It’s a funny thing coming home. Nothing changes. Everything looks the same, feels the same, even smells the same. You realize what’s changed is you.” ~ F. Scott Fitzgerald
After spending close to a month in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, I would have to say that this quote probably sums up my recent travels to Southeast Asia. This was my first experience in this part of our world and my head is still filled with images from the trip that make me look at the world differently.
I witnessed progress in Vietnam at an epic pace, but also poverty in rural villages that I had only seen in pictures. I walked on some of the top-rated beaches in the world that our American soldiers landed 45 years ago to fight the Vietnam War (better known as the “American War” in Southeast Asia). I saw food in outdoor markets that would make your head turn and visited floating villages where people traded fresh goods each morning. I visited some of the most beautiful and unique architecture of buddhist temples and pagodas. However, I also visited locations where atrocities occurred that were unfathomable. But best of all, I met people with such different experiences from my own, that it made me realize that even though we are all so different, in many ways we all want the same things.
I feel like this Monk staring out a window right now, trying to gain perspective on all that is going on in our world. Not just here in the United States, but everywhere in our world where change is happening, which could make a person wonder where we will all be in 10 or 20 years. Will life be better for most? Will there be events that shape our planet? Will the gap between the poor and the rich widen? Will we understand each other better or will we build border walls? Will we supply more clean water and air while protecting our environment?
This is not a political post, nor a political blog. I will try to keep religion and politics outside these posts, however, as much as we want them to be, these aspects of life shape so many lives around the world. In the days ahead, I will post my recollections and images of the places I have seen and the people I met on our journey into this part of the world.
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