If I had to use one word to describe myself, other than painfully organised, it would have to be cautious! And yes the exclamation point is necessary! Ok that one went a bit far…
Anyway, what I’m trying to say is that I’m a person who likes to evaluate risk; think Ruben in Along Came Polly. But I’m also a person who craves spontaneity. As I’m sure you’d agree the two don’t exactly go hand in hand and because of this unfortunate juxtaposition, more often than not I find myself missing out of experiences due to the worry of what might go wrong.
So in order to no longer miss out, I decided that during my travels I would put myself in the way of fear, to say yes to as many things as I could and just hope I didn’t die.
Some of these things include jumping on the back of a motorbike, cliff jumping, canyon climbing and even swimming with black tip reef sharks. Not exactly the stuff of daredevils, but for me huge achievements.
Take my first motorbike ride for instance. It was in Goa and I sat on the back of my boyfriend’s bike (who owns a bike license by the way) clinging to him for dear life, my body so ridged with trepidation that I was in fact a hazardous passenger. The whole way I was envisioning horrific accidents involving the two of us and could hear my overprotective father in my head just willing me to get off the damn thing. It might be fair to say I have gotten my most dramatic and frightful traits from him.
Needless to say I survived the ride unscathed and a few more outings later I was relaxed and enjoying the wind in my hair. This new found love for being on the back of a bike and a chance meeting with two lads from Birmingham, lead us to do something that I never imagined myself doing – riding from Hoi An to Hue in Vietnam through mountainous paths and death defying traffic.
Sat around our pool in Hoi An drinking 19p beers we met Jake and Josh, two guys from the West Midlands who not only enriched our time travelling greatly with plenty of laughs, one two many drunken nights and our very own live boxing match courtesy of the two hot heads (don’t ask), but they also lead us on this little Vietnamese adventure.
The journey began early morning with nothing but a hand drawn map by a local with very little English and a somewhat vague sense of direction. So with the best of intentions we set off on our journey to Hue, open to the very real probability that we would get lost along the way.
The outcome was six long hours on the back of a bike, stiff joints, aching arses, bodies covered in dirty dust and a camera full of pictures documenting our amazing and beautiful trip. Together we had seen Vietnam, really seen it. The untouched parts, the sleepy towns, the ridiculously dangerous roads, the incredible beauty of the mountains and we had made it, despite the near death experiences (Jake) and we did it all without one wrong turn.
By Sophie Maguire