At home we often fall into the trap of not being able to see beyond the world in which we live. We know what we don’t like, but spend too little time discovering new things to enjoy. Tina Jensen’s story is about her journey of discovery in Vietnam, where the things that she would never do at home became her guilt-free pleasures abroad…
“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 dived from the top of the boat 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 Tamara Whitehead – Intrepid Photography Competition