With 8-hours to kill, I’m sitting in Airasia lounge at Kuala Lumpur airport watching people come and go. Malays, Chinese, Vietnamese, Pilipinos, Indonesians…you name it and they are here. While observing people, I’m also looking inwards for a reflection on my 8-month journey in Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia, and Vietnam. I must warn you that this is not a travel post, and if it is, it’s about my personal journey and not about places. Just like people from different backgrounds around me, my mind is full of diverse thoughts. Here are some of them:-
Travelling is not about self-exploration anymore
8-months is a short time. All I have covered is 4 countries in 1 continent. There is so much more to see, so many more experiences to live. Why am I saying this?
When I started my journey in June 2016, I wanted to test whether my understanding of this big, beautiful world is right. Having never travelled abroad before (except 6 touristy days in Bali), I was unsure about whether my understanding of the world was right. Fast forward to today, and I can say that it was mostly to the point. Yes, there were those “what the hell” moments when I expected things to happen differently. However, the world largely works as I thought. Why?
Because, there are nice people everywhere
I always believed in this one and I’m glad that it indeed is the case. I had a lot of pleasant moments of people being nice and helpful without having any underlying motive. Let them be staff members at the Outpst coworking space in Bali, A stranger lady who helped me reach my boarding gate with a broken leg in Malaysia, hoste management taking care of me in Saigon when I was sick, or a friend helping me financially when I lost my debit card. In fact, I have hardly had any unpleasant interactions with people during my journey.
For all the goodness in people to come out, you have to be good and open in the first place. Not just that, an open heart can help you make new friends, get you an access to exclusive events, and provide you valuable information. I think being open helped me get most out of my travels. I now believe that it’s not about how many places you have been to but it’s about how open you are to different cultures.
Letting it go
Perhaps, the biggest learning from my travels is to learn to let go. It’s easy to get attached to people and places on the go but everything is transitionary. Over the months, I have learnt to say goodbye with a smile and that’s saving me a lot of emotional turbulence.
Dealing with information overload
Staying open also means opening yourself to plethora of information out there. While any information is good, all of us have finite time to process and utilize information. When I started my travels, I had the zeal to attend all events in the city I stayed in. However, that quickly waned as I realized that too much information on diverse topics is actually making my life difficult. I now feel that I got to use my time wisely in a certain direction to achieve more.
Getting things done
For me, getting things done while travelling is not easy. First, having a routine when constantly moving around is difficult. Second, good life at insanely beautiful places slows me down. Third, the information overload takes me away from clarity. Four, travelling builds an attitude of ‘Let it go’ in you, taking your drive away.
Time to settle a bit
To focus, have a routine, and get things done, I feel I got to settle down at one place a bit. Once I have a transportable routine, I will be ready to fly again.