"Such a feeling's coming over
me. There is wonder in most everything I see. Not a cloud in the sky,
got the sun in my eye, and I won't be suprised if it's a dream...I'm on
the top of the world, looking down on creation as the only explaination
I can find...It's the love that I found ever since you've been around.
Your love put me at the top of the world."
- The Carpenters
past one hundred days traveling around ten countries have been simply
thrilling. I have gotten a marvelous glimpse of Hawaii,
Japan, Hong Kong, Vietnam,
Burma, India, Egypt,
I have met people of many ages who have taught me so much without even
much at all. These individuals of the world - a mother, father, sister,
brother, distant cousin perhaps, a potential friend - have showed me
lines of destiny and fate have profoundly altered the course of our
lives. One mere
decision, made complete in a matter of seconds, generations ago by my
have changed who I am by 360 degrees: my culture, values, opportunities
life, even the language I speak! It blows my mind to think how I could
been living the lives of anyone I met had that one decision not been
had it been made differently!
will always remember one girl who befriended me at a girl’s orphanage
in Burma. She was so excited to meet me because I was
Chinese and so was she. I was her long lost sister and she was mine.
conversed to me in Burmese, the little English and fading Chinese that
knew. I communicated back to her in the
English, little Chinese and virtually zero Burmese I knew.
She told me that she had moved to Burma
little sister and parents when she was very young. Although she was
she was much more Burmese. With a beautiful, shy smile filled with
excitement, she shared her culture by teaching me spoken words and
Burmese characters into my journal. As I watched in amazement, thoughts
marveled at our differences also marveled at our similarity. Although
generations-old decisions and my own have affected who I am and the way
I am, I
noticed a universal human spirit within us both. We were both, in
people - with same basic desires, needs, dreams…
travels by foot, air, automobiles and ocean has shown me different
facets of a
world so vast. Yet through meeting people of different faces, values,
languages, who are the reason for making my journey purely
unbelievable, I am humbled by this revelation: that it is truly a small
after all. We are all people. Just people, who are decorated
is our strongest connection that defies all boundaries, allowing us to
appreciate our unique designs instead of being threatened or distanced
all I am, I encourage you to travel. Your adventure does not have to be
traveling around the world, or visiting multiple countries. It could
visiting a place that puts you out of your comfort zone, in the best
possible. Lessons are lurking around every corner, waiting to be
ingested. Stereotypes are waiting to be broken, as tolerance is waiting
formed. By you and for you.
to another country, another
culture, will change you. For the better, I believe, especially if you
open mind and take risks to indulge into the culture. The best way to
into the culture that I have learned is to travel independently, away
tourist track, throwing away your inhibitions and extending yourself to
Merge into local life, and be as “Un-(your cultural identity here)” as
possible! And get lost! Run off schedule! Don’t even plan a schedule!
unexpected twists that lead you to another face of life that you never
or planned on seeing. In Vietnam,
my friend Laura and I rented bicycles from locals, and spent five hours
around the Mekong Delta! We biked into an alleyway and came across a
hidden houses and children who were so excited to meet foreigners! We
as excited to meet them. Getting lost and going into unknown places off
was one of the best memories of my trip.
fears may not necessarily be
valid in another country as in your home country, so do not let them
back. Many times, I have learned that the risk taken in trusting people
rewarded me with the best experiences and memories. The locals that you
meet are ambassadors who will give you the inside scoop and truer
of their country. They will show you life as it is through their eyes.
will see life at face value, without the conformity of what tourist
want you to see. (Plus, they know all the fun places to go and fun
do!) Don’t forget that you also represent your own country, too! And
way you act is being processed, scrutinized, and shapes people’s
others in your country. The good and bad that you experience as you
allow you to have a wider perception of the world, which may confuse
bring clarity at times. Either way, you will definitely grow and help
grow because of this. Exploring life is enriching. So I highly
encourage you to
take this opportunity of a lifetime and travel! This small world that
in is so big, and all of its greatness is waiting to be explored by you!
- Don't forget to bring an extra big suitcase, enough to sneak a person
inside, so that I can come tag along with you too!