Thoughts on traveling

I love going away to a foreign country. I think it’s an amazing experience. Seeing new places, meeting new people, tasting new foods and recipes, learning a few words, hearing different music, wearing special clothes…

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Habits are changed. I tend to be more aware. Not completely in control, feeling a bit vulnerable, or more dependant on others around me.
The cutlure is different, traditions are not the same. The way of doing things can have a totally different meaning.
What is rude in one country can be the most common thing to do in another. What you value as a polite gesture in your country can be offending elsewhere.

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This is why I love to travel.

Because it is humbling. Because it forces me to stop and think about why I do what I do. It changes my way of seeing things by offering new perspectives. It doesn’t necessarily change my values or what I believe in but it helps me understand why others do things differently. While I travel I become more aware of the influence of the culture and environment I grew up in. We are all shaped in some way by our experiences, by our surroundings, by paradigms we grew up with. Repeated over and over they become so strong we think they are the unique truth worldwide.

Traveling challenges that, it challenges our “truth”

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Sometimes you realize just how lucky you are for what you have and have access to. Simple things become amazing and I find myself being grateful for aspects of my life I never paid attention to.
Other times you realize that things you thought were important, things you worried about, mean nothing or are completely futile or extremely simple to address if you look at them in a different way.
What I mean is that, if you are willing to be open minded and embrace the difference, traveling can shift the way you see things. The things are still there but maybe the lens are a different colors or have a better focus and everything seems more clear.

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Traveling to a different country, to a different culture, being forced outside my confort zone is also something I find stimulating. I love the excitement of the preparation phase and the raw emotion of being afraid as the departure day gets closer, because yes I’ll admit, it is scary too. I was anxious a few months ago as I was counting the hours before I left for Bangladesh and I was also a bit nervous of spending a week alone in India. And then I love the calm, the stillness that settles in as soon as the plane takes off and I think “Ok, this is it” and enter a transition mode.

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Traveling, for me, is always paralleled with a journey within.
It is when I travel that I learn the most about myself.
Because the pilot mode is turned off completely. It’s like having a blank slate and deciding how I want to decorate it.
Because I have more time to think and reflect.
Because I arrive in places where no one knows me.
Because there is always a moment when I am a bit scared, on the edge of panicking actually but I have to trust myself and dig deep to find inner strength and peace.
That forces me to grow. To think about how I want to do things. And why.

It’s not necessarily life changing. It’s the little things. In each new situation I can either confirm or shift my view, my natural way of doing something.
And sometimes it’s just acknowledging a part of who I am and accepting it.
Other times it’s become aware of an aspect of myself I want to improve or develop.

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I am extremely grateful for the experience I had in Bangladesh. It wasn’t always easy or fun but I would do it again in a heart beat.
Thank you for your comments, for being virtually by my side. I didn’t always answer but read and appreciated all your messages.

I will probably write a bit more about my time in Bangladesh as I transition back to my Parisian life. And who knows maybe I’ll start writing about that too.
I enjoyed blogging. It forced my to put words on thoughts and feelings which is not something that always comes naturally to me.

Like they say in Bangladesh, Inshallah*.

(*if Allah wants.. as in “we”ll see what happens”)

 

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18 thoughts on “Thoughts on traveling

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  1. Chelsea, I’ve really enjoyed seeing Bangladesh through your eyes. Yes, do continue blogging from time to time. What you post is interesting, thought provoking, and often very beautiful. Thank you for taking the time to keep us posted.

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  2. I loved following your journey!
    Your comments today on why you like to travel are profound.
    “Traveling changes that. It challenges our “truth”.
    What a better world would we live in if everyone could see the world from a different perspective.
    Thanks Chelsea.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you, Chelsea. It has been so interesting and informative and it has been delightful following your personal journey. Please keep writing, especially about Paris, my passion.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I wouldn’t have dare to ask but I rejoice in your idea to continue blogging, next time about your daily life in Paris. It’s also travel for us, armchair readers. Your thoughtful observations nourish mine, thank you so much.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Chelsea, your words and photos of your time in Bangladesh have been a deep awakening to my sense and understanding of the people and their practices. There is now within me a feeling of so much appreciation for the simple, humble life I live in my small cottage on the west slopes of the Rockies, tucked into a quiet neighborhood of a small city. What I have is different, and ever so much more than so many of those I came to know in your stories. Finding ways to embrace those whose culture is not like mine is what I get when I work with refugees from DRC every week, teaching them English. Just a small piece of understanding how fruitful our lives truly are does come from the taking time and trusting to learn from others.
    Your writing is engaging and pulls the reader right into the spaces where you are experiencing the people of Bangladesh. I do hope you will write more and am so grateful for what you have shared and taught me as you made this journey.
    Kristin

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  6. I love the part about “our truth” – well stated, Chelsea. Travel is so broadening, so eye-opening, so enriching. Keep it up! And yes, would love for you to keep blogging. 😊

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  7. Thank you Chelsea for the wonderful documentation of your stay in Bangladesh! I have really enjoyed and looked forward to, your photos and observations about this experience. I would like it if you continued your blog and your life in Paris!

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  8. Thank you Chelsea for taking us along, and please do keep blogging! You have a unique voice and a wonderful way of observing the world. xoxo

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  9. Chelsea, your writings about this adventure have been very interesting. Such a different culture and climate from France or the U.S. Please keep on writing a blog, you are a very talented writer.

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  10. C,

    Loved watching you make your way through Bangladesh. I love hearing your perspective and the photos are amazing. Everyone should be required to travel to another country and gain perspective. Thanks and please do keep wrtiting!
    Jackie

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  11. Chelsea – Many thanks for sharing both your experiences & heart while in Bengaldesh. Your readers have come to know the country thru your eyes. Having been in India – on a guided trip – I find that your words articulate what I felt. As a reader of Tongue in Cheek we feel a certain connection to you. Thanks again!

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  12. Haven’t posted but have truly enjoyed your posts. Your writings are so descriptive, like your dear Mother. Yes I agree with the others. We’d love to hear about your Paris life, Mr Expresso, where you shop, where you dine. Xoxo

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  13. Your words and thoughts are beautiful and make us think of how this life should be lived and appreciated.Thank you for sharing your amazing experiences, photos and thoughts to one who would have never had a chance to see! Blessings

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