Post Travel Syndrome

For the past week and a half, I kept wondering what was so different about South America and United States. Finally, the word came to me “sterile”. Compared to days I spent dancing in Rio, my days in the US seems so sterile, so apart from bacteria, so safe, so clean, too clean, too safe.

Of course there are misconceptions of what Brazil is like. Not everyone is good looking, not everyone is the hot brown bod gentleman or lady. There are some seriously creepy men and the beaches are beautiful, but they are parts that aren’t that clean. Sanitary-wise, they don’t use disposable toilet seat covers and not everyone is that friendly.

Having said that, South America just seems so much more alive than the “to-the point” productive society that is LA. I’m trying really hard to analyze what is different and how I can transfer some of my travel lifestyle into my everyday life.

Some changes I am making:

1. Broaden my circle of friends: attend networking events, join groups, go to various demographic bars/clubs, events.

2. Go out more: in general, go out more…

3. Travel. Period. Sorry, I don’t think I can ever be normal again, travel just makes you weird. You just don’t think the same. You talk to strangers and want to be friends with people really unlike you and you get tired of the same environment. You get tired of the same demographic, the same roads, the same culture…

If you have any tips, help a sister out.

Dancing in Rio

 

Kicking Some Unwanted Balls & Throwing Up Cherries

At the Books Hostel in Rio

I woke up at 5 am today, 4 hours jet-lagged. My computer had crashed last night, so any attempts of writing, contacting potential clients, or any type of freelance search was out the door.

To add, after drinking milk and tea, I felt nauseated. Then I threw up in a public bathroom. Cherries literally included, not on top, but in it.

I asked god why I always had to go through with things like this. Why can’t I just adjust back to life like normal people? Why can’t I be normal enough to have a normal job waiting for me?

Then I’m reminded that I’m supposed to LET GO.

This is a lesson that will take a long time to learn. Especially when the facts in your life don’t seem so stable, a little discouraging at best. Especially when you find yourself comparing yourself to other normal people who don’t go off for a month and experience the most life changing shit ever.

By the way, I’m quitting alcohol for a month. Please keep me accountable. I need to cleanse my body from travel bugs, literally.

I guess it’s easy to be negative, but I’ll try to be positive. I woke up with the most amazing travel story idea. I’m going to write about Traveling Solo As An Asian Woman- Not Your Typical Travel Story. I’ll also write about harassment I experienced being an Asian woman in South America. Scandalous enough for an article, scandalous enough for people to be intrigued. It’s not your typical story. Yet, at the end, coming out a wiser person, knowing how to avoid nasty stares, avoid forced kisses, avoid and kick some unwanted balls.

I didn’t really have an easy life growing up. But it has made me who I am today, I would not be the person I am today if it wasn’t for the hardships. But guess what, I think it’s time I became gloriously awesome and fought for as a speaker, teacher and consultant. Even if I don’t feel like it right now, especially since I threw up just now.

Since I can’t pitch stories to publications because my hard drive just crashed, I’ll wait for the universe to pamper and flourish me, according to the right time. Meanwhile, sitting at the Apple Store, I’ll finish this blog post with some pictures that could erase the image of me throwing up cherries. šŸ˜‰

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Some exclusive graffiti from Rio, Brazil.

Traveling Messes You Up

On the beautiful Ipanema Beach. There are some big butts there, seriously.

I’m sitting on my couch, enjoying the stillness and quiet of my house. The leaves are orange and yellow, the sun rays reflected on the wooden floors, I’m back in LA. It all went by so fast. After a crazy week in Rio, Brazil- I woke up after a 6 hour bus ride from Rio to Sao Paulo. I was the last person on the bus because I barely slept at all in Rio. I had $49 in my account, plus bills to pay, but memories I will never forget. Travel really messes you up.

Big time.

My brain still feels overloaded with smells, pictures, flashes of dancing on the streets of Rio, holding my dress and spinning in circles. I remember conversations, people from all over the world- England, Uruguay, China, Switzerland, Austria, New York, the list goes on. I think of the fuzzy dogs that my host family had, getting lost and listening to the voice within, buses, strangers, lots of strangers. In fact, before my trip to South America, I did not know a single person that I was going to meet. Now that I’m back in LA, I am close friends with at least 15-20 people. Friends that I can message and stay with all over the world.

It’s a bit difficult to squish my trip all into one summary.

So for this post, I want to tell you about what I learned.

I learned that despite being alone at times, we are never alone. The world is full of strangers turned friends. In my quest to see Marco, my sponsored boy, I saw that 3rd world countries are happier than we imagine them to be. In fact, I can say that despite everything Americans have, we seem to pop more anti-depressants than the kids running around without shoes on.

I always wondered why I had the desire to live simply, yet loved the world of fashion and glam. I wondered why I loved the idea of free swag, high heels, makeup and gratis but also the idea of living out of a backpack and beingĀ anonymous.

Now I understand. Perhaps, my goal in life isn’t just to help the poor…perhaps it is to help the rich let go of security and stability to live the life they want.Ā In Ecuador, I visited the jungle and saw communities drinking out of rivers. Yet, their simple lives caused them to appreciate people and relationships. In contrast, in America, we are constantly bombarded by material things and status. We are constantly virtually contacting people, but never for the simplicity of enjoying the moment.

I met foreigners who wanted to volunteer in Ecuador, and now I realize, these 3rd world country kids should teach us 1st world folks how to live and love. Going to South America taught me the hospitality of a stranger. Strangers took time out of their day to help me, they literally laughed and smiled for no reason, they were open to you, not closed off or busy.

