As a Travel Company, we love to share stories, and this week, our blog post has been contributed by Tom Lievens, who recently took a trip with us to Vietnam together with his family.
Read about Tom’s adventures and enjoy his wonderful selection of travel images, from the Far North of Vietnam, to the Mekong Delta.
A photographer in Vietnam: interview
Hello Tom! Can you introduce yourself to our readers?
My name is Tom Lievens (42) and I work as a pilot for a European airline company, with a base in Milan, Italy , where I live with my wife and younger son near Lago Maggiore.
Why did you decide to go to Vietnam?
I picked up my ﬁrst camera about 13 years ago when my ﬁrst son was born, and am still very much hooked on photography.
Actually this is one of the main arguments on which my wife and myself base ourselves to decide on our holiday destination : it has to be interesting from a photographic point of view.
The other main argument for this occasion was the contrasting lifestyle, not only between Europe and Asia, but as well internally in the country, between urban and rural landscapes and lifestyles which I very much wished to demonstrate to the children especially.
Vietnam certainly satisﬁed our appetite on both levels.
What did you want to experience in Vietnam?
Basically we wanted to see as much of the country as possible in a relatively short time (16 days), so we started up north from Hanoi and traveled south to Ho Chi Minh, with a varied program going from sightseeing to visits with local people.
It is one thing to see such villages on documentaries, it is another matter entirely to actually be there
Which moments would you like to specifically share? And Why?
The black Hmong minority, near the northern border with China, were especially very impressive. It is one thing to see such villages on documentaries, it is another matter entirely to actually be there, and be asked inside for a cup of tea or other refreshments, with the family’s children running around and playing with Ryan (my 3 yrs old), even giving him a grasshopper made from banana leaves (that is now sitting on the cupboard, smiling :)).
The incredible autonomy they demonstrate, having to live very austere lives, and still ,the rich satisfaction they display in those same lives, which, to a westerner, can only be described as harsh. They certainly made me and mine feel humble, very much an eye-opener.
Another highlight of the trip was certainly Ha-long bay, for the clear reason of photographical eye candy. The moments were rare that I didn’t have my eye glued to the viewﬁnder of my camera there.
We ﬁnished the trip with the Mekong delta, another lesson in how Vietnamese people show the ability to adapt. 49,000km of waterways providing rich and fertile land and a perfect way of transportation, however, in a setting diagonally opposite from the black Hmong in the mountains near Sapa.
I just wished to mention those 3, cause I believe they demonstrated best the arguments we had for the trip.
A lot of emotions, right?
If I would do it all again, for sure I would try to immerse myself more in the local rural lifestyle, I believe there are many lessons in life that we could learn from the Vietnamese people in those small villages… Something to consider when the kids are a bit bigger…
Obviously my thanks go to my backyard travel agent and the guides, who have done a ﬂawless job of introducing their country to my family.
Thanks Tom we really appreciate you sharing not only your journey with us, but your captivating images as well.
And now, enjoy the photos 🙂