Sailing, Take Me Away…

Halong BayOh, come on. Who can refuse a good Christopher Cross reference when it’s just parked at your Vietnamese doorstep?

Post-gorging on street food in Hanoi, a trip to magical Halong Bay was in store. We chartered a trip, met a crew of fabulous Dutch, Germans and Italians and meandered our way among a smattering of Halong’s nearly 2000 islands by boat. We ate crabs, sipped beers, basked in sun, kayaked, swam (well some people swam -not me) and enjoyed the slight sway of a Chinese junk boat.

Now, I’m the first to admit that I’m no Sporty Spice, and frankly the kayaking portion of the trip was stressing me out. But you know what? I did it. I did it anyway. And I realized a few things as I was spraining my thumb on the kayak paddles, and crashing into a cave wall: First, I hate kayaking. Second, I didn’t shy away from my unathletic fears and more importantly I realized that on this trip I’ve even come to face a few of them.

I swam in the sea in Turkey off our boat. As a VERY weak swimmer, I am normally petrified of the open seas sans life vest. In the Maldives, I went snorkeling – many times, and kayaked in the Indian Ocean. And I lived to tell the tales of both adventures.

I know this isn’t adventure travel, not by a stretch. But hey – for me, this is pushing the boundaries. For once, I didn’t fall back on the echoes in my head telling me “I’m not athletic, I don’t like deep water, I won’t be good at this, I won’t have fun, I will be scared, I will not be good at this,” and on and on and on.

I’m thrilled to have had the opportunity to even do things that would never have crossed my path living in a city highrise but moreso, I’m proud that I actually did them.

In the end, I learned should I never sit in a kayak again I will die happy, but I also learned that snorkeling a reef in the Maldives and watching scores of fish jump and flit and slither past me in every color of the rainbow will remain once of the greatest experiences of my life thus far.


  1. What I like best about doing things that frighten me is that if I try them and don’t like them, I can then refuse to do them without anyone hassling me by saying, “No, really, you’ll like it once you try it.”

  2. So proud of you! And, oh Lady, how I long for a Christopher Cross sing-a-long/dance party on your balcony!! If we’re lucky, maybe he’ll once again come to a nearby retirement village and we can trek to see him this time. lol. I can’t say enough how excited I am for you and your continuing journey and adventures. Ride like the wind, m’lady! Freedom is yours.

  3. I’m proud of you! I’m not a fan of deep water either, so I empathize. My biggie is horseback riding. I’ve tried several times, and I just can’t make myself (or my horse for that matter) go past a moderate walk. It scares the hell out of me, for no apparent reason. And I agree with Sophia, I do something just so that if someone tries to get me to do it later, I can say that it’s not an unfounded dislike, I’ve tried it and I really don’t like it!

  4. My dearest daughter;
    I am in awe of your courage, being afraid and doing it anyway. You must feel strong and free, for that is how I see you now. Have fun and live your great adventure and then tell me about it all, in that amazing way you have of telling stories, unlike anyone else.
    As I slip into Mom mode I do say, be careful and cautious as you take life by the horns!
    Love and hugs,

  5. Bill Conners says:

    Hi Val, I feel so lucky to be able to enjoy reading about all the things your doing, and understanding how you’ve overcome some of the fears you had. What a great adventure your on. Love you, Dad

  6. Doodie, just sing pocahontas songs and u can do anything!!! Have you ever heard the wolf cry at the new born moon??? Have you ever asked the grinning bobcat why he grins??? Can you paint with all the colors of the wind??? YES MY DOODIE, YOU CAN!!! XO

  7. Good for you, lady!!! That’s awesome. Seems that riding horseback in Montana was just the beginning. 🙂