I have always wanted to travel to exotic countries where way of life is far different from my own. As a teenager in New York, however, I quickly sidelined that desire and immerse myself in the typical teenager lifestyle of the West. Drinking, partying, and staying out all night long were staples of how I lived my life. This went on for years and would probably continue more if one of my drinking buddies didn’t die from alcohol toxicity. And of-course you can travel without a comfy travel neck pillow.
It was at this point that I had to re-evaluate my life. Together with several friends, we have decided to really make changes in our life – starting with a healthier lifestyle. While they opted to join gyms or adopt the DASH Diet – I decided to go back to a long-abandoned dream: traveling Asia.
Of course, the common question was: what does traveling have to do with being healthy? The truth was I had no good reason to connect ‘travel’ with ‘health’ but I might have made a good argument because my parents and friends finally accepted my decision, even giving me a nifty New York travel pillow. It was going to be an adventure and I was going to be really alone for the first time in my life. But I already resolved that when I do come back: I would give everyone a clear and convincing reason on why my sojourn through Asia turned my life around.
The plan was simple: hit every major city in Asian countries of Malaysia, Japan, Korea, Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand. I decided to stay for months on each country since the rent per month is cheaper than rent per day in hotels.
So what did I learn? In truth, the food of Asian countries is just one part of the ‘healthy lifestyle’ I promised myself I would have. Japan and Malaysia especially offer some of the best heart-healthy food with so many fish and vegetable offerings and very little meat. I think what really got my spirit up, however, is the very culture of these Asian countries. Health is not just about the body – it is about the mind too and Asian countries have this incredibly convincing approach on spirituality and body health. Meditation in Thailand, for example, has been incredibly helpful in letting me handle stress. After being taught this discipline by masters of the art, I was able to enjoy deep sleeps while riding a bus, my travel neck pillow is the only thing offering softness and support. Yes – that might sound funny in writing, but considering the amount of time spent on planes and boats and buses during travel, this is definitely one of the best things to happen to me. P.s. I got my travel pillow from enzocomfort.com
I’m in the Philippines now and a few weeks from now, I would be in Singapore. I’m currently planning where I would go next from there – probably India or China. Comparing my mind and body to how it was in New York, I would have to say there has been a considerable improvement. People say traveling can be exhausting but no if you do it right. I’m slimmer now – but in a good way, and I have a toned body thanks to the amount of walking and exploring I have done in these countries. More importantly though, I’m healthier spirit-wise.