Recently, I’ve been drinking lots of tea and trying to figure out what we should be doing. Each place we travel to has so much to offer, and yet were finding ourselves with gaps. Because of our time frame, we’re somewhere in between travellers, running around trying to see all the sights, and the locals, comfortably doing their daily routines. Arguably, there are always things to do, and you could spend a year in a small town, but with a money budget and a mental energy budget we’re not trying to see everything. We don’t want to waste time seeing things we’re not interested in just because it’s there to see. You see my dilemma? I am loving things at the other side of the world, but everybody gets bored sometimes.
After the hundredth green cuppa, I thought back to the things I’d enjoyed the most. They were the things where I could get involved with the culture, getting stuck in: cooking, trekking, cycling… I decided I was going to think of things I want to learn or create and find out where they are, then I could follow a route of my interests rather than the interests of someone writing a guidebook. Guidebooks are useful, don’t get me wrong, and the things I have seen have been beautiful, but that is their experience of the place, a selective collection of information based on what they did.
The processes of rice farming, for example, is some thing I’d like to learn about, the mysterious paddies that feed the world. Dancing, one of my biggest passions, can I join in? Or even just watch? What about art forms I’ve never heard of? Where is the best place for local sport or theatre? Can I help some wildlife and explore their habitat? What languages do they speak, can I unravel the mystery of their symbols? Of their hoots and lulls? Even just a little, I’d like to speak it too. There is so much to do beyond what we see through the camera lens. I have seen some stunning things, but now the route we take is ours.