We have been traveling through Asia now for more than a month and I have noticed a few changes in Adam and I. When we first got here, everything was so in your face…the people, the noises, the begging, the bargaining… now we have become more aware of what is going on. However, nothing and for that matter, no one prepared us mentally for what we would be encountering. I don’t know if that has something to do with the fact that most of the people we have met traveling for long periods of time are younger than us, have different backgrounds and/or experiences, but whatever it is, no one warned us.
Every few days either Adam or I have an emotional explosion that we are trying to figure out how to bypass…these are a few of the common bumps we face:
Materialism – we have what they don’t and we are internally still upset over things that are materialistically important when we wish they weren’t
Dishonesty – nothing has a set price and people think we are stupid, purposefully ripping us off a dollar here a dollar there without just the decency of being honest…honesty would have gotten you a better tip anyway.
Spending – daily we are spending spending spending and really none of the poor people who need the money really get much of what we spend. The bigger businesses just get bigger and the poorer…well…
Hunger – while we are eating our nice dinner that fills us up, 3 times a day, the people on the streets stare at us trying to sell us things for money when we k now how their tummys rumble.
Religion – everywhere we go we see temples, statues, buddhas, yet one man after the next is constantly doing shaddy business.
Smiles and shifty eyes– so many of the smiles we see come with $ signs attached…
Babies – because so much of the population here was wiped out in the 70’s, it seems like every girl over the age of 16 or so has an infant strapped to her side…it is a bit much to take.
But, with all of this said, I think the hardest part is the internal struggle Adam and I are having trying to figure out what to do with these experiences. It’s not like we are going to live in tree houses and donate everything we own for the rest of our lives to the people of SE Asia. Our lives are different, the standards and lifestyles we live are on a different level, it has to do with where we live, our dreams and our ambitions. However, I do believe that somewhere, within this trip will be our answer as to what we will do next. I feel that it has to be something more than what we do now though, seeing as though we are unemployed J but I think there has to be a way to open up other peoples eyes, to show them how other people in the world live (and are happy doing so) and find some way to educate others on other ways of life beyond the house, the car, the department store labels and the zip code.
One of the hardest things to swallow is the number of unemployed Americans who sit at home because they make more money off of unemployment then from working, when people here get no support from their government, work 16 hour days and just have enough to get by.
It seems sometimes here, that the simpler the life, the happier the life. Even if we were to give these people money, I don’t think they would know what to do with it. They have a house, a bike, food and family…just a different life style.
This thought process and experience has given Adam and I so much to talk about with each other and with other travelers we meet.