Travel Journal

Goodbye Vietnam, 4/24

(Thursday 5 May 2011) by Joanne Chang
The train reaches Hanoi at 4:30 a.m. and we check back into the Lucky Hotel, our few last hours in Vietnam together before I catch the bus to China. A shower, change of clothes, and cat-nap later we are squatting in the alleyway across from our hotel eating pho and enjoying the peaceful buzz of Sunday morning in Hanoi. At 8:30, George walks me to the bus pick-up on the other side of the lake. I get some good pics of Travel George, remind him about the Malaysian coffee-bread shop (shoot we forgot to go, but he still has time!), and say goodbye. As the bus waits to leave, I sit in the back window seat and look down at him below, cheerful and adorable, putting a smile on my face even as the tears run down. It doesn't feel right to leave him in this moment, but it's time, and it's the only thing I know to do. My heart hurts as the bus pulls away, thinking of him alone in Hanoi now, wondering how he's feeling and if he truly forgives me for going away.

Then onto China. My Southeast Asia trip behind me, my Vietnam adventure with George complete. It's sad and a little scary to be alone again, headed to China without a plan. But I'm confident that everything will be alright. I'm reminded of a song lyric, "Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end". I know how lucky I am to have had these past few months of life-changing travel, to have remained safe and healthy, and to have had this rare unencumbered time away with George.

As with everything in life Vietnam has passed to give way to new beginnings, and I have so much to look forward to.


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