I can’t believe it’s already been a year since I visited Southeast Asia. I spent a glorious three months reading on beaches, eating from makeshift motorcycle food carts, riding motorbikes around Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam.
I was nervous about visiting Southeast Asia, about being somewhere that I couldn’t blend in as a local and where I couldn’t even understand the alphabet, let alone speak the language. (Side note: when I asked my mom–who learned Arabic as an FBI special agent–what words she remembered, she told me hello, thank you, maybe and shot-gun. Right.) But all of those fears dissolved as I realized the universality of a smile, the humbling act of making yourself understood. Those memories are a comfort as I head to the Middle East for the first time today, a reminder that the world is good and interesting and worth exploring.