A whole new world (a whole new world)
That’s where we’ll be (that’s where we’ll be)
A thrilling chase (a wondrous place)
For you and me – Aladdin (A Whole New World)
I’m out of order this week. Things have just been a bit crazy and I’m finding it hard to write. Maybe, it’s because I’m not happy with where I am. I feel like where I live is a sinking ship and result of the elections coming up will determine if I stay here or leave.
MY LIFE IN A BUBBLE
Growing up, I didn’t really get to travel anywhere. I had been out of state a few times, but I never even made it to Mexico. For the most part, I grew up in a bubble. The west coast seems to be more open to diversity so that’s how I grew up.
I’ve had friends of all sorts of ethnic backgrounds. But I was also safe from other world views. As a child, I wasn’t raised to point out the differences in skin color or heritage. We were children so why couldn’t we all just be friends?
My bubble wasn’t always safe as I’ve faced many tragedies. I’ve lost friends my own age and sometimes even younger to suicide, tragic accidents and even murder. This bubble I live in might seem happy and like such a great place to live, but it’s not always pretty.
However, I think I take it for granted more often than not. Things could be worse as I’ve been taught through my travels.
WORLD LESSON IN AFRICA – SUFFERING
Life has not been easy as you may have seen. Heartbreak, health issues, and an abusive ex. It seems like the worst of the worst in terms of suffering and maybe it is from within my bubble, but when I traveled the world, I learned otherwise.
Africa has taught me that suffering is subjective and my life is not as bad as I make it out to be. In Africa, I stopped running from my suffering and decided to face it. It was hard to do and there were many tears, but it was the first time I let myself feel that pain.
In my bubble, many health issues are caused by having an abundance of things. However, in Africa, the health issues were more so caused by the lack of things. The starving children standing on the side of the road waving as you drove by…it’s a real things. I’ve seen it with my own two eyes.
I heard stories about the horrors they had seen in their villages. It must have been awful to witness their families dying. The guilt it left them with for being the one to survive was a suffering in and of itself.
It changed my world view on suffering completely.
WORLD LESSONS IN ASIA – ETIQUETTE AND FREEDOM
I grew up in an Asian household so I guess it wasn’t a whole new concept for me. But when I went to Asia, the etiquette was on a whole other level.
Asian culture teaches politeness, generosity and kindness. You always address your elders with respect and you never show up to someone’s house empty handed. Sometimes, it’s not genuine, but just to save face. However, the politeness shown in public is one to learn from as it’s often not a common thing in the states.
Asia was also very clean and fairly safe. In parts of Asia, they don’t lock their doors because there is hardly any crime. While in Japan, I noticed there were no paper napkins because it helps reduce waste. You didn’t see someone’s Starbucks cup thrown into the street. People clean up after themselves and are proud of it.
However, freedoms aren’t the same as they are in Western countries. Often times, women are expected to dress more “appropriately” than men. This is even the case for tourists. It seemed like there were more restrictions on women than there were on men. It wasn’t something that I was used to as things are generally pretty fair in my bubble.
I COULD TRAVEL A MILLION MILES
I could travel the world and learn many valuable lessons. Sometimes, I think those who never leave their bubble aren’t able to see the bigger picture. They don’t get to experience other cultures and truly see their lives in relation to the rest of the world.
I could travel the world, but I think the place I’d find the most meaning is wherever you are.
Image from Pixabay