Harley Beatrice White: Vietnam

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For the past 17 months I’ve been collecting the pennies to fund my escape from this London-city-life-style and head to Asia to explore some of the most diverse cultures from this region of the world. Over a period of 5 months and 2 trips, I’ve experienced daily life in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and most recently, for the duration of summer 2015, Vietnam. Based in the capital city, Hanoi, I volunteered at a variety of schools (a private school, disabled school and youth center for under-privileged children) and then took full advantage of my £30-11stop-78hr-open-bus-ticket and made my way down the coast, dipping in and out of the sea, the highlands and sand dunes.

Escaping on the weekends after a hard 11-hour-day-5-day-week, yet chore-less job to various places was such a treat (and oh so cheap!) - from trekking in the mountains in Sapa, staying with Hillside tribes to visiting under-privileged families residing in floating villages and kayaking through dark caves in one of the world’s Natural Wonders, Halong bay. Enjoying some of the most enriching (and spicy) local street foods, on tiny, plastic, preschool chairs, all for as little at 10,000 VND!!! (This is just 30p!!!). Everywhere you looked locals welcomed you, constantly smiling, leaking this unheard flow of happiness wherever you found yourself (something in which I sometimes find myself seeking in my home-town, London). Despite the numerous 10hour + sleeper buses, these are all experiences you will never beat. Meeting some of the most generous, honest people, full of years of knowledge and rich experiences they are so honoured to share.

I invite the audience to reconsider life behind the green-rice-terraces, the bustling streets and same-same bamboo sun hats. Through my photography work from Vietnam I hope to reveal the intense joy this country has so beautifully grasped and continues to offer, despite age or poverty and what they may or may not have. There is something this country has truly captured, it may not be money or materialistic, but these less privileged people sure do have something that actually makes them truly rich.

See more from White on her Website and Instagram.