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Sunday, October 17

I'm Thinking Egypt

In fall 2008, I was inspired to take a solo trip to Ubud, Indonesia after reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s novel, Eat Pray Love, which was turned into a motion picture this earlier this year.

This was my first trip equipped with a firsthand opportunity to keenly observe another culture, one pretty different from my own. I watched children on schoolyard grounds learning traditional Indonesia dances. I saw families living in compounds. I watched young people eating off banana leaves. (There’s some great vegetarian food in Indonesia). I noticed men, women and kids riding around on motorpads and bicycles, common forms of transportation. And I observed old ladies matting bamboo and old men carving wooden doors.

After this trip, I decided that I was going to visit a faraway place each year to broaden my perspective and understanding of living. (I didn’t take a trip last year because the recession left me a bit reserved about spending large sums of money on traveling. But this year, the agreement I made with myself was back in effect).

I took a vacation to Germany last month to visit my brother. We traveled around Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands during my two week stay, and what I found was that Europeans are opening affectionate. Kissing, hand-holding and butt-rubbing was everywhere. The stigmas placed on sexuality in the United States hardly existed in Europe. Sex is so free that it’s common to see porn on regular television during primetime. I also saw people smoking marijuana in coffee houses and on the streets of Holland, another activity void of the taboos that we see in the states. I noticed the great fashion of Europe. Almost every person that walked by (males included) had a certain flyness about her/him. But one of the biggest surprises was when I saw all of nature’s lushness around me. I envisioned the countries I visited to be super developed, with signs and billboards everywhere advertising this and that. I was wrong. Instead, I saw trees, lots of undeveloped land, farms, and vineyards.

Both of these trips helped me realize that life is about balance, and different cultures engage in different activities and uphold different values to achieve that balance. I'm already pondering about where I want to visit next year. Because next year, I turn 30.

And right now, I’m thinking Egypt.


Anonymous said...

If you are really interested in Egypt you might want to check out the blog
The author documented her experiences while living in Cairo for year.

Candace Avont said...

thanks so much for sharing!