Vagabonding and the Asian mind

Picture credit: Flickr/ Marcio Cabral de Moura

Living in Asia and trying to have real, normal friends can often bring to “that” conversation topic: travel. And whenever I say I have been to 50 countries, my friends roll eyes and vent out some long, strange sounds before freezing in awe with open mouths. Then, their jaws drop for about 10 seconds, and the dire question always comes up next.

“How can you do it? Are you RICH?”

No, I’m not and it seems that – like in the West – most Asians cannot conceive travel without a sackcloth bag full of cash tied to their waist. What’s more, to them travel is to shell out on something they cannot have at home. Understandable: if I also lived in a tiny house with too many people, I think I would enjoy spending a weekend at the local Holiday Inn laying by the poolside.
When I start to explain how I like to travel, and how I like to do things that they consider dangerous, downright crazy or just plain boring, they lose interest and continue sipping their drinks.

Their curiosity, however, surprises me. To the contrary of most Western folks of all ages, Asians probably have a deeper sense of responsibility towards their families, or are just less inclined to “leave it and risk it”. Japanese and some Koreans have been an exception, but not casually, their currency is stronger than most other Asians. It seems that the main problem between their desire for vagabonding, and the actual realization of their dream, is fear of not having enough money to make it.
So, they think I am rich.
I do not even own an Ipad like the one they are toying with as we speak. For one of those, they are not afraid to pay roughly one month’s salary …. funny, isn’t it?

Maybe it is all related to a matter of priorities, and everything will change when Asians will realize that trying to be Western actually leads to – errr… – escapism and vagabonding.  We can just wait, and see what the future will bring…

Posted by | Comments (2)  | April 4, 2013
Category: Asia, Notes from the collective travel mind, Simplicity, Vagabonding Styles

2 Responses to “Vagabonding and the Asian mind”

  1. Ken Says:

    Here is an article you guys might enjoy:

  2. carlo Says:

    are you rich??? 10000000000 times i heard this question..
    my friends think i sell drugs,
    people i meet (western and asian) during my trip..think i’m a fat rich boy..

    i don’t care…

    who dares win!!!