When I recall my time in a place, it is the interactions I have with the people I meet, the stories they share with me, and the kindness and hospitality they show me that stands out in my memory. It’s what I enjoy the most when traveling. For this reason, I don’t want to travel just for sightseeing, but to interact with the locals in an organic manner.
For example, while waiting for a safe path to cross a four lane street surrounding Hoan Kiem Lake in Hanoi with my daughter in her stroller, the sweetest old Vietnamese lady came up to help me maneuver through the bustle and safely cross. I couldn’t have been more grateful because the traffic seem never ending and no one paid attention to the crosswalk.
Then, a local lady and her daughter came over to meet us and our two daughters broke bread together. She then strolled along with me and we chatted it up. This same lady also later went out of her way to help when I was lost and walking in circles trying to get back to my hotel.
On another occasion, I met a little person who was so thrilled to see us and especially meet Amira and she him. We talked and exchanged laughs in the park at Hoan Kiem Lake as he reminisced and told me about his visits to my country. I heart Vietnam and when people ask me about it, I will tell them of the people I met and the social interactions I had with them.