Square One in Saigon

Green Papaya Salad, Fresh Spring Rolls, Grilled Vegetables

I’ve been somewhat quiet on the food-slash-life front lately; Hanoi’s winter stole my soul. But everything is picking up again and the beginning of what will be a whirlwind year is here. I’ve been in Ho Chi Minh City for a few days to attend the wedding of a friend — I wish I would have known that turning 30 would mean suddenly being thrust into a world of nonstop weddings and babies — and on Monday morning I will fly to Lihue, Hawaii, for work. For all of February I will be in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, with my grandmother and March is shaping up to be a month spent in Texas (SXSW, here I come!). After that? Well, I’ll get to that a bit later.

It feels strange to say this, but I’m having small doubts about life in Hanoi. I’ve been there for many years now, and I am hoping that these several months away from the city will give me clarity about the future. Vietnam has been such a huge part of my life for the last decade — it’s remarkable to think that mostly all of my 20s were spent here — and to imagine living anywhere else feels so weird to me.

But there’s a constant itch in my brain that keeps telling me there’s something else out there, whether that means moving to a different city (or returning to Saigon) in Vietnam or moving somewhere new. I often throw out locations like San Francisco, New York City, Tokyo, and Singapore as the next semipermanent stops, but the more I read about the US-based locations the more I fear the living expenses. And the more I think about Tokyo and Singapore the more I’m inclined to try them out for a few months before making any big decisions. They also require smart financial planning.

I wrote that my major goal this year is to let go, take everything as it happens, and live more in the moment. I’m getting there super-slowly, but I’m doing my best. While I can’t shut off the “maybe there’s something else out there” switch in my brain entirely, I can at least recognize when those thoughts are occurring and try to separate the positivity from the doubt. I am excited about life right now and whatever else may come this way.

Tonight I ate with Uyen, who I’ve known since 2004 (we attended the same university in Saigon), and talked about life, happiness, love, food, travel, and the future. I would not have chosen any other way to spend a Friday night here.

Author: Philip Arthur Moore

CEO at We Cobble. We build digital products for people.™

2 thoughts on “Square One in Saigon”

    1. Thank you so much for the brief, but very useful words, Steve. I realize that much of this angst is a self-imposed luxury that other, less fortunate individuals do not have the privilege of experiencing. But right or wrong I am — and I think a lot of expats are — faced with the very real task of figuring it all out. I’ll try to remind myself that nothing has to be forever and if all else fails, I’ll blog about it and get it out of my head.

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