In few days it will be almost one year that we flew out of Bangkok and Asia altogether to go back to Europe, unfortunately it was something we hadn’t really planned, but unfortunate circumstances led us to make that choice. Since then we’ve been travelling in the more familiar territory of Europe to places we have never been to before and also to revisit some of our favourites. It has been nice indeed to see more of the country we are from and learn about it more in depth.
Asia has been a very important part of our trip, not only because it represented most of the first leg of our journey, but also for what it did to us, how it changed our perspective on things and our way of travelling altogether. I’m sure you all know that Asia isn’t the most easy continent to travel to especially coming from Europe where life is different in so many ways. We left our comfort zone and in Asia it was the first time we found ourselves in front of really different, unexpected and unique situations – and I’m not talking only about bad experiences, there are plenty of good ones too.
Today I was looking through some of our photos and I came across some from our time in Asia and I started thinking about how many things we both miss from these places and the ones that we are actually glad we don’t have to deal with anymore. If I had the opportunity to go back to Asia I certainly would so that we could go to the countries we didn’t get to see the first time around such as Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, India – the list can carry on and on – but I’d also go back to some of the places we’ve already been to for the attachment we have with them or simply to see how they have changed. I certainly feel like our experience in Asia is incomplete and one day perhaps we’d be able to carry on from where we left a year ago, never say never!
By looking at our photos in Asia and comparing our time there with what we did in other parts of the world, I actually put together a few things we definitely miss that we would do, try and experience all over again if we could without even thinking about it twice.
It took us trying this delicious fruit several times to actually fall in love and almost obsessed with it. Durian is often called ”the king of the fruits” and only after having grown to really appreciated it we can understand why. A lot of people (especially foreigners) hate it for its strong and unpleasant smell and its unusual texture, but we really wish we had some right now – every day in actual fact. It’s something Asia gifted us with and now we cannot stop thinking about it. Durian it’s a little bit like Marmite in our eyes, you either love it or hate it, we LOVE it!
I believe this is something I especially miss, but I loved being able to see and sometimes even approach monkeys living freely everywhere in some countries in Asia, like Malaysia for instance. I know monkeys can be very cheeky and nasty at times, but they are also adorable and incredibly cute and seeing them wandering around rather than being closed in cages made me so happy. It’s something you don’t see in Europe unless you go to a zoo (which isn’t my things at all) or to a sanctuary. Asia was very special for me for this reason.
We both miss a lot how diverse Asia is from Europe in so many respects. What we saw and found ourselves doing in Asia wasn’t always pleasant and easy to adjust to, but we liked that in a way, it made Asia different, special and unique. Asia has such different customs, ways to live, architecture and art that opened our minds to embrace what isn’t familiar and we weren’t used to. After traveling around Europe for quite a bit, no matter how much each European country differs from the other, we often find similarities and we really miss that something completely different, weird and unexpected like we did in Asia.
It’s not a secret that we absolutely adore markets and we don’t miss any opportunity to visit them everywhere we go to. Unfortunately the great, quirky and interesting night markets we saw in Asia are impossible to find anywhere else and we miss them a lot, especially the ones where only the locals go, where the products for sale don’t include any souvenirs for tourists or western-style food, those are definitely the best and our favourites!
Before going to Asia we always heard people saying how much they loved the food, how incredibly nice it was and now we know why. We can fully relate and understand these people. In fact, it might be a common thing to miss from Asia, but we truly still dream about some of the delicious meals we had in Thailand, Malaysia, Japan and other countries. The flavours are very authentic and so very different from what we would get in a Japanese or Indian restaurant in Europe. We miss especially the variation of vegetarian food we found in some places. We’d go back to Asia tomorrow for the food alone, that’s for sure!
One thing we cannot find as much as we did in Asia are the amount of geckos that were practically everywhere. Most people might find them irritating, might be scared by them and cannot stand them, but we both loved these noisy little creatures. We miss the geckos call which is such an amazing noise, very catchy almost like a repetitive melody that became so familiar to us by the time we left Asia that we really noticed when they weren’t there. We had geckos even living and sleeping in our room when we were staying in the Thai jungle whilst volunteering, that didn’t bothered us at all, our only fear about that was that they would get into our backpacks and we would close them in without noticing and they’d die.
Sense of Community
In Dale’s eyes there was something special about the way in which communities tend to spend all of their time in collectives together, whether it’s at the market in the day, the night market, or at the food stalls that are dotted along almost every high street in Asia. Perhaps it’s most notably different due to how communities are being less close knit in some parts of the western world, that people don’t always come together in such big groups all for the same person unless it’s Saturday and everyone heads to the shopping malls.
Of course there are so many other things we miss from our time in Asia apart from the places themselves, and those are especially the people we met: locals met through CouchSurfing that are now friends more than just former hosts, and other fellow travelers too that we like to think became friends for life. We’ll never forget the time spent with Tony and Steph from 20 Years Hence and with Cody and Giselle from Mindful Wanderlust.
Our time in Asia was incredibly different and to date marked some of the most important experiences that not only enriched our traveling life but, most importantly, our day-to-day life by changing us for good. Oh, we really miss you Asia!