Brazilians seriously know how to party. This is something we can learn from. I am a different person from last month. For days I didn’t look at a phone or know what time it was, but the natural inclination of what I felt enabled me to live according to my inner self, the people around me, and free myself from time constraints.

The more I travel, the more strangers I meet, the more my craving to be alive and to break out of social constraints increase. We don’t have to be slaves to society, we can be trailblazers, we can still live the life we want when we’re all grown up. I can’t say I have it all figured out, because even now I don’t know where my next paycheck is coming from…but I have experienced it all, I really do live in faith knowing I’m not crazy, but destined for greatness.Ā 

After arriving in Rio after a 6 hour bus ride sleeping sitting up, 2 hours trying to find the hostel, I met these 3 friends. I must have been crazy because I decided to hike 2.5 hours to see the Christo. Midway, I stopped several times to hear the quietness of the forest. I had come to Brazil to be still. This was it. After half- dying, hearing the pounding of my heart and running up to the Christo, I started screaming JESUS I’M HERE.

The Christo was startling, beautiful. I was sad to see he didnt have eye pupils. It just shows that statues can’t represent anyone.

Jesus I made it! I climb 2 hours to see you.

Watching the sunset in Rio @ the Christo

 

South America: Finding Home in Brazil

Yes, that is my name on a towel. This is my first time couchsurfingĀ and I was a little hesitant, but the family has been incredibly nice. They have one dog and two cats, the dog is named “Maggie” and has two poofy hairdoĀ“s on the side of its head.

I now have complete access to internet, it`s incredible. After a horrible experience dying from food poisoning in Ecuador, I had to fly back to Quito and then to Brazil. Yesterday was a full day of flying, and my stomach was aching so bad. But thank God, today I feel great and IĀ“ve learned a few Portugeuse words…unfortunately, with a Brazilian computer, I canĀ“t spell check my English.

Small note of gratefulness: I had thrown away my crappy towel in Ecuador because I didnĀ“t want to carry too much. On the way to the house, I asked my friend if they had an extra towel. When I got to there, they told me to look in the bathroom….voila- a new towel with my name on it. This may be a small surprise, but to me I knew that god had provided one with my very name on it. He sure takes care of His kids.

Everytime I look at the picture I am reminded that I have a home here in Brazil. IĀ“ve been looking into a lot of travel writing sites, am trying to stop myself from compulsive workaholic behavior and not submit while IĀ“m here. I know that I have something lined up in the states, thereĀ“s no human explanation, but my friend said that IĀ“ll be working one on one with people, some kind of consulting work.

After going to the jungle, meeting Marco and working with the kids, I had 3 days. Even though, I didnĀ“t have the money, I knew I had to go to the Galapagos Island because when would I return to Ecuador again? I put it on credit (yes, I know, not too smart, but somtimes Ā you have to sacrifice, plus itĀ“s not like I have college loans) and flew there. I got sick the second day, wabam, diarrhea and vomit galore. I was praying my ass off (to put it nicely) and tons of people were back home to support me. But I felt completely alone and vulnerable.

As a 3rd world country, Ecuador sure had awesome hospitals. As a foreigner, I got to see the nurse for free and only had to pay 21 bucks for medication. They stabbed my arm with a vaccination shot and gave me some acid eating medicine. Wow, if I was in America, I would be screwed over with tons of bills.

Some pictures while I was still alive:

Galapagos

Turtoise

No IĀ“m not in Taiwan, but thereĀ“s a street like the night market. There I met a Taiwanese, no kidding, straight from Taiwan. It felt good to talk in Mandarin because I had been speaking really bad Spanglish for 10 days.

I will expand on more when I return to the states. More posts to come!! And do keep the comments coming!! I love them! God bless!

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Jungle and Meeting Marco

Hi friends!

IĀ“m trying to type really fast so I dont have to pay so much at the cabinas, though itĀ“s relatively cheap. First of all, IĀ“m alive! I have mosquito bites but I am happy and well. The other day I got to meet Marco and his family, as well as visit a church project. There were so many kids, they were all super adorable. I wanted to cry when Marco gave me a hug, he loved the scrapbook and gifts I brought him. Especially, the ninjas I bought from my friend who makes them. He carried the plush toys when we went to the zoo together. He is currently 10 years old and his family is struggling financially.

We went to visit his house and he had a monito, monkey as a pet. On my lap is the monito.

My friend, that is a real monkey. It tried to bite me, but after awhile it fell asleep on my lap. Sorry about the botellia in the picture, haha.

Then, I went to the jungle…letĀ“s say, it was one strange thing after another.The lights went out in the lodge, I had some dark dreams, and it was super hot and humid. But within 3 days I had made more than 5 friends that I can say, IĀ“ll now be friends forever with. Ecuadorians are so helpful, they will take time out of their day to help you. They are not driven by money only, they value famillia more than anything.

Yesterday, after riding with a tour guide, a worker and their boss (it just so happened they were at the lodge visiting and they were nice enough to give me a ride back with them), I had to pee SO BAD. Necessito el bano so bad. Well, my friend told me I had to get on a certain bus, when the black market taxi stopped, it just so happened the bus was right across the street. So with my backpack, I jumped out the taxi, ran across the trafficked street and jumped onto a moving bus, yes it started moving.

Somehow God is protecting me and giving me rides everywhere. I canĀ“t tell you how amazing IĀ“ve felt meeting the people here, they really humble me and help me to see the valuable things in life. IĀ“m so glad I came, I wish everyone could experience this.