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Passing through... We travel, initially, to lose ourselves; and we travel, next, to find ourselves--Pico Iyer---Passing through from Europe to Africa to Asia to Oceania etc.& back again! 9 mos. of dreaming and exploring!

Quirks related to a year abroad…

FRANCE | Friday, 6 June 2014 | Views [282]

If you don't like spicy I don't think you will like southeast Asian cuisine, the 'watered down' version just isn't the same.

Street food causing trouble? First GI issues whole trip, let my guard down..in Myanmar.! Should know better. Familiarity is not necessarily safety or free from trouble. No real issues in India, surprisingly! Food- I've been more sick at home than during travels!!! Processed and unnatural seems to be my biggest poison! I'm a fearless eater!

Living in a place doesn't mean you know the place. It's the way you travel, the way you see things, how you choose to take it all in that makes a difference. Nowadays you can live anywhere or travel anywhere & not actually know where you are.

I wanted to stay in Vietnam longer. I struggled with the decision: stay here longer & scrap some of the itinerary or go with things as planned? That is always a problem when you really like a place. In the end, seeing other places wins out only because we need to get a taste of everything before we really know what we like best. I can't really know how much Vietnam appeals to me if I haven't compared it to Thailand, Myanmar, Indonesia, etc....
Either way, we definitely haven't had enough of this place and there is no doubt we will be back in the next few years. I can say that about Southeast Asia in general. I am so in love with this place! I'm starting to see that my perfect vacation involves a beach, amazing food, a motorbike, and lots of learning experiences along the way!

Understanding where I fit in the world- still don't know (less than a year is too short to figure out something that important) but I think this trip is getting me there. I understand myself better and every day I learn something new about myself---my priorities, my dreams , my goals, my interests, my personality.....what is important to me? What do I do best and how do I incorporate that into my world? --- Self discovery- there is so much out there to learn

What the Vietnamese wear- always covering up to make sure they don’t get any kind of tan—gloves, face mask, hat, long sleeves in super hot and humid weather! The status symbol is so opposite in Asia compared to North America/Europe regarding darker vs. lighter skin tones. It’s so ironic, as we are always trying to get a tan!

A smile & a polite gesture can get you far in this world, but I still want to learn a language. I yearn for it, I just haven't found the one I am in love with yet. The practical ones to learn are obvious, but if I'm forced to do it due to practicality , will it work?? I need to be passionate about a specific one before I jump into it……one day for sure though, no excuses.

Transportation options- Most bus options in southeast asia are dirt cheap and ridiculously dangerous, particularly (we learned) the route from Cambodia to Vietnam.  Sometimes it is really worth more to take that train….Be careful on the streets too. A life in Vietnam is worth a measly $2000…true story! The biggest motorbike challenge was Vietnam and Indonesia, because of the high amount of traffic on the road. In Vietnam there are whole lanes on the road just devoted to motorbikes. Why do so many people have motorbikes there in comparison to other southeast asian countries? Because there are ridiculous added tax costs to every Vietnamese citizen if they own a car!

Vietnamese buildings have a funny architecture. The buildings are skinny and tall. It has to do with family affairs; they need to build high not wide for family expansion in future due to limited property.

The tourist circuit is well paved in southeast asia so its not hard to find good amenities i.e. hotels. Not so much the case in India. You pay westernized prices if you want anything up to par to Western standards, otherwise be ready for a cold shower and no wifi!

Our direction of travel was generally west to east mostly based on weather factors and advice. However, we definitely made some mistakes along the way with time frames. Should not have done New Zealand in their winter (May) and probably should have climbed Kilimanjaro at a different time. India was too hot by the time we got there (except the North) and we should have arrived in Australia earlier to look for work. Considering we were in Europe in the Fall and needed extra supplies and clothes to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro, this made packing for one year much harder.

 I found myself having a need to write every day but not a need for medicine every day. The writing interest seems to trump the medical interest !.?  Writing has always nudged me. It makes me happy. It's my best way of communicating with the world. It has always shown its truths to me- everything I have learned I have read, every class or teaching I have enjoyed involved writing.....every piece of my day ....the universality and beauty of writing! Writing writing!

Traveling- true love, I don't care what it puts me through. It's only brought me the peace & calm I can't seem to find in my daily routine. I'm healthier because of it! & smarter! And more tolerant! And more creative!! And I have a richer life- no need for a new phone or TV...! Not my strong points with travelling= inpatient, bad packer,making friends(that is Tom’s specialty)- mine is avoiding touts! For me, previous contacts are priceless & that is how I prefer to explore. I am a perpetual, constant student.
Mental health is why I am doing this. We are in a mental health crisis and everyone turns to quick solutions -drugs, quick fix--we must be doing something wrong- maybe I can find some rights somewhere else in the world?? Because at home things seem to be turning the wrong way despite our best efforts?--it's good to believe in what you are supposed to preach. Our mental health is vital, we really need to learn how to properly maintain it and flourish it.

I really never learned how to DO NOTHING. The beauty of making something out of nothing- a few ingredients into a feast, a festival of friends, a few words into a masterpiece ---anyone with a talent for happiness can do this.
The culture of pleasure- actually feeling like you deserve this gift---we have such a remorse about this! Why? It's a sick notion....again it comes down to balance. Maybe you can't do nothing all the time but damn right you deserve to be happy !!!

“It is better to live your own destiny imperfectly than to live an imitation of somebody else's life perfectly.  The mind is restless, turbulent, strong & unyielding. I consider it as difficult to subdue as the wind”—Bhagavid Gita.

Just as there exists in writing a literal truth & a poetic truth, there also exists in a human being a literal anatomy and a poetic anatomy. They are both equally true.

You cannot see your reflection in running water, only in still water-Zen masters.

Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel the world looking for it.


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