As I head on my way back home to the cooling forests and beauty of Washington, I find I am not ready to leave Asia. Wishing I could stay, as I am sure most people feel the same. Even though I completely loved every bit of my adventure I still yearn for more. I don’t feel this is selfish or as if I want to escape my reality of responsibilities; but more of a desire to learn more, see more, experience more.
Every time I travel I learn more of what I am capable of. My strengths, my weakness. Discovering more about myself and most importantly, about others. Experiencing how little my place in the world really is. I feel at home I become caught up with my next move, my next goal, or my next project. I think about myself in little ol’ Marysville and go on living a fairly regular routine every day. Traveling brings me to a sense of realizing first-hand how large the world is and how many people are in it. Economies, culture, social norms, history, language, technology, food, infrastructure, religion, landscapes, etc.; I can go on forever. Travel breaches your comfort and expells you to the unknown and uncertainty. Without these two notions one wouldn’t learn anything new or test their boundaries. They simply would be vacationing.
Connecting with people is a huge part of traveling. Learning about a foreigner’s country and way of life. Seeing what works and what does not work for a country or community. You are checked back into a sense of knowing your way is not the only way. From this you can realize and gain so much. Just opening your mind and accepting the ability to gain perspective is such a rewarding feeling for me. I feel everyone should be the minority at some time in their life. Realizing the difficulties in communication, when you do not understand their language or currency conversion. Being creative to save a buck to last your travels. Finding ways to commute yourself from place to place. Protecting yourself and your belongings. Ordering food you’ve never heard of or understand. Or simply learning to not get your pant legs all nasty when you have to squat over a hole in the ground while holding your bag. I learn much about myself every time I am the minority. I see how people see me, I hear how people talk to me, and I am welcomed by smiles and open hearts. Honestly, I really enjoy being the minority. At least from what I know of never traveling more than a month at a time so far. It is great to feel different from anyone else around. No one is competing with you, you don’t have to live up to someone’s expectation or certain standards. Simply put, you adapt to your environment. Sharing similarities and differences with other foreigners and communties. Exploring histories and cultural extremes. Revealing the person or community underneath the assumptions, misunderstandings, and judgements, to a wider perspective. Reaching into someone’s culture provides me with such warmth I wish I could be wrapped up in for the rest of my life.
Lastly, my favorite part of traveling . . .
Being grateful. Grateful for my family, grateful for my country, grateful for my experiences, and most importantly, grateful for my health. Without my health everything else would lack in. I am grateful for what I have, what I have accomplished, the courage I possess, and the loving heart that I cherish.
To travel is to grow. You grow in your mind. You grow in your heart. You grow in spirit.
To me, I grow in my soul.
The world is a book. Those who do not travel only read one page.