So I had this conversation with two guy friends from different corners of the world, one in the US and the other in OZ. It's funny how they mentioned the same thing to me on the same day, just seconds apart from the other. (Is this some kind of conspiracy theory?) That maybe I should consider settling down and stop being a global nomad. The first friend is married. The second is a single man who had traveled a lot in his twenties and feels the need to settle down. (Don't worry, I'm keeping you guys' identity protected.) I appreciate the two friends sharing their opinions. Opinions are interesting and I love listening to them.
I also agree that traveling can be exhausting, uncomfortable, and unpredictable. You're not in total control of your surroundings like you would on a normal day in your hometown. You don't know where you'll get your next cup of coffee, or that you'll end up at an open-air shop owned by a Chinese Malaysian drinking Te Tarik and having naan for breakfast with a local friend you just met yesterday who is now letting you stay in her house and giving you a tour around the city, and whom you are speaking with in a language you can barely understand. You may not like the fact that you have to count the money in a new currency like a child learning to count coins and bills in grade school. Or worse yet, you ask a total stranger to dig into your wallet just to count the correct amount cos you get so overwhelmed by so many zeros. Or the distinct smell of some people that makes you hold your breath when they walk by. Or crossing the streets, not knowing whether to look left or right, so you do both. You may hate the thought of saying goodbye without knowing whether you'll see your new friends again. Of course, their lives go on but you mourn them like you would someone dying because you really don't know if you'll see them again. Then you wish that you had all the money in the world, so you can fly back and see them as you wish. But then you work out these feelings: the passion and the pain. That's why people call and write to each other years after they last saw one another. The smiles and the tears they shed when they knew you were leaving. The longing. The waiting. But if you ask me, is it worth going through it all just to meet them and have to endure these uncomfortable feelings. I think you know my answer.
But come to think of it, in many ways, I didn't choose to go to these places. They chose me. Here's why. I didn't originally plan to go to Australia, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, or live in Thailand, but they kind of came along my path as I continued on my journey. I guess the idea of being on a journey stays the same, but God fills in the details, not me. Guess I'm not exactly the author of my life afterall.
The plan to go back to Cambodia was supposed to be done a year and a half ago. But I finally booked the ticket to go there this Friday. It's funny how things often don't turn out as planned, but I think through God's eyes, things turn out better than I could imagine.
Going to Cambodia this time makes me feel a bit nervous, like seeing my long lost love for the first time in years.
I appreciate my two guy friends and think they're right. At some point, I need to settle down. But I hope that I won't have to stop traveling. It's like a love affair of some sort, so mystical, mysterious, and magical. At least for now anyway...