What a difference a year can make. This year, the plane touched down in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam on the 1st of January and I was filled with joy about returning to a place I had mixed feelings about in 2017. A year ago today I was in Laos biking and I celebrated the New Year in Luang Prabang. I was taking on Asia with fresh eyes. Everything seemed adventurous and new.

Vietnam seemed harsh at times when I was here last and I was not at-ease as much as I was while bike touring in Thailand and Laos. But now I am happy to return. Maybe it is the jet lag talking, but I have had a shit-eating-grin on my face since landing. Why?

  • I have eaten banh mi from a street food vendor
  • My body contains caffeine from my first iced coffee with sweetened condensed milk
  • There were two taxi cab drivers who insisted on helping me pump up my bike tires and install my bike rack at the airport
  • I rode my bike early in the morning to avoid crazy traffic!
  • Nobody has ripped me off (yet)
  • My friends are arriving tomorrow

Normally, at the end of the year, I publish a blog listing highlights from the past year. I think we know that most of the happiest moments from 2017 involved bicycles and travel, and some involved beer like my visit to the USA’s Pacific Northwest or my time in Belgium. My travels last year shaped my outlook on life! From the glaciers in Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula to kids in Laos giving me high fives to endless bike lanes in the Netherlands and many new Dutch friends, it was an excellent year filled with adventures. Cheers to many more adventures in 2018!