Sunday, March 25, 2018

Finding My World, by Walter T. Yurt

Saturday... It was one of those days when I just wanted to stay home and read. Play with my bookshelves. Flip pages. Decide which book I'll be donating next to the Book Exchange Corner at the various Singapore public library locations (mine is Central).

I did all of the above, except for going to the Book Exchange Corner at the Central Public Library. More about that soon in the next post where I share the pile I've decided to donate.

So, while going through my already-overflowing bookshelves in Singapore, I decided to tackle Walter T. Yurt's book, Finding My World, which I bought early last year during one of my monthly trips home to Malaysia. Speaking of Malaysia, it's almost three years now for me since my move to Singapore!

In this book, Walter talks about his trips in Southeast Asia to Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos; outside of SEA in Hong Kong and his family trip in Disney World. He usually makes short trips, ranging from one day to four days, and I went like, "Hey! That sounds like me." I am The Weekend Traveler!

He started of with:

One of the greatest things in my great life is the fact that no matter where I end up, the unfamiliar that I get to encounter, along with the familiarity of the goodness of the human spirit I receive from people, is a combination that is unbelievable and sometimes indescribable.

And he ended the book saying:
For me, I am at peace with my decision to live a life where the only constant is change and the only certainty is that new adventures are always on the horizon. It's not a life for everyone, but it is the life for me. No matter where I call or don't call home, I know that the feelings I get every year before my annual trip back home to America, the excitement in seeing my loved ones, the anticipation in experiencing what, if any changes I can see and feel in Louisville, are great feelings to have.

Before that, he also said something that resonated very much with me:
I now live every day knowing that, as I've written before, I have more than one home, which makes me feel like one fortunate guy. I guess for me it was a process—maybe a never-ending process—knowing, feeling and living the fact that almost all expats, and lots of others, too, can have more than one place they call home. Maybe that's the single greatest gift of being an expat.

I loved the fact Walter mentioned McDonald's in Thailand and I have very found memories of being greeted by the Thai version of the Ronald McDonald statues in Hatyai, Phuket, Bangkok, Krabiwell, pretty much in every parts of Thailand I had been to. As you can see below, that's Ronald McDonald smiling and his palms pressed together in the wai (the customary Thai greeting). Makes me happy every time I see this guy.

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I was smiling away reading the part where his friend Stephen was being mistaken as a Vietnamese and I was thinking to myself, everywhere I go in Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia,  and so on, I was being mistaken for either a Japanese or Korean. I even had a Korean lady speaking to me in Korean in the lift in one of the hotels in Siem Reap because she thought I was a fellow Korean! It was quite funny.

I loved the way he interacted with the locals and natives and how he treated his guides and drivers. I also loved his mode of exploring the places he visited: WALKING! Good man, this Walter T. Yurt. I supposed because his style of traveling is so similar to mine, I like him more and more as a fellow traveler each time I flipped the pages.

This is an interesting read, and I believe it's something that every traveler who has been and is traveling in Asia and beyond can relate to. I am going to spread the love and donate this book to the Book Exchange Corner. May Finding My World finds its way to a new loving home.