This trip was a bit unexpected, as I ended up globbing onto a group of friends' planned trip pretty last-minute (P.S. if any of you are reading this, especially Luba, mega thank you for letting me do this). We were lucky enough to have a friend who's a native Vietnamese speaker and has family living there. Traveling with people who know a country is by far my favorite type of travel, so the trip was pretty difficult to say no to once I found out I could make it work.
Originally the plan was for us to stay in Vietnam for two weeks, slowly working our way Northwards from Ho Chi Minh to eventually end up in Hanoi. We were generally sticking to busses/planes, but a couple of friends who were traveling through SE Asia met up with is on their motorbikes and used them as their primary mode of transit (they were 100% doing SE Asia right).
Halfway through the trip I found out we were going on a cave tour that was pretty expensive and not quite my cup of tea. I had somewhat recently gotten lost in a cave in the Adirondacks and since then been on a hiatus from any cave-related activity for the time being.
The night before we were supposed to go on the tour I scrambled around looking for something else to do when I stumbled upon a dirt cheap round-trip ticket to Singapore from Ho Chi Minh leaving the next morning. Growing up I'd always romanticized Singapore, as it was this super clean Asian mega-city with incredibly futuristic looking infrastructure. Essentially the polar opposite of the little upstate New York town I lived in. Needless to say there is now an extra pin on the map below in Singapore.