Saturday, October 22, 2011

But why Asia and India?

 This is one of the questions I get asked most often. I love to watch people crinkle up their nose and say, "Oh I'd love to travel, but I wouldn't go there." Oddly enough, two or three years ago, I would have probably said the same thing. I mean, let's be honest--Those of you who know me can agree, I've always been the pickiest of picky eaters, afraid of bugs, and yes, I'll admit it, a bit of a drama queen. So originally, I had decided to backpack around Europe. Like most of the nose crinklers, I liked the idea of eating my way through Italy, smoking my way through Amsterdam, brushing up on my french in Paris, and visiting our old exchange student in Germany. Then last year, I started helping friends edit their term papers, and I decided to take an English class at the university to brush up on my skills so I could charge for professional tutoring. When I couldn't get the class I intended on, I decided just to take something that interested me enough that I wouldn't lose the desire to be back in school. I ended up with World Religion, and I loved it. Learning about the Eastern Religions like Buddhism and Hinduism in class and reading Eat Pray Love at home...the seed was beginning to grow. When my professor decided to take a day off from teaching and show us slides of his own backpacking days, I was hooked. I adjusted my trip plans to include six months in Europe and six months in Asia, then changed it to about four months of Europe and eight months of Asia and India. Eventually, I realized that financially one month in Italy could buy me three in South East Asia, so I finally settled on six to nine months seeing South East Asia and India...and no Europe at all. I want to see the temples of Thailand more than I want to see the churches of England. I want to see monkeys more than I want to see museums.  I saw a video clip of a man in Vietnam peddling a bicycle that towed a cart stacked at least twelve feet high with packages, weaving it's way through the traffic like it was no big deal. Such a simple, silly image, but all I could think was, "That's what I want to see. I would NEVER see that here." I want to see things I would never see in America, and Europe was beginning to look more and more like just a fancier version of home. I want an experience, not just a vacation. I want to be challenged. I want to prove to everybody, especially myself, that I can do this and frankly, Europe just sounds too easy.

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