I’ve had several people ask me how I got the courage to take a vacation to Asia, and I tell them, hey, anyone can do what I did, don't put me on a pedestal! At the end of the day, I just want to be treated like everyone else who has had a profound spiritual and cultural awakening and will never be the same again.
So now that I'm back from Asia, here's what I've been doing!
1. Wearing my “Same Same” t-shirt and parachute pants on Casual Fridays.
Parachute pants are the Asian equivalent of San Francisco sweatshirts. Very start-uppy.
2. Reactivating my Instagram account so I can post pictures with #worldtraveler, #nomad and, most importantly, “not a bad view for a Monday.”
Yes, I did make a big spectacle of telling people that I was done with social media and Big Brother but whatever. “Sorry, last one from this trip, haha!” JK I plan to do this well into July.
3. Refusing to get into a Lyft until the driver says, “Lady, need Tuk Tuk?”
I'm also petitioning for “Tuk Tuk Line” and “Tuk Tuk XL.”
4. Loudly grumbling and complaining when the bartender tells me they don’t carry Chang beer: “Oh great, and let me guess: the price of a beer is probably well over a dollar, too!”
“You probably can't even accept my Cambodian dollars here, can you?! Oh, you do accept bitcoin? Great, one sec.”
5. Preemptively approaching lost tourists and offering that, yes, they may take a picture with me because I can imagine their excitement at seeing an American right here in Union Square.
Sure, that means I’ll have to spend a little extra time getting ready in the mornings—because you never know where these pictures could end up; I mean, I could essentially be discovered as a 34-year-old, 5’2” model, who knows—but I’ve always put others first; that’s just who I am.
6. Updating my Bumble profile to include a quote from Siddhartha.
“When someone seeks then it easily happens that his eyes see only the thing that he seeks, and he is able to find nothing, to take in nothing because he always thinks only about the thing he is seeking, because he has one goal, because he is obsessed with his goal.”
I don't 100% know what this means yet but I figure it'll at least be a good Asian conversation starter.
7. Ordering Thai delivery from Seamless and adding in the notes section that they do not need to bring chopsticks because I have several pairs of my own.
And I have the non-disposable types, too, so you know I'm serious. Keep those extras for the forkies (also, make a note to call people who don’t use chopsticks “forkies”).
8. Changing my phone’s time and temperature settings to Celsius and the 24-hour clock.
I now refer to the time and temp often at work while saying that these systems just make more sense to me and my worldly brain now.
9. Texting my landlord saying I understand their zero-tolerance policy on dogs but I’m curious as to their thoughts on small monkeys?
Less a question and more “I'm already doing this so please don't kick me out.” If needed, I could probably apply for Nama and Stay to be service monkeys—they really are quite calming.
10. Driving on the left side of the road.
Nevermind, you know what, people and GEICO are just scared of what they don’t know.
11. Rebranding my annual gingerbread house decorating competition to gingerbread temples.
Extra points awarded for marshmallow Buddhas.
12. Explaining to my family that I'm going through reverse culture shock and instead of having dinner at Aunt Lynda’s can we please go somewhere I would feel more comfortable like Benihana?
And if anyone at our communal table turns out to be a forkie I will absolutely lose it.
13. Answering the door with the Ken Burns’ Vietnam documentary in the background anytime someone comes over and telling them I was just comparing notes.
“Hey, ladies! Oh, sorry, totally forgot it was Bachelor night! I guess you guys are still into that sort of superficiality, huh? Let me just change the channel real quick then. No, I'm not judging, it's just that with my recent enlightenment experi– OMG, is Lauren M. wearing a see-through Rose Ceremony gown?!”
14. Walking on the left side of the sidewalk while making intense eye contact with the person opposite me and whispering “British colonialism” as I knock into them with the force of hundreds of years of repression.
I'm afraid I'll be too good at this and then the Greenpeace volunteers will see this and start using my technique. I'm sorry.
15. Putting canned mandarin oranges in my salads and baby corn cobs in my stir fry.
JUST KIDDING, NO ONE DOES THAT THERE!