For many years, people I know have been urging me to go and explore Vietnam. Finally I made it this year. Initially I thought that 3 weeks of travel time would give me adequate time to get to a good range of sites and regions – until I started to do my research! Vietnam, like many countries, has its set of ‘go to’ traveller picks. It is easy to fall for the easy option when planning journeys and stick to the places that always hit the top of the lists on generic itineraries. But this is always something that I seem keen to sidestep in some way. A little of that is travel snobbery – it’s true, can’t lie! – and a lot of it is that desire to see a more authentic side to a culture. However, if you are like me and don’t have endless months to sit and soak up a place at whim, there is always the restriction of time. Alongside that is the fact that, whilst I am brave enough to travel solo, I don’t like to go without good plans in place. So how did I choose where to go when I am plotting a future journey?
When a friend asks for recommendations on a trip they have planned, the natural thing is to search back to those feelings & sensations of the time that you visited that same place. In reliving the best parts of a holiday or journey, we find the things that made it special and we start to travel again by memory. Just that has happened a week ago, as a treasured travelling friend is planning a visit to Helsinki and asked my advice. Spurred on by the excitement I felt in recommending this glorious city, I decided to add to my musings on what makes it so very special.