2.5 years Vietnam: A suitcase and a backpack.

A suitcase and a backpack. That was all I had left after I sold/gave away everything I owned. I had decided to leave the Netherlands for an adventure in Vietnam. “In search for a possible expansion for my company”. Thats how I sold it to myself. The goal? “Cheaper labour and a bigger pool of skilled developers” I was hoping to find. I researched the countries of choice and Vietnam ended up as the basket where I was going to put all my eggs in.

Didn’t have any feeling with items I sold. But looking at my bags in the airplane and realizing my entire life was now just me and my 2 bags changed my perspective. Looking back at that moment it didn’t only change my view of myself, but my entire perspective of the world. It felt like becoming a citizen of earth, no longer bounded to a country. Only moments after this moment I realized a funny thing. I spent all that time researching Vietnam as where to go for work, but what in the world was I going to do after work? What kind of country was Vietnam? In all my ambition and focus I totally overlooked my personal preference. I literally had no idea where I would land in besides a nice temperature… Were people in Vietnam friendly? Where am I going to live? What can I do for fun?

A fast forward to now 2.5 years later and I can honestly say it’s been the most amazing time of my life. I met the funniest, eccentric, weird, and most chilled people ever here. From chilling in a pub with a new friend non stop for 36 hours (Aussies are awesomely crazy) to partying in the jungle and city trips to all the beautiful neighboring cities like Bangkok, KL and Singapore. People from all over the world, with different cultural backgrounds and different views on life. It’s been enriching.

Vietnam is the beauty and the beast, both of which I’m ok with as I don’t shy away from challenge. For me it’s the perfect mix of freedom versus rules. You’ll meet rules and laws where you search for them, but if you stay cool and out of the game you can live as free as a Dutch citizen can.

The Vietnamese people are great warm hearted people. Sure there are bad things going on here, but as a developing country you can expect this. In my opinion the Vietnamese people I met are great. Super warm hearted and very positive. But also the expat community is really fun and a nice community of different kinds of people.

The culture here is really exciting for ambitious people like me, there is an opportunity around each corner. If I had more time I would’ve taken on even more projects. It’s such a great feeling that the country here revolves around opportunity, and not around blockages and legislations as I feel Europe has sunk into. Deregulation is something Europeans can really learn from the Vietnamese. You have an electricity bill to pay? a guy comes to the door with the bill for you to pay. You don’t pay? They switch of the power. No login screens at their site or a service desk, no late letter etc. Same for your phone, water, etc etc. :). Simple, effective and totally hassle free. Primitive, maybe, but for me the perfect solution.

Low in day-life rules and food is abundant and cheap. We eat out almost every day = no problem! I once calculated that I have over 5 weeks in a year free now for other things due to this food and rules time saving. It used to be filled with just handeling day life in the Netherlands. 5 weeks! It’s just crazy.

I really am looking forward to coming times! Not planning to get back any time soon, there is still so much to do and discover… I’ve even just deregistered from the Netherlands… I’m homeless! But a life of passion awaits ahead.. I’ve even dared to love again. Can’t wait to see where I’ll be at in another 2.5 years!

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