A friend of mine moved to Saigon in September, and just as the wet season in the region has started to cease, I’ll visit Saigon and Singapore for two weeks — mainly to see my friend, but also because of general curiosity. It’s the first time I’m going to Asia. Unlike all of my friends I never had a gab year of backpacking through India, Cambodia or Laos, never went on resort holidays to Thailand or the Philippines with my family and never summoned up the courage to go on exchange study programs in Tokyo or Hong Kong. Until recently, my cultural inputs, travels and dreams of travels have always revolved around Europe and the US. Starting with Southeast Asia, I’ve been thinking lately that it’s about time I broaden my horizon. Out of fear of missing out on anything and due to a general cultural curiosity, I always plan travels down to the smallest detail. Seeing as I’ll be working throughout this trip, though, first from my friend’s flat and a workspace in Saigon and then from my office in Singapore and hope that these will be the first of many weeks out there, I haven’t prepared a lot though. There is something appealing about not being able to see the whole trip play out as a film before I’ve even left. As something new, I’ll actually explore, have ears and eyes wide open and go on an adventure without a script of expectations. I may have a lot of tips from friends and friends of friends, online travel guides, pictures, facts and analyses about Southeast Asia in general and Saigon and Singapore in particular bookmarked on my laptop, and will probably skim through all of it before departure on 6 November, but at least as a starting point it’s all quite open.
I’ll document my experiences here.