Asia, if I could hug you, I would.
It’s a full two and half month from when I ventured into the big bird to Tokyo, and now, I’m about to leave this Asian continent by way of Bangkok and Hong Kong to, drumroll please, my second continental stop-over.
And, I’m kinda bummed.
I’ve visited Japan, China, India, Nepal, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, and journeyed into my psyche and back out again, each country and place resonating with different chakras, different obstacles, different questions, all coming together for a once-in-a-lifetime digest of a pretty kick-ass continent.
Asia, you swallowed me whole and spit me out refreshed, cleaner, void of the layers and layers of civilized roles and duties and fabricated realities that clung to me like a dried scab, and for that, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
This survey of your vastness, diversity, splendor, and culture has been a gift of fresh perspective, and somehow, I was in the right place at the right time.
Tokyo, you gave me a smooth transition from west to east, coaxing us gently with your yin and yang vibe, discipline, organization, and serenity.
Beijing, you brought the political and environmental to the forefront, bridging old and new, defying temporal ideas of past and present, here and there.
India, you kicked my ass and came back for seconds. I know it seems like I didn’t enjoy you, but I deeply appreciate the challenge. You reached in my gut and demanded blood, incessant in the ways in which you threw life at me, the good, bad, and ugly. Thanks to you, I got back in the ring, looked myself squarely in the face, and asked, “WTF?” Really, India, you broke me down so that I could build my Humpty Dumpty self back again just as I please.
Nepal, you are my spirit. India ripped me apart, and you showed me the truth and value of what resides inside, connecting me back to my spiritual essence and core being. You are a primordial home, a resting place, Gaia incarnate.
Southeast Asia, you put me back in my body, reminding me of the importance of the sensory, the present, and most importantly, of people, myself included. Throughout Cambodia, Laos, and Thailand, I got to enjoy the company of my fellow travelers and relish in the pleasures of feeling sand between my toes, of being weightless in the sea, of feeling the terror of potentially being eaten alive by a massive spider on our Lao hut.
Same, same, but different, all of you Asian countries, and viewing you as I did, I got to see you not as hard-lined places contained by political borders but as flows of influence and philosophy, cultural, emotional, energetic ebbs and flows.
A few of my Asian favorites, for better or for worse ….
… toilet practices, shoes-less homes, reverence, sitting on the floor, triangle pillows, wholesome food, fresh ingredients, people, calmness, everything reused or given a new purpose, bows and hands on heart center, do so much with so very little, silks, textiles, patterns, food is love, fruit shakes, fish!, curries, rice, land of karma, appreciation for democracy and awareness of corruption, consumption …
So, sayonara, saibadee, awcon, namaste, and everything else, Asia.
I’m going to miss you.
PS: Just in case you’re interested in hearing about more Asia awesomeness, here is a post I wrote for the University of Colorado’s Center for Asian Studies.