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Most of Vietnam was cold. And rainy. It was something I wasn't expecting and was something that made me not want to ever do anything but curl up in the hostel lounge watching movies. I had to adopt the mantra we had set for ourselves on our trip to Hyder: next time. Next time I will do the Mekong Delta. Next time I will see Ho Chin Minh's mausoleum. Next time I will ride a motorbike through the central highlands. Next time I will trek through Sapa. Next time I will appreciate the beauty of Halong Bay....

If you'd asked me six months ago I don't think I'd tell you that on January 3 I'd be in Hanoi, Vietnam, grilling my own meat on the sidewalk, ordering too many passion fruit mojitos because we got back to the bar with just five minutes left of 2-for-1 ladies night, that I'd be drinking rum and cokes and stealing people's buckets at a bar that was hidden from police interruption. But that is how I celebrated six months of travel....

It’s 2011. And that means it is either the year I turn 30 and do the most awesome thing I’ve ever done or that it’s the year I turn 30 and chicken out and be lame. Those were the first words I wrote here in 2011. As the year changed from 2011 to 2012 I was standing on the edge of a boat to little fanfare. There was a group of people dancing in the cabin. There was a group of people who climbed to the top of the canopy. I had promised a boy a midnight kiss, but he was no...

You would think that being in a country where male backpackers seem to far outnumber female everywhere I go would be heaven. But, quite frankly, it's getting old. You never really know if someone actually likes you for you or if they like that you're a girl and you're there. It didn't help that on the day I arrived in Hanoi, as Matilda and I chilled out in the common room watching movies, I found out that Gabriel, who I haven't heard from since Thailand, is in Vietnam, going the opposite direction. And so we probably crossed paths at some...

I make weird faces at myself in the mirror. It's a quirky little habit that I picked up somewhere in my lifetime. Pursed lips, puffed cheeks, flipped tongue, squinted eyes. All kinds of nonsensical expressions. I've recently noticed I do it on Skype too, so if you ever have the privilege of video chatting with me, watch out for it. So when Jacob, an Australian who invited me in to a game of euchre, started making strange faces at me throughout the game I was an equal match. It may have just been a tactic to distract me from my...

Perhaps boarding a bus for an all day tour is not the smartest idea when you were out until 4am drinking and had to wake up at 5:30 after approximately zero hours of sleep (for another record: if you tell a 21 year old he can sleep in your bed but that you really just want to sleep he will not listen and you will spend the next hour and a half kicking him away) was a bad idea. But we all wanted to go on the DMZ tour, so off we went. ...

Vietnam is hard to be in sometimes. Because I want to know more about the war. I want to know what my dad did here. I want to know what he saw here. I want to know where he was here. I want to know if I'm standing anywhere close to a place he once was standing. Seeing anything that he once saw. And I can't ask him. And I wish I did when I had the chance.   ***   In Hue, Vietnam, I met up with Augustine and the British boys who ditched us for Christmas lunch (Mike, Matt, and Lawrence). We spent our...