Today we wrap on three months traveling through South East Asia with 29 more days and three countries to go. It’s time to recalibrate.
When the luster of arriving in a new city wears away, it causes major distress within me. What happens when the novelty of novelty fades? This is a question that continues to plague me. Is this just an unavoidable reality of extended trips? Or is there a way to keep the spark? I would like to believe the latter.
Traveling is equal parts relaxing and challenging. For every beautiful vista there is an uncomfortable bed, and for every delicious meal, a wrong turn made. The observation is trite. It’s why we are learning as much as we are having fun. And I travel for both.
So through today’s challenge of lethargy, I have recognized the importance of having purpose— simply creating a framework for my day. What will I keep an eye out for? Which cultural difference will I observe? What will I ask questions about? What creative challenge can I give myself? Some examples on my mind right now: Black and white photography, Asian custom to avoid being tanned by the sun, and the impact communism has on the lives of Vietnamese people.
This is a small adjustment that shakes the feeling of aimlessness. It is this mindset that cures me from the curse of “same same, but different.” No longer do the temples blur together and the markets provide me with just more souvenirs. Each place provides a unique canvas for cultural observation and creative execution.
And this doesn’t just apply to life on the road. It becomes even more important when I get back to “everyday life.” I can bring this strategy back to the states with me, when I have those days where I feel trapped in the monotony of my routine.
So goodbye, South East Asia, it has been eye opening and a hell of a lot of fun. We are reentering the first world and instead of thinking of these last three countries as the final stretch, I am framing May as it’s own unique trip, and each day holds the potential for so much learning and creativity.