Sunday, September 4, 2011

Into the unknown

Yesterday I began my homeward journey from Europe but along the way I have a few days in Hong Kong and a tour in China to complete. After arriving in Hong Kong, I can immediately feel a greater sense of adventure and excitement. After 6 months in Europe, I have realized that I enjoy Asia far more. 

It's not just because everything in Europe is about 5 times the price (or 10 times for Switzerland) or because Europe dips into ridiculously cold temperatures. It is because Europe is, well, not so different from home. 

Sure they speak different languages, a sausage is a giant bratwurst, there is history all around and beer flows like water but all in all, everything is pretty much the same but with a Euro twist. Day to day activities are the same and there is no real excitement or risk unless you go looking for it. They use the same systems and they have similar ideals, so even if you don't speak the language, you can rely on previous experiences with the same situation back home and expect the same outcomes. After 6 months, the novelty of being in another country wears off and it becomes the mundane. 

Here in Asia, everything is different and you can never predict what is going to happen when ever you step out of the door. I never forget that I am in another country when in Asia. I cannot understand a single written symbol of the language nor a spoken word so each time I venture out, I have a heightened sense of adventure and anticipate a challenge. I love the spontaneity and excitement of it. The inability to plan something out and execute it without complications. Even getting food can be a surprise. It makes for great stories. 

Sometimes, I'll admit that this can be tiring. Dedicating 100% of your focus just to conduct yourself day to day is taxing on the mind and you can feel very alone when you are surrounded by the unknown. Then again, isn't it supposed to challenge your limits? I am looking forward to going to China again and will do my best to get lost in some markets in the back streets of a city I know nothing about. Otherwise, what will I write about?

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