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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 July 10, 2020

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

Boundaries are limits

—they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

1. Self-Awareness Comes First

Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
  • When do you feel disrespected?
  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
  • When do you want to be alone?
  • How much space do you need?

You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

2. Clear Communication Is Essential

Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

Sample language:

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  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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Final Thoughts

Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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