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The Young Traveler’s Network series showcases candid guest interviews of young people worldwide and the inspiring stories of how they navigate their lives and travels. They share their stories to educate, inspire, and empower others to see the world!

This week a Young Traveler named Sarah Attaway, 24, shares how she went from living in Phoenix, Arizona to Hanoi, Vietnam, and has lived there for the past 8 months teaching and blogging.

In 2014, Sarah graduated from the College of Charleston and decided to take the following year to apply to law school programs; However, Sarah wasn’t ready to fully commit to that career path and to another rigorous academic stretch.

Thus lands her in Hanoi, taking a gap year to just find out what she wants from life through travel!

Living in Vietnam, Sarah has to get a new visa every 3 months and has to leave and come back to the country to do so. It’s annoying but also somehow convenient, as this gave her a chance to visit Hong Kong!

Aside from her obvious passion for travel, Sarah loves working on her travel blog, Sun-kissed Suitcase. Starting her blog has given her the opportunity to learn new things and meet new people she never would have otherwise (Amen to that!).

For example, travel blogging has made her into an amateur photographer! She hopes to eventually turn Sun-kissed Suitcase into a side business where she can consult on her travel skills.

Exploring her own back yard in the Temple of Literature in Hanoi.

Sarah also loves to slowly explore Vietnam. This means eating local food, discovering local cafes to feed her coffee addiction, getting out, and finding a few adventures in the many rural spots in Vietnam.

On the flip side, once in a while she loves to stay in a high-end hotel, or get dolled up and grab a cocktail on a night out. She describes herself as a well-rounded traveler who likes a little bit of everything.

MOTM Sarah Attaway | Millennial Traveler Young Adventure | Packs Light
You can be a traveler and not have to stay at hostels and all the time! Here is Sarah enjoying her own bed at The Park Hyatt in Saigon!

Sarah says that sometimes living in Vietnam brings the misconception that all she barely works and has little ambition. Especially as a part-time teacher, people think she just bums around southeast Asia and relaxes all the time!

Which, of course, is far from the truth. She chose a job as a part-time teacher to be able to have an income, but also to have the freedom to commit to her blog.

Though she may only teach 10-12 hours a week, Sarah says she works on her blog anywhere from 2-8 hours a day!

MOTM Sarah Attaway | Millennial Traveler Young Adventure | Packs Light
Sitting on metro on her first big solo trip to Hong Kong, Sarah says after this trip she no longer had a lack of a travel buddy to blame for her not planning a trip!

Another thing that makes travel a challenge for her is her family. Sarah is very close with her parents and siblings, but with the 12-15 hour time difference and the 24+ hours of travel it takes to get home from Vietnam, she doesn’t get to see them nearly enough. Out of the past 8 months, she says she has seen her parents for only 2 weeks and hasn’t seen her siblings at all.

She loves living in Vietnam but also recognizes that it comes at the sacrifice of a stronger relationship with her family.

MOTM Sarah Attaway | Millennial Traveler Young Adventure | Packs Light
One of her many adventures in Vietnam, Sarah explored Ta Prohm at Angkor Wat. This tree is hundreds of years old, and is helping support this temple!

However, Sarah says,

I continue to travel because I genuinely have a passion for it, which I inherited from my parents. Aside from personal reasons, I also love hearing that through my travels and advice, other people have been helped. It puts a huge smile on my face when someone contacts me to tell me they went somewhere I recommended and that they really enjoyed it!

Travel to me isn’t just about getting to know a new culture or country for me; it is also about helping other people have those amazing and personal experiences as well. Click To Tweet
Sarah, 24, shares her story of teaching and living in Vietnam, the lessons she has learned in her travels and what she loves about Vietnam.
After it’s all said and done, travel is a lifestyle that comes with its own sacrifices and rewards. One of those rewards: relaxing on a hammock on a beach in Cambodia!

In the last 8 months of living in Vietnam, Sarah has learned to ride a motorbike, eaten ants in Cambodia, explored Angkor Wat, been to a blogging conference, taken her first big solo trip, studied Vietnamese, explored waterfalls in the Philippines, celebrated her 24th birthday with her global friends… and many more experiences in between, with a multitude more to come!

Sarah’s WebsiteInstagram

Have you been to Vietnam?
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Sarah, 24, shares her story of teaching and living in Vietnam, the lessons she has learned in her travels and what she loves about Vietnam.

Sarah, 24, shares her story of teaching and living in Vietnam, the lessons she has learned in her travels and what she loves about Vietnam.

Gabby Beckford

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16 thoughts on “Leaving Arizona to Teach English and Blog in Vietnam (Sarah A., 24) – YTN

  1. Eva

    Awesome post! I have been thinking a lot about Vietnam as a place I want to visit when I go to Asia this year, so this post gives me more reason to add it to the list! I’m always super inspired by reading about other Millennials who are traveling, so thanks for sharing!

  2. Laura

    Sounds like Sarah has been living the life she’s dreamed of! I am all too familiar with this type of lifestyle; I left America in 2013 for “one year” and haven’t been back since! I love reading about other women being incredibly badass and fearless, so thinks for sharing!

    1. Gabby

      I’m glad you enjoyed the post Laura! That’s so awesome you have been an expat for so long! Do you also identify with the struggles Sarah faces, like family?

  3. Danielle Des

    Actually I haven’t heard of many part-time teachers so this is actually really interesting and smart way for Sarah to continue pursuing the things he loves like her blog and travel.

  4. Anisa

    Yes, I can imagine being so far from family has got to be tough. And as a fellow blogger I can affirm that blogger definitely is hard work! But sounds like Sarah is making the most of her gap year.

  5. Sandra

    Perfect work-life balance! I don’t think Sarah lacks ambition at all; I think she manages her time smartly to focus on her passion and work on her craft.

  6. Kelly

    I love this series, and completely agree with a lot of the pressures that Sarah faces with other people’s opinions. The great thing about travel, though, is that you can always return to your old life – you’ll just be wiser, more well-rounded, and a lot happier when you do!

  7. Inês

    Really cool series! I definitely agree that travel makes it harder to stay in touch with family, but she’ll have so many cool stories to tell them once she returns!! 🙂

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