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15 things that hit you when you leave South East Asia

15 things that hit you when you leave South East Asia

I don’t know about any of my fellow travellers, but getting on the plane at Bangkok to come home was the hardest part of the whole trip for me (and that’s including the moment I battled a wild dog with a stick…). Adjusting to life post-SE Asia is tricky. There are some huge jolts to the system, for instance…

1. Rice is no longer compulsory

There’s a whole host of carbs out there, from wholemeal brown bread, to gnocci pasta, to stodgy fried potatoey goodness. No longer will a menu have a fried rice list, followed by a fried noodles list. The world is your oyster (ooh oysters).

2. You are no longer an obvious tourist

Which means one glorious, magical thing – you are not bombarded by salesmen anymore. No one will shout ‘tuktuk’ at you across a road, no one will dangle elephant pants in your face, with a special discount, just for you, lady. In fact, if you return to a big city like mine, no one will speak to you on the street at all. Who knew I would start shouting ‘tuktuk’ at people for some good old conversation.

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3. Crossing the road is very dull

Cars will stop at the lights, as will the bikes, and no one will drive at you at 40 miles an hour with 10 bags of garbage attached to the back of their scooter. Life’s just not as exciting without that constant fear of death, you know?

4. Sunsets just aren’t the same

I don’t know where you live, but where I am, the only sunset I witness is at 4pm, when the sun sinks below the buildings and I can’t see it anymore. What sunset? Does it still happen, if nobody sees it?

5. Sunrises don’t exist

No one has time for sunrises outside of South East Asia. No one can get up early enough, and if they could, no buses would be running to take you to a suitable flat spot where the sun could be seen, rising. And let’s face it, once we leave that paradise, we’re all grumpy morning people again.

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6. Dogs are leashed and rabies-proof

No more wild dogs running at us, folks. No more gripping your friend’s arm until it bleeds because that huge Alsatian is running straight at you and it could have rabies. No such fun at home, I’m afraid.

7. Milk doesn’t taste so sweet

Back home, milk is… milk. It’s fresh, full of dairy goodness. But where did the gloopy sugary syrup of Vietnam go? Why doesn’t my coffee taste like dessert?

8. Red Bull has less… kick

Harmful chemicals are illegal again now, folks. No more getting messed up on energy drinks I’m afraid, you’ll just have to revert back to plain old alcohol.

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9. Welcome back the red tape, and put down the scissors

No more climbing rocky hills with ladders propped half-heartedly across them. No more solo cave exploring. No more license-less moped driving. Law is law again, folks. And health and safety is strong in this one.

10. Water is drinkable

It has to be said, drinking straight from the tap again? It’s lush. No more journeys to 7/11 at 3am to hydrate after boozing. The tap will sort me out.

11. Things are EXPENSIVE

More expensive than they ever were before, it feels like. Ten dollars for one cocktail. Five for a beer. You have got to be kidding me. I could rent a moped for a day at that price.

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12. Rain is permanent here

This isn’t South East Asia anymore because, here, the rain will not stop after 2 minutes. Here, the rain might stop, if we’re lucky, after 2 days. Or just never. Preferably in time for summer.

13. Beaches are rammed

Most of South East Asia has plenty of deserted beautiful beaches, golden sands, etcetera. But anywhere else, find a crappy stony beach anywhere, on a warmish sunny day in June, and there will be just about room for you to lay a towel next to the fat guy sweating into the sand next to you. But why…

14. Egg is not nearly so popular

Egg on a stick, egg fried rice, eggy bread, omelette, rice with fried egg randomly dolloped on top. It’s everywhere. It’s even in the coffee. And now? Where the hell is all the egg at?

15. You have left paradise behind

Rolling mountains, the longest of stunning exotic beaches, blue limestone waterfalls, crystal caves, shirtless Australian men… You didn’t quite appreciate it at the time (because no one ever does), but it was the bees’ knees, was it not?

Featured photo credit: Ed Gregory via stokpic.com

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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