Street art is one of my favorite things to seek out as I travel and Tam Thanh, while it’s small, was no disappointment. The vibrant art shows portraits of local villagers going about their daily life, some appear to be in a bit of a dream world that’s enhanced with a bit of magical paint that turns a woman’s locks into the ocean or traditional fishing boats into artful masterpieces.
I was so inspired by the street art at Tan Thanh Mural Village near Hoi An. The quaint fishing village was transformed into Vietnam’s first street art village. The project was launched by Korean volunteers with the mission of creating ‘art for better community.’ There are many murals around the village, most of which take up the entire sides of buildings and depict daily life. This gem is a bit hidden and off-the-beaten-path. Part of the mission of the project was to help bring tourism to this locale so be sure to support some local businesses as you admire their neighborhood.
Hoi An is simply gorgeous at any time of day but there’s something extraordinary about strolling the glowing ancient streets by night as they glow in the dim light of Chinese lanterns. If your trip to Hoi An falls during the full moon make sure to stroll the Hoi An Ancient Town during the lantern festival. During this monthly event, all lights are turned out and just the lanterns and the moon bring luminance to the windy corridors.
The Confucius temple has a customary triple gate structure that’s simply stunning. A slopped bridge cuts over a lotus pond to make way to the serene temple. Across the street is a memorial park with a looming monument.
“Education breeds confidence. Confidence breeds hope. Hope breeds peace.” —Confucius
One of my favorite things to do in Hoi An is to visit the organic Tra Que vegetable island. Seeing first hand how our food grows is always a transformational experience. I’ve gained a deeper respect for the labor of love that goes into growing absolutely everything–from a simple head of lettuce to an organic pineapple which takes an entire year to grow. The farmland covered island has been providing organic produce to Hoi An and central Vietnam for over 200 years. Many plots still belong to the families that originally tended the land and each has a specific product they nurture.
A few days ago I asked if anyone knew why Hoi An is yellow? No one did, so here’s what I had found for my @worldnomads article on central Vietnam. The French colonial buildings in Hoi An are mostly painted in a golden-yellow color to absorb heat.
As a teenager, I was so certain my only value as a woman was my body as a result of being raped as a virgin when I was 15. It was a dark time, and often, I wished I hadn’t survived. As I tried to recover in silence I was surrounded by a society with a media that berated me with the message that my power lied in my physique, my hair, my nails. 15 years later and I now know why I lived. I now know that my value, my divine purpose, is to fight for women around the globe. To use my pain and transform it to power. To share my story and do so loudly and to pass the mic to other women who allow me to share their stories as well. I am so humbled and honored by the women of all walks of life who’ve shared their struggles with me and for the editors and publications who are willing to publish our experiences of gender injustice. I’ve had a rough start to the year with illness and injury and I just didn’t have the energy to pitch many of the female-centric articles I hoped to write in time for #womensmonth—our stories should be valued year round, so hopefully I’ll be able to publish them soon. I did get the chance to share moving quotes from 35 Latinas about what empowers them for @themujerista and write about the women in ethical travel and tourism charities that are changing the way we explore the world for @worldfootprints. I’m putting the finishing touches on an article that’s 6 months in the making about the Moroccan law that was put in place last year to protect women from sexual assault. This is why I lived. This is what today means to me. Happy #internationalwomensday to all the feminists out there of every gender. We’ve come a long way, but this battle is far from over. Wearing an ethically made set created by female artisans in Bali who are paid fair wages in a safe working environment from @poeme.clothing.
Pretty women wonder where my secret lies. I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size But when I start to tell them, They think I’m telling lies. I say, It’s in the reach of my arms, The span of my hips, The stride of my step, The curl of my lips. I’m a woman Phenomenally. Phenomenal woman, That’s me. I walk into a room Just as cool as you please, And to a man, The fellows stand or Fall down on their knees. Then they swarm around me, A hive of honey bees. I say, It’s the fire in my eyes, And the flash of my teeth, The swing in my waist, And the joy in my feet. I’m a woman Phenomenally. Phenomenal woman, That’s me. Men themselves have wondered What they see in me. They try so much But they can’t touch My inner mystery. When I try to show them, They say they still can’t see. I say, It’s in the arch of my back, The sun of my smile, The ride of my breasts, The grace of my style. I’m a woman Phenomenally. Phenomenal woman, That’s me. Now you understand Just why my head’s not bowed. I don’t shout or jump about Or have to talk real loud. When you see me passing, It ought to make you proud. I say, It’s in the click of my heels, The bend of my hair, the palm of my hand, The need for my care. ’Cause I’m a woman Phenomenally. Phenomenal woman, That’s me. -Maya Angelou #WomensMonth 📷: @sillylittletara