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Iron Chef Traveloque - Episode 22 - "Epilogue " __ David Wong (64)

Epilogue   The change 

Amongst all the continents I visited, Europe remains the favourite. Aside from the culture, customs, histories; it has this natural respect for happenings. European countries in general hold a better appreciation of things in natural forms. They spend time in preserving their culture and they welcome the idea of sharing their treasures with visitors. After all, tourism becomes a real revenue generating industry.

European cultures have the tendency to move at a slower pace and they allow time for things to develop rather than rushing through. The end results keep up with more tranquility and a peaceful mood in a lot of things. Less commercialism equals more enjoyment of natural life. I think that is the true meaning of vacation. People seek vacation because they want to relax. By meaning to relax, you cannot have a tight schedule and rush around under stringent time requirement.  

When we were young, we opted for quantity than quality. We wanted to pack in as many visiting places as possible. We wanted to see as much as we could. We wanted to shop till we dropped. We wanted to have pictures to show where we had been.

When you get older; wheels reversed. You aim for quality over quantity. You have done it all. You have been to all the continents in this world. You have every tourist place in a picture as background. You went to all towers and mountain tops to look down at the world and you find they start to look very similar. Your closet is full of very memorabilia you collected over the years and a lot of things are not even opened. You started to realize may be simplicity means beauty. [Partly it is because you get too old and physically you cannot endure the hard travelling anymore.]

A combination of leisure and excitement would be nice. You go for the balance of things. A simple meal and an appreciation of things of beauty would bring more satisfaction than rushing about. After all, your stomach could not hold the rich food and you would stay up all night after a decadent dinner. Travel light and enjoying the beauty around supersedes the tight travelling schedule. Visiting to one place of interest and staying there for a period of time becomes more reasonable. You can still explore the countryside. You can join the locals for a glass of wine at the wine bars. You can ask for the good restaurants from the locals and enjoy a meal. The chance for you to make a few local friends looks good and they would enjoy your company as much as you would enjoy theirs.  

People got all hung up on the language barrier; the fear of failure to communicate is scary. The root of this inhibition is embarrassment. Let us be honest about it. People know you are a foreigner. It would be a surprise if you can speak their language fluently and understand all the slangs. They know you will make mistakes and they take amusement on it. They would not disrespect your attempt to communicate with them. So long as you can extend your hand for a hand shake and smile sincerely, that would be more than enough to bridge the gap between two people. I do not understand any different language besides English. I only pick up the odd words here and there and yet I made friends with the local people anywhere I go. Believe it or not, most of the people in Europe understand English. They are just too embarrassed for making mistakes. So, two people are equal in their communication skills and there should not be any misunderstanding in between.  

Travel light and travel free makes a lot of sense to me. There is whole world waiting for us to explore. I have yet to try the high speed trains in Europe. I have yet to visit local wineries in Spain. I have yet to discover the oddly missed Michelin star chefs in France. I have yet to be invited to an Italian luau and taste the country food. I have yet to go through the art museums in Eastern Europe.

Keeping the balance in life is essential. Having peace of mind without stress is essential. Keeping the wife to have some opposing effect is essential; [or else, life would be a flat line.]

Life is not always a bowl of cherry; you need pits in it to make it whole. 

Here is looking at you, kid.

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