November 2, 2008 at 7:37 pm 6 comments

I’m a mediocre writer. I just want to tell you that i know i am no poet and that i know my writing is lacking and that i do the best i can with the time i have and the abilities i have… I am a pessimist by nature so please forgive the lack of “fun” and good feelings in my journal, because i tend to focus more on the negative and the unhappy…

Last week, my father wrote me an email urging me to return home. I don’t understand why he’s so ashamed of my traveling. He assumes several things; that i’m biting my nails in boredom – that i’m not coming home because of “pride” – that i’m loosing precious time for making a career to worthless traveling – & so on. My mother also wants me to come home. She wants me to be more similar to her friends’ children – working, with boyfriend, and a normal schedule. She also worries a lot for unrealistic reasons. Both of my parents are from the former Soviet Union where travel outside the Union was nearly impossible. However, my mother was quite active in her youth, kayaking through Belorussia and Lithuania, skiing and hiking through the Caucas, Azau, Cheget, Elbrus mountains for weeks at a time and so forth. She says these were the best times in her life. None of my American friends (except Asya) travel. Some have been to Florida and California and Mexico, but never as backpackers or for longer than a week. In my extended family, a few have been to Europe but only as tourists staying in hotels in the major cities and returning home within a week. So my choice to go off by myself, to unfamiliar southeast Asia, and for such a long period of time is a strange one for many of the people close to me. Some of them accuse me of being immature, unpractical, and unwise, while others aloofly remark “i wish i could…”

So i feel recurring pressure to justify my choice. Sometimes the pressure comes from within. I wonder if i am really enjoying myself and learning and whether the hardships i deal with on a daily/weekly basis (loneliness, finding places to sleep, transport) are worth it. I have been a vagabond for nearly 2.5 months, am i tired of it? I am, but i don’t want to go home.

Thus far, i have not spend a long time anywhere and my experiences with the locals have been superficial and short. I want to see deeper into their lives but i remain a foriegner. To get access i’d need to invest more time and more energy. So this is the choice i’ve made. I’m going to look for an opportunity (not in Vietnam) to stay for a month (or more) and volunteer, possibly staying with a local family.


Entry filed under: travel. Tags: .

Vietnam, i don’t like you Hello Phnom Penh

6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. dana  |  November 3, 2008 at 11:02 pm

    u will know when its time .. i understand and admire ur choice .. life is this way . they only want what they think is best for u .. just be safe and ur fine .. and enjoy urself …life is long there is plenty of time for career etc .who knows if u will ever have tho opprotunity for this experince again .. i dont .-d

  • 2. GS  |  November 5, 2008 at 10:46 pm

    Comment in Russian:
    Печально, что твой дом – место, куда не хочется возвращаться. Еще 2000 лет тому Вергилий (римский поэт) писал ” и дым отечества нам сладок и приятен”, или Пушкин “Два чувства равно близки нам. В них обретает сердце пищу. Любовь к родному пепелищу, любовь к отеческим гробам”. И все же у тебя есть дом, где тебя любят, где тебя не судят, а тебе сочувствуют.

  • 3. Dina  |  November 6, 2008 at 12:07 pm

    No mother will approve the nine month trip. But I am happy when you are happy.

    By the by, my mother was already dead when I skied in mountains and went kayaking.

    The truth is you have to write positively and funny, otherwise it does not sound very entertaining but rather sad. This is why you do not get many responses. People should like what you write. Remember my stories?

    Why do you need someone to justify? Does it matter what others think? Just be happy and come home safe.

  • 4. Dina  |  November 6, 2008 at 12:15 pm

    By the by, Dr. Friedman says hello to you :)
    He thinks you will have a lot of troubles.

  • 5. Yelena Shuster  |  November 6, 2008 at 4:47 pm

    that’s very warm of Friedman :/

  • 6. GS  |  November 11, 2008 at 11:31 am

    Happy Birthday to You!
    Be well and happy!
    Kiss you


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