“For me, traveling is therapy. I think a lot while I’m on a long bus ride, or when I catch a plane. I reflect on the decisions I’ve made so far, I look at my life back home. Especially when you travel on your own, you learn a lot. You have to make all the decisions by yourself, you have to know your own limits and believe in the good of people. You learn skills they don’t teach you in school: how to deal with rejection, how to protect yourself or how to pick yourself up when you’ve hit a hard rock. You are all you’ve got at that moment. For me, traveling often doesn’t feel like a vacation anymore, it has become a mental thing as well. Other things I’ve learned? I deal with stuff in a more calm and considerate way. You might miss a bus. Don’t worry, there’s going to be another one. Complaining about it is an instant relief, but it’s not going to solve anything.”

“My first solo trip was to Asia, when I was 23. I stayed abroad for about 3,5 months and eventually came back to make money. I found a job in software, which offered more flexibility. I could work from home and I could even travel internationally for my work. And so I maximized every travel hour I had. Eight months ago, I quit this job too and went backpacking again. I don’t want to spend hours and hours in an office. There are so many people who do that and they don’t even enjoy the work they’re doing. It just seems like a black and white world to me, without any colours. My parents didn’t like the fact that I was going to travel. They are immigrants from Vietnam. Generally, first generation immigrants think that their children should just find a job in their new country, get married – live their lives in a ‘normal’ way. The parents already made the biggest trip of their life time: immigrating. It’s ironic: they are the ones who traveled to a new place with us, we have to adjust to a new culture and in the US, the values are very, very different. Do what you want to do, become who you want to become. Traveling is also not integrated into the Vietnamese culture. My parents are Catholic, old fashioned and protective. My solution? Just do it. Go traveling. Tell them what your plans are, and stay calm about it. That way, they will see that you know what you’re doing. Slowly, my parents are getting used to my lifestyle as well. Which is good, because I’m not done discovering the world – not at all.”