Two weeks in. It all hit me. Exhaustion. Sickness. And in came pouring thoughts of self-doubt, confusion, frustration. In my gut, I wasn’t ready to give up. But in my head was a shiny picture of home, with the people I know, with a stable job, with any sense of familiarity and comfort. It took two days in bed to recover from the sickness, but feeling of helplessness lingered.

And then one day changed everything. A leap of faith. Placing my trust in a stranger, a soon-to-be friend. Hopping on the backseat of a motorbike.

One day. Nine hours across the city and back. Speeding over highways and cruising down alleys. Walking through the streets. Seeing people smile at me and smiling back. The subtle nod of the head as a sign of acknowledgment and respect. Suddenly, I saw a different side of this city. I saw the interest and kindness of the people. In their eyes. In their smiles. In the kids’ laughter.

I found a different side of this city while getting lost in colorful neighborhoods, and sharing cà phê đá (iced coffee) in a haven tucked away from the chaos. I found a different side of this city while riding on a bike through a torrential rainstorm, and sitting down at a restaurant with dripping hair and swimming pools in our shoes. And I loved every second of it.

A new perspective. That’s what it took to change everything.

In this place, I dive into uncertainty head first. I have to, just to find some source of sanity in this unsane place.

I’ve spent a lot of time observing traffic from the backseat of a motorbike. There’s not a lot of rules on the road, but there is one thing everyone does. Follow the flow.

That’s what you do here. Follow the flow.

Photos taken throughout Ho Chi Minh City on June 28, a day of new perspectives.