Wednesday, August 17, 2011

I Can't Stay Put

Three weeks into Chiang Mai, I realise I can't do this long-term... I can't comfortably limit myself to the Thai version of Globish (5000 English words that everybody knows), I mind that there are ants crawling on my bed while I sleep, and I can't really deal with the grey stains on the buildings and cracks on the walls and having to always use the internet in a public setting.

In four days I'll be flying back to Sydney, where I can hopefully enjoy sorting through the experiences these months of traveling have brought, and read some more books...

I finished Changing My Mind on these travels, which I recommend for anyone who enjoys Zadie Smith's breezy and distinguished intellectualism. Not really a psotmodernist, she is nevertheless sympathetic to the cause (Barthes and David Foster Wallace being two authors she loves), and possesses the admirable trait of being able to hold dear two friction-inducing opinions... in her foreword she admits that 'ideological inconsistency is practically an article of faith' for her. It's rare indeed to find someone who is so comfortable with contradictions.

One of her essays, A Week in Liberia, made me realise that I had never met anyone from that country, and if I did, the struggles I read about concerning that country would probably affect me 100x times more (so to speak: as if emotions can be measured!). The catch is that I did meet someone from (I believe) neighbouring Sierra Leone. Not only did this Swede love his home country, he was planning to start a business which would necessitate that he spend some, if not most of his time, there. I was amazed, given that I would never consider living in Bulgaria permanently, and Bulgaria has a substantially higher quality of life than Sierra Leone. He must really love his country...

Choosing where to go next for me will be difficult: I have friends in Taiwan to visit (yay!), and a continent or two (South America, Mexico in the North) to explore...

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