A disclaimer of sorts

So, if you’ve been following my blog since my travels in Europe, maybe you’ll have noticed a difference in my writing then versus now. My aunt did. She wrote me an email essentially saying that she was saddened by the lack of joy I express for my travels here. And so, I want to write a disclaimer of sorts.

I am happy! I promise!

However, I do want my writing to demonstrate integrity; I want it to be honest. I want to paint a true picture of my experience/s here, and that does mean that I am going to vent my frustrations. I’m in a different country (a very different country!) and of course, there are going to be cultural differences. While I may find them strange, and it may take some time for me to become accustomed to them, I am happy to embrace them. It is the differences that make new places so interesting to explore, and so delightful to absorb!

I have had many mishaps, or misadventures, if I may, over the course of my journey so far. When I traveled through Europe (and beyond), I was lucky that I could usually find someone who spoke English to help in a sticky situation. Even in Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Russia, Morocco, and in Ecuador, I was usually able to communicate enough to make it through a tough situation. This is certainly giving me an appreciation for what an effect the ability to communicate can have on an experience!

So, yes, I’ve had my troubles. Some wrong turns, wrong directions, wrong buses, and wrong anything-else-you-can-think-of. Fifteen hours on a train from Shanghai to Beijing with a standing ticket?! Are you kidding me?! While at the time it was excruciating, I can already look back and laugh. How absurd it was! Oh the situations I get myself in!! Things went wrong while I was in Europe, but the missteps were less often, less severe, and easier to correct than what I deal with here. Most of the time, it was as simple as missing the train I wanted. Though of course, there was that time that everything went wrong at the Egyptian border, and I ended up spending the night on a freezing cold bus in the middle of the desert. But you know what? That’s one of my favorite stories.

So, yes, I’ve had a difficult time. I’d be remiss if I didn’t admit that my exasperation is influenced by my solitude. It would be easier to manage, or to actively laugh at my troubles if I had someone to commiserate with. I am missing my boy, and of course I wish he was by my side. But I cannot let this get me down, and I try not to, but all I can do is try.

But back to the point. I want to assure you that I am having a wonderful time. I have been traveling for four weeks now, and I do feel as though I’ve already done and seen some amazing things. I need to relish this! I have another fourteen weeks left. So, while it may seem as though I lack the joy I possessed while I traveled Europe… well, you may be right. But my trip is definitely opening my eyes, pushing me in new ways, and provoking me to think deeply about my my life, my spirituality, my relationships and my future. This is exquisitely valuable and I am glad for my time here. I am happy, and I am enjoying myself, but I want this blog to paint an honest picture of my experience. I’m not going to sugar coat the troubles I have. So while I often feel a bit hopeless and very helpless here, it doesn’t mean that I’m not glad to be walking in my shoes.


2 responses to “A disclaimer of sorts

  1. John Carter McKnight

    That makes complete sense. Reading your blog, I’ve been thinking a lot about my own reactions to travel over time. When I was in college, adversity generated “wow! look what I’m capable of handling!” After law school, it was “I can handle this, and it’s *really interesting*!” Now it’s more “I have a finite number of minutes left: don’t waste them.”

    It’s not (entirely) inflexibility and having gone soft, though those are factors, but it’s “I’m pretty full up on experiences, so it’s time to be selective.”

    Sounds like you’re on a perfectly natural progression for a veteran traveler!

  2. I like to think that I still have the “Look what I’m capable of handling!” part going for me. Asia’s given me a run for my money though, and it throws a lot more at me than Europe did! Actually that said, Morocco, Egypt, Israel and Jordan threw me some curve balls.

    I’m handling everything much better than before. Things just got off to a rocky start! Haha, I’d better have veteran status by now! I think I’m pretty seasoned.

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