Lose To Win is a series of inspiring success stories that arose from life-changing sacrifices.
Nearly 20 years have passed since the debut of Mien Cat Trang, Quang Vinh’s hit song. The Prince of Music is still singing, but he has harnessed a new passion — becoming a travel vlogger.
Between 2017 and 2020, Quang Vinh Passport and Quang Vinh Travelling in Vietnam have brought Quang Vinh's YouTube channel more than 500,000 views.
We met Quang Vinh on a sunny afternoon (before the social distancing restrictions were implemented) to explore his journey from being a singer to being a "full-time traveller", and what he has “lost” in order to “win”.
What was the best thing about becoming a travel vlogger?
The first thing is satisfying my urge and passion to travel. As a travel vlogger, I will only consider stopping once my passion has died out.
The second thing is seeing your influence. A while ago I reviewed a villa; afterwards, every time that same villa is booked, people call it the “Quang Vinh villa”. A friend also told me that their mother loves to travel, but her health is not good, so they choose to travel with her through the videos I make.
What are some rules that every travel vlogger must abide by?
For me, it's not telling bad stories. When you’re working in media and have a lot of data on hand, anyone would know of at least one bad story that would bring in the most views. I understand that making videos gain views is not a difficult task to achieve: just mention something bad or criticise something that happened, and the numbers will skyrocket.
But anyone who travels knows that no trip is perfect. But for me, I want to tell the most optimistic and beautiful story.
I also invest a lot into crafting my image (the debut video of Quang Vinh Passport cost almost 1 billion Vietnamese dong), and I want my content to be geared towards positivity. That’s my choice.
From being the Prince of Music to The Prince of Travel, what did you give up?
In 2013, a lot of things happened to me: my family went bankrupt, my parents divorced, my nanny died, and the dog I loved dearly also passed away.
I had to put my sadness aside in order to start all over again from scratch. I quit singing to take on many jobs after that and did whatever paid the bills. From working in marketing, being an office worker, opening a clothing shop, to working as a "merchant" ... I kept giving up one job to try something new.
Having to give up so many things, what is something you’ve realized?
A lot of things. Constantly quitting my job made me realize that no matter what, I could never quit singing. Working a lot also helped me discover a new passion, which is travel. That is the reason for the birth of my own travel YouTube channel.
That day, I found myself reading Nguyen Phong's book (Journey to the East, Wisdom in Life...) which made me realize that I still had my sister by my side, and that all my hardships have turned into lessons learned - no matter how difficult they were. Now that I think about it, even the fact that I persisted through the tragedies of 2013 is already a miracle in itself. I’ve given up so many things, but I’ve learnt to never give up on myself.
Everyone looks at you and they see a symbol of optimism. Are there times when you reflect on the past and think of the ‘what ifs’?
That year, when my nanny died, I truly regret that I didn’t have the time to somehow repay her kindness and the comforting love she’s given me.
When I was a child, I used to think shallowly that the nanny was just someone who worked for the family, but I didn't think that they took care of me through every stage of life. If I could go back, I wish I had spent more time with her. But I often regret things when it's too late.
Oh, I also wish I had exercised more. As you age, you realize how important health is. Plus, I wish I’d studied the piano more. Sometimes I also want to compose songs by myself, but… I guess you win some and you lose some.
A fun question: Going back to your journey with singing, what are your favourite songs?
Just between us, people tend to associate me with the song Mien Cat Trang, but I don’t really like it (laughs)! I love Diu Dang Den Tung Phut Giay, Dieu Buon Tenh, and more recently, Lanh Tu Trong Tim.
After 20 years in the field, what is the main difference between ‘singer-songwriter Quang Vinh’ today and in the past?
As a child, I had a real obsession with singing. I learned to sing from a young age; so every time there is a performance or concert of some sort, the name Quang Vinh is always called out by the MC. But there were times where I didn’t know if I wanted to sing for a livelihood.
But now that I’ve matured, I am so grateful for my singing journey. My reputation has allowed for my travel experiences to be even better as I’ve met people who showed me kindness and generosity.
I could never give up music, not with the expectation that I would be even more popular than I was before since I understand how difficult the industry is currently. I just know that an entire generation grew up with me, listened to my music, and still recognizes me after all these years.
I started being a singer. So my path is to continue to create new music.
When you were a singer, and even now as a travel vlogger, is there one ultimate goal that you set for yourself?
I actually have been privately working at the recording studio in preparation for a vlogging project I’ve nurtured for a long time.
I’ve experimented with many things, from travel vlogging with an entire crew, or just with two people (the cameraman and myself). But I always have this mindset that I must constantly have a new plan or goal to follow and achieve. This is because I believe that when the day comes that I’ve reached the top, I must not give up or slow down simply because I’m already there.
I must always keep dreaming, in order to keep going.
(See more of our conversation with Quang Vinh here)
Translated by Dieu Linh