Today BootsnAll asked me:
If you could pick any country in Asia to go to, which one would you pick and why?
Well as much as traveling the ‘Stan’ countries for a year and traveling across the Trans-Siberian Railway are two of my dream trips, if had to pick one country in Asia it would be East Timor (or Timor-Leste).
Here (in red):
Why do I want to go there?
Because, as you may remember from my post: Completely Changing My Travel Plans, before I went to South America, I had actually spent the previous 5 1/2 months planning a trip to SE Asia. A trip that was to start in East Timor. Why did I want to go here so much?
1) No one (including me) knew where it was. Most people had never even heard of it, and I only had a passing memory of it being mentioned in portuges class (and since I love learning about new places, I wanted to go somewhere I had never really heard of). I actually found it when I Googled “countries people have never heard of”. Yes, that it how I plan trips.
2) They speak portugues. Ok, Brazilian portuges was the only language I had any remote ability in (and I hadn’t even practiced it in about 7 years at the time), and I knew that this portuges would probably be so different, but I used to be ok in portuges, so I figured that would help. Granted I may have also ignored the fact that, although portuges is an official language, it is only spoken by about 35% of the population, and that percent is of the older generation. Everyone my age speaks the other official language, Tetum. Of which I know nothing.
3) Timor-Leste has a tumultuous history that includes waves of various indigenous cultures of south-east Asia (like ancient Polynesian and Papuan peoples), it was a trading port for the Chinese and India, taken over by Portugal (who left it as a neglected trading port), invaded by Indonesia, and to this day has a huge United Nations influence (who came in to help out the country, which still has an almost 50% illiteracy rate, and over the 3rd of the people live below the world poverty level.)
4) But it also has a really unique, blended culture because of all of this. I think, because I have been to, and loved, Croatia so much (who also has a crazy and violent history of being owned by many different peoples for so long), I want to experience another country with a similar history of cultural mixing.
5) I have never been to South-East Asia or Oceania.
6) Tropical beaches. Duh.
And I still really want to go there for all these same reasons. I hope that soon I can afford to actually do the South-East Asia trip I had so carefully planned, and not get distracted by $200 tickets to a different continent again!