"It’s countless moments like this that can only be experienced when one goes out into the world and is my reason to continue to travel and see what else this amazing world has to offer."
TIRED AND GROGGY from our ironically sleepless sleeper bus, we got our Motorbikes in the cold northern city of Ha Giang. The Vietnamese man renting us our bikes told us the route we should take. He explained, in his broken english, our 400 Km journey would take us about 4 days. I had little expectations, as it was a spontaneously decided on only the night before. we filled up our tanks and hit the road, making our way through construction sights, little villages, rivers, and some of the most amazing mountains I've ever seen.
THE TRIP WAS FULL OF FUN SURPRISES, we ate some questionable food, lost keys, rode long distances, and saw some amazing scenery. However the most amazing thing we saw was the rugged people of the North. On our third day we entered a little restaurant, and the people brought us our food. Sitting across from us was a group of men sharing shots of the their local brewed Rice Wine. Now you see in Vietnamese culture it is rude to refuse a shot, so understandably we didn't refuse when they offered, nor did we really want to. After offering us our 5th shot we decided it was probably unwise drink before driving any more… so we had 2 more shots and decided to take off.
ON OUR THIRD DAY we made our way to the last town before returning to Ha Giang. This was our longest stretch on the motorbikes, so it comes to no surprise that I could hardly walk after riding for 6 hours. Mid-way through our day I was riding along a cliff, in the background spired mountains poked through the sun creating a fringing in the haze. It was mesmerizing, and I couldn't look away. At the last second, I noticed a group of small girls and swerved out of the way. Stopping, I glanced at them giving them a look to show that I was sorry. They returned the look with blank stares to show that they couldn't be bothered with me. I couldn't leave it at that, so I brought out my small bag of dried pineapple and handed them out to the small children. after only taking one each their faces started to light up. They came alive as I continued to hand them out. It was at this moment I was reminded why I travel: to experience cultures and encounter different people groups. As a small town southern Californian seeing something like this is so foreign to me. These girls were no older than 7 or 8, and they were miles from any village carrying bunches of bamboo for who knows why.
After staying the night in a small mountain village, singing karaoke, and making friends we made off to Ha Giang. I was sad to leave this northern land, that I had grown to love, but excited to see what other adventures awaited as I navigated Vietnam.
It’s countless moments like this that can only be experienced when one goes out into the world and is my reason to continue to travel and see what else this amazing world has to offer.
Zion Stone is a freelance travel Photographer located worldwide, you can follow his adventures by following him on Instagram @zionstonephoto or visiting his website www.zionstonephotography.com