a) worthwhile, until you’re not fully appreciating anything that you’re seeing, tasting, or meeting anymore
b) worthwhile, until you realize that it’s better to watch television series in the country of origin than spending more than an hour searching and loading episodes uploaded online
c) worthwhile, until you realize that you miss diversity… there’s more to it than white and local
d) worthwhile, until you realize that as a traveler of color, the other people, local and foreign, will always categorize you into one box…
“So you’re Korean? Which part of Korea?”
e) a struggle to accept whether every transaction you make with a local or foreigner is a “you scratch my back, I scratch yours” mentality – it will always, always be about money.
f) will always lure those who remain ignorant, no matter how many months/years they’ve been traveling or living as ex-pats
g) a lost cause for some; there’s a sort of sadness in the eyes of men lost as self-righteous ex-pats, especially in those of the older ones
h) will always, always, always be different from what white (male) travelers tell you if you are a woman of color
i) always about race and where you “are from”
j) an itch to contribute all that you’ve learned while living abroad and traveling back to the country where you were raised
k) not four months, but three years and four months. A lot of things seen has been, “I paid what to see this?” while backpackers from all over Europe, Canada, etc. enthusiastically snap away
l) realizing that travelers can be the worst; hamburger shops, European and American meals will always be around for the “foreigner” who want a “break” from the local Asian dishes
I think it’s time to go back. I’ve been traveling for 3.5 years, loosely speaking. I love the beach, but I’ve been losing the love of getting to to openly know others. I realize that there are very few travelers of color, etc. and it’s just not fun pretending to be a real Korean, Chinese, Japanese, etc. or to explain that I am a Westerner.
I miss intellect, wit, the diversity spectrum, and everything in between.
Standing in the food market waiting for my friend here in Thailand yesterday, I realize that I stuck out like a sore thumb. I was standing there, in a sea of Europeans, either with dreads or not, most with tattoos, and I realize that ….
for the past three years living in Korea and traveling for the past 4 months, I miss diversity.
I love knowing that … smart and witty women who don’t come out of Maxim Magazine or Bob Marley aficionados do exist.
All of this traveling makes me want to travel the States. I remember being in Vietnam and thinking, “I’ve seen better in Korea / in the States.”
When you hit that point…you know it’s time to respectfully let the travels come to a close. There is always a next time, and every day is like a day of traveling.