U70 travels across Vietnam – Kon Tum News

A group of four friends, all nearly 70 years old, traveled together from Lam Dong to the Northwest by pickup truck and returned after 15 days.

Returning home to Bao Loc, Lam Dong for 3 days, Mr. Nguyen Thanh Trung (68 years old) is still lightheaded, remembering the roadside meal, the hastily pitched tent, or the nervous time he and his brothers crossed the zigzag Northwest Pass. craggy. All are memories, although small but memorable, in the journey through Vietnam of him and his three younger brothers Tran Van Chung (66 years old), Nguyen Ngoc Quang, and Tran Quoc Khanh (65 years old).

The mountains and forests of Viet Bac are waiting for us

“The vast Southern fields, the high green Central Mountains, the mountains and forests of Viet Bac are waiting for us,” they hummed and sang. This is a line from Nong Lam Muc, a march that all four members still remember from their school days, and is also the driving force that prompted them to set out together after 50 years of being friends.

4 members took a commemorative photo on Lo Xo Pass, Kon Tum on February 5.

Four members took a commemorative photo on Lo Xo Pass, Kon Tum on February 5. From the left are Mr. Khanh, Mr. Trung, Mr. Chung, Mr. Quang.

They are students of Bao Loc Agriculture and Forestry School. At that time, Mr. Trung and the other 3 people studied 2 classes apart, but were very close because they were boarding students and lived together like brothers. They, like many other students at the school, share a love of the forest, nature, and country. After graduating, the four still met regularly, especially during school visits. Many times they intended to go through Vietnam together, but then canceled because of economic concerns and family care.

During the conversation on the 29th day of Nham Dan Lunar New Year, memories of student days and youthful wishes once again came rushing back. Mr. Quang proposed to go through Vietnam right after Tet, because now everyone is old, has a lot of time and has enough economic conditions. After listening, Mr. Trung nodded quickly. “This is their wish for a long time. Like the eldest brother, I also like adventure, so I agreed to bring a pickup truck to take my friends,” Mr. Trung said, smiling.

The schedule set the departure date for the 5th day of Tet, but because they were excited, they decided to leave a day earlier. On the day of departure, relatives were worried but still very supportive. Ms. Nguyen Ngoc Hanh Dung, Mr. Quang’s daughter, also wrapped more candies and cakes to give to children in the highlands. “Dad travels for a long time, so I worry about him getting sick and tired, but when I go with close friends, my whole family supports me. Dad has worked hard all his life, so now I just hope he enjoys his old age and is happy,” Ms. Dung said.

On the 2-wheel drive pickup truck there are many more clothes from shorts to long sleeves and warm shirts. The members also brought along a full set of tables and chairs, cooking utensils, and camping tents in case they needed to rest along the way. From Bao Loc, they drove along Truong Son road toward the Northwest and Northeast border areas.

5,714 km across the country

In the afternoon, they went through Dak Lak, Kon Tum, Quang Tri, Nghe An, Thanh Hoa, Hoa Binh, Son La, Lai Chau, Lao Cai, Ha Giang, Cao Bang. And when they returned, they chose the route along the Vietnamese coast to Quang Ninh, Nam Dinh, Ninh Binh, Thua Thien Hue, Binh Dinh… In total, they traveled 5,714 km together, passing through 32 provinces and cities in 15 days.

During the trip, they visited many scenic spots, historical and cultural relics such as Our Lady of Mang Den Pilgrimage Center, Tomb of Herbalist Hai Thuong Lan Ong, Ban Gioc Waterfall, Lung Cu Flagpole, Cua Ong Temple … Going in the winter of the North, they were also lucky to see the sea of ​​clouds in Lai Chau and plum blossoms in Moc Chau, Son La.

During the trip, based on their strengths and personalities, the 4 members divided the work. Having traveled across Vietnam many times by motorbike, the responsibility of “navigation” was assigned to Mr. Trung and Chung. While Mr. Trung drove, Mr. Chung sat next to him, chatting and looking at Google Maps. Mr. Khanh is the treasurer and takes care of health, prepares medicine and medical supplies, while Mr. Quang will help with logistics and record travel diaries.

They are not fixed on how far they will have to drive, they will just stop when they are tired. Therefore, many times the whole group had the experience of “eating and sleeping in the bush” such as camping and grilling chicken in bamboo bushes along the road before going to Pha Din pass or Hoang Su Phi (Ha Giang).

Before the long trip, the members were worried about safety and health, but unexpectedly, the more they went, the more fun and more energy they had. “On the road, the driver is the most worried, but strangely, he never feels tired. Even when his brothers are asleep, he still drives until 5-6 p.m.,” Mr. Quang smiled when talking about Mr. Trung, the eldest brother of Mr. group. He said that “matching taste”, listening and respecting each other helped them forget all their fatigue.

Sharing the same opinion, Mr. Trung shared that he had traveled alone many times before, but when traveling with many people, everything needed a common opinion. “Even though it’s my experience, it still follows you. On the recent trip, we were happier and more united,” he said.

During the journey, each person has their own impressions and emotions with the land they pass through. Mr. Quang remembers the image of the west of Truong Son, the road where many years ago the government called on people to come here to resettle, now the houses are modern, like in foreign countries. The second image that pained and touched him the most was the miserable life of people in remote areas in the North. They sowed each seed under the rocky soil when the weather was bitterly cold.

This was also the first time Mr. Quang saw with his own eyes the beauty of the northern mountains, where winding passes hug majestic mountains. He said emotionally: “This was truly an eye-opening trip. I was able to see scenery that I had only seen on TV and radio before.”

Mr. Trung was also excited to return to the Northwest and Northeast. Many of the places he visited were previously remote countryside, with no conditions for transportation, land, or soil, but now the difficulties have eased. “Seeing firsthand the efforts of people living in difficult places and the development and rise of my homeland, I remind myself how to live and how to share with people around me,” he said. Therefore, during the trip, the members also brought along many gifts from the school’s alumni to celebrate the New Year for the highland children they met on the road.

The whole group gave lucky money to highland children they accidentally met during the trip.

The whole group gave lucky money to highland children they accidentally met during the trip.

At the end of the trip on February 20, the whole group was healthy and returned safely to their families. Friends, brothers and sisters from the same year asked, they excitedly talked about the long journey. Many people expressed their desire to join us on the next trip, to the North or to the West. Each time, Mr. Trung smiled and said, “You guys have suggested it, if you like it, just move.”

Lan Huong Photo: Provided by character

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