In the beginning of this year, I met Danny from American in Kyrgyzstan. He invited me one day visit America. I said, “Thanks, but America probably the last place I want to visit in the world.” I had some not so nice impressions of America, most of them were known from news, which may be biased.
Taiwan is close to America. And for last 50 years, we were trying to imitate America, from education system, to political environment, also the consumerism… I remember during my school time, whole society seems to praise American style more. For example, studying or living in America is considered to be a good thing, not to mention having an American green card. Parents send children to learn American English from they were only 2, 3 years old, 8 years old children can give a speech in English before they master Chinese. People also like to buy things from America. Just check the success of Cosco in Taiwan. We watch the movies from America, eating burgers and fries, follow the news of NBA star and watch the sport of MLB. Seems for Taiwanese, there are only 3 countries in the world, Taiwan, America and China.
But things changed at some point. I am not sure why, but maybe because of the democracy environment and freedom to access information, people started to think different from what in power wants them to think. People started to realize the power and intention from behind.
The reputation of America seems goes down these 10,20 years. When people realized the bad side of GMO food, how serious is pollution, the gap between rich and poor, and the roll of America in those wars in Middle East…..Seem recent years, Taiwanese seems to embrace European style more than America.
Maybe it’s not the “people”, but it’s me who changed.
I once dreamed to live in a simple but high technique modern apartment when I was young. But now I would love to move to a self-handmade wooden house in the edge of the forest of Himalaya.
I once only care about how delicious of the food. But now I can’t help but check where the ingredients from, are that healthy and clean? Had the animals and plants been treated well?
I once like the modern city view, but now just can’t tolerate too many artificial constructions, especially the one that can’t naturally fits in.
It seems I am narrower than I was. I once, was a traveler with curiosity, dreamed of traveling around the world, to the unknown.
I wrote in my diary 4 years ago, “I think every place has its unique way to be in the world, and all of them are worth for travelers to slow down their steps. Because you will never know what you knew from the surface is true if you don’t give chance to that place. “
I once think that I would be a world traveler. But these years I feel that I especially belongs to somewhere, I keep being attracted, and willing to go there again and again. I was in Nepal, India and China most of the time, until last year I finally visit Europe and a small part of Central Asia. I don’t easily go to new place, I visit somewhere because someone there. And to make the most of a fly ticket, I start traveling from the place. For example, last year just want to go to Spain, but at the end traveled to many countries in Europe and some places on the way back to Asia.
In other case, there are certain places that naturally attract me. South America, Siberia, and some places in Central Asia are in my pocket list.
Even I said that, Danny still told me about his hometown Utah in America, and showed me the photos of Zion National Park there. (He is really kind.) And the photos reminded me about the beautiful Nature that America famous for. Also the Good sides of America, like multicultural atmosphere, creativity, open to diversity, a land for dreamers….
I think I will be there someday. I’d love to go if I have a chance. After all, my best friend seems to choose there as his second officially nation. And I have friends there or not there, who love America and think it an interesting nation. And I travel to visit friends.