from the office, but enjoyed the sheer pleasure of relaxing in Nha Trang and the fact I was happy doing nothing – a hammock will now take pride of place in my backyard.

I wear colours of power, but my business suits of blue and red will now contrast with my bright pink scarves, floral nails and blonde highlights.

I didn’t learn to swim until 16, but lept into the South China Sea.

I enjoy the luxuries of my lounge, my SMEG kitchen, my never ending supply of hot water, my walk-in robe filled with designer labels. But have learned to not take them for granted.

So thank you Intrepid for showing me some more of the world. But thank you also for allowing me to have more of a life when back in my world. For I’ve done things I never thought possible. I am no longer going to say I can’t do anything or one day I will. I can do things that previously would have caused my heart to flutter. I have learnt not to waste anything, especially my time. There is more to life.

I don’t do karaoke, but am a superstar in Hue!”

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* photo by Kevin Petty – Intrepid Photography Competition

About the author

Sue Elliot - Like many of us, Sue contracted a serious travel bug at an early age. She's visited over 90 countries in search of a cure, but her wanderlust just seems to get worse. Thankfully at Intrepid Travel she's amongst people who understand the affliction and since 1998 Sue has enjoyed being our blog and newsletter editor. Here you'll find helpful travel advice and inspiring tales from Sue and other Intrepid travellers.

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Geoff Manchester / Reply

What an entertaining story. Nothing is more rewarding for us at Intrepid than to hear of the pleasure and life-changing experiences you personally got out of the trip. Keep the passion and the writing going!
Intrepid MD

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