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Living In Ho Chi Minh City • Travel Lush


After shifting overseas in July 2014, I began compiling month-to-month roundup posts about life as an expat in Southeast Asia and all of the nitty gritty that goes on behind the scenes right here at Travel Lush. Take a look at my most up-to-date month-to-month roundup posts Might, June, and July.

I’ve type of dropped the ball recently. In phrases of running a blog, I imply.

I assume I’ll simply come proper out and admit it – I’ve been in a little bit of a running a blog rut. Not that running a blog is a full-time job or something however it’s one thing I’ve liked doing since I pressed publish on my first weblog submit again in 2014. However prior to now few months, I simply haven’t been all that into it.

Recently, I simply haven’t paid any thoughts to composing weblog posts or maintaining with social media or growing web page views. It’s simply not been on the highest of my priorities listing. And that’s completely OK.

After a little bit of a hiatus, I’m lastly feeling motivated to put in writing once more and it feels good. Not pressured, simply good. Maybe I wanted a break.

I began the ‘This Expat Life’ collection what looks like one million months in the past. It was truly slightly over 4 years in the past once I was dwelling in Jakarta, Indonesia. Since then, I’ve solely failed to put in writing a month-to-month roundup publish as soon as.

Properly, now it’s thrice.

What I like about these posts is that they act as a diary, of types, for me. They’re a means that I can look again on this insane journey I’ve taken and keep in mind what was happening at that interval in my life: the great, the dangerous and the downright ugly.

So, as an alternative of masking one month, this publish will cowl the final three. Let’s get to it:


Making an effort to see extra of Saigon

I discover that once I stay in a metropolis, I’m means worse at in search of out new and enjoyable actions than once I’m truly touring to a metropolis. So through the month of September, I made extra of an effort to hunt out all of the gems (hidden and in any other case) this metropolis has to supply. I even wrote an entire information on issues to do in Ho Chi Minh City. For those who’re heading this manner, undoubtedly give it a learn.

This constructing is filled with cool outlets and cafes!

My favourite place I discovered this summer time was 14 Ton That Dam. Like so many locations in HCMC, this spot masquerades as a rundown condo complicated however is definitely an M.C. Escher-esque constructing full of quirky bars, cafes and boutiques. I’d walked previous this place one million occasions and by no means knew what was inside. Hidden “shopping malls” are a factor on this metropolis and it’s one of many many issues that I really like that about Saigon!

A much-needed journey house


For these of you who comply with this weblog actually intently, you’ll keep in mind that the months of July and August have been a bit tough for me personally. By the top of August I simply actually, actually wanted a break, and I actually, actually needed to be house with my household. So my annual journey to San Diego couldn’t have come at a greater time.

As soon as I landed at LAX, my mother drove me straight to my sister’s home in Orange Nation, and my sister proceeded to whisk me away to her favourite Mexican meals joint the place I had my first chile relleno burrito in a yr (!!!). Meals and household: It was the right approach to have fun being again residence.

Truthfully, that type of sums up my time in California: I frolicked with my household, ate all of my favourite meals, and cuddled with my crotchety kitty. It was type of good.



Wrapping up my journey to San Diego

On October 7, my time in San Diego was up. It’s all the time arduous to say goodbye however this time it was notably troublesome. The longer I reside this expat lifetime of mine the extra I’m reminded of simply how a lot my household means to me and simply how a lot I miss having them in my on a regular basis life. Seeing them simply every year, for a couple of fleeting days or hours, simply isn’t sufficient. However I suppose I ought to be thankful for the time I do get with each one in every of them. This journey was all about spending high quality time with household and whereas I didn’t get to see everybody my mission was past profitable. I had lengthy chats with my mother, walked on the seashore with my sister, watched baseball with my dad, had hourly cuddle periods with my 20-year-old kitty. This journey was precisely what I needed and wanted. I suppose that’s why it was so bittersweet to say goodbye.

Taking a digital detox

Earlier than my journey to San Diego, my iPhone all however broke. It will barely register to the touch or hook up with wifi, so I couldn’t actually use it. Add to that the PAINFULLY sluggish web at my mother’s home and the truth that I didn’t have an American SIM card. Principally, I didn’t actually use a telephone all the time I used to be at house – and it was superb. I felt a lot extra current and within the second. And I significantly really feel prefer it made my journey house higher. I suppose my unintentional digital detox is what impressed my running a blog hiatus.

Work, work, work

My workload in October was insane. I do have a daily job, which I work set hours Monday by means of Friday. However I additionally freelance on the aspect. And for some cause I had a ton of jobs come my method all month lengthy. As a result of Aaron works such insane hours, I don’t thoughts working extra time. I like working, staying busy and, in fact, making extra money by no means hurts. However October was undoubtedly a bit intense, work-wise.

