Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Asia Bound

One of my main goals in life is to open my mind, to see outside my bubble. I'd like to develop  greater understanding and empathy towards people and cultures who differ from me. So naturally, I have a great urge to travel. 

I am not, however, a natural traveler. I stress a great deal before (and admittedly during) a long trip. My anxiety soars when booking flights. I am hardly an adventurous soul (I have an irrational fear of fish, for example)... I dread planning, yet prefer to have the majority outlined and organized... Which doesn't bode well with a "go with the flow" travel attitude. For me, travel is a goal, something I feel the need to do to feel "right" in my own skin, despite a number of challenges my own character creates for me.

A good friend of my family, G, does not seem to have such issues. With worldwide mementos adorning her walls, outrageous get togethers surrounded by international friends, she comes by it with ease. She once gave me a valuable piece of advice: travel where you know someone.

As a language lover who has been learning Spanish (albeit on and off) for quite some time, I was quite determined to have my next trip in South America. But somehow, a number of friends ended up in Asia. And not just the parties of Thailand, but in "small"-town Japan and rural China. The more I spoke of my trip with friends, the more I discovered many others planned to visit South East Asia. Somehow it seemed set. Perhaps a little obscure, or different from my usual taste (I do not speak a word of Japanese, Mandarin, Thai...)  but here I am, in Asia. 

Japan, China, Thailand, Indonesia. Somehow this is sounding more challenging than Europe...