Escaped the safe zone, traveled through Vietnam for 23 days

Duc Huynh quit his job, then spent a month’s salary and 23 days to travel across Vietnam, fulfilling his dream from his school days.

When he was a child, Nguyen Duc Huynh (23 years old, Dong Nai) thought that Vietnam had only Vung Tau beach. Later, when he went to school and learned geography, he understood that there were many other beaches on the map. Since then, Huynh has always rekindled his desire to explore throughout Vietnam. That became a reality when Huynh made a trip across Vietnam last summer, after mustering up the courage to quit his job that paid 10 million VND a month, giving him his main income.

Huynh took the photo in Binh Thuan, one of the first destinations of the journey through Vietnam.

Huynh took the photo in Binh Thuan, one of the first destinations of the journey through Vietnam.

Previously, Huynh was an employee in the furniture industry. He decided to quit his job because he wanted to have time to travel across Vietnam, then switched to filming and editing movies. When making this decision, he worried about the future, asking himself many times between two thoughts: “Continue to work for 10 million VND but don’t really like it” or “After Xuyen Viet alone, go home.” Submit your CV for a job you like but has a lower salary. In the end, he still chose to quit his job to do what he liked, accepting to give up his stable life to push himself into new challenges, but had time to fulfill his dream from school days. “I’m lucky that my parents respect this decision,” Huynh shared about his family’s support.

The journey took place in 23 days, the first leg from Dong Nai to Binh Thuan, 90 km with many hectares of land planted with dragon fruit. From a boy who only knew Vung Tau beach, Huynh gradually opened his eyes when passing through Vinh Hy Bay in Ninh Thuan. In the early days, when he was not used to the hot weather of the Central region, Huynh sometimes felt quite dizzy and lost strength due to heat stroke.

He continued to Khanh Hoa and Phu Yen, Quang Ngai, crossing Ca Pass, one of the longest passes in Vietnam. Coming to Hoi An (Quang Nam), the young man tried Mot restaurant for the first time because he saw reviews online and tried the Cao Lau dish but it didn’t suit his taste. Arriving in Da Nang, he expected to see the Dragon Bridge spew fire, but it was raining, and there were too many people, so with the nature of an introvert, Huynh decided to drive back to Hoi An to rest, and come back the next morning. Go to Son Tra peninsula.

Huynh likes the feeling of driving alone on a deserted road, surrounded by nature.

Huynh likes the feeling of driving alone on a deserted road, surrounded by nature.

Crossing Hai Van Pass to reach Hue, the climate and landscape begin to change. He was surprised by the ancient beauty of the ancient capital, then went to Quang Tri and visited La Vang Holy Land. In Quang Tri, the boy who loves history also went to Hien Luong bridge to feel for himself what he learned in books. Coming to Quang Binh, the first time he heard the voices of the people here, Huynh found there was something very unique, honest, and simple that made him more impressed than other regions and remembered it to this day.

Like other boys who love soccer, Huynh went to Nghe An to visit the Song Lam Nghe An club that he always followed, then went to Cua Lo, then returned to Thanh Hoa to rest. Arriving in Ninh Binh, he was overwhelmed by the beauty of Mua Cave and limestone mountains. The first time he came to Bai Dinh pagoda, he was surprised by its large scale.

Ninh Binh is also the place that impressed him the most in Vietnam. “I am attracted to the pace of life here. The scenery is poetic and beautiful, especially when viewed from the top of the mountain. Seeing clearly the tiny houses and people working in the vast fields, I can always picture it in my mind every time I hear about it. The people are friendly, with smiles on their faces even when working hard,” he described.

The next day, he went all the way to Quang Ninh, visiting Bai Chay bridge and Ha Long city. The next destinations in the following days are Bac Giang, Lang Son, Cao Bang, and Ha Giang. I love the roads of the Northeast mountains, I feel choked and heart touching when I see people still farming when it rains heavily, or I get emotional when I see the majestic terraced fields with my own eyes, hold my breath. 14-storey Khau Coc Cha Pass… The most emotional feeling was when reaching the northernmost point of the country – Lung Cu flagpole. Huynh is happy when his dream of exploring a length of Vietnam comes true.

The moment of touching the Lung Cu flag.

The moment of touching the Lung Cu flag.

Ha Giang is also the place he rates as the most beautiful in Vietnam. The green, majestic hills and mountains made him tremble, causing him to “scream with joy” many times when he was alone on the road. He likes to look at the children in Ha Giang, with affectionate eyes, always smiling and saying thank you when given gifts. “The children often laugh when I say hello, maybe because the Southern accent feels strange,” he said.

The trip through Vietnam did not stop there, he continued to move back to Hanoi, most impressed with Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and West Lake. Then, follow the road back to Ninh Binh, Hue, Da Nang, and turn through the Central Highlands, go to Kon Tum to explore Mang Den, then Pleiku, Buon Ma Thuot and Da Lat (Lam Dong). Return to Dong Nai, end of trip.

Traveling along North – South, Huynh clearly felt the cultural change. He found that Northern people were subtle and profound in their speech. He likes the Northern accent, “standard and cute”, likes to research about Northern culture, and learn about long-standing customs and traditions. People in the Central region are gentle, industrious and hard-working, a bit hot-tempered and harsh but very honest, always secretly caring for others. “People in the Central region have a hot temper and the climate is too harsh, but they don’t take it to heart and quickly forget,” he commented. Southerners are laid-back, approachable and liberal. Due to its favorable geographical location, where many economies intersect, the culture of this area is also rich and uniquely mixed.

Climbing Chua Chan mountain, Dong Nai.

Climbing Chua Chan mountain, Dong Nai.

The journey is not all rosy. Traveling so much made Huynh’s body unable to recover in time. When he arrived in Hanoi, he suffered heat shock at 36 degrees Celsius. Some other difficulties were broken headlights and climbing a mountain pass at night due to getting lost in Binh Dinh. Because of my nearsightedness, when climbing the pass in Ha Giang, I couldn’t see the road when it was dark and it was raining heavily.

He estimated that the trip cost about 10.7 million VND, which is equivalent to losing a month’s salary. He assessed the cost as reasonable and cheap, because he did not lose additional money such as flat tires, or spending money on tickets to famous spots, and there was not much to eat or drink. The trip is mainly to see beautiful scenery.

In addition to his dream coming true, he also received many things such as the freedom to live in the world he had thought of, even though he did not do exactly what was noted in the plan. In addition, Huynh made friends with many people and recorded his experiences through photos. Currently, after the trip across Vietnam, Huynh finds life fun and happy, thinks more openly and is more confident in communication. In the future, he will travel both inside and outside of Vietnam, and also do the job he loves even though the salary is lower so that he can have money to travel and feel that life is more meaningful.