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Vietnamese youngsters cycle 7,000km across Vietnam, send handwritten letters

Friday, May 08, 2015, 11:23 GMT+7

At the age of 25, Le Truong Giang and Duong Xuan Phi have decided to try a new experience by cycling 7,000km across 63 provinces and cities of Vietnam to send 100 handwritten letters.

The journey kicked off last August and is expected to end later this year. So far the two youngsters have traveled to more than 40 provinces.

Phi and Giang are not only cycling, they are also running a project called “Thu Tay Xuyen Viet” (Handwritten Letters across Vietnam). A total of 100 letters were gathered in Ho Chi Minh City and later sent to recipients.

Phi said he wants to encourage people to write letters instead of using email and texting as it used to be a meaningful way to show love, but has gradually disappeared in modern society.

Nguyen Thu Thuy, a Hanoian, said she heard about the project from a friend and spent a whole afternoon writing four letters. Thuy also had a chance to talk with Giang and Phi while the two Vietnamese youngsters were in the capital.

“I think when people are young they have their own dream, which gradually disappears as they grow up. Many youngsters lose their dream or just think about it as a beautiful memory.

“We need people like Giang and Phi to encourage us to follow our inner passion,” Thuy said.

“When I was young, I always asked myself what made a meaningful life. Does money really make us happy? In 2014, I decided to cycle across Vietnam with my best friend, Giang, to find my own answer,” Phi explained the purpose of the trip.

“It took us two months to convince many companies to sponsor our trip. During this period Giang and I were stressed a lot. However, we finally got two bicycles, two camcorders, clothes, shoes and cash,” he revealed.

While Giang told his family about the trip, Phi decided to keep it quiet until he cycled to his home in Nha Trang from Ho Chi Minh City.

“I got home at 11:00 pm, and the dogs barked loudly. My family members opened the door and asked who I was because I looked different with a beard after a long cycling journey,” Phi recalled.

“I met Phi in Phong Nha. We met in a coffee shop and he started to talk to us. At first we thought he was a Japanese guy because of his looks. He told us about his cycling trip,” Lionel Mok, a Malaysian tourist who met Phi and Giang during his trip to Vietnam, said.

“He taught us some Vietnamese phrases and we are also happy to get to know him and be able to communicate as most Vietnamese that I met couldn’t speak much English. I think they have done a great job as it is not easy to cycle a long way across Vietnam,” he added.

Phi and Giang’s journey is not only an unforgettable memory, but also evidence which proves that every dream can come true as long as one has enough passion and determination.

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Duong Xuan Phi (R) and Le Truong Giang (L) take a picture at Phong Nha Cave in Quang Binh Province in late December 2014. Photo courtesy of Duong Xuan Phi

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Le Truong Giang (L) and Duong Xuan Phi (R) are seen working with other workers at a flower garden in Lam Dong Province in late September 2014. The two young Vietnamese spent 12 days working there to earn money to pay for the trip. Photo courtesy of Duong Xuan Phi

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Duong Xuan Phi takes a rest after cycling from Nam Cat Tien National Park to the southern resort city of Vung Tau in late August 2014. Photo courtesy of Duong Xuan Phi

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Le Truong Giang (third from left) and Duong Xuan Phi (third from right) take a picture with workers at the Quang Binh Department of Information and Communications in late December 2014. Photo courtesy of Duong Xuan Phi

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