After a year in Italy, and extensive travel to places heaving with hectic experiences such as winding through the bucolic cheese-laden hills of Normandy, strolling the chocolate-infused cobblestone streets of Brussels, and tip-tapping to flamenco guitar in Sevilla, I found southeast Asia to be very intense.
If you haven't done a lot of travel to places where the language is all but impossible, it takes a Herculean leap of faith to cross a street, and people are in non-stop motion then I'd suggest building some relaxation into your trip to Asia. Opportunities abound. Look for respites that include kayaking through rice patties, sailing in a dragonboat past mysterious limestone karsts, biking through ruined ancient cities, sleeping in a jungle alongside staggeringly clear ocean waters, and trekking through terraced fields into tribal communities. The hardest part is winnowing down the choices by remembering that there can be a next time.
And remember, take your pausa! This Italian staple will fuel your energy for the adventure around the next cinnamon-scented corner.
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