The year of my first backpacking trip

Well, I can say that joining Bloganuary has definitely forced me to think outside of the box! Today’s prompt is: ‘If you could, what year would you time travel to and why?’ How are they coming up with these questions?! I would choose to go back to January 2012! That year I backpacked for the first time ever. What made it even better, I did it together with my Mom! Good memories! 

We started in Hanoi while working our way South to Ho Chi Minh City and travelled for 3 weeks. In today’s post I’ll share some really silly rookie mistakes that I made. An important addition to this is, that in my mind back then I thought you were only a ‘real’ backpacker if you travelled with nothing more than a Lonely Planet. No pre booking of hostels, or a mobile phone, just wing it! 

Mistake number one: We didn’t check the weather before arriving in Vietnam!

That time of year (January) it was really cold and we were not prepared for this! We brought summer clothes like shorts, singlets and skirts with us. I mean, we were going to Vietnam! It is always warm and sunny there, right? Wrong!! For the first couple of days we had to layer up, because the temperature was around freezing, and we didn’t bring a proper coat either! During the first week we couldn’t wash anything, because we were wearing it! Welcome to backpacker life!

Mistake number two: Not checking important holidays. 

We traveled just before Chinese New Year, which meant a lot of the buses to popular destinations were fully booked! It influenced our trip a lot by having to stay at places longer than planned. 


This happened during a night bus to Hoi An. While walking into the toilets, the floor was covered in 1 cm of what I hoped was water, but it smelled like something else! Yuk!!

Mistake number four: Do not share a booth with other people on local night trains!

My goodness! Vietnam’s night trains and buses! One of the craziest experiences during my travels. While traveling with a night train from Hanoi to Hue, we shared our booth with 3 other people, all men, and they kept staring at us. We felt so uncomfortable that I don’t think we slept at all!!

Some of our travel photos

As you can read we experienced the pleasant craziness that is called: VIETNAM, and created some memorable moments! It was all worth it! Vietnam is a beautiful country, it has amazing food and great people! I went back again and lived there in 2020 and have no doubt that I will go back again!

What is the worst mistake you made during your travels? Don’t hesitate to share your travel experiences in the comment section below!

8 thoughts on “The year of my first backpacking trip

    • Thank you and I thought the same, but it can actually be really cold! Reading your comment you’ve had a similar experience in SF. 😁🙈 Never been to the States. Would love to go there!😊

      Liked by 1 person

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