After graduating from the National University of Hanoi, a high school for gifted students, Nguyen Thi Kanh Huyen started work immediately. She did not think of furthering her studies in college.
Khanh Huyern was working in Malaysia at that time. After being bored and tired of her job she decided to to quit her job and the idea of travelling around the world idea flashed.
She thought that she would want to travel to a few countries but her trip lasted for two years and she went to 25 different countries.
She said ” When i was young I used to say to my mum that I wanted to travel around the world.
At that time she only smiled and though that I told a joke. I also thought that was my outburst and I could not do it. But it is amazing that I had such a long journey”.
After working in Malaysia in May 2010 Huyen left to some countries in Africa and Asia. She first stayed in India for four months then she moved to Nepal for three months and then Israel for another 3 months.
Huyen always looked for ways to save money for the trip. She managed to get free accommodations as she was a member of the Couch Surfing network in the world (sharing accommodations) in the countries that have other members of the Couch Surfing network.
When she was in their countries the members also helped her to interact with the locals about their cultures and life.
Sometimes Huyen sleeps at bus stops, on the streets and on the beach as long as they gave her the sense of security. She also several times slept in a police station.
“Once I slept on the beach of the Red Sea (Israel). The weather was very hot during the day but it was very cold at night. I had to wear all of my clothes in my backpack but I was still cold. In Nepal, I had to sleep at police stations several times.
I had to be very patient to explain for local people that I was travelling.
Perhaps I looked naïve so they had compassion for me,” Huyen said with a smile.
She usually walks daily up to 40 to 50km. Sometimes she even hitches a ride. According to her ”hitchhiking” is very simple.
There was once when she hitchhiked a truck in Ethiopia and she overslept in the car. The car took her 200km away from her destination that she had in mind. But Huyen enjoyed the strange city that never heard of its name.
After travelling awhile she found that she was out of cash and she had to find a job and work in India. She stared as a popular actor and played in commercial ads. When in Nepal she joined in an organizing party for a club. She also worked in a casino in Tanzania.
“Each passing day I had different memories and different experiences. In two years, I learned many things which are as important as the knowledge that I learnt for 12 years at the school,” Huyen said.She said she learned many things such as designing websites, making a film in India, Buddhism in Tibet, rowing, hiking cooking dishes from different countries, making jewellery from recycled materials and others.
Huyen said that she felt sad because she was always alone so she tried to make new friends with the locals in the country
“When I was sad, I went to the market to find local people to get acquainted with them. I never stayed in hotels. I always tried to stay with local people,” Huyen said.
In India, a young man o a bus invited Huyen to stay with his family for one night. But Huyen stated there for a week. By that time she learned how to cook Indian cuisines and learned about the culture and customs of Indian people.
The family also gave a her a gift when she left.During her journey travelling around she world, she met in accidents. She once had a motorcycle accident causing her leg to gracture and she had to stay in Nepal for a month until the injury heals.
She couldn’t also take the winter in the Himalayas and got sick. She also was pick-pocketed and also nearly been kidnapped.
In Kenya and Somalia in the evening, a group of young man pressed a knife to her neck and robbed her. She tried shouting for help but people surrounding her did not bother to help her.
“The trip really helped me mature. Situations taught me how to live independently, comfortably, strengthened my adaptability and endurance. I have become bolder and stronger after the journey,” Huyen said.
For her next trip she plans to visit South America for a year. She is now also building a tourism portal. She is also going to release a book that she wrote about her experience throughout her journey when visiting those 25 countries.