I remember the moment I realized I'd been living my whole life in black and white. It was like discovering a color I never knew existed, a whole new crayon box full of colors. That was it for me, from then on there was no putting the pieces back together, no going home. Things were different now, Asia had ruined me from my old life. ~Anthony Bourdain
Upon settling back into life at home I've been re-introduced to the wonderful world of television. Actually, to be quite honest, I'm still pretty out of touch with any and all popular TV shows, but Netflix is awesome. On my final night in Nashville last week I found myself curled up on the couch with pizza, Anthony Bourdain's "Part's Unknown" and a best friend at my side, three of my favorite things. While watching an episode on Laos I felt pangs of nostalgia, remembering the time I spent in that beautiful albeit sad, little country. After returning home I decided to continue down the road of memories, tuning into the Thailand episode which opened with the above quote, way to nail it on the freaking head, Tony.
I couldn't agree more with the sentiment expressed in that quote, Asia really, truly is a place that will change you. For better or worse this region of the world will evoke feelings you didn't know you could harbor for a place. First I thought it was the people, or maybe the food, gorgeous [really hot] weather doesn't hurt, or what about those rock bottom prices, okay let's be honest it's everything.
Coming home everyone loves to ask that question, yeah you know which one I'm talking about, "What's your favorite place?" or some mix it up "What was the coolest thing you did/saw/ate?" I realize these are just conversation starters and usually don't require a definitive answer, but still the thought of picking one is absurd. I guess another reason this question irks me is that I wasn't just on a little 'trip', traveling Asia was my life for 6 months (this time), should I not return with the question "What's the best meal you ate in the last 6 months?" seems kind of silly doesn't it?
While I was living in Cambodia I was lucky enough to have one of my friends from Korea come to visit me. As much as he loved the city I was staying in and admired what I was doing, he couldn't help but ask "Why do you love Asia so much, why don't you go somewhere else?" My natural response was simply to laugh and shrug my shoulders because really, I can't explain the why. Somehow and for some reason I was drawn to Korea three and a half years ago and have since had a hard time saying goodbye.
I write this both as an ode to the region and reminder to myself that there's more to see, lots more in fact; Asia isn't going anywhere. Now that I'm back at home planning my next steps it's hard not to look at Asia as a possibility, especially with friends calling me back. Despite those feelings I do plan to take my friends advice and see somewhere new, venture into the history of Europe or explore on an adventure in South America. I've complained recently to friends and family that I can't decide where to go next, of course I realize how entitled this may sound, woe is me who can't decide what gorgeous country to visit next, but all joking aside, it's a hard decision to make! Why does this world have to be such a big gorgeous place!?