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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 September 18, 2020

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

1. Exercise Daily

It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

3. Acknowledge Your Limits

Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

The basic nutritional advice includes:

  • Eat unprocessed foods
  • Eat more veggies
  • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
  • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

    5. Watch Out for Travel

    Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

    This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

    If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

    6. Start Slow

    Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

    If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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    7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

    Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

    My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

    If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

    I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

    Final Thoughts

    Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

    Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

    More Tips on Getting in Shape

    Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

    Reference

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