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Asia. What Have I learned?

Melbourne, Australia. June 2017.

Today we left Asia. I've learned a lot travel Asia. A lot is a massive understatement. The explanation of what I've learned can never replace the actual experiences, emotions, and feelings I've had over the past eight months. My reflections could never truly document the challenges we faced every single day. The exhaustion, discomfort, or the thrill.

I've learned to let go of expectations. I've learned that letting go of expectations is a practice that needs to be practiced every day. I've learned how easy it is to become completely and blindly absorbed into your own life - you forget about the rest of the world. I've learned how tiny and how massive the world is. I've learned that we need to become better hosts. We need to be more inviting to travelers and offer comforts more often to people who are out of their comfort zones.

I've learned how wonderful small luxuries can be. Like sleeping on a blow up mattress in a house instead of a hostel. Or brushing your teeth with tap water. Or cleaning a kitchen and pouring yourself a glass of wine. There are so many luxuries that don't exist throughout all of Asia. There are so many cultural differences. I've realized how difficult it must be for immigrants and foreigners migrating to another country. How home sick they must feel for their choice of comforts. How to fast. And be less wasteful. How to accept the moment. Lose expectation. EMBRACE the moment.

I've learned how to just let things be. Let things play out. Let boats be delayed. Let flight cancellations occur. Let my body rest instead of going to tour a city. I've learned that not everything can be seen and not everything can be experienced. I've learned how to care a lot less about where we are going and a lot more about how I feel right now. I've learned how to meditate and more importantly - learned that I need to practice my meditation regularly. I've learned to be my creative with my photography. More brave with capturing the moment in a photograph.

I see this trip as a pilgrimage. It wasn't an adventure with the intent of partying and making a hundred new friends on the beach. For me it's been about throwing myself into discomfort, allowing the culture shock to hit, and feeling every emotion of the journey. Everyone's purpose for travel is very different. And it's a really interesting reflection on Asia now that we are out of it.

I am a writer. I always have been. I write things down. Pen to paper. And before this trip I would manifest daily on travel and this spiritual pilgrimage. I REMEMBER writing that I wanted to be culture shocked. I remember creating that manifestation. That I WANTED to be repeatedly thrown out of my comfort zone. That's what I WANTED. That's what I wrote. And I remember during the first few months of travel I was SO culture shocked I couldn't even remember that I manifested this! I couldn't even bring myself up to that level of awareness that I created this pilgrimage in this way to feel extreme challenges. And then now. Now I look back at all of it and I feel like I crossed a finish line. I look back at how I struggled to climb out of my culture shock and I smile. And I'm glad I struggled in that way. I'm glad it wasn't easy. I'm glad I was so utterly uncomfortable at so many points. Because that's exactly what I wanted. Manifest your life. Write it down. And embrace the journey. -AS @travelingsnow

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