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American movies inspire Vietnamese family to take memorable van life road trips

American movies inspire Vietnamese family to take memorable van life road trips

Friday, August 05, 2022, 11:02 GMT+7
American movies inspire Vietnamese family to take memorable van life road trips
Lam Son's children view natural landscapes from their mobile home's roof during a trip to Ha Giang Province, northern Vietnam. Photo: Supplied

Lam Son, a Hanoian, first learned about the nomadic lifestyle after watching American movies depicting mobile homes parked in the middle of vast valleys.

This was the source of inspiration for the Vietnamese YouTuber to set out on his first road trip in a mobile home with his family a couple of years ago.

Son converted his old Mercedes Sprinter into a mobile home fully equipped with essential items for long-haul road trips.

“This was originally a van. When traveling, my family members sit in the driver’s cabin full of safety equipment. We only use the renovated part on the back of the vehicle at rest stops or campgrounds,” the 35-year-old said.

Since he renovated his first mobile home, the Son family has traveled to many parts of Vietnam on the vehicle, bringing exhilarating experiences to their two children.

He expects the road trips will make their childhood more colorful and help them unplug from screens to fully experience van life.

Lam Son's children view natural landscape from their mobile home during a trip. Photo: Supplied

Lam Son's children view natural landscapes from their mobile home during a trip. Photo: Supplied

Giving kids experiences

“My two kids greatly enjoy mobile home road trips. They can bathe in a stream, in a river, fly kites or play on grass, which hardly happens in major cities,” he continued.

During their first road trips, it took even one week for them to prepare as everything seemed new to them.

The more they traveled, the more experience Son and his wife got to pack essential things for their next trips.

On a recent trip, his family visited mountainous provinces in northern Vietnam. They had been to many popular destinations such as Cua Tu Stream in Thai Nguyen, Ba Be Lake in Bac Kan, Ban Gioc Waterfall in Cao Bang, or Lung Cu Flag Tower in Ha Giang.

The eight-day road trip across 1,000 kilometers helped the kids widen their worldview, especially the grandeur of the S-shaped country.

“The kids seemed terribly excited as they admired the extraordinary beauty of limestone mountain ranges, visited historical relic sites such as Pac Bo Cave and Lenin Spring, in addition to learning more stories of the nation’s history,” he said.

Children growing up in urban areas usually have fewer chances to engage with nature and immerse themselves in cool, crystal-clear waters than their rural peers. Hence, the camping and road trips brought them much joy and made them bolder.

Further, they also made more friends and were able to disconnect from technology for a healthier lifestyle, even though their skin got darker and they had more insect bites after the trips. But these experiences made them much braver and more confident, the father of two added.

'After camping road trips, my children have become bolder and their skin got darker and healthier,' Son said. Photo: Supplied

'After camping road trips, my children have become bolder and their skin got darker and healthier,' Son said. Photo: Supplied

Memorable trips in mobile home

Son and his wife often had to spend much time planning for upcoming trips and taking into account possible risks they could encounter to make sure that their family are safe and have a good time on each trip.

Son also takes their German shepherd dog on each trip to help warn the family of threats.

“We need to put our safety on top of things and stay highly cautious when traveling to new places. As getting lost or having vehicles broken down can completely happen, we make careful preparations as well as coping plans,” Son said.

Before each long-haul trip, his mobile home will be equipped with a sufficient amount of water and electricity to serve camping and daily activities throughout the trip. Sometimes, their family has to ask local people for a favor to recharge their equipment to have enough power to use at campgrounds.

Thanks to those experiences, he gets a chance to chat with the locals and learn more about their culture. The kids also learned to play and make friends with new people while waiting for the car to be fully recharged.

His family enjoys local food specialties in every place they have been to.

“The refrigerator in the car is nearly full of food. We alternate between cooking in the car and enjoying local food. We are big fans of stream fish and fresh and clean veggies offered by the locals,” he said.

"However, living a nomadic life is not always as wonderful as we expected. It will put travelers to certain inconveniences even though they have made thorough preparations for the trip.

"Van dwellers will find it uncomfortable when doing daily activities in a confined space of the car.

"But, looking on the bright side, this is an opportunity for the kids to practice staying neat and tidy for an optimal living space."

Sometimes, what they had planned did not go their way.

On the most recent trip, his family opted to stop and sleep overnight in their car near a square in the northern upland province of Cao Bang, but they could not sleep well due to the street lights, the sound of vehicle horns, and the music of people doing morning exercises.

'The upside of living a van life is that every trip is completely different. We have no idea about what is awaiting us ahead, whom we will meet and which culture we will experience.' Photo: Supplied

'The upside of living a van life is that every trip is completely different. We have no idea what is awaiting us ahead, whom we will meet, and which culture we will experience.' Photo: Supplied

It’s not difficult to drive mobile home

Most of the mobile homes in Vietnam were converted from old cars that have been in use for 10-15 years. Mobile home users should be seasoned drivers.

“As the roads to the northwestern part of Vietnam are quite rough, we need to be highly experienced so as to drive uphill and downhill in a safe manner," Son said.

“I think people with little driving experience should try easy routes first to get used to driving a mobile home."

After getting acquainted with the car, long-distance driving will be a piece of cake, Son said, adding that exploring new places lifted his mood and helped him escape driver fatigue.

“I will take regular rest breaks during the trip to ensure the safety of my whole family," he shared.

“The upside of living a van life is that every trip is completely different.

"We have no idea what is awaiting us ahead, whom we will meet and which culture we will experience."

'We need to put our safety on top of things and stay highly cautious when traveling to new places.' Photo: Supplied

'We need to put our safety on top of things and stay highly cautious when traveling to new places.' Photo: Supplied

'Don’t worry about lacking certain stuff when traveling on a mobile home. Let’s hit the road as it’s not a big deal to travel without some necessities.' Photo: Reuters

'Don’t worry about lacking certain stuff when traveling in a mobile home. Let’s hit the road as it’s not a big deal to travel without some necessities.' Photo: Supplied

To date, his family has completed their road trip to northern mountainous provinces and is planning for another to the Mekong Delta province of Ca Mau, the southernmost point of Vietnam.

The upcoming one-month trip is expected to be full of joy and advantages thanks to the experience they have gained during the past trip.

Below are some stunning photos of the Son family during their mobile home trips:

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Minh Duy - Nam Phong / Tuoi Tre News

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