A failed journey to see Halloween

Enjoyable reality: each Aaron and I are big horror movie followers. So once we came upon that one theater in HCMC can be screening Halloween on Halloween weekend, we have been past excited. The theater is a pair miles from our home. As somebody who loves strolling in all places, I satisfied Aaron to stroll all the best way there, which is extra treacherous than it sounds given the town’s loopy visitors and intense warmth. Sweaty however unscathed, we lastly made it to the theater and giddily went as much as the ticket counter solely to be advised we couldn’t purchase tickets. It seems the movie was banned (final minute) in Vietnam. We have been so bummed however couldn’t assist however snigger on the reality we’d walked up to now solely to be turned away. Ah properly. So it goes.


Visiting Hong Kong for the Literary Pageant

Do you know I used to be a literature main in school? I used to be. (I additionally was additionally an anthropology main!) Aaron additionally occurs to be a literature professor right here in Ho Chi Minh City, so when he talked about he’d be attending the Hong Kong Literary Pageant for work, I simply needed to tag alongside. And I’m so glad I did! Hong Kong is an unimaginable metropolis. I’ve visited a number of occasions now, however each time I’m going I expertise an entire new aspect of the town and I simply fall increasingly more in love with it.

hong-kong-street-artLove Hong Kong’s road artwork!

This time round, I stayed within the ultra-hip SoHo neighborhood on Hong Kong Island. In addition to seeing a couple of talks and panels on Asian-American literature and journey writing, I additionally took a while to discover the world. I clocked in so many miles in three days, strolling via lush parks, searching down road artwork and in search of out Beijing-style eateries (for previous occasions’ sake).

A “vacation” to Taiwan

I do know that as a result of I reside in Vietnam and my Instagram feed is filled with journey photographs that most individuals assume I’m on a perpetual trip. However that’s not the case. More often than not I’m simply right here in HCMC, sitting at my kitchen desk, working away. In reality, I’m doing that proper now! Once I do journey, I’m virtually all the time working remotely. And that was the case in Taiwan.

I really feel greater than blessed to have a job that permits me to work remotely, however it’s not fairly as glamorous because it sounds. And since I’ve a associate who has precise holidays, it’s not all the time straightforward to be working when has free time. I additionally randomly had an inflow of freelance work throughout this weeklong journey, so I used to be notably stressed whereas trying to be in trip mode.


We spent about 5 days exploring Taipei, it’s road artwork, road meals and road tradition. I did take a pair days off of labor so we might spend an extended weekend in Kenting Nationwide Park on the very southern tip of the island. I’m going to be writing a full publish about this journey…which was sort of an all-around catastrophe. I’ll offer you two little teasers: egg salad sandwiches from 7-11 and a pink Howdy Kitty e-bike.

It’s not you Taiwan, I swear it’s me.

Extra house woes

We’ve formally determined we’re shifting on the finish of our lease in January. Wait, that’s in all probability sort of deceptive. We’re not shifting on from HCMC. We’ll simply be shifting away from the town middle (which we love) to the suburbs (which we type of don’t love). The rationale behind our transfer isn’t simply because our house constructing is consistently going by means of renovations and we’re tremendous sick of being woken up by hammering each morning together with Sundays…significantly although.

construction-ho-chi-minh-cityThat point I lived throughout from a development website in Saigon.

That’s an enormous a part of it, however we additionally underestimated the time and price of Aaron’s commute. So we’re each on the identical web page that we have to chew the bullet and transfer from District 1 to District 7, principally a 30-minute drive away. I simply hope that we will discover an condominium the place we lastly really feel snug. We’ve had a tough go of flats prior to now. In the event you don’t consider me learn this publish and this publish. Hopefully, we’ll have higher luck this time round and if not at the least Aaron and I can spend extra time with one another. As of now, I really feel like I barely see the man!

Running a blog

I’ve been a nasty blogger however I did handle to eke out a number of posts up to now few months. Apparently, I used to be on a information writing kick.


I’m happening my ultimate visa run of the yr subsequent week and I’m notably jazzed about this one as a result of…I’m going to Phnom Penh! I haven’t been again to Cambodia’s capital metropolis since I moved from there to Beijing properly over three years in the past. That’s loopy to consider. It’ll be a fast journey however I’m tremendous excited to re-visit my previous stomping grounds, eat all of the meals and see how a lot the town has modified.

white-building-phnom-penhI do know for a reality this constructing has been demolished.

Aaron and I are additionally pondering a winter getaway for a number of weeks in February. We will’t precisely determine the place to go however proper now we’ve been serious about Indonesia, Italy and Germany. Truthfully, who is aware of the place we’ll find yourself, if anyplace. We’d simply keep put and discover extra of Vietnam. I’m kinda craving for some colder climate although, so Europe within the winter is sounding actual good proper about now. Actually, Ho Chi Minh City is scorching on a regular basis.

arno-river-florenceGoing again to Italy won’t be the worst factor…


Like I stated I’ve been sluggish with Instagram the previous few months however I managed to publish each every so often.

How did your autumn form up?