The Next Chapter - This American Girl

hanoi old quarter


Today I awoke to the sound of motorbikes honking. They wove past women balancing baskets of limes, ginger, and tropical fruit. Indiscernible chatter in a foreign tongue followed by laughter echoed up the walls to my window.


Hoan Kiem Lake


Good morning Vietnam.


Hanoi Old Quarter


Less than four decades ago my hippie parents sported long hair and peace signs and protested the war that many Americans and Vietnamese remember daily. In fact even the phrase “enjoy your time in Vietnam” sounds foreign to my mother’s ears.


Hanoi Old Quarter


But wandering the narrow alleys of the Old Quarter

eating streetside pho with the locals

and watching tai chi classes at sunset on the lake


Hanoi Old Quarter


Hanoi does not feel like a place tied down by its past.

It feels like a place of possibility.


Hanoi Old Quarter


And here, in Vietnam’s stunningly dramatic landscape with an intensely painful history

I begin the next chapter in my story.


Hanoi cuisine


Where I am the farthest I have ever been from home.

Where I do not speak the language.

Where I am traveling completely on my own.

Where I do not know when I will return.




This story has no synopsis.

I cannot predict what will transpire nor how or when it will end.


Hanoi traffic


But that is exactly

what makes it

an incredible



Hanoi Hoan Kiem Lake


Won’t you come along for the ride?


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