With the passing of Senator John McCain, I was transported back to my first big solo trip at the Hanoi Hotel in 2012, when I began this blog.
Vietnam and Laos were appealing because they were inexpensive and beautiful. Plus, I’d worked with and around many people from Vietnam and Laos here in Alaska for the past 20 plus years. Why wouldn’t I want to see their home? But I made Hanoi home-base because of John McCain. I was drawn to the place where the senator had been held hostage for five long years during the Vietnam war.
It was something I won’t forget. And while I waited in a long and very quiet line to get in to the Hanoi Hilton, an American teen laughed and joked with his friend just ahead. Immediately, the armed guards perched nearby leapt to attention. I don’t know what they said, but I could tell from their expressions and tone that it wasn’t good. And it was something else I won’t forget.
In Vietnam, using Facebook, laughing in a solemn setting, and/or posting negative information online about their government there can result in a myriad of consequences, including arrest. Which reminded me of how thankful I am to live in a country where we are able to make our own choices regarding media– social and otherwise–can chuckle at inappropriate times, and scrutinize our government without fear. All hard-won battles that many like John McCain fought to ensure.
I loved hearing the story of John McCain. That he was privileged, but found his his voice and his strength while suffering during the war, and then quickly reconnected with his sense of humor upon returning from Vietnam. An imperfect man with a strong sense of decency.
On the trip, I enjoyed time with my friend Jennifer who joined me from Ohio for a leg of the journey, and who insisted we hike the mountains of Sapa. I don’t like hiking and I really don’t like tours.
We had more fun than I could’ve imagined, and made new friends that I looked up in Australia a few years later.
So out of that one trip came a blog post, a deepened respect for freedoms that matter, and some lifelong friends.
Which leads me to today: It’s time to get out of my round-the-clock work rut and prep for new adventures. My daughters have had the audacity of doing fine on their own without me, and I’ve been forced to admit I’m sometimes mad at them for it.
The youngest is beginning a new fancy job next week, and my oldest has begun a new batch of courses at the university. I’m proud of them both.
So I’ve begun vlogging on YouTube and trying hard to learn how with an eye for promoting my writing and other loves.
And my next travel destination? Uruguay, with a quick jaunt to Argentina by ferry. I’ll go this winter and happily miss out on one of the holidays in the states. YAY!
Thank you for stopping by. I love getting your comments, concerns, and love that you chuckle with me and at me sometimes. You make my life richer.