When people ask “What would you like to do in the future?” I genuinely have not a clue. All that comes to mind is “Asia.” I know I want to do something that pertains to the far east. Whether it be running my own company that conducts business in the region, or working for a large company, perhaps under their Asian development umbrella. Or perhaps something outside of the private sector– like working for a government agency or non-profit firm that relates to Asia in some manner. Even if I am living in the US, I would still like to have a career where I am surrounded by dealings related to the region.
I am not so picky about industry–business, education, technology or what have you. I know I am drilling this into the ground, but the underlying theme must be Asia.
I remember my first time travelling to the far east.
It actually was not all that long ago. In early 2011 I made my first trip to China, and my only so far, to study at Fudan University in Shanghai. My perspective, goals and just overall self changed tremendously as a result. After coming home after six months, I immediately fell into a state of hopelessness. “Nothing will ever be able to compare,” I told myself. I felt like I had just returned from some secret world; a world nobody back at home could understand. There was no way I could possibly convey my infatuation with Shanghai.
Shanghai had everything. There were streets constantly filled with people at all hours. Yet at the same time you could come across a tiny road with almost no soul in sight. There was a delivery option for almost any product imaginable. The city had elegant nightlife venues and yoga. There was high-end shopping yet also markets where you could bargain. Shanghai had nooks and crannies where you would not come across another foreigner. Then there were areas where it did not feel like Communist China, but instead a Parisian avenue. Most alluring, though, was the fact that something was always happening. Shanghai was the perfect blend of Chinese culture, modernity and excitement.
After a month of feeling stuck once returning home, I went through a total emotional overhaul. Having finally realized what I was passionate about, China, I had a renewed sense of motivation. With time, my passion grew beyond China’s borders to the rest of Asia– especially Southeast Asia. And here I am today.
I may not know exactly what I want to do in the next ten, five or even one year. But I do know that by being in Asia–soaking in the culture and rapid development– I am taking steps in the right direction.
Image Credit – Photograph taken by friend, Shanghai 2011, at the Sinan Mansion.