My Most Foreign Adventure

I am currently in the midst of what is proving to be my most foreign adventure. While I have lived on other continents before, there is something unique about the perspective in Asia that has been forcing me to revaluate what I think is true.

First and foremost, I am relearning how much travel makes me feel alive. I constantly find myself grinning life a goofball over little events like finding toilet paper or successfully ordering a sandwich. I love being on the road and it is remarkable how quickly I forget that when I am back in my normal routine.

I come from a mindset and a country with a 200 year old history. Here, in the East, I am surrounded by a mindset and history that is certainly much older and more often than not, much wiser. There is old knowledge here and it seeps into everything. Everyday I feel as if I am digging and peeling back another layer of my surroundings. The fact that if I were to physically dig through the earth, I would actually end up back home is striking. Geographically and culturally I am as far away as I can get.

Tiny room in Hong KongI have already had some of the classic moments of a westerner traveling in Asia. The comically small rooms, the ordering of a dish only to realize too late that it is pig rectum, the polite smiles when I am forced to repeat myself due to my thick American accent. These moments are fun and give me the slight love prod I enjoy from adventuring.

But those are all things that I pretty much expected. They are the moments you see repeated several times throughout the course of a cheesy travel show.

The aspect of living in the East that has surprised and taught me the most has been the rare moments when I have glimpsed into how the people here view the western world. It has been humbling to hear their perspectives of my home.

The West From The East

From the East, it is clear that the United States is waning as the world’s top super power. The writing is on the wall. There is no city in the western world, much less the United States that is run as efficiently as Singapore. This city (and country) has its problems, but in key areas it is outperforming the West.

But this isn’t just true for Singapore, it also appears to be true for many other developed countries in the East. Over here, schools are producing better scientists and mathematicians. They in turn are producing more efficient and better run businesses and cities.

Macau now drives more revenue than Las Vegas, Hong Kong is rivaling Hollywood in number of profitable movies and China is showing the world what blue collar at scale can accomplish. Developed countries in the East are more modern than they are back home. Key infrastructure like public transportation and communication technology is irrefutably better.

America, Fuck Yeah? It is this uncertainty, this questioning of my cultural foundations that drives me to travel. It is a feeling that you simply can’t experience by watching the Nightly News.

Travel is usually talked about in terms of things that are physical; passports, food and people. For me though, the joy of travel is largely mental. Travel is a costume show of mindsets. It is an act that offers both the wardrobe and the lit mirror needed to experience yourself in a new way.

The fried chicken feet and kung fu museums are fun but it is the walking around in the wings of the world stage that I really find enlightening.

At the root of the word question, is the word quest. This is what makes finding some answers so difficult. Those who are brave enough to be curious find themselves standing at the beginning of a long journey. It is a path that leads to ideas and feelings that when they start, are yet unknown. This is where I find myself today. I have many questions and for this reason, I am here, on a foreign adventure, pouring myself into this life list quest.

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  • Inge

    Dover, Have you considered jumping on the instagram bandwagon? I’ve been following your blog, I would like to follow your pics… Let us know!
    Cheers,

    I.

    • Hey Inge!

      I have tried getting into Instagram but it never sticks. I guess I just don’t get it :-p

      What am I missing?

  • mike vallano

    Very interesting insights Danny! I love that shift in perspective. That’s my favorite part of travel too–getting out to see how others live. It’s so easy to get caught up in how we do things in the US, but experiencing other cultures always opens the mind.

    • Totally agree. For personal growth, I think travel is more than important, I think it is mandatory.

  • Hey Danny, be careful you might fall in love with Asia and never want to go living back in the US.

    • Joe Dover

      Danny,

      All good insights and I’m glad you are having the chance to widen your world view. The key, as I see it, is how will you take these new insights and incorporate them into your own world. Will you be able to take what you see as “better” and make it work out side of your Asian environment. By doing this, you will truly better yourself and those around you. Keep enjoying your experiences. Love ya.

      Dad

    • lol, yes I have been warned :-p

  • Cool to see you’re enjoying Asia, Danny!

    I liked when you said that the demise of the U.S.’s economic hegemony is written on the walls. I certainly had a similar feeling when I was in Asia. Hong Kong proved to be an especially bustling, modern, and impressive city, and Macau’s casinos, with people gambling $10,000 chips as if they were quarters, was certainly mind-boggling.

    Keep us updated with your travels, and who knows, maybe Asia’s mysterious attractiveness will get the better of you :)

    • I believe you predicted this would happen (really enjoy Asia) on an earlier comment :-p Cheers bud!

  • I, for one, hope you don’t permanently move away from the States! But this article sure is interesting. I especially appreciate the line: “Travel is a costume show of mindsets.” Totally agree.

    Besides Macau, Hong Kong, and Singapore, where else do you see Eastern cities outpacing Western ones?

    • >Besides Macau, Hong Kong, and Singapore, where else do you see Eastern cities outpacing Western ones?

      I am by no means an expert on this but Shanghai and Tokyo both come to mind. Shanghai with schooling (among other things) and Tokyo with infrastructure and technological innovation.

      Israel is technically in Asia and in terms of defense and technological innovation Tel Aviv might make the list.

      I would imagine that Seoul and Taipei would also also make the list but I haven’t studied them yet (soon though!)

      Lastly, Moscow (which isn’t Eastern but deserves an honorable mention) due to the sheer amount of wealth that has moved there from the West.

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