What happens when you put twelve talented women together in a beautifully designed space with delicious food and common interests? Under the directive of The Digital Nomad Girls Community, I set out to find the answer to that question. Thus, the first ever “Saigon Social” was born.
With only two days to organize the event, I quickly splashed an announcement on every related facebook group inviting female digital nomads living in the Ho Chi Minh City area to a local meetup. For fear of becoming too rowdy, I capped the attendees at 14 people max. I didn’t expect even half the number to show since it was so last minute, but within a few hours I already had eight girls confirm their appearance. It seemed that the women of Saigon were more than willing to get together!
The venue of choice was none other than the L’Usine Cafeteria on Le Loi Street. L’Usine is a popular lifestyle brand in Saigon that touts itself as “the go-to café and restaurant for both hip locals and savvy global travellers.” With its whitewashed brick walls and rustic style interior design, I could not think of a more fitting environment to set the tone for a casual and fun get-together. They also have a great selection of Western breakfast items, like plates of pancakes with real maple syrup and inventive takes on potato hash and parfaits.
With the support of fellow Digital Nomad Girls Facebook Group member, Karina, we got to work setting up the space. Every girl was given an illustrated postcard of Saigon that acted as her name card and also became a keepsake of the event. Since it was also International Women’s Day this past Tuesday, I gave every girl a Korean face mask to take home and pamper themselves with. Almost all the girls turned up right on time at 11am and immediately began to talk among themselves. Everyone seemed to be chatting away like they had been friends for ages.
While people were conversing and eating, I asked them to write down a brief message about themselves and to offer some advice to digital nomads around the world. Below, you’ll see a compilation of some of these messages. They will definitely put a smile on your face! We also did round-table style introductions and found out we had ladies from all walks of life among us – EFL teachers, storytellers, human trafficking fighters, wellness gurus, moms, and even wives-to-be! There were also two Saigonese women present, which made me all the more excited about creating dialogue between expats, locals, and nomads alike. There were 8 countries represented in total at our table out of a group of 12. The diversity present was inspiring!
In the end, we unanimously decided to continue scheduling meetups in the future with more structure, such as inviting guest speakers to the events and having our events be hosted in different spaces. We will also open up the gathering to any female with an entrepreneurial spirit and a desire to live by her own rules, hopefully gaining new attendees in the meetups to come. I have taken charge of organizing and am aiming to launch the next Saigon Social in May. Please keep a lookout for the next announcement on Digital Nomad Girls or on my blog!
Do you want to organise a social in your city too? Please leave a comment below or get in touch on our Meetup page!