Becoming a Stayer
It was just idle Sunday evening curiosity that attracted me to an article called Going Nowhere: Ten tips for expat Stayers who want to stay well. It’s probably one of those boring listicles bloggers use to pad their pages, I said to M. But it was a bombshell! All the faint warning bells, the unsettling thoughts, the disturbing reserve we’d been feeling this time around in SE Asia, were brought into sharp focus by the article: What it takes to stay- to stay well- somewhere on the planet, away from our native country. And for us personally, how singularly attractive the idea of becoming a “Stayer” actually sounded…
Our uneasiness began in Siem Reap- navigating another hedonistic tourist bubble, a nagging sense of working very hard for the sights, or for a dose of authenticity, a nod of recognition, you know, from human to human
It made connecting with the gentle, happy-go-lucky Laotians we remembered feel a good deal harder.
We have never seen so many selfie smiles, and so few shared ones!! Eyes constantly probing their own mirror-image takes getting used to- alone among the masses… I tenaciously want believe in change for the better, to believe swelling tourist dollars work life-enhancing wonders for everyone-
wherever they’re spent. More obvious though, is the hassle. More, faster, louder, me, now. A veritable deluge of self-absorbed consumerism, tailspinning in slow motion to God knows where….
Our graduation speech would start with this: To all who brightened our first three years of travel, thank you, thank you! And it would end with two questions: Where to then, from here? Well, the 2016 Special Interest Class of Chiang Mai University is excited to be giving Portugal a “is it homebase material?” whirl this Spring! And, just as important: Will we keep traveling? In a word- yes! In spite of it all, knowing there are still countless treasures waiting to be discovered brings us joy. Let’s aim for a Masters in Travel!