‘If you live to conform with social expectations, you’re not living your own life’
A Vietnamese woman has been leading a slow-paced rural life for nearly a year after leaving behind her steady job in hectic Ho Chi Minh City.
Thien Y is residing in Da Lat, the capital city of Lam Dong Province, and making a living mainly from offering homestay services to visitors to this famous mist-shrouded tourist attraction.
The 30-year-old also writes poems under the pseudonym of Nong Nan Pho, which literally means ‘a street of deep feelings.’
At the age of 29, Y opted to break loose from the urban routine, abandoning her steady full-time job in Ho Chi Minh City amidst strong disapproval from her family and friends, who regarded the decision as impetuous.
She said that if she was staying in the city now, at the forefront of her mind would be thinking how to be free from hustle, hatred and jealousy, and how to complete work to return home in heavy traffic. “I would find myself becoming a foolish Y if I was following the lifestyle of the crowd out there,” she said.
The departure presented the woman with several difficulties, as for the first time she had had to do the repair work and painting job, build the fences and mount lights onto the ceiling on her own in her house in Da Lat.
Y’s daily routines involve rising early, enjoying breakfast with tea, and doing the gardening.
Most of her time is spent on flowers and plants and maintaining her homestay accommodation, which is surrounded by trees and fog.
“Instead of wasting time begrudging, hating, or feeling annoyed by somebody, I take care of plants," she said. "It’s hard at first, but now I’ve got used to it.”
She usually comes to many local locations to take pictures in her free time. “Da Lat has lots of beautiful things. There are noisy places and peaceful ones here. What matters is your own choice,” Y said.
Her departure from hectic city life was sometimes judged ‘crack-brained,’ but she supposed that a number of people crave for this craziness.
“If being crack-brained makes you carefree and enables you to do what you want to, why refuse to be crack-brained? What others think has nothing to do with who you are,” Y said. “If you live to conform with social expectations, you’re not living your own life. Why follow the crowd while you already have your own life?”