Travel Quotes, Chapter 4

“I am not the same, having seen the moon shine on the other side of the world.” – Mary Anne Radmacher

Travel changes you.  It changes your perception, your thought patterns, your patience, your dreams.  It makes you consider things you never would have thought to consider before.  I’ve traveled more than the average US citizen, obviously far less than some…but if I never travel again, the very fiber of my being has been impacted and forever changed for the better because of those experiences, in large part due to traveling solo.

“Being solitary is being alone well:  being alone luxuriously immersed in doings of your own choice, aware of the fullness of your own presence rather than the absence of others.” – Alice Koller

By getting out of your comfort zone just once in your life can change everything in your world magical ways….

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Travel Quotes, Chapter 3

“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.” -Anais Nin

“The life you have led doesn’t need to be the only life you have.” -Anna Quindlen

 

Don’t be afraid of doing something uncharacteristic.  If life is dull, take a step down a different path.  I’m not saying quit your job, become a hippy and live in a tent the rest of your life.  Quite frankly, that job is necessary for most people to travel in the first place.  All I’m saying is try to live more fully.  Forego buying that cute pair of shoes or the newest cell phone that just came out five minutes ago and put a few dollars every paycheck into a travel fund.  Once you have enough to play with, look into a few destinations, read travel guides and blogs, and when you’re ready, buy a ticket.  The ticket could be to a new city, state, country or continent.  Your happiness will grow and your life will expand just for giving it a try, regardless of the number of miles you travel.

🙂

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Travel Quotes, Chapter 2

“No place is ever as bad as they tell you it’s going to be.”  -Chuck Thompson

“To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries.”  -Aldous Huxley

 

Have you ever noticed that the most negative and worrisome information tends to come from negative and worrisome individuals who tend to watch too much TV and don’t travel enough, or at all?

I believe human nature is mostly good at heart.  I believe that like attracts like, and I believe things happen for a reason.  I also believe that everyone should take responsibility for their actions, research an area before you travel and ultimately go where you feel you should go and spread your wonderful human nature as far as you can.  I guarantee you’ll be rewarded many, many more times that not…so don’t put too much energy in the naysayers.  Will your experience be perfect?  No…trips are usually perfectly imperfect.  But in the end, you’ll have a life-changing experience, and most likely prove a large number of people wrong, while everyone else is jealous of your courage and sense of adventure, while being upset at themselves for being overcome with fear and negativity.

Go into the unknown and show the unworldly people how amazing the world is!

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Travel Quotes, Chapter 1

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

-Lao-tzu

“Travel makes one modest.  You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.”

-Gustave Flaubert

 

Many people around the world, educated people full of knowledge and awareness, come to understand how small their own personal world is, once they take that step forward and experience a different place.  We are all guilty of keeping our minds and bodies in a comfortable box of sorts…which I believe is human nature.  But, taking one step into some place new will humble you to your core…or, at least it should.

After that…how your world will change. 🙂

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Being an Armchair Traveler….

It has been a full year since being back in the states.  Besides the usual occurrences of spending time with loved ones, looking for/securing a job and then finally earning some money, I’ve been pretty stationary.  But…I’m surprisingly ok with that…for now.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ll never be content staying in one place forever and ever, with no hope of traveling to different lands, foreign or domestic, ever again.  But, traveling can be hectic, time-consuming and even exhausting, even during the most positive, amazing travel experiences.  Therefore, some down time to rest and recover from my two years away has been much needed…as well as some time to rebuild my travel fund!

So even though I’ve been in this stationary period, I’ve gotten to talk travel in a surprising number of places.  Every job interview I’ve had since getting home (there have been many) has touched upon my work experience as an expat.  (Not many applicants have two out of three jobs on their resume being a position in a foreign country.)  Also, as my nieces learn about different countries in school, they know they have an Aunt who is willing and able to share personal accounts of time spent in said locations.  No doubt this will help with their classes, but I also hope it coaxes and nourishes a desire to physically explore their world one day.

Since Netflix is now part of my life once again (we’re reunited, and it feels so good!), I’ve also spent some time looking at documentaries and programs featuring remote areas of the world or unique locations.

I’ve also caught up on my favorite travel blogger’s posts, read some travel-related books and memoirs, and listened to some lectures discussing why we travel and how our personalities lead us to make the choices we do.  Interesting stuff!

