Sunday, December 16, 2012

Goodbye Southeast Asia, Hello South Asia

It's been 14 and a half months since I left Southeast Asia. In my final days in Thailand, I've been trying to figure out how to say goodbye to a place that has changed my life.

Steaming hot Hoi Tod (fried mussels with egg)
Ingesting as many meals as my stomach will fit, I'm trying to savor every last bite of Thai food. I'm especially flaunting my broken Thai, because, who knows when I'll be able to communicate in a language other than English again. I'm smiling at every stranger and giggling at all the cultural quirks I've grown fond of. I am remembering the 10 Things I'll Miss About Living in Thailand that I wrote when I left for traveling two months ago. My departure is rapidly approaching and it's hard to believe I am really leaving this place.

Southeast Asia has done something to me. It's opened new doors and stretched and expanded my mind in ways I didn't know were possible. I've learned more each day in Southeast Asia than I knew I had brain capacity for. I've grown an emotional attachment to a land and people across the world from my own. Southeast Asia has gotten under my skin, and I have a feeling it'll be there for a while.
"Selfie" from my trip to Ayutthaya, Thailand 
Southeast Asia, and most especially Thailand, has become a part of me that I will carry in my heart wherever I am in the world.

The next, most undetermined chapter of my travels is about to begin. I'm leaving Southeast Asia for a new and totally different culturally rich experience: Sri Lanka, India and maybe Nepal. My travel plans stop after a one-way ticket to India. I've decided to leave it to my bank account, experiences and emotions to lead the way in South Asia. 

While I'm saddened to leave a place that's become my home, I'm growing exponentially excited to explore a country that has so far only existed for me in movies, novels and my dreams. I've been mentally preparing myself for the biggest part of my current travels for a long time: India. While I know it may not always be easy and is vastly different from Southeast Asia, I'm ready to take on the adventure.

No matter how hard I've tried to find the words to bid Southeast Asia farewell, I can't do it. Perhaps because I know that I will be back here one day, even if it is not in the same capacity.
Monk in Ayutthaya, Thailand

So it is not goodbye Southeast Asia; it's see you later.

And helllllo South Asia!!!

1 comment:

Jess Hill said...

Hello, I have followed your blog on teaching in Thailand for a while as it is something I am hoping to do next summer. I look forward to reading your updates from India! Whilst its extremely different and a tough place to hack It is such a beautiful country. Good luck with your travels.