Thursday, 21 July 2016

1 Year Later

One year ago, I posted this photo with the title 'Leaving on a Jet Plane'. This was the time when I decided to say goodbye to my life in London and move into the unknown.

People called me crazy for leaving a good job, friends and family in order to move halfway around the world to start over. I didn't even have much of a plan (as usual, since I don't like planning) other than see what happens and maybe be successful opening a coffee shop or similar.

What I wanted most was change though, the thought of doing something new was exciting and it was also an opportunity to see what I can do in a new country.
Sure, I've been travelling through Vietnam before, I had friends there and knew a bit about the country and culture. Still, there is a big difference between travelling to a country as a tourist and living in a country.

Now, one year later a lot of things have happened. It's been as exciting and interesting as I hoped, sure, not everything went smoothly but I can say that I have achieved more than I expected in this time.

This is a photo of my coffee shop, Hangout Coffee & Bar in Hue. My idea was to open something small and simple but things turn out different at times. It is much bigger than I expected, it is not complicated but it required a few changes along the way.

In less than one year, I managed to open a coffee shop, bar and live music place in a new country. It wasn't always easy and it ended up costing more than I expected but it was worth it. At the same time it would not have been possible without 'a little help from my friends' (you know who you are so THANK YOU!!).

Looking back at this, I would do it again because it's been a great experience and at least I have something I can show and be proud of. It certainly beats being in front of a computer 8h a day and having nothing real to show for (not that this wasn't fun or paid well).

Not many people were impressed with my idea to open a coffee shop in Vietnam, much less in a city full of coffee shops. Still, sometimes it's worth doing what you think is right even if nobody agrees.

The coffee shop opened on the 1st of December after some delays and after just over half a year it is successful in all areas that matter. It's #4 of all coffee shops in Hue on TripAdvisor, it has been rated one of the top places for live music and for best views in Hue on, has great reviews on Facebook and Google, and it's the only place in Hue for daily life music with different bands.

It hasn't always been easy and at times it feels best to just sell everything and start travelling again but then I realize that I'm almost at a point where I can travel again while still having the coffee shop.

While I never expected to also be teaching, I did start teaching and love it. At first it was just to keep myself occupied but it's great to work with the students and it's a job that's highly appreciated here.

So, it's been a long post but it's been also an eventful year and this post just barely scratches the surface.

If you take one thing away from this post is that you should always follow your dreams and everything will work out, another thing is that friends are always important and good friends make life a lot easier.


  1. I wish you all the luck in the world with this company and I hope that it not wil stop you with sometimes showing your photo's.

  2. I look forward to visiting your coffee shop someday.

    Like you, I also changed lives giving up living in a great pad, girlfriend, car, good paying job, etc to move from the USA to London. Moving wasn't my plan, but long term travel was. Perhaps I'm just still on the road 16 years later. You are a passenger in that boat.