Wanaka is a bubble, one in which protects us from the many dangers and differences of the world. I have been in this bubble for 16 years and i’m not saying that’s a bad thing but I know it has sheltered my perspective on how large, beautiful and dangerous the world we live within really is. I am lucky… I’ve managed to experience small tasters of the world beyond my town boundaries and it has really opened my eyes to new aspects of our world. Past summer holidays my family and i visited Asia, and I’ve never felt like such a minority in my life. The thing is living in Wanaka the population is small, and the cultural diversity is next to nothing. In Asia i was one of barely any of European raced people and just about the whole Wanaka population would be on one train at a time. This was quite an eye opening experience for me and being in Asia taught me how to be more excepting of peoples differences and ways of life, in their country and when they come visit our beautiful country as well. I know i personally am really bad at blaming Asians for appalling driving on our New Zealand roads, and I’m not going to say its not bad driving but now after visiting their country i can understand why they drive how they do. Firstly in Singapore very few people drive themselves around and most forms of transport are by train. this is because it is a more efficient and cheaper as the cost to be able to drive a car on the road is about $70,000 dollars. Secondly when visiting Vietnam the only rule is the bigger vehicle has the righter way and apart from that you just toot your horn and drive your way through the crowds. This helped me to realize that we are blaming these tourist for their bad driving skills in our country yet they have never been taught how to drive properly or the correct road rules and we aren’t providing them with cheap public transport pretty much forcing them to get rental cars and drive themselves around. New Zealand is 8,525 km away from Singapore and we can only expect their to be cultural differences between the two countries. however my time away really taught me to be more understanding of others difference because that’s what makes the world such an interesting place, and if we were all more understanding of each other sounds cliche but i totally believe the world would be a much better and peaceful place.
This brings me to my second point. whilst i believe Asia is a beautiful place it really opened my eyes to the world and society in which i exist in and how lucky i am to live where i do. I always knew i was fortunate but kind of expected that everyone else almost had the same fortune as me, i was oblivious to the world beyond my bubble. And this is why i valued my trip to Asia so much because now i realize my life is probably one of a fairy-tale for many people in this world. I’m not saying i live a perfect life or that these peoples lives are miserable and they are unhappy but i am grateful i live the life i live. I learned how ungrateful i have been in life and i know that i don’t know all your stories or how you live your life but i only hope that you can understand how fortunate we really are to live in a society where we are provided a free education, have clean fresh water, and a majority of us live in our own warm homes. As i said i don’t know your stories and i’m not going to speak on behalf of you but i hope you can learn from my selfishness of not knowing the life i’m living is truly amazing. I complain about going to school, to my disgust I’m an incredibly fussy eater and i sometimes complain and stress out about the tiniest of matters but in the large scheme of things I now see how unnecessary it was. In Vietnam i meet this little girl and her family she probably would’ve been aged 4 max and she was out on the streets late at night trying to sell floating candles to tourist to make a living. Every night i saw her she was wearing the same clothes and it wasn’t early in the night either around 10.00pm. I had no idea people lived like this just to make a living it almost seemed surreal to me because never in Wanaka have i ever witnessed this happening. With the money made by selling the candles the mum bought one 6 inch french stick of bread broke it in three for herself and two daughters dinner. Makes me feel silly for being a fussy eater these kids have no choice to be fussy. The thing is i dont want you to mistaken me for saying these people are miserable in their lives. Vietnamese are some of the happiest people i have ever meet and are probably very grateful for the life they live, i just hope we understand how lucky and grateful we should be for the life we live to.
Lastly my trip Asia taught me how much their is to see in this world. I only scrapped the surfaces of Vietnam and Singapore and i had so many new experiences in just days that i wouldn’t experience in a year of staying in Wanaka. Seeing how others operate in their day to day life, learning new cultural behaviors, trying new foods, walking foreign streets, getting lost and being okay with it because you end up finding things you never would’ve found by sticking to the norm. this trip has only taught me how much more i want to travel in life to learn new lessons and experience how other people live there lifes. I hope that everyone at some stage in their life has the desire and ability to travel because i believe it can teach you more than anything else can and makes you more excepting of others. Its all apart of living and can make you really consider how you live your life and as i found out i grew a new appreciation for the life i have.
i think in the end the moral of my story is to be grateful with what you’ve got because you never know how lucky you really are and you should not take your life granted. i know its a hard concept to fully understand and i know i truly didn’t understand until i experienced it first hand, how lucky we really are and its sad to think that it has taken me nearly 17 years to finally figure it out. but i think no matter what we should all gain a greater appreciation for the life we have been provided. to laugh more, to enjoy the presence of the people surrounding you more, to acknowledge the true beauty of nature and how lucky we are that we can still drink our water straight from the lake, and most importantly to make the most out of life we have been provided because you only get one.