Coming from West Africa and straight into South East Asia kind of just stresses the differences between the two. Though both continents have similarities as all the post colonial countries do, similarities created by years of oppression and neglect, inequalities and neo colonialism, corruption and material as well as philosophical stagnation. (All of these are topics I would be ready to expand upon, though not in this particular blog post. (Phew)) Though similarities there are also so many evident differences which makes it hard to decide which one you actually prefer to the other. Let’s make it into an allegory we all can relate to – relationships. West Africa is that person you meet when you’re in a low, when you frown upon conformity, had a shit year and just feels more lost than ever. At that point you meet that person, more intellectual, someone who shakes you up, challenges you and makes you review everything you thought to be true. S/he is not particularly attractive, not even very nice. Comes and goes in your life as if you’re not really important. Which you kinda understand that you are not, but at the same time, this person is maybe the only one you really need at that point. S/he gets all your Seinfeld references, understand and shares your passion for guitar solos and cooks amazing vegetarian food. Leaves you alone when you ask and flashes that smile only when it’s really needed. S/he wouldn’t bother to hang out with your friends and is definitely not getting into a relationship with you. A lone wolf that turns away the second you start to feel comfortable. That’s the West Africa in your life. You can’t really have it and like it, but you can’t walk away and close the door.
And then when you’re on vacation, it’s sunny, it’s warm, it’s long days at the beach. You meet South East Asia. Definitely good looking, way too much so, so you kinda assume s/he is a douche bag. But why is s/he paying you this attention, as if s/he really cares? Soon to discover, South East Asia is actually a great person, animal activist, sporty, low on alcohol consumption and even your mum is gonna approve. What a catch! You go from zero to a hundred and have never been spoiled like this before. You laugh and s/he kisses your forehead every night with emphasis. Sometimes your jokes is left hanging in the air, and maybe s/he’s more into electro music which you really can’t stand. But the kindness and the open heart makes you forget the differences and just go with the flow – plus, what a hottie!
West Africa to South East Asia – we all know the type and we all need the two. Either we travel on the outside or inside, our internal (and eternal) change makes us need more, new experiences. Laid back or intense, strong or soft, breath taking or mind blowing. Human beings are always gonna strive forward, the problem of today is just that we’re striving individually. West Africa wants to go in one direction to preserve their heritage, pride and culture. South East Asia wants to go in another direction because they deserve the resources and equalities that’s been taken from them. Western Europe and North America is scared to loose what they fought to own, and all of us are trying to imply our rights and our beliefs to people who do not want them. Though the life of a traveller may seem to be all about individuality, finding your own way, reject society and pretend to be apart from conformity, I question exactly that. I believe us all to be searchers for a sustainable future, for a life style that includes everyone. For the perfect blend of global cultures, for a political system that benefits more than the ruling class. By searching all the corners of this big ol’ blue mother earth of ours, we can find, preserve and uplift ideas that’s been tucked away in hidden corners of this world. These corners could be closer than you think, physically, emotionally, and these corners are the ones that will give you sympathy, understanding and perspective. From that moment on, you need to realise we are all in this together. If it’s going to hell with Asians, Africans or Australians, it will also go to hell for you, personally, and everyone you know.
I am open to disaster, I am ready to be sacrificed. I am running with my head first and my eyes closed. Come future – and the world will live as one.