Monday, March 14, 2016

Asian Adventures

I don't know how or when it happened, but for about the past ten years I have been consumed by wanderlust.  The desire, or rather the need, to travel courses through my veins and keeps me awake at night dreaming of my next adventure.  There is something about traveling the world, experiencing new cultures, and hearing new languages that excites me.  Maybe it's my inner "world language teacher" talking, but I truly believe that each travel experience allows me to better understand the world in which I live.  Therefore, when my dad invited me on a two week whirlwind trip to Asia I jumped at the idea.  Apart from a month long stint teaching English in India in 2011, I had never been to Asia.  Asia had always remained for me a continent that I knew little about.  The idea of traveling there and experiencing the various cultures was exhilarating, therefore I packed my bags, kissed my husband goodbye, and boarded a plane to Tokyo.

Asakusa Shrine

Tokyo, Japan: Our first destination was Tokyo.  Maybe it's because it was the first Asian country that we visited, but I loved Tokyo with a fierceness that I had not anticipated.  The city was so clean, the people were so kind, and I felt safe, really, truly safe.  I loved this little island country where you have to remove your shoes before entering shrines, restaurants, and homes.  This country where every one bows and respect is the golden rule.  This country where slurping your ramen noodles is accepted because it means you love them, where plastic food in the window lures you into every restaurant, and where chopsticks are the norm.

Korean War Memorial

Seoul, South Korea: Our next destination was Seoul.  Despite their past history with North Korea I admired this country for their unwavering pride and patriotism.  I was particularly humbled by my visit to the Korean War memorial.  French people often ask why Americans fly flags all over, but I just smiled as I walked the flag lined streets of Seoul- as a proud American, I get it.  Seoul brought me in contact with more warm and extremely generous people.  I quickly learned to love rice with every meal, how to drink Soju, and how to properly enjoy a Korean Barbecue.

Lights from the Harbor

Hong Kong, China: A former British colony, this port city in southeast China was a melting pot of people and cultures.  In Hong Kong I enjoyed walking the chaotic shopping streets, but also relaxing in Victoria Park or strolling along Victoria Harbor.  In the afternoon I embraced the lingering British influence and enjoyed tea and scones with clotted cream.  My favorite part of Hong Kong though was the Symphony of Lights- the world's largest sound and light show.  My dad and I enjoyed the show from a boat cruise on the harbor and this was definitely one of the trip highlights for me.

View of Marina Bay Sands

Singapore, Singapore: Visiting the beautiful country of Singapore was the perfect way to end our trip.  The country was beautiful, hot, and almost tropical.  Once again I was impressed by the spotless streets and the mix of modern building downtown with the ancient temples and shrines of Chinatown and Little India. I loved the delicious street food and even branched out enough to try Chili Crab- a popular Singaporean seafood dish.  The best part of Singapore though was its futuristic landscape.  A building topped with a boat, a garden filled with supertrees, and a helix bridge were just a few of my favorite "out of this world" sites.  Leaving Singapore was hard, but I left in the hopes of returning some day.

I feel so incredibly fortunate to have had the chance that I did to travel with my dad and to experience a bit of Asia.  Every trip abroad teaches me something new about the world and myself and believe me when I say that I never want to stop learning, changing, and growing.  In the words of Mary Anne Radmacher:

"I am not the same having seen the moon shine on the other side of the world."


  1. Or by Sabatier ...voyager, ce n'est pas seulement changer de pays, c'est changer de voyageur; se transformer.

  2. Wow- I love that quote! Thanks so much for sharing!