Last night I slept around 2:00am because I stayed up excitedly doing some research on Vietnam and Laos. My interest in visiting these countries heightened after reading travel guides on Lonely Planet and looking at scenic photos on travel blogs. I have to admit, I rarely did any research on these places before agreeing with my friends that I would travel with them. I just knew that I have never been there before, so visiting any country would automatically be a new and exciting experience for me.

However, doing research helps a lot in understanding the people and culture, the to do’s and what not to do’s, and the precautions we must take when visiting those areas. The more I read, the more I got excited. Though there were tidbits about taxi scams, untrustworthy transvestites, and dangerous sea creatures, those facts didn’t scare me. Instead it has helped me become more aware of my surroundings and take better precautionary measures. I haven’t fully experienced life in Asia yet, but the challenge excites me and I can’t wait to see what’s in store!

One of my travel mates, Kate, had written a rough itinerary for our trip. Though it has been written on our communal Google Doc for ages, yesterday was my first time actually looking at it (sorry Kate, love you!). From visiting Buddha Park to trekking in Luang Namtha, it seemed like we were doing all of the things I was reading about earlier in the travel guides.

Buddha Park

It’s funny because I used to consider myself a “go with the flow” type of person and enjoyed having “adaptable traits”. However, not doing research beforehand won’t get you far. Little to no preparation may bite you in the behind! Too many times have I experienced embarrassing class presentations because I thought I could remember my parts or have suffered through disastrous events due to lack of preparation. It’s always good to have this quote as a reminder:

If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.

So plan, plan, plan when you are getting ready to journey off into a new world! The earlier you plan, the better. Yesterday I had a mini panic attack after reading that I should get vaccinated 4-8 weeks before entering the disease-ridden countries. I panicked because I would be hopping on a plane by next week so I didn’t think the vaccinations would even be activated inside of me. Luckily, I was able to visit a doctor today and get “jabbed”. The doctor was silly and asked me if I was ready for my “jabs” aka the vaccinations.

Getting shots/vaccinations has always been on my to-do list, so now it’s time to move onto other important tasks like buying the appropriate travel insurance and applying for my online Vietnamese visa. Guess what, guys? 8 more days!!!