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One of my most significant travel experiences was learning to cross the road in Saigon. I think that was the moment when I truly said, “Holy Shit Toto, we ain’t in Kansas anymore.”
Since then I’ve heard countless travellers describe the experience and it has always been exactly the same as mine.
My best friend, Bec, and I had arrived from London, where we had been living for two and a half years. Before that we spent 3 months trekking through Indonesia; we thought we had Asia figured out.
We decided to start our first day with a walk around the city for a bite to eat and to get our bearings. We stepped outside our guest house, walked to the curb and waited. And waited. And waited. After about 10 minutes we looked at each other,
“Umm, what are we going to do? We can’t get across the road.”
There were no lights and the traffic continued to stream past: cyclos, motorbikes, bicycles, min-vans and cars.
We scratched our heads. Looked left and right. Scratched our heads some more and decided to walk left to find another option. We walked left, turned the corner, turned another corner, and yet another one before ending back at our starting point.
We were marooned on the island.
We stood for another five minutes hoping the traffic would be gracious enough to just stop. They kept on, oblivious to our Western state of apprehension and bewilderment. We were both hungry and wanted to just get off the damn block to explore.
We contemplated getting a cab, but didn’t see one, and we were on a budget so didn’t want to waste our money. We tried to wave at the traffic to stop. Ignored.
“Shit Bec, I think we just have to walk. There is no other way to get across.”
We stood for another couple of minutes deliberating how to do this, who would go first, and what would our parents think when they heard the news that we were creamed by a passing cyclo driver.
We gripped each other tight like we did when we tandem bungy jumped in Bali. “Ready. 1.2.3 walk.”
We squeezed our eyes leaving a narrow hole to peer through, and walked.
Miraculously the seas that we had been willing to part, parted. The vehicles weaved around us.
“Keep walking Bec.”
Motorbikes, bicycles, cyclos and mini-vans were moving to the beat of our footsteps. The motion of the traffic ocean coasted on by. We reached the other side, hugged each other, and high-fived. We bloody made it. We crossed the road in Saigon and survived.
We had no idea at the time that this was a travel bucket list thing to do. We considered ourselves the Saigon-road-crossing experts and told everyone who crossed our path how to do it. We were pretty miffed when someone tried to tell us how to do it. God that was so like yesterday.
That was in 1999.
I don’t think I have heard a Vietnam story since that has not involved a Saigon road crossing recount.
For the past few weeks, we have been busy writing our first eBook. I have a section titled How to create your Ultimate dream life. I feel very confident writing this section since I’ve lived my life pretty much exactly how I’ve wanted to since I was 21. I also love writing about it to help others do the same.
It had me thinking about Saigon traffic and red seas and how the Universe is always bending to your will.
Achieving your dreams is a lot like crossing a road in Saigon.
You just have to trust and move forward.
It is one of the most difficult things you can ever do. How long you choose to wander around the block looking for an easier path is up to you. The wandering will lead to a cyclical path that leaves you with a head devoid of hair.
You can try to stop the traffic. You can try to control the movement of everything around you and bend it to your will, but you will just end up on the back foot ducking and weaving and destroying the movement of the energy flow around you.
You will create chaos.
Everybody who tries to cross a road in South East Asia knows that if you step out timidly, if you try to control the movement of the traffic around you, if you try to move to their motions, you’ll get crushed by a cyclo driver who has his ability to trust in the flow destroyed.
That’s the key to creating your own life.
You become the puppeteer. You have to stand tall, lock into your gut, and move with purpose and trust. The universe will begin to move everything around you to cater to your purpose and path.
Set your eyes on the destination on the other side of the road, step from the curb, hold your head high, ignore the chaos around you, forget trying to come up with a control plan, and walk with total trust and abandonment.
You’ll see the paths open and you’ll arrive at your destination in one piece with success.
At the other end you can high-five your friend at how goddamn powerful you are in parting the red seas. You might even grab a spring roll and a Saigon beer to help celebrate this life-changing experience.
You can create your ultimate dream just by being bold and trusting the Universe has got you covered.
Have you crossed the road in Saigon?
Do you use a similar approach when creating the dream life you love?