The chance to be immersed in different cultures, ways of life, routines and languages gives me time to observe and engage in new behaviors. In my time outside the U.S. I developed new habits I value and I hope to continue practicing.
In Asia and India body language was as important to the communication process as oral language. As a person without the local language skills or cultural background, gestures were the first communication tool I learned when I arrived in Asian countries. The respect, attention to detail, level of engagement, and even the associations with peace connoted through the following gestures captivates me.
- Bowing slightly or deeply as I say thank you
- Handling important items like money with two hands as I give it to another person
- Holding hands together in a praying hands pose as I greet others
- Walking barefoot in holy sights as a sign of my respect and humility
The cadence of human interaction in the travel world is different. In this environment, starting a conversation with a stranger is expected and normalized. Conversations quickly veer into the arena of values, ideas, and experiences instead of focusing on events or other people. Travel friendships develop quicker and feel deeper.
- Rarely is the second or third question in a conversation, “What do you do?”
- New friendships are formed through new activities that usually do not include eating and drinking
- Conversation for the sake of conversation is commonplace
I have complete control over my daily activities and I am only responsible for myself. I cannot imagine another time in life, and for a period this long, where these two truths will again be my reality. As the sole decision maker the majority of the time, I have developed 3 habits I absolutely love.
- I wake up every day uncertain about what will happen, who I will meet, and where I will go
- I approach every situation thinking, “If this does not work out as I expect, what is the worst possible outcome?”
- I incorporate time to do nothing into every day
What I have been reading
These books and every travel guide I use are borrowed electronically through the Hennepin County Library e-book system called Overdrive. Through the Amazon Kindle platform, books I rent are wirelessly delivered to my Kindle immediately after I check out the title. THANK YOU to my local library.
- Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth, and Faith in the New China
- Sideways on a Scooter: Life and Love in India
- Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, death and hope in a Mumbai undercity
- The Weekenders: A Novel
- The Assistants
- Bus on Jaffa Road: A Story of Middle East Terrorism and the Search for Justice
- Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead
- In the Unlikely Event
- A Man Called Ove
- Modern Lovers
- Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance
- Thrive: The Third Metric
1 Second Every Day
At 100 days of travel I posted a video of places I visited each day. I posted the continuation of that video at 200 days of travel. Below is the video mashup of places I visited during days 200 to 306 of travel.