It may technically be fall, but with the start of the school year the Winter Garden is still abuzz with talks of summer travel so our series continues. This week, first year Misho Ivanov discusses his Random Walk to Vietnam and Hong Kong.
Once I decided to enroll at Booth, I knew I wanted to go on a Random Walk trip. I chose the Vietnam / Hong Kong Random Walk because I have a long-standing fascination with Asia and plan on venturing out there in my second year of school through Booth’s International Business Exchange Program (IBEP). Hong Kong is at the vanguard of many developments in the financial sphere of China and is a great launching pad to explore big parts of southeast Asia – hence, the Random Walk was a perfect reconnaissance mission for me. I found Vietnam interesting because of its peculiar colonial origins and the exotic food options available to tourists (ask me about a video of our tour guide explaining some local delicacies).
The group in front of the night lights of Hong Kong.
The trip was very exciting culturally as we were exposed to the Asian worldview – both destinations had a lot of local flavor to offer. Still, the main thing all of us took away was the relationships we formed during the trip experience. Few things make a group bond stronger than exotic and otherworldly experiences. Whether it’s tasting chicken feet, riding around in a crammed donkey cart, or exploring the nightlife of Hong Kong (extremely western) or Saigon (where our group stuck out tremendously), each experience brought us together and opened us up little by little to the rest of the group. Many friendships were made, some were broken over a 4 hour game of Risk, but the result was clear – no one wanted to sleep on the 16 hour plane ride back to Chicago so that we could continue getting to know each other and reminisce about our weeklong adventure.
Wearing rice hats while traveling down the Mekong Delta.
There are now plenty of pictures of the crew in bamboo hats riding sampans up the muddy Mekong waters, many fond memories of the marquee night at the Crazy Buffalo Bar (look it up), and a few smuggled bottles of cobra and scorpion flavored rice wine, which customs should never find out about. All of this culminates in some of the strongest relationships you’ll ever make.
The Crazy Buffalo – one of the expat hotspots in Saigon and a landmark experience during our Random Walk.