Beijing Int’l Airport – September 28, 2016
Every journey starts with an ending. In this case, the beginning of my journey to Asia marks the ending of three years living in the USA, more particularly in the Boston area, a place I’ll dearly miss.
I find it symbolic that in order to fly to Asia I had to cross North America from coast to coast, as if I could only say goodbye after appreciating its fascinating geography from my window seat. Even more symbolic to say hi and goodbye to the Pacific Ocean from the American side, and have a chance to watch a last sunset before heading back to LAX airport. For me sunsets are the perfect expression of impermanence. The sun is always the same, but every single sunset is difference. I’m happy to say my last sunset in the USA – for now – will remain as one of my favorites until I have a chance to come back to the country that surprisingly grew on me, where I felt home for the past three years, and where I learned so much about myself.
When plans fall apart and life doesn’t go as planned people react in very different ways. The way I react might seem chaotic to all of those whose are not inside my head (another way of saying everyone else), but I like to think that it’s not chaotic, it is chaordic (chaos+order). When things don’t go as planned first I panic, then I activate my “MRB’s psychological survival kit” and start brainstorming hundreds of possibilities, draw multiple scenarios, explore various options, and I always, always, have a plan B (most of the times I do that out loud. So I do understand why some people think I’m chaotic. I apologize for that). When I decided to embrace uncertainty and to be open to the unexpecte, a plan B was being shaped and I was studying it carefully. Now plan B is plan A: let’s explore Southeast Asia!
Why SE Asia?
Mainly because I did not know how much money I would be able to save during one year. My other option would be to go back to my home country but my heart and intuition kept pushing me away from it – and the political and economic crisis did not help either. After doing some research it was not hard to conclude that SE Asia would be one of the cheapest destinations, and this was the number one reason for that.
The second reason is not hard to guess. I’m lucky enough to have amazing friends spread all over the world, some of which are in Thailand, Myanmar, India, and Bangladesh. The initial search for flights considered the first three destinations. The price to get to Thailand flying from California was unbeatable (USD 520).
Lastly, I’m fascinated about the world and all the differences one can find from one region to another. Most of my worldly knowledge and experience is related to the Americas and Europe. The languages I speak are pretty much classic western languages. And although very different in terms of culture, I want to see with my own eyes if there are similarities between SE Asia (probably other places in Asia too) and Latin America.
I am super excited about the journey that starts now. An adventure that could never be possible if it weren’t for plans falling apart, for embracing uncertainty, and for allowing myself to live through all the experiences I’ve lived during the journey that ended with that sunset in California on September 26 2016.
Where is it going to take me? Let’s find out!
Where did September 27 go?
Last things I remember about September 27:
- I’m sitting outside a gate at LAX airport
- I’m trying really hard to stay awake. I woke up at 5am in Boston. Now it’s 1am in LA, meaning 4am in Boston. I’ve been awake for 23 hours.
- Don’t sleep! Boarding is almost starting.
- Onboard Air China flight to Beijing.
- Chinese are loud. Comparing to Americans, with whom I spent most of the past 3 years. I guess Brazilians are loud too. I forgot about that.
- It’s around 2:30am, and I’m probably still flying over the US.
- My eyes close. They are heavy. Tired.
- The plane suddenly smells like Chinese food. Should I open my eyes and eat? It’s a 12 hours flight… No. Eyes closed again.
All of a sudden it’s September 28.
I’m in China.