Dear friends, I am very happy and honored to present you a traveler, a dreamer, and a wonderful woman in love with this world. My friend, my student, and my inspiration: Ingrid. And she has some magical stories for you!
“It was a hot humid tropical night, we were holding hands and walking as fast as we could given the circumstances (wearing flip flops on a side unpaved road), jumping at every unfamiliar sound and following the only light available, created by the moon. Six kilometers felt like 600 and the fact that we were there for the first time in our lives made our minds imagine all sorts of terrible things that might happen to us, in that middle of the night, on a small island in Vietnam, in a forest walking towards the beach.
It’s incredible what the human mind can do when feeling under pressure. At a point, two guys on a scooter passed us by, looked at us, only to come back after a few minutes. That’s when we thought “this is it, we’re fucked!”, 2 girls and a guy walking in the middle of the night, in the middle of nowhere. We were almost certain we won’t get out of there without being at least robbed. But nothing happened, the guys did not return with others, like we were imagining, no one came and we continued our run towards the beach. We were hoping to find at least a bar or a terrace open on the beach, or someone to help us get a taxi.
And finally, the white beach guarded by a line of tall palm trees, bathed by the moon, was in front of us. I’m not sure you ever felt a deep relief I felt at the sight of that beach, I could now breath even if up to that point I did not even realize I was not breathing properly. But that did not last for long because there was no bar, no restaurant, not a single man in sight. And what now? What do you do when you find yourself in this situation?
It’s the fight, flight or freezes physiological reaction one has to stress or in response to a potentially harmful event. You don’t choose your reaction under this circumstance, your brain chooses for you. And we were 3 brains involved. I wanted to stay on the beach until sunshine, my brain was telling me to freeze, in this lovely place. And I almost managed to convince the other two, but everything changed once we saw coming towards us, a pack of 6 dogs who did not seem particularly friendly. Flight it is! Without even discussing it too much, we started walking back into the woods, heading back to the hotel, the whole 6 kilometers.
From agony to ecstasy and right back to agony again in just a few minutes, each of us went through opposite feelings and realized how the mind can play tricks on you so easily and how strong it can be. When we approached the village, at every dark house there was at least one dog barking and protecting his territory from us, until we finally managed to reach our final destination. We could have argued, we could have placed blames, but we didn’t. We were just happy to be there because, at some point, each had lost hope and regained it.
That was not a dangerous place, but it could have been and this trip has thought me one important thing: no matter how close something looks on the map, don’t leave without being prepared and without having the right circumstances.
We had to lose ourselves in order to find ourselves and come out as new and better persons the next day, while we managed to relax under the burning sun, on that same beach where we cried and almost surrendered to anguish and despair only one night before.
The cool breeze swinging the palm trees’ branches brought a feeling of serenity and gratitude, for we were lucky, happy and free, on a small island in Vietnam.”