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Cure for the Homesick

Cure for the Homesick, originally uploaded by Mister Wind-Up Bird.

We’ve been traveling exactly 7 weeks now. Not very much time, but it already seems kind of normal. We know a few things now, just enough to make it easier. How to deal with touts and beggars. How to find a good guesthouse in an unfamiliar town and when to book ahead instead. The nerve-jangling ordeal of crossing a busy street. We’re starting to learn when to haggle and when it’s just not worth trying to squeeze a couple of bucks out of someone will never make in a year what I can make in a month back home. And, of course, the art of glancing at the sidewalk in front of you long enough to not step in anything unsavory, but not long enough for the nature of the unsavoriness to sink in.

As we get more comfortable, home seems further away. I was looking at pictures on flickr yesterday of British Columbia spring, and I was filled with the sense that Vancouver suddenly felt as remote to me now as Bangkok had felt a few months ago. Except that Vancouver was home, while Bangkok was still alien.

Fortunately, there are ways to reconnect. Today, we went to an English-language film (Source Code) and then got Subway for dinner, for the second night in a row. Subway is not popular with Thais–I’m sure the fact that prices are the same as Canada/Australia has something to do with that–but there are a handful in the touristy malls and expat neighborhoods. Now, I don’t love Subway, but for the past decade I’ve eaten it on a pretty regular basis. So even though I know full well that better food is available much more cheaply, I really enjoyed my six-inch tuna with extra olives and mustard.

Also, spirits are cheap here, and they help put the day’s frustrations and alienation into perspective nicely. The marginal utility of drinking is a lot higher here, is what I’m saying (sorry, once a nerd…).

All that said, though, we’re enjoying our travels immensely. I mean, it literally took years of planning to make it happen, but it still seems incredible that we can just… do this. The sacrifices are so minor. A little bit of work and the accident of being born into a couple of the wealthiest societies in human history, and we get to be able to see the world this way. How is this allowed?

It’s gonna be hard going back to a more structured life after this, lemme tell ya.

3 Comments

  1. Janelle wrote:

    Today, can we have Burger King?
    Homesick. Yeah. That’s the reason….

    Sunday, April 10, 2011 at 4:12 pm | Permalink
  2. david wrote:

    Structured life – yeah, it’ll be a change. So. much. working.

    Keep the missives coming – liking the perspective, and found your angkor photos awesome.

    Sunday, April 10, 2011 at 6:10 pm | Permalink
  3. Dabern wrote:

    May the unsavory never stick to your shoe and may the Subway sustain and satisfy. Thanks for the call home last night.

    Monday, April 11, 2011 at 11:42 am | Permalink