How often I have sat behind a desk and dreamt of traveling to faraway lands. Dreamt of something different than what was in front of me. After years of wishing for something else, I chucked what I had and went after the unknown. Now that I have been living out of my suitcase for a while, I can honestly say that:
Life is fun, but it isn’t always easy.
Perhaps I don’t want it easy. Easy means comfort, and comfort means stagnation, and stagnation means a kind of self-imposed demotion as a human. What’s so great about that?
I’m not saying that I don’t like comfort. When I’m sweating in my pajamas at 3am in the morning because of Taiwan’s heavy humidity, I want the comfort of central air. When I can’t express my thoughts and needs clearly in a foreign language, I want the ease of speaking English. Then I realize that I have the same problem while speaking English. Ack! All that is small potatoes though, and nothing really to complain about.
The thing is, the more I see, the more apparent it is that we are all so similar. For a streetside vendor selling slices of watermelon, the thought of sitting in a temperature-controlled cubicle, getting a lunch break, and a 401(k) may sound like a good idea. We are all of us dreaming of a life that isn’t ours. It can turn into a bad habit if not controlled.
Traveling (on my budget) definitely is not glamorous. It’s also stressful with daily language and cultural challenges. It isn’t easy because I need to figure out how to make do with what I have. Sometimes, I feel like I need to make something out of nothing. These same reasons make life exciting though. Traveling and being out of your comfort zone means you have to pay attention. The luxury of daydreaming of a different life is gone, because now you have to deal with the life you’re living.
If you can’t bear the life you’re living, then I am 100% behind your decision to make a change! But if you are rushing around, neither here nor there and wishing for more more more, maybe it is time to slow down and step into the present.
You don’t really need to travel to get out of your head and into your life, but traveling sure does help facilitate that. It also helps you realize how little you actually need for daily living. Baggage weighs you down, in every sense!
While I was in Taiwan, the things that made me smile were the simple daily things. Making the most of the day meant simply appreciating what was in front of me. I was lucky because the people around me embodied this simple-living philosophy, and it was easy to fall into their rhythm. Happiness came from a mindset, and from the effort of building a meaningful life, with meaningful relationships.
Right now, in Australia, I will take the lessons I learned in Taiwan and keep my eyes open, and stay focused on the present. Even so, that won’t stop me from feeling a little nostalgic for last week. I’ve been in Australia for 2 days, and I should share with you my first impressions of it….but first…some pictures of my former daily life, which I felt was pretty awesome. Cheers to Taiwan!