I was living in London in a flat with 2 of my best friends. We were all as broke as each other and all in jobs that we were as clueless about, as each other was. However, we ploughed on regardless; the pros of being in London far out weighed the cons. For starters our entire social life lived there and you were never short of doing things. However, London did have cons:
-It’s bloody expensive
-It would always be there.
Moving from London to Saigon
8 months into the London circuit I was offered a job in Vietnam. I had approximately 5 weeks to pack up my room and go. It was nerve racking, whilst exciting and I always knew I would always regret not going. I headed for Ho Chi Minh City, bags packed, not knowing one single person. Saigon is not like Singapore or Hong Kong, it’s still very much a third world country (although accelerating rapidly) and the best word to describe it is ‘chaos’. Having said that, it is the best kind of chaos.
I met Tom a week into arriving (on Tinder), having explicitly said I was not looking for anything other than friends; quote ‘totally mateless’. Having only arrived a couple days after me Tom was in the same boat and misery loves company. So we began our Saigon adventure together and in doing so I made a life long friend.
Having established after a week that we were officially friends, we would plan our mission of making more friends. Tom was a lawyer with no young expats in his office and I worked as a copywriter. So it began and slowly but surely our group began to grow; every city is fun as long as you know people, but I think this is especially true of Saigon. We had a ball and the first 6 months were some of the best months of my life. The opportunity to travel was huge, whether it be in Vietnam (Hanoi, Hoi An, Nha Trang- the list is endless) or to places just close enough to go for a couple of days (so far Bali and Sri Lanka).
The cost of living is amazing and the food is everything I love; chili, garlic, ginger and vast quantities of fish sauce! Whilst Vietnam is very much on the traveller’s grid, Saigon had never bothered me much when I was passing through at 18. However on moving here, I’ve learnt all of its quirks and can see how much it has to offer. I am seeing it in all its earthy chaos, before it becomes a Singapore or Hong Kong in 10-15 years time.
I have now been here a year. Tom has left, but I have met some exceptional people along the way. I have also met some absolute nut cases as well but they’ve only added to the experience and the laughs. Being in a totally new country has been a blessing as much as it has been a curse. I’ve learnt that packing up my flat in London and moving here was one of the best decisions I ever made, however it will only makes leaving that much harder.