The full question: What, where and why was the single most redefining moment that changed how you see other cultures and ways of life? For each of you individually and as a couple? How has it impacted the way you travel and see things in your day to day life?
It was June 2004.
Although by that time I’d already traveled throughout Western Europe twice, it was after working and saving in London for a year that I finally headed East, to one of the countries that’d been a dream of mine for 10 years – Thailand. As if it were yesterday, I remember arriving and being on the bus from the airport into Central Bangkok, I had butterflies. My eyes were peeled and locked in on a street-life unlike anything I’d ever seen. Once off that bus and into an open aired tuk-tuk, a level of ‘sensory overload’ was reached within my body that had never before been tapped into. The buzz of Bangkok’s air was thrust into my bones instantaneously. Yes, Bangkok has Big City Life written all over it, something that rarely provides a true wholeness or fair representation of a country’s culture. But, even after just one short hour on the streets of Thailand I knew I was in another world. One need not look far to realize, this is no place like home. And even though I’m from a big city, city life where I’m from versus the city life now before my eyes? Apples and oranges. To finally be deep in the heart of SE Asia’s most developed metropolis, and yet still experience the resourceful and resilient ways working class Thai’s live, survive, smile. That was something that instantaneously transformed a part of me, something I will never ever forget. June of 2004 was my introduction to a world that would equip me with a knowing, accepting that my life would never be the same.
Thanks for asking that question, Gili Back. Writing the response allowed my insides to reconnect with the appreciation I have for where I am and what I’m doing. -Adrian