There is this ultimate travel quest for every Filipino travel junkie like me, and that is to visit the 81 provinces of our home country the Philippines. Now, I’m doing my own version here in Vietnam with a cause. You heard it right, mainly, I’m helping 2 local charities to raise funds and awareness as I explore the whole country. But in the past 2 months, since I started this journey, I met a lot of nice and kind people from different NGOs and gave them a hand whenever it’s possible.
The first charity is Quy Khuyen hoc Bright Stars. An organization established to help the children of cancer patients to continue their education and pursue their dreams despite their parents’ condition.
And the second one is Sunrise Charity Vietnam. It focuses on helping less fortunate people all over Vietnam and disadvantaged children to get a good education.
Vietnam is composed of 63 provinces and 5 centrally-governed cities, which stand on the same administrative level as provinces namely Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Can Tho, Da Nang, and Hai Phong. (ref: vietnam-briefing.com)
Let’s all dive in together and explore the rich culture, visit historical places, and witness the stunning landscapes of Vietnam. So read along…
When and where did I start?
I started my journey in the South of Vietnam last January 4, 2021. I took a flight from Hanoi to Saigon, stayed a few nights there then flew from Saigon to Phu Quoc Island in Kien Giang province. That’s where the real journey began. I don’t want to rush this whole journey but one thing is sure. I’ll be able to visit all 63 provinces this year. I’ll just do it spontaneously.
Sense of Purpose
Last year was a tough year for most of us and I had some realizations in life that made me decide to start this journey. Let’s define first the words; “existential crisis”, these are the moments when you question your purpose and whether your life still has a value or meaning. I had a lot of these moments last year, July 2020 while I’m just in my room doing online classes and the only chance to go outside was when you need something to eat and buy for the whole week supply. There’s no real “human interaction” then later on, which led me of having suicidal thoughts.
I’ve been travel blogging for 4 years now and last year made my whole world stopped. With the Covid-19 around, travel bans and restrictions took place around the world, which made me stay in one place for 5 months. And that hit me really hard. With some family issues on the side. My anxiety got intense!
Well, aside from those realizations and struggles, I really wanted to do something lively and enjoyable. I only found those when traveling and volunteering. And I’ve thought that time on how will I give back to the community? I’m not used to isolating myself in one place. I always prefer to go somewhere and do some outdoor activities. But I can’t do it because of the current situation.
Brief backstory how did I find my charities?
With all of these happening to me and in the world, I met inspiring people who silently helping other people who’re struggling in life financially, healthwise (physically or mentally), and in education. And this is how I met the 2 local charities I’m helping.
Quy Khuyen hoc Bright Stars
First, I met a doctor, Dr. Ngoc of Quy Khuyen hoc Bright Stars, who’s an endoscopist and public health specialist professionally. We’ve already known each other a few months back and one day I asked her if she knows any charity that I can help with for my upcoming project. She told me that she’s starting a new one for the children of cancer patients. I listened carefully to the stories of those cancer patients and what really moved me was when she said that the parents are still working hard to provide for their family. I was really moved!
And I remember the thoughts of committing suicide then asked myself questions like; “How these people still manage to work despite their condition?”, “Who am I to end my life while these people are fighting for their lives to be with their loved ones, to spend more days with them?”, “Why I kept complaining while there’s a lot of blessings that I need to be grateful and thankful for?”, Questions that hit me so hard and made me keep going.
Sunrise Charity Vietnam
Second is Ms. Thuy, the founder of Sunrise Charity Vietnam, first of all, she’s stuck in Europe but still gives time to help the people of her home country, Vietnam. I posted a photo of my upcoming project a few months before it commenced and she commented on it, saying that she has an organization helping the poor children to send to school. I always have a soft spot for kids and for this reason alone I already know that this is the right organization.
Well, I haven’t met her personally but the fact that she’s still managed to make events, relief operations, and volunteering opportunities despite the distance made me admire how committed and kind she is to help her countrymen. Amazing!
Currently in my 15th province (Tra Vinh) out of 63 provinces.
Tra Su Cajuput Forest, An Giang Province, 8th province
Mũi Né, Bình Thuận Province, 10th Province
Đà Lạt, Lâm Đồng Province, 9th Province
My Tho, Tien Giang Province, 14th Province
I’ll give you my next update when I reach Da Nang City, which is my 32nd province. It’s located in Central Vietnam, and by that time I’m halfway in completing all 63. Maybe I’ll be there by May or June 2021. I’ll keep you posted.
In my next update, I will tell you about my challenges and struggles as a foreigner traveling around Vietnam nowadays. That’s it for now and keep safe everyJuan!
For more daily and weekly updates, check my social media accounts below and I just recently started my YouTube Channel to document and take some videos of each province, feel free to WATCH, SUBSCRIBE, and ENJOY! 🙂
YouTube Channel: Juan Journey Official
Facebook Page: Juan Journey Official
Instagram: Juan Journey
“Go where you feel most alive!”