Sunday, February 2, 2014

Asia-ed Out



While in Bali, Sean and I came to the realization that we are Asia-ed out.

What does that mean?

It means we're kinda done with Asia.

I know, I know: we live in Asia.

But I am talking about travelling, not living.

The crux of the matter is we were in Bali and could not get all that fired up about being in Bali because, well, we had seen so much of Asia that nothing, not even Bali, felt new and exciting and fresh and wondrous.

I mean, come on, if a person cannot get 110% jazzed about being in Bali then clearly something is wrong.

And that something, for us, is overexposure.

We have lived in Asia for 1.5 years now.

But beyond that, looking at a map, Sean and I are running out of places to go.

We've been to live in Taiwan.
We've been to Vietnam.
We've been to Cambodia.
We've been to Laos.
We've been to Thailand, four times.
We've been to Malaysia.
We've been to Singapore.
We've been to Indonesia, twice.
We've been to Hong Kong.
We've popped by Macau.
We've popped by China.

I know that leaves South Korea and Japan and the Philippines but the thing is: we are tired of Asia. We don't really want to go to any of those places right now.

We are, simply put, Asia-ed out.

I used to dream of going to Jeju Island in South Korea and Hokkaido in Japan and the Chocolate Hills in the Philippines but after getting back from another adventure in Asia there are certain things that have to be said about travelling through Asia.

And that is it ain't always easy or pleasant or fun or comfortable or safe.

You are viewed, more often than not, as a walking ATM. People, minute by minute and sometimes second by second, harass you about buying useless junk at an unreasonable price.

You are gawked at for looking different.

You feel conflicted about your contribution to the decline of a culture and irresponsible development practices that accompany impoverished tourist destinations.

You are deeply scared at times due to a seemingly utter disregard for safety and sense.

You get more food poisoning in one year than most people do in their life time.

You deal with more blatant corruption than most people would believe, mostly by people in uniform.

You see bad people, very bad people, who visit these countries to do very bad things and are left feeling disillusioned with the world and humanity.

You feel helpless about the animal cruelty and stark poverty you see every day.

You feel guilt and a sense of injustice and unease for being lucky enough to be born in a country that affords you the opportunity to visit these countries when most of the people you meet in these places have never been and will never go outside of their own country, and sometimes town, due to the vast and extreme limitations of their circumstances.

I've been to other countries and continents.

I've been to Canada, countless times.
I've been to England, twice.
I've been to Scotland.
I've been to France.
I've been to Italy.
I've popped by Iceland.
I've popped by Switzerland.

In these developed countries, traveling is a whole different story. It doesn't (often) come with the side effects of fear, guilt, and sadness.

And as someone who has made a life based around travel, I have to admit that what I need now is a break from Asia, Taiwan not included. I need to be around something familiar and something a little... lighter.

So, with that in mind, we have our next two travel destinations picked out: the United States (hurrah!!) and New Zealand. We will be heading home for two months this summer and simply cannot wait to be surrounded by family and friends and familiarity and then one year from now we will fly way down under and explore a new country and continent.

Hopefully, after that, we will feel refreshed and rediscover our desire and inspiration to jet set to other Asian destinations, which are within Taiwan's reach by a 1-2 hour flight.

All things considered, I wouldn't change my travel history or life choices. Sean and I are simply learning more about our unique lifestyle, as expats and constant travelers, and the ups and downs that come with it.

Ce la vie.

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