Although only 1.2 meters tall, Cao Ngoc Canh has been a professional traveler for more than seven years. He has visited hundreds of tourist sites in Vietnam and other countries, which few people at his age have done.
At the age of 29, Canh’s figure, face and voice are like a primary pupil. Born in 1986 in a middle class family on the island of Ly Son in the central province of Quang Ngai, Canh had a childhood that was not much different from other coastal kids.
However, when he was 8 years old, he stopped growing. His height and appearance remained the same as an 8 year old while his mind developed normally.
Canh’s parents brought him to many hospitals on the mainland, where doctors said that he was not ill, but just suffered from a pituitary hormone deficiency causing slow physical development. Since then Canh has had to gradually be accustomed to his small shape.
He still attended school, and in daily life, he sometimes needed the support of adults. In the photo of his 12th-grade class, it was very easy to recognize Canh because of his small figure.
Canh went to the mainland to take the university entrance exams. He was the smallest candidate at the entrance exams to the HCM City Economic University in 2004, with a height of 1m. After college graduation, he worked for a computer company on Cao Thang Street, District 3, HCM City.
After almost 10 years since leaving home, Canh joked: “My height still develops but slowly. Over time it has reached 1.2 m.”
Canh said he was mistaken as a child who had lost his way on the bus or street. When he began to talk, people were surprised to see that he was mature.
Canh’s effervescence and humor give others inspiration. His disability did not prevent Canh from integrating into normal life or experiencing the hobby that not many normal people can do: travelling.
After organizing his own trips, he became a member of Phuot, an online forum for travelers. He began joining others to discover many new lands at home and abroad.
In the eyes of friends, Canh is a man who dares to speak and to do; a small man with respectable health and will who travels often. His Facebook page has become a useful “map” for people to refer to whenever they want to travel.
Canh has visited almost all famous tourist sites in Vietnam, including the most challenging ones such as Lung Cu (Ha Giang), Vietnam’s northernmost point; A Pa Chai (Dien Bien), Vietnam’s western-most point; Van Ninh (Khanh Hoa), Vietnam’s eastern-most point and Dat Mui (Ca Mau), the southernmost point and Fansipan – the tallest mountain in Indochina.