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Settling Down in Hoi An

Xin Chao fellow trekkers and Chúc Mừng Năm Mới! Today is the Vietnamese New Year’s Day and the start of the week-long celebrations and pilgrimages many locals take to their hometowns to visit family. It’s the biggest holiday of the year in Vietnam and we’re excited to be here to witness it firsthand.

Sorry for the lack of posts lately. To be honest, we haven’t really done much traveling! We have settled down for the last two+ months in the beautiful town of Hoi An, located in Central Vietnam. We originally came here in June during our Motorbike trip from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi. During our time here we fell in love and decided to possibly settle down here for a little while. Fast forward about 6 months and here we are!

We originally got jobs working at Backpackers Bar (Now Rango Bar), which was the bar we frequented most our first time here, but now we are doing other things. Breada has been babysitting for a family in town and I now work at a different bar, Havana Bar. Unlike the promo work, I actually work at the bar and with my buddy Danny, more or less run the show. Our boss runs the sister-bar just a few doors down and gives us a lot of leeway in terms of doing what we want. In return for the work we get free food and free drinks, plus a small percentage of the sales. It’s a much longer day than the promo work, but I enjoy it more and have had a lot of fun in the short time working there.

Life is easy in Hoi An. It’s a small town so nothing is far, and much of the city you can just walk around. We have our go-to places for things and have met plenty of great people, both expats and Vietnamese. One of the things I like a lot about Hoi An is there is much more interaction between expats and locals here, unlike in Hanoi where there were dedicated expats neighborhoods, segregated away from “real” life in Hanoi. 

It’s been nice settling down. We’ve been away just over 10 months now and honestly, it gets to you. You get worn down, you get tired of having the same “where are you going, where have you been, how long have you been traveling, blah blah blah” conversations. After a while you really start to crave western foods. I think I’ve had a burger almost everyday for the last week now. Gotta take advantage of the free food at work and western meals don’t come cheap!

Even though we’ve settled down here, we still haven’t gotten away from the backpacking trail. Like I mentioned earlier, both Backpackers Bar and Havana Bar cater to tourists, so I’ve still been very much in the drinking almost everyday vortex. I’d like to settle down even further, and find work outside of the tourist demographic, but that would involve really putting down roots and we only plan on being here till mid March. From there, we’ll go back to Hanoi and teach English with VCV like we did last summer. Hoi An is still at the top of the list in terms of places to live though when we fly back later this year, and if we can find professional jobs we have every intention of staying. Between the amount of development going on in Hoi An and the surrounding cities, and our growing network of people we have met during our time here, I’m fairly confident this will be our future home, at least for a little while.

We still have about six more weeks here, and we hope to make the best of them. Believe it or not, there are still plenty of touristy things we haven’t done! That’s always the case when living somewhere though, you take time for granted. When is the last time you did something touristy in the city where you live?

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