Same Same. But Different. That’s a phrase I heard numerous times while on my trip of a lifetime to Vietnam and Cambodia. It was a phrase that reflected my perception of the two countries and a phrase that mirrors how I feel having reached the big 4-oh.
If you know me, you know I don’t like to be the centre of attention and definitely don’t like anyone making a fuss over me. But I wanted to celebrate my birthday in some way. And as an avid traveller, the way I knew best was to take myself on holiday, thus avoiding any sort of fuss!
So to Vietnam and Cambodia it was. Two countries I’ve always wanted to go to, but never quite managed. I joined a group tour company in its fledgling years specialising in groups between the ages of 30 and 45. Perfect for me. Working in the industry, I’m always keen to discover new operators, and like a true Brit do my research. And then research some more. So I knew this holiday with The Flashpack was the trip was for me.
It didn’t disappoint. In fact it was everything I hoped it would be and much much more. Since returning so many people have asked what my favourite part was and I honestly can’t say. There were so many highlights … cycling the streets of hectic Hanoi, trekking in Sapa, the incredible views across Halong Bay, shopping in Hoi An and ticking Angkor Wat off my bucket list.
Back to Same Same. But Different. Both countries have such a recent and very tragic history. Learning about it was overwhelming and often upsetting. The local people were so welcoming and friendly. In Vietnam the scenery, sights and smells are very very special. But Cambodia has Angkor Wat. Or Angkor Whaaaaaat? As our guide called it. It’s like nowhere I’ve been before and a short yoga session on the walls of the temple is something that will stay with me for many years.
And what about turning 40? I feel exactly the same as I did two months ago, but yet different as I remind myself that I’ve passed a major milestone in my life and know that there is so much more that I simply have to see and do.
Now where’s my phone, laptop, tablet? I need to start researching my next trip of a lifetime.…