The other day I was thinking about how I’ve changed since I started going abroad. Man, what was I like back then? Well… I wore high heels EVERYWHERE EVERYDAY, I would only eat from the “healthy” food bar in the cafeteria (I was so naive), and I thought Asia was so boring.
DON’T BE ME! Or at least don’t be me back then. When the idea of going abroad was brought to my attention, I was very open to it. The opportunity was in Chile where there were handsome latinos, the romantic language of Spanish, and salsa dancing. Heck yeah I was in! And in all fairness, I was not disappointed. Chile delivered (and is also one of our destinations, so don’t rule it out based on this post!)
Chile left me wanting more…but where to go next? I wanted a new experience, somewhere that I was sure would be fascinating and different and exciting. Europe, of course! Europe is the best of the best. Everyone wants to go there (also one of our destinations…) I spent a semester in the Netherlands and took several lovely side trips to other European countries. Europe was sophisticated, beautifully historic, and just enough familiar that I didn’t feel totally out of my element.
Round 3 - Costa Rica…round 4 - British Virgin Islands…round 5 - Chile AGAIN…round 6 - Dominican Republic. “What about somewhere in Asia?” someone once asked me. “No, I’m just not really drawn to it. It’s not interesting to me.” (This is where you can roll your eyes.) It wasn’t until I was told in my masters program that my only go-abroad option was China, that I finally folded. “Alright, I guess I could try China.” was my response.
Have you ever reluctantly agreed to go to a movie that you thought was going to be a total bust just to make someone happy, then left the theater dazzled by what you just saw, only to watch it over and over again noticing something new and fantastic every time? Well, I hate to compare Asia to a movie; I’m just really bad at analogies, but you get my point.
If you’re having a hard time deciding where to go or just plain don’t like the destinations available, consider your last choice; consider the place you think has nothing to offer you, and I know you will be in for a big surprise. My surprise came in the form of a husband (thanks Philippines). Asia has done nothing short of blow my mind. From igniting my fascination with bizarre foods (also thanks to Andrew Zimmern) to learning about eastern superstitions to attempting languages that forced my mind to function in a different way (just to name a few), I want to say thank you Asia. I’m only at the tip of the iceberg, and I’m so excited to keep discovering you. I am amazingly surprised and so very mad at myself for putting you off for so long. Please accept my apologies.