I spent 2 months in south east Asia as of recently, and from it, I took away thousands of photos, and many great experiences. For the purpose of this blog, and the purpose of my current editing sanity, here’s my quick Asia 2012 in a nutshell via Instagram. To enlarge the images or to scroll through just click on one and continue.
Before I left, I received the two cents from almost everybody I knew who had travelled there before. I’ve been a few times, because of my relatives, but was always much younger. I got a heavy amount of mixed reviews but had to go determine the outcome myself. I had many fond memories of running the streets eating things on sticks, pop out of bags, and catching lizards. This time would it be different?
When I came back to Canada, I knew I would have people asking me, “where was your favourite place?” That’s probably the hardest question to answer, because without a doubt, as you all know, every place has it’s own uniqueness, whether good or bad, its always interesting. Travelling is a funny thing. Every experience will be completely different depending on your company, on where you go, on where and what you choose to eat, and beyond that, it depends heavily on your state of mind and the energy you exude to others.
One thing Asia taught me was how to become not only a more patient individual, but a more understanding and compassionate person. How to be happy with what you have, because what we have here is so much more than a large percentage of the world, yet they exude kindness and happiness to us as strangers. Many people travel abroad and say oh I hated this city, or this country, street vendors wouldn’t stop harassing me, the people were not nice, or there was McDonalds everywhere and it was basically like being at home but hotter and stickier. All of that…is because of us. Less we forget, the west has heavily influenced the growth of these countries in such a short amount of time, that their infrastructure can’t hold the changes. Example: “there was garbage all over the beach”!
Your travels become what you make it. Of course in every country there will be places of dense backpackers, idiots getting bombed on the streets because it’s legal to buy beer from the corner stores. It’s easy to forget where you are, and what your purpose is in this foreign place if you’re always hitting up Starbucks.
My advice would be; search far and wide for those sacred places, because they won’t be sacred for much longer. Even since the last time I was in Asia, 10 years ago, it’s barely recognizable, other than the awesomely shady alleyways. Do your research, get to know the locals, definitely eat something that looks uncertain, try and immerse yourself in their culture and once you do, you’ll remember why you just travelled20,000 km to get there. Not once in those 2 months did I have a bad experience with anyone from the grumpy bus driver, to the street vendor, to the pushy children. Staying far away from the backpacking hubs, I met locals and heard their stories, tasted their dishes, learnt about what it was like before we invaded, and saw a side of Asia I will most certainly return to.
In the end, I thank Asia for showing me how to become a better individual, and please remember to be a considerate tourist. PICK UP YOUR GARBAGE.
From Hong Kong, to Thailand, to Malaysia, to Indonesia -Bali and back….Enjoy!