Needless to say, I’ve had a great year of soaking up some travel-related activities and keeping in touch with my globe-trotting friends.  This year has also given me the chance to curl up with a delicious cup of tea on a cold night and dream of sweet tropical adventures yet to be savored.  Day by day, I can feel the strengthening of my travel funds and my batteries charging to full capacity.  This period of time has been fruitful and satisfying in its own way, and dare I say, much needed.  Sometimes a slow period is required in order to forget about travel frustrations, luggage weight restriction debacles, sheer exhaustion from traveling a full 24 hours to get home, working tirelessly to organize travel logistics, and challenging oneself with language barriers.  After the little pop-up stressors are gone, it’s easier to focus on the amazing experiences and memories that will be forever carried forward, which all help to propel you toward the next life challenge.

I can only wonder what these charged travel batteries will stir up as 2017 continues to unfold.

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Looking Back

It has been eight months since I left my expat existence.  It’s strange to be in flux again, (for a large chunk of time), starting over, but this time in my home country.  This adjustment is just as challenging as moving to a developing nation…minus the language barrier and traffic.

When someone asks me “How was it over there?” I never quite know what to say.  Too many thoughts and emotions jam together and I can’t seem to fully explain how it was…much like my dilemma with describing how it feels to be back home.

Saying my time abroad was “challenging” is a complete understatement.  A range of emotions gets conjured up as I think back to iconic moments and interesting lessons learned.

I remember walking out of the airport in Jakarta for the first time and being smacked in the face with thick humidity while about 50 taxi drivers berated me for business.  That set the tone for most of my experience.  It’s always hot and humid, and I was never left alone.

I remember my first Christmas out of the country.  It was the first time I wasn’t able to decorate or send out cards.  That is my favorite time of year, so it almost felt as if Christmas didn’t come, which was sad.

I remember my first VISA trip to Singapore and feeling so thankful that I was able to travel with a coworker.  After not really gathering my bearings in one country, I have to navigate another?? Having a travel buddy really helped to make sure we met our agent and got our documents processed in the ridiculously short window of time we were given.  Panic and stress are always terrible, but especially on an early morning international mission.

I remember being a little nervous on my first day of teaching.  After that, it was a breeze, but not knowing what to expect from each age group that first day was a little scary.

I remember when my shyest five-year-old student finally started speaking in English.  Elation, relief…a little of both is probably what I was feeling at that moment.  It was proof that my little guys were comfortable with me and that they really were absorbing the material.

I remember when the Indonesian government kept changing VISA requirements and out of 17 western teachers, I was only one of two that were legally allowed to work.  Lots of other teachers got a paid, extended vacation, but I still had a full schedule…that was frustrating.

I remember getting to travel around the country, and nearby countries, which was amazing.  Yes it was still hot and locals were WAY too excited by my light skin, hair and eyes, but I’ve gotten to see a bunch of awe-inspiring places.

I remember saying goodbye to my favorite class that first year.  It was so emotional.  I cried for most of the class period as the students showered me with cake and gifts.  I was incredibly sad, but also grateful and humbled at the same time.

I remember on numerous occasions being stuck in bumper to bumper traffic for an hour and only moving 20 feet.  That was aggravating, but it will teach you patience.

I remember getting marriage proposals and serenades from my high school boys.  I had a handful of hilarious guys who always made me laugh.

I remember having to communicate with the Super of my building mostly through sign language because he spoke no English, and I never knew the Indonesian words for the things I needed to tell him.  I will never forget how he mimed “explosion” when I asked him what happened to the internet after a big storm passed through. LOL

I remember people stealthily (not so stealthily) taking my photo when I was out at a mall or restaurant, as if I was a unicorn; a strange creature outside its natural habitat, and therefore proof of its existence needed to be captured! Sigh….

I remember my excitement and curiosity when getting to try all the new and interesting foods available.  I still miss the amazing fruit selection.

I remember having to constantly haggle, for everything, which was extremely tiring, when all you want is to pay a fair price and walk away.  I especially didn’t like paying a higher price at times, just because I was western.  But, I did get good at haggling and looking back, I recognize that a lesson in discrimination was very educational.

Basically, my emotions and my experiences ran the gamut…but I think that’s a good thing.  I wanted to be challenged and immersed, and these experiences delivered.

So what was it like over there?  It was…a very unique experience.  Let’s leave it at that 🙂

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Wood of the West…and some other stuff.

On my recent trip out to Utah and Arizona, I was ready to see lots of rocks in all the warm hues I could think of.  (I wasn’t disappointed either!)  What I didn’t plan on, was seeing so many dead trees.  Going through the parks, I heard a lot about the constant lightning storms that tend to hit, and then it all made sense.

But dead trees, no matter how beautiful they are, were only part of the beauty.  I happily ran into some desert flowers, critters and unique moments I wasn’t expecting.

I hope you enjoy these few gems.

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