I travelled a bit in the ’90s with friends, but mostly to English speaking countries, or popular holiday destinations, so there was really no problem with language or culture.
When I started house sitting that all changed.
For a start, I was on my own, and although I have found a lot of people do speak a bit of English, it’s not been quite the same in SE Asia.
I left the relative safety of Singapore in June 2017 and headed off to Bangkok for 6 weeks, with only an address on a bit of paper – my friends and family thought I was mad!
From Bangkok, I flew directly to HCMC in Vietnam for a month – again with only an address on a bit of paper, which the non-English speaking Taxi driver just looked at and smiled. He didn’t have a clue.
But the experiences have been so good.
Travelling to Vietnam, which is a communist country, was a bit worrying, but turned out to be so good I have now been back several times, including 2 more house sits.
Gradually my confidence has grown and I arrive at a house sit ready for anything. Across the 7 countries I have travelled to in Asia (Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Hongkong, Japan, Thailand) I have met some wonderful people, made many friends, and can’t wait to get going again – unfortunately, it looks like this region may be locked down for a while yet.
If you are nice to people they are, normally, nice back, no matter what religion, culture, political ideals.