Friday, January 30, 2015

Embracing the yin-yang

We are back home. Been away for thee weeks experiencing a slice of life on the far side of the globe -- Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand. Being immersed in all things Asian, a certain amount of Eastern philosophy has seeped into my thinking: witness my contemplation of the yin and yang of my life.

At no time is the contrast in how I live my days more pronounced than when I travel and then return home. At Farm Dover, Ed and I live quietly and comfortably, in simple abundance, going about our lives with a routine that varies only by the season. Suits us fine. As my mother liked to say: I wouldn't change a thing.

Oh, but when we travel, life does change. We seek out the unfamiliar, the uncomfortable, the strange, the risky, the spicy.

On just this most recent trip, we ate assorted street food (and survived), helped plant banana trees, sat on a hut floor with four generations of women and assembled sticky rice bundles wrapped in banana leaves, kayaked through caves to sparkling blue lagoons and later through dark and mucky mangrove swamps, learned to cook crispy pancakes stuffed with shrimp and pork, rode ATV's through the dusty Cambodia countryside, taught a class at a rural primary school, received a chanted blessing from a Buddhist monk, rode atop an elephant through the jungle, and lounged by the pool at the Peninsula Hotel while sipping fancy drinks. All incredible experiences; all so vastly different from my ordinary Shelbyville life.

It is this contrast -- this yin and this yang -- that keeps me in balance. It is what makes me delight in coming home -- happy with my days and nights spent tending to all things Farm Doverish -- but also excited to pack my bags and seek out what the broader world has to offer. Both complementary forces are essential to me. I crave them both: the comfort of home and the adventure of travel. It is this application of duality that feeds my well being. Home is my yin; travel, my yang.

How about you? What keeps you in balance?

Planting banana trees, near Hue, Vietnam
Early morning visit to Angkor Wat,
7th wonder of the world, Cambodia
At Royal Tomb of Minh Mang, near Hue, Vietnam
Pulling up (empty) fishing nets, Hue, Vietnam
Feeding tiny bananas to tiny monkeys, Thailand
View of Da Nang harbor, Vietnam
Beach to ourselves at Hoi An, Vietnam 
Ed learning to make crispy pancakes, Hoi An, Vietnam

Making friends while making steamed rice bundles,
Hue, Vietnam 
Feeding monks at daybreak, Chaing Mai, Thailand
Child at lakeside temple, near Siem Reap, Cambodia
Cruising Halong Bay, Vietnam
Dusk in Hoi An, Vietnam
At Ta Prohn (Jungle Temple)  in Seim Reap, Cambodia
Jack teaching an English class in rural Cambodia
Jack and new friend at Doi Suthep mountain temple,
Chaing Mai, Cambodia 
Monk at lakeside temple who chanted a blessing for each of us,
 near Chaing Mai, Cambodia
Night market in Can Tho, Mekong River Delta, Vietnam
Inspiration for a neat and tidy garden, Mekong River Delta
Posing before ATV ride, Cambodia 
Riding Asian elephant through the jungle to a
local ethnic minority village of the Lisu tribe. 
Spoiled at our last stop: Peninsula Hotel, Bangkok

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