10 Life-Lessons I Learned From Traveling All Over Asia

Friday, February 03, 2017 0 Comments


10 Life-Lessons I Learned From Traveling All Over Asia

I spent the past five years traveling all over the world. I’ve been to all kinds of places and I fell in love with many different countries. The world is a wonderful place, but there’s one place that I fell in love with the most.
This place is called Asia.

I’ve been to Thailand, I visited China and I traveled all over the Philippines. Now, years after I embarked on the journey of a lifetime, I moved to Thailand. That’s how much I love it.

But it wasn’t always rainbows and unicorns. I had good days and I had bad days. I experienced what love and happiness really means, but at the same time I also learned that not every smile in the Land of Smiles is real.

The experiences I made, the people I met, and the things I learned on the road are worth more than every college degree in the world. Today I want to share some of these lessons with you. Maybe I can inspire you to hit the road and to make your own experiences.  


1. The Western Culture is Far from Perfect
Sometimes we Western people are a bit arrogant, especially when it comes to our culture. We assume that our culture is the best and that the world has to bow to our will. While believing this, we love to ignore all the positive aspects of other cultures. We see the negative aspects, but are blind to the positive ones. This is extremely dangerous. This assumed superiority makes us blind to our own faults and flaws. I just have to think about the little word “respect”. Compared to every Asian culture I know of, the West sucks when it comes to respect. If we weren’t so blind to other cultures, we could improve some aspects of our own culture. Deep down we know that we are not perfect. We just don’t want to accept it.

2. Some People Have Real Problems
Have you ever heard of the Smokey Mountains in the Philippines? It’s a mountain of garbage. But it’s more than that. It’s the home to thousands of people who live there. The reason why this place is called Smokey Mountains is because of the constant smoke that comes from burning garbage and tires. I’ve been there and I’ve seen how the poorest of the poor live.  And you can believe me one thing. I get really angry whenever I see one of those videos in which some spoilt Western child cries because the IPhone is black and not white. This makes me sick to my stomach. I’ve never cried because of the color of a smartphone, but I remember days in my life where I complained about the most ridiculous things. Not anymore. Once you see that there are people in this world who have real problems, your so-called problems end in smoke.

3. Asian People Have Better Manners than Western People
Sorry, but that’s just how it is. Asian people have better manners than Western people. The only impolite, disrespectful, and downright rude people I met on my trip through Asia where Western tourists. It’s sad but true.
I mean, there is a reason why some Asian people don’t respect Western tourists. You just need to walk on Khaosan Road in Bangkok after midnight. It’s not a beautiful picture. I met quite a few Asian people who told me that they think that Western people are crazy drunk idiots who don’t have any manners. I can understand it. Imagine a mob of drunk Asians would walk up and down in front of your house, screaming weird stuff and falling down every two meters. That’s how some Asians feel about us. And that’s why I say “no” whenever one of my friends visits me in Thailand and asks me to go to Khaosan Road. 

4. The Attention Will Boost Your Ego 
Are you a white man? Then you will get a lot of attention in Asia. You might not get any attention in Bangkok or Manila, because the people are surrounded by white male expats, but if you travel to rural parts in the Philippines, you will get attention…a lot of it. People will make photos of you. They’ll look at you as if you were Tom Cruise. And the women will love you. They will be all over you. I will never forget this one day where I was in a mall in a smaller city in the Philippines. Every girl in the mall looked at me. I felt like a celebrity. And no, I don’t tell you this because I want to brag. I tell you this because I want to warn you…

5. Your Ego is Your Biggest Enemy
Thanks to all the attention, I quickly realized that my ego was my biggest enemy. Your ego is a fragile construct and the more you boost it, the more you turn into a person you don’t want to be. I experienced this firsthand. The more time I spent around people who admired me because of the color of my skin the more arrogant I became. I feel ashamed to admit it, but there’s a high chance that you will experience the same. It’s easy to feel like the king of the world when everyone and their grandmother want to take a picture for you, but it’s even easier to lose control over your own emotions. The feeling of being invincible is not as healthy as it sounds.


6. Vitamin D Can Kill Your Depression
Are you feeling depressed? Take some Vitamin D. No, I’m not working for a supplement company and I don’t get any compensation for this recommendation. It’s just a life-lesson that I learned while traveling all over Asia. I stumbled upon the power of Vitamin D by accident. I asked myself over and over again why I was so happy when I traveled in warm and sunny Asian countries and so depressed when I visited Japan at a time when the sun didn’t say hello once. I did a lot of research and I discovered that a Vitamin D deficiency is one of the top reasons for depression, mood swings and negative feelings. Usually, you get Vitamin D through the sun, but if there’s no sun, you don’t get enough Vitamin D. Do your own research. It changed my life and it might change yours.

7. Not Every Smile is Real
Asian people are very friendly. They smile all the time, especially in Thailand. It’s easy to assume that they all want to be your friends and that they are genuinely nice people. Don’t get me wrong. Some of them are. I have many friends in Asia and I love my Thai girlfriend more than anything in this world. She smiles most of the time.
But be careful. Not every smile is real. There are many friendly people in Asia, but some of them use this friendliness to fuck you over big time. That’s just how it is. Please don’t make the mistake and assume that everyone who smiles is a nice person.

8. People are Not What You Think They Are
We have certain stereotypes in mind whenever we visit a new country. And most of the time these stereotypes are wrong. Just thinking about all the stereotypes that I had in mind before I traveled to Asia makes me doubt my own sanity. I was convinced that all Thai women are bar girls. I was convinced that Chinese people eat their dogs. I was convinced that…I don’t even want to continue. Well, only a tiny percentage of the women in Thailand work in bars and I actually met quite a few Chinese people who walked their dogs without putting salt and pepper on them. People are not what you think they are. Don’t allow stupid stereotypes to influence your opinion before you have booked your flight.

9. Love Can Hit You Out of Nowhere 
This is one of the most important, most beautiful and also most painful life lessons that I learned from traveling all over Asia. Love can hit you out of nowhere and there’s a high chance that it will hit you when you expect it the least. It happened in my life and I met a lot of couples on the road who also met when they neither expected it nor wanted it to happen. I love my girlfriend with all my heart, but when I met her I wasn’t really ready for love. I was a restless soul and I thought that settling down would be my death. Little did I know that falling in love with this beautiful Thai woman was the best thing that could ever happen to me.   

10. Home is Where Your Heart is
Do I really end this article with such a cheesy proverb? Yes, I do. And I do it because it’s something that I had to learn the hard way while being back in Europe. Even before I met my girlfriend I knew that I wouldn’t stay in Europe forever. But after I met her I was sure that I would leave. There’s just one place in the world where I feel at home and that’s where my heart is. You can deny it as much as you want, but the same is true for you. If your heart belongs to another place or person, you won’t be happy until you move. My heart is in Thailand and that’s where I belong. Say hi when you stop by.


GUEST POST AUTHOR

Sebastian Harris is the world’s one and only international dating crash test dummy whose mission is to help you to find and attract the foreign woman of your dreams! Ultimate dating coach for Asian folks – catch him here: https://www.globalseducer.com/.


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Work with me! Want to guest post? Please send an email to: bowdywanders@gmail.com, send me a tweet at @bowdywandersor leave a comment at http://www.bowdywanders.com/ :) 


Bowdy is an amateur adventurer, a coffee sleepyhead, and a start-up rooter, with a penchant for classic-looking photos. At last count, he has visited some 51 countries, and is now living in Singapore. He's always in search of fascinating routines to exploit, within the limits of after-office hours and vacation leaves.

For invites, reviews, or collaboration ideas, email bowdywanders@gmail.com.

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