I’m flying to Vietnam tonight – wow, typing that finally makes me feel like it’s actually happening – and after many days of frantic and stressful last minute planning, I think I’m all set and ready to go. I just finished packing – which has to be one of my least favorite activities – and now have an hour or so to catch my breath before I head to the airport.

The excitement of the trip only really started to build yesterday as I left the office, knowing I wouldn’t have to be back for two weeks, thanks to how the Easter/May/Royal Wedding bank holidays lined up this year! Even though Vietnam isn’t exactly going to be a relaxing vacation, it will be so nice to have a long break from work and to finally travel to Asia! I’ve only been once, to Korea, and that was over ten years ago.

I haven’t had a chance to do as much research as I normally would do prior to a big, complicated trip such as this one, but it’s probably better that way – more fun to figure things out once you get there! I’m just relieved that we finally booked hotels (as of two days ago), transportation, and two short tours at the beginning and end of the trip that were a bit of a splurge but will hopefully save us a lot of hassle. It’s comforting knowing that this trip has a solid structure to it, but plenty of flexibility within that framework.

As usual, I’m trying to cram a lot into a short period of time, so our itinerary is a bit crazy, but I think I did a good job balancing things out between active/adventure and beach/other chilled out activities, and between big cities, smaller towns and remote villages. We fly to Hanoi (northern Vietnam) first and spend a couple days there, followed by three days in Sapa (northwest) and the surrounding mountain villages for some trekking, then down to Hoi An and Hue (central), back up to Hanoi for one night and then ending with two nights on a boat in Ha Long Bay before heading back to Hanoi to fly home.

So I’m feeling quite impressed with myself for ticking off most of the items on my to do list, save for a few that I’ll take care of once I’m back. I even managed to squeeze in a “short” long run of 10 miles this morning, at 8:39min/mile average pace, which is great because I will probably be doing very little running while I am away. I’m particularly surprised by the pace, given that I had two challenging runs on Saturday/Monday and hardly slept last night (typical night before travel insomnia – not to be confused with my normal insomnia), but I often find running to be therapeutic and strangely energizing. I’m sure the *GORGEOUS* weather had something to do with it, but I felt calm, alert and focused after my run.

I’m pleased that I’m finally back at a point in my fitness that I can wake up, put on my shoes and run for an hour and a half without really thinking twice about it or feeling sore afterwards. Although I guess I can’t speak too soon about the soreness…sitting on a plane forever surely won’t help!

The long journey ahead will be good for me, however, as I’m feeling myself starting to crash. But first, I might try to whip up a rhubarb ginger crumble – I made an incredible lunch with everything left in the fridge and the rhubarb I bought in the market is the last thing left…it’s too pretty to waste!

I might say hello from the road at some stage, but if not, then I will of course fill you all in on my adventures upon my return!