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It was a cool night in 1999 when I found myself walking back to my hostel in Hanoi. As I was passing by a tree, I heard a faint voice behind it. Curiosity got the best of me and I walked closer to investigate. That’s when I heard the voice again, a small, trembling one, “Dad where are you? Mum where are you? Every night I sleep on an empty sidewalk…”

I peered around the tree and saw a young boy with a dirty face and tattered clothes. I didn’t know what to do or how to help him. I had almost nothing in my pockets. But I couldn’t just walk away. So, I ran to a nearby shop and bought him some bread. As I handed it to him, I knew it wasn’t a solution to his problems. I couldn’t save him for long.

The image of that boy with his haunting words stayed with me for years. I knew that I needed to make a difference and help others like him. So, I started studying and working towards that goal. After ten long years of hard work and determination, I finally had an idea.

I decided to set up my own travel company, Origin Travel. I wanted to bring people closer together and help the world understand the beauty of Vietnam. My work experience as a tour guide, tour leader, and tour operator had allowed me to travel extensively to isolated destinations in Vietnam, and study the roles tourism played there.

Finally, with the help of my family and friends, Origin Travel was established in July 2009. I wanted it to be a company built on pride and real, in-depth local knowledge. My hope is that more and more people will come to Vietnam and experience the beauty of this country while also supporting local communities. Perhaps, one day, we can help more children like the boy behind the tree that night.

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