Can’t decide where to go? Select “Everywhere” as your destination on Skyscanner.net! You will get a list of the cheapest flights leaving your selected location.
This, my friends, is how I ended up in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam!
Getting Back to the Route of My Travels
I spent my first month abroad completely overwhelmed by how many epic places I could go. But when I got to Suan Sati, a yoga and meditation retreat in Northern Thailand, I disconnected from the internet to avoid aimlessly researching where to go next. I detached myself from all those future possibilities to clear my mind and live in the moment.
By being present, I got back to the route of my long-term travels– the freedom to travel organically. I talked to other travelers about places they’d been that I’d never heard of, like Myanmar (formerly Burma). Other solo female travelers shared inspiring stories about their travels in places I’d previously deemed too unsafe for me to go, like India. I was introduced to Workaway, a website facilitating volunteer, work, and cultural exchange opportunities around the world by a nomadic Kiwi couple who spent several weeks helping build a hostel in Cambodia. THIS is how I wanted to discover new destinations and opportunities- by learning about places naturally, through word of mouth, without my lack of knowledge or personal biases dictating my search results.
Skyscanner to…. “Everywhere”?
Skyscanner is a flight search engine that specializes in finding the cheapest flight available. I’d never used it before but had heard tons of travelers talk about it.
When the time came to leave Thailand, I hopped on Skyscanner to search flights to Myanmar and India. Both destinations were pricey on the date I needed to leave.
You can find the best deals on Skyscanner when your departure date is flexible. With only a few days left before my Thai visa expired, my date was not flexible… but my destination was…
I quickly discovered that I could select “Everywhere” as a destination. By doing so I was presented with a list of the cheapest flights leaving Chiang Mai on May 20th 2018. (This works similarly on other sites, like Kayak, but Skyscanner tends to have better prices.)
The cheapest flight listed was to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Without any further contemplation, I booked it! Just like that, I was Vietnam bound!
Why I Didn’t Stay in Thailand
I could have extended my Thai visa by 30 days at the embassy or done a quick “visa run” (where you cross the border into another country for a minute in order to receive another visa upon arrival). Believe me, these options were tempting, but, after almost two weeks, I was getting comfortable at Suan Sati. I knew if I stayed any longer it would turn from a cure into a crutch. It was time to move on.
It worked out well that Ho Chi Minh City was the cheapest destination. For some, unknown, reason, I have felt drawn to Vietnam since I started planning to travel long-term. I have been told there is lot of opportunity for English teachers and that the mountainous terrain in the North is more spectacular than anything we’ve got in The States. We shall see!
I had to apply for my Vietnam Visa in advance. The process was confusing, and a bit nerve racking, with how little time I had before my departure. Through www.vietnamimmigration.org I figured it out and organized all the necessary documents with time to spare.
A 3 month single entry visa was only $7 USD more than a one month single entry visa so I opted for the former. Who’s to say if I’ll stay in Vietnam for 3 whole months but with a desire to travel slow, I’m glad I have time on my side!
Here’s to spontaneity and the next chapter of my journey!