Life and Death in Vietnam


It’s 10am as I write this, so what better subject to begin the day than DEATH?

I had an epiphany in Vietnam. I was on the back of a motorbike, tearing down the motorway as monstrous lorries roared past. Green mountains lined the horizon, jungle was on my left, and azure seas lapped calmly on the beaches on my right. The air was gorgeous and fresh; a joy to breath, save for the waves of oil and petrol carried by every glugging 18 wheeler we overtook. Every jolt of the knackered old bike threatened to throw me off, and I was clinging for dear life to the seat as the small Vietnamese man between my knees navigated the potholes in the road. I had a small, open faced helmet on, a pair of swimming trunks, and a T-shirt. I looked down at the coarse, baking hot gravel that was a blur beneath the wheels of the motorcycle. It occurred to me, suddenly and with exceptional clarity, that if I lost my balance I would die. Quite spectacularly, as well.

That wasn’t the epiphany, however. I’ve been convinced I’m about to die plenty of times. The difference this time, was that I really didn’t mind if I did. I remember feeling like I had achieved something; I had taken a lifelong dream and made it happen. I’d escaped from the monotony of everyday life and experienced real discovery, if only for a short time. It felt like I’d won.

I realised then that it isn’t dying that scares me at all. What scares me is the idea of leaving this life without having wrung every last drop of adventure out of it.


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