|The picturesque beauty on the road from Đắk Nông to Đắk Lắk. Photos courtesy of Hiền Vy|
Is it a good choice for a young motorbiking backpacker to travel with an elderly companion? The question is yes, for Hiền Vy, a 36-year-old who is well known in local backpacking groups after recently finishing a 700km tour with her 68-year-old mother.
Vy, from the southern province of Bình Thuận, is passionate about travelling and has become a "professional" backpacker, going on many long trips by motorbike throughout the country since she was a student. She has also visited at least five countries in Southeast Asia.
"I love to travel and see it as an important part of my life and a way to learn and enjoy life. I like backpacking because while preparing for each trip, studying destinations, booking air tickets and rooms, and managing difficulties along the way, I find myself growing up more mature and talented, and particularly, I can learn many new things," Vy said.
She often travels by herself or with her friends but recently chose to experience a motorbike backpacking trip with her mother bà Tám.
"My mum has spent her whole life working hard to support the family and never had a long journey despite her hobby of natural exploration and travelling. She often refuses to go far by car because of her vestibular disorders, which cause severe car sickness and other health conditions," Vy said.
With a plan to help the mother have a good time and make her desire to travel around Việt Nam come true, Vy convinced her to accompany her on a lengthy motorbike trip.
Although Vy knew riding a motorbike for hundreds of kilometres was possibly dangerous for an old woman, with many years of experience behind her, she decided to take her mother on the trip and believed she would do well.
"First, I whispered in her ears about the benefits of the destinations we would go to and reassured her about safety. Mum was surprised at first but then agreed with excitement. She understood I have experience travelling, so she was pleased to get ready for the trip," Vy said.
|Hiền Vy at the Dray Nur Waterfall in Đắk Nông Province during the trip with her 68-year-old mother. Photo courtesy of Vy|
The daughter said her mother was interested in the beautiful nature of the Tây Nguyên (Central Highlands) region, so she decided to take a trip through the two Tây Nguyên provinces.
She said if she didn't join her, it might be a long time before she got another chance to go.
"I chose to start the trip from Bình Thuận's Phan Thiết City to then go through the Central Highlands provinces of Lâm Đồng, Đắk Nông, and Đắk Lắk. Before the day of departure, I carefully prepared everything, including several helmets and long clothes, to avoid the heat for Mum," according to Vy.
Vy spent several days creating the plan so that her mother was free to admire the scenery along the roads without tiredness or worrying about financial issues.
|Vy's mum rests by the road during their trip. Photo courtesy of Hiền Vy|
Bà Tám said she was initially hesitant about backpacking by motorbike on such a long journey, but with her long desire to visit Tây Nguyên and her daughter's assurance, she soon accepted.
The mother said: "I also wanted to know how my child could manage her travelling and take care of herself during such a long trip."
She and her daughter said their seven-day trip was an unforgettable experience since they faced no big problems and simply enjoyed the country's beautiful landscape.
The mother was excited when she witnessed the picturesque mountain slopes and white waterfalls murmuring all night and day and cheered like a child seeing the pine forests leaning in the wind.
Most especially, she was pleased with the elderly discount fees she got at places such as the Coffee World Museum in Buôn Ma Thuột City, Đắk Lắk Province and the electric car ticket at the Pongour Waterfall site in Đà Lạt City, Lâm Đồng Province.
|Vy and her mother.|
When the motorbike crossed Highway 27, a bright yellow rice field appeared in front of their eyes.
Vy softly said: "So beautiful, Mum!" and Bà Tám hugged her daughter tightly. It was one of the countless beautiful moments that Vy and her mother experienced during their wonderful trip.
"Overall, the trip was convenient. We had only some little problems finding the roads, so sometimes we lost the way, and once we were 10 to 30km away from the right one," Vy said.
''The rains often came in the afternoon, and our luggage got flipped once when the motorbike's clutch was stuck, but these were minor inconveniences we faced during the trip and were quite easy to deal with."
Vy and her mother just spent VNĐ3.6 million (US$152) for the whole journey. They chose to stay overnight in small hotels along the way and said no to luxury restaurants, enjoying popular and simple local cuisine instead.
Although it was a frugal vacation, their journey was full of happiness and fun.
Vy now wants to travel again with her mother. As she is interested in national historical heritage, Vy has set up plans to take her mother to destinations with historical stories like Điện Biên Phủ historical site in the northern province of Điện Biên and Phú Quốc Island in the southern province of Kiên Giang.
"I know many young people prefer to travel with friends rather than with parents or families. But, you know, our parents' happiness is very simple and idyllic. They just want to be with their children. Old people are afraid to travel with the young because they fear disturbing them," Vy said.
"People often think that travelling with the elderly will be difficult because of many differences, but I find it wonderful."
Sometimes our parents need more time to be with their children; if your mother is car sick, try taking her out on a motorbike, even if it is just once. VNS