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I ate a lot of amazing food while traveling and I made sure not to pho-get to show you what I ate in Vietnam! I ate a lot of Pho, which is a Vietnamese soup made of broth, rice noodles, herbs, and meat. It's perhaps one of Vietnam's most famous dishes and popular street in restaurants and as street food. I tried many variations throughout the country, including one from a street stall that told me and my companions that it was made from "special cow." I'm still not quite sure what that special cow was...

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 would have told you that on January 3, 2012, I'd be sitting among strangers who are somehow friends, in Hanoi, Vietnam, grilling my own meat on the sidewalk, that I'd be ordering too many passion fruit mojitos at once because we got back to the hostel bar with just five minutes left of the 2-for-1 ladies night special, 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. That is...

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. This year, as the year changed from 2011 to 2012, I was on a Halong Bay New Year's Eve cruise, 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...

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...