The concept of a digital nomad is a novel idea for many young Vietnamese.
However, a new community project is aiming to introduce it as a new way of both travelling and working remotely. As an ardent traveler herself, Huong Nguyen, the project manager, returned to Vietnam last year with the idea of introducing the concept to the community.
And that’s how it all began. Huong reached out to other young people who share the same passion for travel to join her on a journey to explore Vietnam, capturing the beauty of its nature, its people and its diverse cultures. Her call received overwhelming support from the community, and she was able to assemble a six-member team of young bloggers, videographers and photographers.
The team spent nearly a month on the road, crossing more than ten provinces in Vietnam, from big cities like Saigon, Hanoi and Da Nang, to unexplored beaches in Phu Yen and Quang Binh. “We began with a vision, which was first and foremost, to promote Vietnamese tourism to friends in and out of the country,” said Huong.
Through impressive images and drone footage of Vietnam, the team was able to capture the raw beauty of the country – its mountains, its seas, its people and their cultural practices. Pham Phu Nghia, one of the group’s drone videographers, shared that through their videos, the group not only wants to bring the beauty of Vietnam’s landscapes closer to viewers, it also wants to “raise awareness” among the community so that they can help preserve it. For him, tourism must always accompany preservation.
“As someone who has been travelling a lot throughout Vietnam, I have seen so many changes to the landscapes. There are many places that were once untouched, but are now heavily commercialized by mass tourism, Nghia said.“
Thien Phuc Hill, Da Lat. Pham Phu Nghia captured the beauty of Vietnam from above. Photo by Pham Phu Nghia/Go Explore Vietnam
“I want to use my images and videos as a means to promote the beauty of Vietnam, to encourage young people to explore our own country. But at the same time, we have to preserve its raw beauty by not littering, by travelling with an awareness of the environment,” Nghia added. “Young people should travel as much as they can nevertheless.”
A recent exhibition titled, “Go Explore Vietnam Immersive Art Exhibition: Breaking down boundaries” at Heritage Space, Hanoi, showcased the team’s visual achievements to the community. Selected photos by international photographers including acclaimed French photographer Réhahn were also exhibited.
“I was surprised to see how welcoming the people [in Vietnam] are, especially in the countryside,” said Mexican photographer Cristobal Ascencio, whose portraits of Vietnamese were also on display during the exhibition. “It was challenging at first to photograph due to the linguistic boundary, but I was able to communicate with signs or facial expressions. Smiling is universal.”
Talking about travelling, Cristobal said he tends to enjoy taking his time now, as it takes time to learn about a country and its people. Cristobal himself has lived in Vietnam for nine months, travelling, taking photographs and teaching kids photography at a center in Hanoi.
“Don’t be afraid of getting lost,” said Cristobal, when asked what advice he had for young travellers.
Portraits of elderly Vietnamese people. Photos by Cristobal Ascencio.