It’s Time To Leave Asia. I’m Not Ready.
As I write this, I have less than a week remaining in Southeast Asia. As this publishes, I have less than 48 hours.
I’m not ready to go.
I absolutely love this corner of the world. It’s not just the incomparable weather, the delicious food, the insane nightlife, the gorgeous beaches, the quirky people I meet every day…
…it’s just Asia. I love it here.
I’m happier than I’ve been in years. Let me rephrase that — I’m happy.
The dread has been creeping up in the back of my throat. But it came to a head this week as I shopped at MBK.
I’ve been shopping a lot at MBK, one of Bangkok’s best malls, replacing my belongings after losing nearly everything in the shipwreck.
My iPhone’s case was barely hanging on by a thread, so I bought a new (hot pink and glittery!) one. My friend Ray encouraged me to buy a new screen protector as well. “It’ll be much cheaper here than in the US,” he told me.
He was right. I paid $3 for what previously cost me $17 at the Apple Store on Boylston Street in Boston.
And that sent me into a panic.
JEANS. I should buy jeans. I bought one pair of skinny jeans the other day for $29 – shouldn’t I buy more? JEANS WOULDN’T BE THAT CHEAP IN AMERICA! I SHOULD STOCK UP!
I walked by a Tiger Balm display. Did they even have Tiger Balm in the US? IT CURES EVERYTHING! I SHOULD STOCK UP!
I twirled around a fantastic store, Eve, filled with gorgeous casual dresses that fit me like a glove. THEY COST $6 EACH! I SHOULD STOCK UP!
How could I go home and live without the amazing resources of Bangkok?
I nearly had a breakdown.
Then I reminded myself – Rob is here for a bit. Poi and Kirsty are here for a year. If I get into a bind and really, really need something from Bangkok, and can’t find it online, I’m sure they would be happy to post it to me in the States. (And, of course, I’d PayPal them enough money for a great night out as a thank you.)
It’s not just the cheap clothing. I’ve been in Bangkok on five separate visits since last October, and I’ve truly fallen in love with this amazing city. It’s cosmopolitan. It’s vibrant. The nightlife is insane.
Just like in Paris, I fit in Bangkok. It makes sense.
Yes, as I’ve said before, I’ll be happy to see my family and friends when I get home. But beyond that? I WISH I WERE STAYING HERE.
I felt the same way when I was leaving Florence after an amazing four months. I spent my final week sick with dread, my final day crying nonstop. I was in a panic — how could life at home ever compare to life in Italy?
It’s been six years, and I still miss Italy every day.
But that’s the risk that you take. The more you love someone or something, the more heartache you inevitably invite into your life.
My new love for Southeast Asia has ripped a hole open in my heart that will always be with me, resting alongside the ache that I have for Italy.
But if this pain comes as part of the package, I gladly accept it, and will continue to accept it as I travel the world. I plan on falling in love with dozens more countries over the course of my lifetime.
It’s so worth it.