I will be ticking off much more of my Asia bucket list next year but in my 6 weeks spent soaking up the culture of cities like Beijing and Bangkok to the adventures whilst exploring jungles, lakes and islands I have learnt a thing or two whilst in my favourite corner of the world. (Read why I love Asia here.)
1//It’s not what you have…
Coming home was a surreal shock to the system. Being thrown into a world of work. Work. Work. Work. Work. (In the words of Rihanna.) Most of us aren’t passionate about what we do, working the dreaded 9-5 just to see the bank balance return to 0 after paying the countless bills that mount up.
It’s taken several years for me to save enough money to live out my dream and travel long term. Despite having a healthy savings balance, I am far from affording a property in the UK and if I did I would be scraping by every month, in Asia this amount could buy me a WORK and WORRY FREE life for 5 years!
Obviously with such low living costs comes harder work and much lower wages but despite the long hours most locals work, mostly for the tourist industry, everybody I met was so HAPPY. They put family before all else and it shows. It’s not what you have, we don’t need a house full of stuff, there is no competition of who has the nicest car or the biggest house. Treasure what’s really important and find your happy.
Who needs makeup? Or new clothes? Or the latest iPhone or tablet on the market? Or shoes? Or underwear? Or soap? Okay, so that may be a little OTT but all I know is I feel free when I’m in Asia, like I’m home, somewhere I belong. Nobody judges you on how you look and they actually want to get to know your beautiful personality.
There is so much pressure at home to look immaculate so I’ve kept a few carefree habits with me. I haven’t worn makeup in at least 2 months, I LIVE in elephant anklets and bare feet (evidentially still in holiday mode) and I feel more comfortable and confident than ever. If people can’t accept you for who you are, they aren’t worth having around, plus it saves a TON of time getting ready in the morning!
3//You can fall in love with a place…
I’ve fallen madly, deeply in love. His name is Asia and I never want to be alone again when I’m with him. I miss him. I think about him every day. He makes me smile with memories I will treasure forever. He’s my phone screensaver. I tell people about him all the time and fantasise about our future. I miss him whenever we aren’t together and countdown the days until we will be reunited. I want to touch every part of him, each unexplored corner or his beautiful islands, cities… wait what?! Yes, I’m still single. But my heart has been stolen by a place, no doubt about it.
Relax. If there is one thing Asia is incredibly good at, it’s chilling out and taking its sweet time. And not just with insanely cheap massages on offer everywhere, hippie hide outs scattered on the islands or yoga retreats preaching meditation on the sandy shores. Buddhism frowns upon losing face – it’s literally disrespectful to lose your temper and get stressed, maybe this is why Thailand is known as ‘The Land of Smiles’ and the Japanese live longer. With the work hours and living costs in our part of the world stress is an everyday occurrence so take a load off, join the club and visit the happiest places on Earth for a refreshing new outlook on what life could be.
5//Life is full of possibilities…
The most important thing Asia taught me is that life is a beautiful, wonderful thing filled with unforgettable moments that only build who you are as a person. I plan to live every moment of it to the fullest from this moment on and embrace each special place I leave my mark on. Within 72 hours of touching down from my amazing trip to Thailand this year I had decided to finally take the plunge, leave everything behind and set off on my own adventure with just a backpack and my thirst for travelling this incredible planet. Within 7 weeks of being home, my one way ticket is booked. Now I’m counting down the days until I leave to be reunited with my favourite continent once again.
Thank you Asia, see you soon.
Or watch it here… if you’re into that kind of thing (you know you are).
What’s your favourite place in the world? Are you in love with somewhere incredible?