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Most people around the world know the recent history between Vietnam and America. Vietnam was a war torn nation from 1955 to 1975, and America is the country most associated with the conflict. With that in mind, many Americans are a bit wary to make Vietnam their next holiday destination. One of the first things I’m asked from travelers about being in Vietnam is, “do you feel safe?”
The short of it?
…and how do I know that it’s safe?
Because I’ve lived in Vietnam 4+ years now, and I’m an American!
The first time I visited Vietnam, I was admittedly a bit nervous. I crossed the border from southern Cambodia into the Mekong Delta region of Vietnam (Chau Doc into Can Tho) and made my way to the hotel. As I checked into the hotel, an elderly Vietnamese man approached me out of the blue. “Are you an American?” he asked me. Immediately all my fears and anxieties swirled around my brain… I responded somewhat apprehensively that yes I was an American… As I waited for the negative reaction from him, I was suddenly taken off guard by the man’s response:
“Me too! I am from Dallas!”
Right then and there, every anxiety I felt about being an American in Vietnam disappeared. I ended up traveling every nook and cranny of the country during the following few months (south, central and northern regions) and no matter where I was, I received nothing but warm welcomes, sincere hospitality and loads of help from the Vietnamese people. I quickly learned that the Vietnamese were concerned about one thing, and one thing only: moving forward. I loved the country, the culture and the people so much, I decided to come back and move my life there!
Historically speaking, there’s no other country as resilient as Vietnam. No matter what cards they’re drawn, they deal with what they have and make life work to the best of their ability. Luckily, the recent years have been wonderful to Vietnam and the world has once again been turned on to its natural and cultural beauty. Vietnamese are extremely proud of their country and regardless of where you’re coming from, they are more than happy to share their traditions, backgrounds... and even homes with you! During my time in Vietnam I’ve been invited to more weddings, funerals, community parties and random get togethers that I can count. Some families I’ve known very well, and others I’ve met the day of and they’ve brought me back into their home. My nationality? Sure, they knew I was an American… it just didn’t make any difference!
Whether you’re looking for ancient Asian cultures and traditions, a gorgeous beach destination, bustling cities or world-class landscapes, Vietnam has it all. The Vietnamese people are just as beautiful as their country and always make your stay something you simply cannot forget. So for all the Americans out there who are a bit apprehensive to book their next vacation to Vietnam, all I can say is be careful… You may visit and never want to leave!
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