Vietnam Adventure: Part 1
THE ADVENTURE BEGINS!
The Sweet Spot
The past year has been an amazing experience for both of us - We have managed find our "sweet spot" with Budo Brothers where our gifts, passion, and purpose have all come into alignment. It makes it so that work is not work. Passion seeps into everything we do, and the dream is actually becoming a reality.
Vision & Goals
One of our goals with Budo Brothers is to eventually travel the world, learn a different martial art on each continent, and bring cool products to market that are inspired by the journey. That’s our vision, and we took the first step in making dream a reality by travelling to Vietnam!
The purpose for the trip was to establish new business relationships with top quality manufacturers for some of our gear. It used to be that we would make 10-20 products at a time, but now we require 10x that without sacrificing quality. After doing a lot of research, we found out that Vietnam has turned into a bit of an epicenter for quality and affordability over the past 10 years. So we decided to go see it for ourselves!
Going into Production!
The main focus of the trip on increasing Budo Brothers production capabilities. But, we also figured we would try our hand at producing a little documentary to capture the entire experience. So, before embarking on the journey, we ended up buying a bunch of new gear:
- Couple new camera lenses
- 1 Boom-Mic
- 2 Lapel Mics
- 320 GB of memory cards (which we ended up maxing out!)
- Two GoPro Hero 5's
- And a loot bag full of GoPro attachments that the lord himself wouldn't know what to do with
One area of life that we became all too familiar with, is the dreaded "draining battery syndrome".... To thwart the threat of being "out of juice" on the regular, we made sure our charging game was strong!
The only bonus to having three connecting flights and 24hrs of door to door travel, is it provided loads of time to play with our new toys:
The game plan was to use AirB&B the entre trip so we could stay off the beaten tourist trail, and live alongside the locals. This strategy ended up paying DIVIDENDS!
Finally touched down in Ho Chi Minh City. We were instantly blown away with all the crazy traffic! Apparently, traffic laws are governed by one word: Flow! It literally flows like a river with bikes zipping around slower cars and everyone laying on their horns like it is some sort of sophisticated Morris Code. For instance, our driver honked his horn 3 quick honks for no apparent reason. Then, 1 minute later, it was 2 longer honks, followed by 4 quick ones. Both of us were looking around to see who he might be communicating with, and had no clue how it worked.
See, where we’re from (Canada,) if you honk your horn... You mean BUSINESS! One of two scenarios is about to take place.... Either, 1) you are going provoke a road rage incident and get into a fight, or 2) You are about to smash into someone sending a tweet. Needless to say this 'ecosystem' took some getting used to. Here's a taste of what we're talking about:
Word to The Wise
Do your homework prior to travelling to foreign countries to figure out what taxi rates are, because those sneaky devils will pull a fast one on you! After some aggressive haggling, we ended getting a taxi that was inline with our research and headed to our first AirB&B. Later we learned that UBER is alive & well in Vietnam helping to disrupt the swindling that takes place in the cab industry, which ended up making the rest of our travels super easy.
Either way, we roll up to our apartment building and meet “Miss Saigon” to get our keys. But first, we needed to go to the 5th floor… Only problem, there was three of us, plus our luggage Vs. the smallest elevator that mankind has ever created. See for yourself:
Now, were we pleased by the fact that "Miss Saigon" just so happened to be kinda cute? Yes. Not only that, she went out of her way to help us get a lay of the land, showed us where to go, where to avoid, and blessed us loads of tribal knowledge. Naturally, we asked her where we should go for our first night in Vietnam… and bashfully invited her to join us [not smoothly I might add.] Fast forward a few hours and we are out with a bunch of amazing locals, and ended up hitting the town!
New Years Eve
We almost cooked our goose on night 1, but made sure to keep some gas in the tank for the main event: New Years Eve. We had ZERO plans and left our fate in the hands of the party gods... (which ended up smiling down on us.) We had no idea where we were going to go, or what we were going to do. But fear not! Our new entourage of Vietnamese beauties knew exactly were to go, and by the end of the night, I’m pretty sure we lost count of how many skybars we ended up visiting. Hands down, this was the BEST NEW YEARS OF OUR LIVES! Here's a sneak-peak:
Vietnam Street Food
One thing that blew our minds was the street food. By far the best food we have ever had, and I am now ruined as Vietnamese food back home just doesn’t stack up. It was so bizarre; it looked like anyone could set up a restaurant on the sidewalk, plop down some tiny Fisher Price chairs around a small plastic table, and boom! You’ve got yourself a restaurant. The most interesting part was that most of these street food joints only served one item. Grandma had spent her life perfecting a recipe, and that’s the only thing they serve. BUT DAMN WAS IT GOOD! And for a whopping $1, you were full with nutritious food picked & prepped that day!
Each day we would fill up for a buck, then set out to complete our daily missions. The next mission was to...