navigating hanoi + traveling solo.

Continuing with the culture shock and overwhelm. But now with a little more interest, more confidence, more solidity (just barely). One day at a time, it's all I can handle. Day three. Whew.

I spent Easter Sunday venturing out further into Hanoi, exploring new areas and even crossing the crazy streets (which just yesterday felt impossible). After breakfast, I only intended to go a few blocks to the famous St. Joseph's Cathedral, but once I mastered that I was feeling pretty confident and decided to go further. I walked to the Old Quarter and HoΓ n KiαΊΏm Lake and felt on top of the world. I was so proud that I was doing it, alone.

I can count on one hand the number of other solo female travelers I've seen. Practically any foreigner I've come across is with a partner or a friend or their family -- seeing someone alone, let alone a woman, is rare. I can't imagine how much easier and nicer this would be if I wasn't going it alone. And yet this is what I wanted. I actively chose to do this alone. And even though right now I'm questioning that hard, I'm trying to believe that it was for a reason.

I asked a stranger to take my picture in front of the cathedral today. I struck up a conversation with an American couple at breakfast. I learned how to get a taxi by myself. I traveled on my own all the way to the other side of the city to view apartments. I am doing this, despite the fear.

Hoping it subsides soon. In the meantime, taking good care and being brave. And taking lots of pictures :)