So it’s been almost a month of traveling for me. How do I feel and what have I learned?
I feel tired and weary to be honest. When I told all my friends and family I was going away to travel, I think many people thought I was going to a five star hotel to lay down and soak up the sun. But that’s not my case, and I wanted it that way. Not that I have anything against the finer things in life (I do enjoy being a beach bum once in awhile,) but to me that’s not really traveling.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned so far from my trip, it’s that the world is becoming more and more similar. Globalization is true and real. In all the cities I’ve been to so far, from Denver, Colorado to the tiny town my parents grew up in China, I recognize similar strives and advances. They all want to be one thing: to be a big modern city.
Without being too political, obviously there are pros and cons to urbanization. More jobs, security, structure, better schools, ect and ect. I see this in my own family with my aunts and uncles leaving their farms and big houses to live in apartments in the city so that their kids can go to better schools. I see it with the young kids working hard for money to buy and afford the same things as their friends. I see it with people who ask me questions about my life in America. They’re curious and they’re are hungry to see more. But the thing is, is urbanization really good for everyone?
I don’t have a problem with people striving for better lives, but what if you have it good already in your big house and tiny town? You’re well fed from the fresh fruits and vegetables that you grow on your own farm. You can take off from work whenever you want, and you’re actually in better shape than the city folks from breathing in fresh air instead of smog and pollution. Your kids are even going to better schools now that transportation is better. Why then would you want to move to a big city where people constantly compare themselves to each other. Anyone seen The Joneses?
In China, I’ve noticed one thing. For the lack of better words, there is a lot of crap and junk being sold everywhere. It doesn’t matter if you’re at an upscale mall in Beijing, or a small market in a tiny town. Everyone and anyone is selling and buying a lotta unnecessary stuff. What do I mean? Miles and miles of handbags and shoes. Clothing with all sorts of bizarre writing on them attempting to imitate American brands. There is a lot of emphasis on owning material things, no matter if you need it or not. That’s why even my 10 day tour of China was 40% shopping.
It saddens me that the process of becoming more “modern” depends so much on buying material goods.
But enough of me and my negativity. I’ve also seen many positive things. Old ladies running up to me to tell me how much I’ve grown, and joyfully hand over things they grew with their own hands. People who are happily choosing to live in their small towns, people who are making money in their city jobs and investing that back to the towns they came from. People who are retaining the unique things in their families and towns that many have forgotten.
Maybe I just have a bad case of nostalgia, but I’m afraid the world is becoming more and more alike, and I’m not sure I like it. That’s why I like to travel the way that I do, outside of the resorts and hotels, before it all becomes cookie cutter malls and houses. It’s not luxurious nor comfortable, and I DO miss my home, my comfy bed and pillow, but so far it’s been an exciting and unforgettable journey, and I wouldn’t trade any of it.