When we arrived in Ha Tien, a small border town on the southern coast of Vietnam, I'd figured we'd stick around for a few days. But with not much to do, and Cambodia beckoning to us from just 7km away, we decided to spend just one night and be on our way. Suddenly I was filled with anxiety... Do we have the right currency? Were there any souvenirs we needed to buy?? Did we sample all of the foods we wanted to try??? Were we ready to bid farewell to Vietnam?!
When you're in a country for two months, it seems like you have all the time in the world. The to-do list in the back of our mind stays just there, without any real urgency to check anything off. Our last minute decision to leave caught me off guard and made me immediately miss a country we hadn't even yet said goodbye to.
It's an interesting thing I've noticed on this trip - I've begun to really mourn the loss of the places we leave behind. With so much of this world left to see, it's highly unlikely that we'll ever revisit a country we've already been to. So I find myself walking away thinking "This is the last time I'll see this place" or "I'll never walk down this street again". It's a heavy feeling and I don't know why it brings me sadness - rather I should just be happy and grateful that I ever got to visit here at all. And I am! More than any other feeling, I am.
I think that perhaps for all the incredible gifts each country gives me, there is also a tiny part of me that I leave behind. A part that I'll never be reunited with, as the rest of the world calls. I remember being young and first hearing the quote "You can never step in the same river twice." You can return to a place you love, but the seasons will have changed, the river will have continued to flow. And even in the exact spot, nothing will still be as it once was. Traveling is the same. Even if we did make it back to Vietnam, the country would be different. The people, not the same. We, too, will have changed.
So with that, we bid a forever farewell to Vietnam. Thanks for the amazing two months.