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Young Vietnamese choose experiences over houses, cars

Monday, January 11, 2021, 15:44 GMT+7
Young Vietnamese choose experiences over houses, cars
A Young Vietnamese sits by a road on his trip in Vietnam. Photo: Ngan Ha / Tuoi Tre

Earning more than VND20 million (US$864) a month, many young Vietnamese people choose to spend their fortune on experiences instead of saving for houses or cars.

“Who doesn't like a proper place to live and a sleek car to drive?" 32-year-old Nguyen Hong Quan, currently working in communications in Ho Chi Minh City, told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.

"It was also a goal that I lived up to.

"After realizing my friends jostled in a rat race and gave up all their hobbies just to have a house, I chose the other way around.”

Experiences or materials

Securing a stable job with a good salary after graduation and opening his own shop, Quan has done well for himself, but instead of saving up for an apartment, he spends it all on traveling.

“For the past decade, I have had at least one trip per month, either a costly one at VND20-30 million [$864-1,295] each or on a tight budget of VND2-3 million [$86-130],” he said.

To Quan, it is a great luck to have companions who cannot only be together on the way but also share the same core values.

Working hard to earn up to VND30 million per month, 27-year-old Hien Ngan changes jobs frequently.

She has never stayed at one company for more than two years as she quits her job for every trip that takes months.

“I have worked at different start-up companies at which working overtime is just common," she said. 

"The lifespan of these jobs is short, only one to two years.

"Therefore, there were months when I was flooded in work and others when I traveled two or maybe three times.”

Ngan is not among tech geeks who spend their money on gadgets, for most of her income is poured into trips.

For every person, there is a choice

“In our time, everything is different from our parents’ old norms. Who knows how it will be tomorrow?" Quan said.

"It will be never enough.

"When you have one, you want some more.

"I have witnessed a lot of my friends being trapped in those vicious circles but it may be their goals which keep them up every day."

His goal is to experience, live in different places, and bring joys to parents.

Although owning private vehicles is common sense in Vietnam, Quan got used to riding public transit.

The simple joy of walking and commuting by bus inspired him to sell his own motorbike, leaving days of crawling in chaotic flows of traffic behind.

Quan can now simply lock his room and go on a trip for a couple of months without worrying about robbery.

His biggest saving is VND100 million ($4,318) he put aside to change his job and moving home.

Several years ago, Quan planned to come back to his hometown to take care of his parents.

“When my parents were still healthy, I brought them to Thailand and Indonesia every year," he said.

"The list of countries we expected to travel together was long if my mom did not suffer walking abnormalities.

"My plan to come back home also had to start earlier.”

Although Hien Ngan said she was not the type of child that parents could show off to neighbors yet, she was still proud of sending home money.

Whenever Ngan quits a job, there are a bunch of questions waiting for her to answer, on her next destination or upcoming plans.

“I gave up planning my own life, having a house at 27 or a baby at 30, for example," she said.

"It does not mean I lose control or become indifferent.

"I simply stop expecting things to happen as I want it to be.”

Ngan added trips helped her to expand her horizons and open up more opportunities.

Eager to change

Besides her main job, Ngan is also a freelancer working on different commissions when traveling or during slow days.

“It is another advantage of people having itchy feet," she said.

"Not having a lot of assets yet I am not afraid of changes and know how to be flexible to survive.”

Quan, on the other hand, carefully researches insurance packages, especially those for travelers.

“Health is what costs the most when it's at risk," he said.

"Being aware of this, I always have regular check-ups, eat carefully, and buy insurance for my long-distance, weekly trekking trips.”

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Khoa Thu - Vu Thuy / Tuoi Tre News

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