South Korea and Indonesia: in context
Copyright © 2016 by Gabi Tree
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The Scrappy Traveller Trilogy
Book 1: 555 Days in Beijing
Book 2: The Saudi Files: notes from the field
Book 3: South Korea and Indonesia: in context
This book is dedicated to the people who’ve made my life better.
This is the final installation in my travel trilogy. You may wonder why it’s barely more than one page. As I wrote this travel book about my social experiences and observations, I found that I was repeating the same story just in different environments. So, I deleted the pages I had written and decided to end my travel tale accordingly. I could detail experiences similar to those I had in China, Saudi Arabia and elsewhere but, at this point, that just isn’t necessary. Instead, I’ll talk briefly about coming full circle as befits a story-telling nearly two decades after the fact. Here goes.
I’m reflective when looking back on my first long-term travel experiences: South Korea and Indonesia. Leaving home and going out into the world beyond what one knows yields broad lessons that the inexperienced can erroneously view as representative of this or that place and/or people. Perhaps my first encounter with violent xenophobia occurred in a one place (neither South Korea nor Indonesia) but I eventually learn that the motive for such actions is not specific to the location where the incident first occurred. Similar motives are represented in many other interactions in diverse geographies including my home place. So with more experience, one who is learning comes to understand that apart from differences in language and customs the vast majority of human beings have a similar composition.
Contrary to much-voiced notions of equality, not all humans are equal. This fact is further complicated by social structures of discrimination which says visual appearance denotes capacity and value. You cannot know one’s content by looking only at their exterior. One also cannot assume that because everyone looks human they function from a similar palette of morals, values and behaviours as oneself. Not everyone is at the same level of evolution. Human bodies contain unique entities who respond to the experiential and programming apparatus of their social environments in a variety of ways. Most acquiesce to structures of authority and forego their own development. This is one fundamental characteristic that many humans have in common. By the time I meet them, most are well entrenched in their environmental template. Many are only automatons regurgitating the words, phrases and ideas of their social location; barely alive. Occasionally, I meet some who are present but these encounters are few and far between. Often I recognise them only after the fact but as I’ve evolved I’ve become able to identify the interactions and the people more easily.
Though South Korea and Indonesia were harsh and jarring experiences for an innocent, they reaffirmed my attempt to solve for x. I’ve learned and grown quite a lot since then and I value the people and places that I encountered for that reason.
About the Author
We find out the most about ourselves when others tell us who we are. They may be trying to box us in or they could be trying to free us. We choose what to do with their feedback and that is part of our character distillation process. I once asked a friend to describe me and he said if he needed anything done he would pick me over anyone else whether I was trained in the particular task he wanted help with or not because I was someone who would always get it done. That’s one of the highest compliments anyone has ever paid me. Now let me tell you how I see me. Although I’ve previously published academic and lifestyle articles, I’m now writing about culture and international travel. I’m a staunch believer in individual rights, personal freedom, dignity and respect. I love information and understanding how things, people and cultures work. My passions and beliefs led me to complete post graduate work. They also led me into several tight spots in Asia, Africa and the Middle East that friends, family and Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade helped to extricate me from. Having survived both higher education and international travel, I want to share some of these experiences with you.