These past months of travel have really opened my eyes to a much bigger picture and have provided me with many life lessons that I would have never learnt back home. South East Asia has been my playground and has left me thinking in a completely different way in terms of what I find important in life and what isn’t so necessary.
- Happiness is what you make of it – Happiness is key!
After adventuring top to bottom through South East Asia, I have been witness to how simple life can be and how this ripple effect brings forth happiness. How strange is the thought that people living day to day in harsh conditions can greet you with a big hello and enormous smile. Offer you into their homes, share what they have with you with no complaint at all. When back in Australia, America or England if you smile at someone they may think you’re strange.
I love the fact that many countries across South East Asia are so family-focused where they will arrive home from a hard day of work and have quality time with their entire families. They will sit and share a meal, play with the young children in the fields or tell stories. To observe this really opened my eyes to how important family time is and how I sacrifice this each time I set off on a new adventure.
One memory that will stick with me forever is from when I was on Don Det Island in Laos, and I sat down for a meal and watched the local children playing outside in the dirt. They were all smiling and laughing as the community spectated during their game of marbles.
Happiness shines through from the simplest of things in life and to think I am about to step back into a society where I have so many expectations is now something that intimidates me and makes me think how can I make these situations happy ones!
- I have no time for negativity
When I think of home every now and then as I have been travelling I consider the things I miss in terms of friends, family and those materialistic items that at times make life so much easier. Then I consider those negatives that assisted with my decisions to stay abroad and travel. These negatives associated with my life include individuals and groups of people who still feel the need to act like 15 year olds and show their true colors over and over with their immaturity and attempts at ridicule. I am unsure if these are attempts to rekindle a friendship that I definitely don’t wish to be a part of or jealousy. To be honest at times I wish I could trade in what I have been doing for a desk job where I can rock up to work and not have to worry about border crossings, flight transfers or scams at each destination I arrive.
Negativity will only throw fuel on the fire to motivate me that little bit more to achieve what I have set out to achieve. I can tell you now I am very happy with where I am in the world and what I am doing. Life is pretty sweet! A big lesson I learned is that negativity will never get you anywhere.
- Patience is a virtue
There have been countless situations in the past months where I have been very irritated that things have not gone the way they were supposed to. For example cancelled flights, no notification of changes to bookings and double booked accommodation just to name a few.
Efficiency is something I have always been used to at home and when travelling through developed countries. Once stepping into a developing country where English is a second language and their idea of a day’s work is much different to that of home’s, frustration and stress levels can go through the roof.
In the past 248 days I set myself a challenge to be as patient and calm as possible when a situation went wrong. My five top tips:
- Take a deep breathe before speaking.
- Think before saying.
- Talk very calmly, softly and slowly .
- Always let them speak, never speak over them.
- A simple smile will get you very far!
Once again anger and frustration will never get you anywhere especially in South East Asia. It has the complete reverse effect where the people whom are meant to help you will do everything they can to actually not assist you!
- I am still learning
I’ll admit it – I don’t enjoy reading books or articles, but over the past months I have made the effort to read at least one article per day. This new found information that I am obtaining amounts to so much more when in conversation with other travellers. Travelling provides you with a much greater knowledge and understanding of the world than the information provided to you back at home. With all the current global affairs, it’s so interesting to speak with people where this is present at their back door or neighboring countries as the information and details they present are so different. Travel has provided me with the ability to learn new things every day!
- We don’t always need to please others.
When I think of home I think of where I could be and where I am now. The countless number of expectations and responsibilities I would have whether in a house hold or at work. Our lives are based around making other individuals’ lives much easier with those certain responsibilities or set tasks we need to achieve on each day. I look to my friends who spend countless hours in the office staying back until 4am to be noticed and hopefully climb that ladder within their company. Why do we always have to seem so busy when at work? If we are set a task and complete this before the due time why can’t I pack my bag and return home to my family. This reverse effect where we please others then ultimately affect our own wellbeing. We need to take more time for ourselves then to worry about others all the time.
After observing the way families operate throughout South East Asia especially in the rural and remote communities life makes so much more sense. There is not necessarily a set expectation. You do what you can manage for that day and that is completely fine. The only people these individuals feel the need to please are their families and this is the most amazing thing to witness.