It was my first morning in Cambodia. Porridge with liver was served for breakfast. I ate it like a champion trying to hide my desire for toast and butter.
We decided to explore a local market. All four of us, newly arrived volunteers, headed towards the streets of traffic, never seen colours and flavours. I got there, looked around, passed by some meat stalls, fish trying to jump out of the buckets, knives chopping way too vigorously, crabs so big that you can see their faces, fruits and vegetables making me question my English vocabulary. It looked like the opening scene from Perfume: The Story of a Murderer.
I felt sick and dizzy. Left the market empty-handed.
What was I thinking? This whole trip is such nonsense. What am I going to eat? How can they live like that? Am I going to get food poisoning just by looking at all this? I need to breathe. This is getting out of control. It is going to be ok, I thought.
Months passed by and everything started to make sense. Markets in South East Asia have become one of the most exciting places to visit. They are always fun, full of life, beautiful people, colours and flavours. I look at a banana flower and I know it can be used to make soup, lemon grass makes every meal taste like heaven, bitter gourd works wonders if you have a cold to beat and all the ladies staring at you as if you were from another planet, more than nothing want your smile.
Explore your hometown as if it were a foreign land, and take an interest in your neighbours as if they were exotic tribesmen. Keep things real, and keep on learning. Be creative, and get into adventures. Keep things simple, and let your spirit grow. But most of all, keep living your life in such a way that allows your dreams room to breathe.
Vegabonding: An uncommon Guide to The Art of Long-Term World Travel (Rolf Potts)
Most of us are creatures of habit. I find myself going to the same restaurant too many times because I know what to expect and I have already spent an inappropriately long period of time studying their menu. Same story with coffee shops. I like the familiarity and nothing can beat a friendly barista with purple hair that knows my drink. I wonder if she still works there. I hope she does.
What I want you to do is go and explore your hometown. Adventure time is NOW and the place is HERE. I am on a mission to nail this. Determined to look for moments of joy and excitement just where I am NOW instead of thinking about my next destination.