Months ago, I felt great that I had already found my favorite corner in Hanoi, then; I will come there whenever I need inspiration or simply when I feel stuck. It is just like when people cannot find me at home or at work; they will come to these places to find me.
A week ago, when I came to Da Nang on a trip with my company, it came across my mind that I should start to think about finding the favorite city of mine, I mean, a place other than my hometown or the first place that will come up to the top of my mind when I need to take a rest or to meditate myself and get myself recharged. I have already briefed out some criteria on my own, say, first and foremost, it should be a city, for I take immense pleasure out of observing human-beings in an urban setting or I prefer to enjoy the loneliness while sitting in the unknown crowd, for I am not kinda interested in the idea of going to the top of the mountain to meditate or staying in the boring countryside. Ideally, that city has nice coffee shops with nice music and peaceful space with proper lightings for reading books and if that city is not far from the beaches, it should be too good to be true.
Da Nang is a city that satisfies these aforementioned criteria of mine. First, it is a city and it has been known for the most worth-living city in Vietnam. Though it is not as big as Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang can facilitate almost everything you may need in a city. The street is wide and clean, the atmosphere is open and comfortable owing to the river cutting across the city and the long shoreline embracing the city. People there are way laid-back than people I have observed in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. I have found a nice coffee shop with nice music and proper lighting conditions for reading. And staying for hours on Da Nang beach should be the experience that I cannot forget and I really want to do it again in the future. (And the moment of truth, the beach in Da Nang is far more beautiful than ones in Thailand – at least better than Phuket and Krabi). In short, the city may not be an ideal place for the young ones to pursue career growth but when it comes to an ideal place in Vietnam for traveling, it should be the most suitable candidate, at least for me, until now.
Coming back to the idea of finding a city of my own, that idea came across my mind when I traveled to Thailand one month ago. Perhaps, traveling too much forced me to think about the ultimate purpose of traveling. Should it be merely for the enlightening purpose? We want to travel to as many places as possible while there were also some places we want to come back next time. While our time and our resource are limited and we also have lots of things to finance for other than traveling, it is also crucial that we have to travel in a more rational manner. Or we simply travel from places to places with a hope of finding a place of my own? I remember seeing a girl spending her evening reading alone in a coffee shop in Krabi with admiration. Or I remember seeing two old foreigners with two bottles of beer chitchatting with each other in a cozy corner in a coffee shop in Hoi An. Perhaps it is like one German friend I happen to know on my flight to Bangkok said, that traveling is not all about sightseeing. It is surely not for check-ins on Facebook and or to let the world know how you enjoy life. It is important that you enjoy life and you enjoy life with travel.
With all the flying words dedicated to Da Nang above, you may think that I have already found my ideal city for travel and stop seeking for that ideal city of mine. Da Nang should be an ideal place for travel to me so far, but I really want to discover more cities and widen my own preferences. And my search will not be limited to Vietnam but this world. (Though it is a funny thought of finding a favorite corner in this galaxy, I do not think that any other place than the Earth can provide me with coffee shops.)
Random #1: Two weeks ago, I spent my afternoon in a coffee shop by West Lake, Hanoi and by accident, I read a short story written by O’ Henry, namely “A Cosmopolite in a Café”. Though it was not an impressive writing of O’ Henry in comparison with his other famous stories like “Last leaf”, “After 20 years”, “Gift of the Magi”, that story did offer some ideas of a real global citizen. It is so admirable that the ideas of global citizen were nicely articulated in a beautiful piece of writing more than 100 years ago. You will surely be awed at reading that “It’ll be a better world when we quit being fools about some mildewed town or ten acres of swampland just because we happened to be born there.” 100 years ago, seriously? While the idea of being a cosmopolite is not so realistic and as O’ Henry once stated that he had not seen a real cosmopolite since Adam, such idea is still worth giving a thought. And one week ago, when I sat under the skylight in the center of Danang Souvenir & Café, I have thought of the skies that I will be in the future in my own search for ideal places of mine. A cosmopolite may sound unfeasible but a random thinker cum traveler is probably a good idea.
Random #2: When I was in Da Nang, to be more exact, in Danang Souvenirs & Café, an old friend of mine, who currently works in Singapore sent me a private message on Facebook and said:” Hi, how about you recently? Are you currently visiting Da Nang? It is my favorite city in Vietnam and I get into the habit of going to Da Nang once a year. It (Danang Souvenirs & Café – she may have seen my photo updated on Facebook) seems like a nice coffee shop, where is it?”