Kelsey and I quickly made our way to the Saigon Opera House, a short walk from where we were staying, and where we would be meeting our tour group for the day. We had signed up for a Mekong Discovery tour with Intrepid Urban Adventures, and we had a full day ahead of us of agricultural wonders and good food.
This was my first tour with Intrepid, but I had heard great things about them from other travelers and bloggers alike, which made me seek them out. They have tours all over the world, and their Urban Adventure tours specifically are meant to be more focused on the local side of a destination.
You can feel the vibrancy as soon as you touch down in Saigon – the motorbikes whizzing by, the smells, the sizzling heat.
Last time I was in the city, I was overwhelmed. It was one of the first cities I visited in Asia and my senses were doing overtime. I didn’t know how to cross the street without having a heart-racing adrenaline kick each time, and I soon found out that the motorbike thieves are a real thing when one tried to grab my friend’s bag from behind.
It was too much and I wrote off Saigon as a big city that I would never enjoy visiting. But as I sometimes find when I travel more, I couldn’t have been more wrong with my initial prejudice against the city.
There has been only one other time in my life that I’ve been on a jet boat, and that was on the famous Shotover Jet Boat Ride in Queenstown.
Now it’s hard to beat that one. It’s a raucous 20 minute ride that is reminiscent of an amusement park ride where there are death-defying spins and close calls with cliff sides. In other words, it was an adrenaline rush in the best ways.
The recent jet boat ride I did with Jerry’s Rogue Jets in Gold Beach, Oregon was a different experience in a few ways. There were still spins here and there, but the main purpose of the tour wasn’t for the giddy-inducing stomach flips. It was for the scenery.
And, let me tell you, the Rogue River knows how to set a beautiful scene.
I’ve had a habit of facing my fears and getting (mostly) over them in the past decade. I’ve had a habit of getting out of my comfort zone and not allowing myself to think the worst until after I do something. The one fear that I can’t seem to kick, however, is the sheer terror I have of drowning.
For some reason, activities like scuba diving don’t faze me too much, perhaps because it’s so calm underneath the sea. But, if I’m doing something that’s more aggressive, such as surfing or being in the midst of waves I don’t know how to read, I have major panic attacks. I’ve dealt with intense anxiety my whole life and this fear of water has to be one of the strongest ways of spiking my anxious mind.
If you told me a few months ago that I would soon ride a gondola in the middle of the Pacific Northwest, I would’ve thought you were crazy. A gondola in the Pacific Northwest? It seems like such an absurd notion, but it’s an experience that was all kinds of awesome once I experienced it for myself.
The only other time I stepped onto a gondola was in Venice, Italy back in 2011 when I was on a TopDeck tour around Europe. None of the 20-something year olds I was traveling with could afford a gondola ride by themselves, so 5 of us split the cost and piled into one together.
I’m a beer girl. I’ve loved craft beer since my college days and my first bartending gig at my on-campus pub in San Diego. With that said, I do enjoy changing it up sometimes and introducing new flavors to my palate. That chance came during my InstaFAM trip last month that led me to Gig Harbor, Washington and the renowned distillery that resides there, Heritage Distilling Co.
Conveniently located right next to our accommodation for the night, as soon as I walked into Heritage I could tell these guys knew exactly what they were doing. I also realized it was the first time I’d ever been on a distillery tour. New experience for the win!
“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
I wasn’t always an adventurous soul. Or perhaps I was, but my anxiety growing up masked it well and prevented it from coming out very often. I used to be scared of everything and anxiety would call the shots in my life.
I’m thinking of writing up that account of my past at some point, but long story short, I confronted that side of myself back in high school & college and decided to overcompensate with seeking out adventure in my life forevermore.
I made my way to the old part of SE Divison, a place that used to have mechanic shops and furniture stores line the streets only a few years ago. A decade ago, you wouldn’t recognize the SE Division you see today, a bustling area with food carts, boutique shops, quaint cafes, old-school barber shops, and good eats. In fact, some of the best eats in Portland, as I soon would learn on my Forktown Food Tour.
I’m still new to this whole snowboarding thing. I finally learned how to properly snowboard last month outside of Portland, at Mt. Hood Meadows, but other than that my experience in the snow has been close to nilch.
This is partly why I felt so honored to have heard back from Big Sky Resort during my recent trip to Montana with an offer of an all-access lift ticket to enjoy their slopes for the day. I would be able to improve my skills in the snow while experiencing the biggest skiing in America. Yes, this was going to be the best kind of adventure.
The last time I was standing before a mountain with a board strapped to my foot was when I was 18. I was still unsure of myself and didn’t quite know the meaning of getting out of my comfort zone.