Being back @ home after three months in Asia

Weird. This morning I woke up and I was about to grab the Lonely Planet to see what’s there to do around here, but Uithoorn isn’t in the South East Asia one. Then I realised that I’m back at home again….

On one hand it’s nice to be back at home again. It’s such a delight to have real tasteful (Dutch) cheese again. And how about this toast with peanutbutter I’m eating at the moment, a real threat. In a few minutes from now I’m going to eat the homemade apple pie. No guys, there isn’t an American Pie situation going on here! Besides that, the apple pie isn’t warm. I’ve got to apologise about all this western food-talk to my fellow travellers which are still somewhere in the world exploring all it’s beauty. I’m not writing this down to make you jealous (or maybe I am…). I will promise you guys this, I will stick to the Asian food the coming weeks; curries, fried rice, noodles, springrolls and all other delicious Asian food.

Being back at home isn’t all about food, of course it’s also about seeing my family and friends again. On the day I arrived at my parents place, my parents were there and so were my brother and sister, they came over as a surprise. Last sunday I watched a game of Ajax in our regular bar “Parck”, together with a few of my best friends. And of course, I celebrated queensnight and -day with my mates. It’s so good to see all of them again and talk about all the things everybody’s into nowadays. Talking about my travels and watching at all the photos, brings back a shitload of beautiful memories en keeps on putting a smile on my face. I’m still enjoying it big time. All of this enjoyment and all the rocking, drinking and partying of the last few days, almost makes me forget that I’m actually back in reality now.

And reality is in some way making me feel sad to be at home and makes me long back for South East Asia. There is a different atmosphere back at home. I would say it feels stressed. I sense it all the time. My pace is seriously slower then the pace from all the people around me. Everybody is busy (but not really) with their jobs and everything they “have” to do. People  live the days by the name someone once gave ’em: monday, tuesday, wednesday.. and of course the days of the weekend. Such a difference compared to the way I was experiencing the days while travelling. In South East Asia every day was another day and there wasn’t such thing as the weekend. I considered every day to be weekend and most of the time I didn’t even know what day it was. I got up at the time I wanted, had breakfast/lunch/dinner at the time I wanted. In fact  while travelling you do exactly what you want to do at that specific time and nobody’s forcing you to do different.

Another thing is the way people are materialistic in the western world. It’s all about possessions. This also counts for me. For example all the clothes I have. I was standing in front of my closet for half an hour this morning, looking at all the 50 t-shirts I have, trying to decide what to wear today. Shit son, ridiculous! I found it hard to pick one and thought by myself I would be better off with less clothes. It makes me realise I really enjoyed living with the 2 shorts and 6 t shirts in my backpack. With 4 dirty and 2 clean t-shirts and only one pair of clean shorts left, it took me 15 seconds to pick my clothes for the day. And of course the fact that nobody’s is judging me if I wear the same t-shirt for the second time. Here in the western world, you will be lynched if you do that…

And what the fuck is up with all the cell phones?! Everybody’s constantly looking at their phones and checking for e-mails/messages/pings/whatsups/likes/whatevers. And why are people making fun of my Nokia 3120? It has an actual color display, you can make phonecalls, you can send text messages, it has a voicemail, calculator, alarm and calender. I consider my cell phone to be real high tech. I long back for the backpackers way of making appointments and not using cell phones. You agree on a time at a certain spot and you make sure you are there, otherwise your company will be gone. Cancelling isn’t an option(of course it isn’t, you promised someone to be there, stick to it). You don’t call to check if your company is inside, no, you just walk inside and look for that person. If he/she isn’t there, you just sit down, make yourself comfortable and wait for your company. And when you are having drinks/dinner together, there are no cell phones what so ever involved. I like that. I think I will try to hold on to this backpackers way and leave my cell phone at home every now and then.

These are just a few differences between life back at home and life as a backpacker. Of course there are more differences, I can write a book about it actually. But all together, I think it all comes down to the fact that living as a backpacker somewhere out there in the world is more basic and there are no expactations from anybody. You don’t have many belongings with you and the only thing you worry about is a bed at night and some simple food to eat. And somehow it all works out fine all the time. If you ask me the question which kind of world I like better at the moment, I will answer you that I like a bit of both. For me, the best solution would be to convince all of my friends and family to come with me to Asia, start a new basic life there without all the materialistic things we simply do not need. Yep, that would be my new reality. A reality in a world that I love.

The simple life:

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