What Happened After Philippines: Hello from Vietnam

3 weeks ago, I got robbed in Manila, Philippines. The scariest part is that I didn’t realize I had gotten robbed and I didn’t remember anything.

It took me a few days to realize what happened to me and my money.

Instead of crying over this incident, I chose to look at the positive side and chose to be grateful about things around me. I’m grateful I’m alive right now.

I also wanted to be able to say that it was the best thing that ever happened to me. It’s definitely not the kind of things I want to experience again, but it did open a path that I had never seen before.

I left Manila for Saigon, Vietnam, on 30 May.

My original plan was to stay in Saigon and in surrounding areas for 15 days, which is the duration of a visa exemption period given to Japanese nationals. But I changed my plan significantly.

I arranged a visa-on-arrival through Vietnam Visa Corp and I got a 3 month tourist visa. (Note: They do a great job. If you want to arrange a visa for Vietnam, consider using this company.) The main reason why I changed my plan is because my friend, who lives and teaches English and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in Hanoi, invited me to stay at his place and to help him teach Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. This was great news to me.

It’s funny I got this opportunity to share my knowledge with grapplers in Hanoi, because that’s exactly what I wanted to do, though it didn’t necessarily have to be Hanoi.

If I hadn’t gotten robbed in Manila, I wouldn’t have had this opportunity in Hanoi. I didn’t even have a plan to go up to Hanoi in the first place. Or rather, I wouldn’t have realized that there was this option. One negative experience could let you see an option you didn’t see before.

I’m getting by thanks to some financial support from my family and from my friend who prepaid for my translation service.

Another funny thing. I got reasonably big translation projects that made me busy for the last 2 weeks. The payment won’t be made until the end of August, but this will get me a little bit more than the amount I lost. One of the orders was from a company that I applied for to be a freelance translator last year. They had something for me to work on at this timing.

It seems like I might have another big project to work on from 12 June. If this happens, my financial situation will be not only recovered at the end of July, but also improved than before. This means I’ll keep going as a vagabonding martial artist/writer for the coming months as well.

(If you’ve noticed, however, my source of income relies too much on some other people giving me projects to work on. I want to change this situation somehow.)

I could have gone back to Japan, but I didn’t. Instead, I made it to Vietnam, met some awesome people in Saigon, had massive fun, and now I’m slowly getting used to my home for the next couple of months, Hanoi.

What can I say? I am really, really lucky. There are things I did intentionally so I could live my life this way, but there are a lot of things that I had no control over. I simply accepted what was there, and it all happened.

My life is a lot more uncertain now than ever, but I love it this way.

It’s been 4 months since I left Japan. To leave Japan for this indefinite trip was one of the best moves I ever made. To keep going will prove to be another great move, I believe.

Is there something you’ve always wanted to do, but you’ve been holding back and haven’t done… yet? If you want to do it badly, but you haven’t started working on it… why?