Sunday, August 21, 2011

End of the First Leg

It’s been nearly one year since I left home. What a year it has been. I hope these words come to me easily, there’s so much to write on here. It seems overwhelming to think about how long I’ve been gone for and how much territory I’ve covered. I’ve seen so many amazing things and met so many amazing people. I’ve hiked the highest mountains in the world, roamed a desert on a camel and scuba dived amazing reefs.

What should I say here? Have traveling changed me? You bet it has. I can definitely say I have a new way of thinking and looking at the world. I’ve really come to see how trivial and superficial life can be in the West. Get a good career, buy a house and fill it full of Ikea, Martha Stewart and Japanese electronics. Become a slave. I’ve come to realize how much more enriching it is to experience life through yourself instead of through a television. Seeing a nice beach or mountain scene on the TV can look amazing, but you can never soak it in like you can while standing in that same spot. Breath in the air, take that moment of tranquility and it will be the best thing you’ve ever done. Quit that job or take a leave of absence and travel, it will be the most rewarding experience you’ve ever had.

They say traveling broadens the mind, and I agree, it does. Being completely willing to break out of the comfort zone, drop the guard and open the mind brings in a tsunami of experiences that will enrich life. Don’t be afraid of the bad experiences, they make for some of the best stories. Being pick pocketed by Cambodian hookers made for one of the funniest stories of my trip. Nobody will care when you describe how amazing the room in your resort was or how many pina coladas you drank, but they’ll listen when you say how a Rajasthani sand dune blew in through the window of your train compartment or how you had to flush cockroaches down the shower drain of your shitty guest house. I did that numerous times.

Now that this leg of my trip is over, I can take my experiences back to the West and hopefully cast my worldly mind on it, maybe even make a difference. I’m going to make a valiant attempt at not getting sucked back into the monotonous life I was leading back home. Now begins the great experiment: Kyle’s return to the Western Society.

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