Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

So one of my favourite parts about travelling (other than all the stuff I have already said is my favourite) is the different types of transportation. I didn’t realize how different transportation in Canada is compared to the majority of the world. Just getting into a car and running to the grocery store is a blessing that I was unaware of. However, the different types of getting around are what make travelling such an adventure. From riding scooters through the mountains in India, to whipping through jungle in Cambodia in the back of a truck, getting places is always…interesting. Below I have assembled a list of my favourite ways that we got from point A to point B while we were travelling.

5. TAXI

Taxis are a tricky one. In terms of convenience and speed, they often are the best option. And I will say that riding in a big Yellow Cab in India is something that, if you go to India before these go extinct, is something you must do! There is nothing quite like the tattered leather/woven seats, the thick smell of incense, and small holes in the rusted out floor that allow you to see the asphalt race by below. Other countries like Thailand or Vietnam have really nice taxis for the most part and are very comfortable to ride in. However, in some places, like Central Asia, you just flag down a car and ask if they will take you to where you are going. All that stuff about not getting into a stranger’s vehicle that your parents said, it goes right out the window! While the plus side of taxis is that they are really easy and convenient, they often end up costing a lot of money and can be a hassle in some places.

4. TRAIN

This refers to long distance trains. This one was difficult to rank so low because I believe that everyone who visits India should take a trip on a long distance train. It is truly a surreal experience as you pass through small railside villages, and watch landscapes change as you move into new areas. You have the opportunity to meet new people, and try new food which is always a plus in my book. These trips are a great bucket list item, and they offer an unparalleled travel experience. However, if you choose the sleeper class you will stick to the plastic/leather bunk bed no matter what you do. I do not know what trains are like in other parts of the world, but the trains in India are definitely worth taking a trip on.

3. BUS

Oh buses. I will say this, I will never complain about riding a bus in Canada ever again! After doing a significant amount of commuting by bus in India, I have to say that I think I could be a contortionist, or a professional bull rider, with little to no training. Buses provide an up close and personal experience  with people that you rarely, if ever, get experience in other ways. The busy businessmen, or labourers, trying to get to and from work. The college student just trying to stay awake until they get to their stop. Or the mother with two small children who somehow manages to carry both children without falling off the bus, even though she isn’t holding on to anything. These are the types of people you will meet on buses. Because the bus is often very cheap, I’m talking like $0.10-0.20 depending on the distance, you meet a lot of the working class population. This provides an opportunity to really experience the country that you are visiting because it takes you out of your tourist bubble, and places you in the local community and culture in a different way.

2. TUK TUK/AUTO RICKSHAW

These are a staple mode of transport in Asia! Often cramped, and a little sketchy, these offer a transport experience that is always exciting, and different in some way. This was my favourite daily transport as a 20 minute route would cost me around 25 cents. Buzzing through traffic with someone you’ve never met pushed up against you, hanging halfway out of the cab, wondering how much longer you can hold on for, is an exhilarating experience to put it lightly. Whether you a weaving through the bustling streets of Kolkata, India, or whizzing through the through the countryside of Cambodia, these open air vehicles will make it an unforgettable ride!

P.S. If you have a stomach bug, these are very easy to get out of in “emergency” situations.

1. PERSONAL VEHICLE

While these pose greater risks, they offer an unlimited sense of freedom and independence! Riding through the mountains of southern India, or the jungles of Cambodia where some of the fondest memories I have of Asia. Sitting in the back of a truck singing songs with new friends, while winding through the confusing streets of Siem Reap, is an experience that I will never forget! With a personal vehicle you can go where you want to go and do what you want to without someone else’s schedule dictating your activities.  Riding motorized scooters or bikes is really popular,but make sure you know a little bit about them before you go, or you may end up cartwheeling through the busy streets of a mountain town like I did.

Transportation is one of the most iconic parts of travelling! I know for me it was one of my favourite parts of being overseas. It’s something we take for granted I think, and it is so interesting to see how other cultures solve the problem of getting from one place to the next. What are some of your favourite modes of transportation?

 

 

 

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What would Jesus do?

I know that this is the ost overused phrase in all of evangelical Christianity. We all (well most of us anyways) remember the fad like fashion accessory that donned this phrase. You know what I am talking about, the woven, often multicoloured, bracelets sporting the acronym “WWJD” on them. This became another phrase that evangelical christianity used over and over and over until it became almost meaningless. We didn’t live our lives according to what this bracelet said as was the intention of it’s designer. I can say for myself that I rarely, if ever, though “What would Jesus do?” before I engaged in something I knew was not right. From childhood to early adulthood this thought seldom crossed my mind. And I wonder what things I might have avoided if it had been more prominent in my thoughts. Would I have done some of the things I regret? Probably not. Recently, I have been thinking about our world and the chaos that exists within it. (Brace yourselves, political content will follow) I wonder what our world would be like if this was the question on the front of our minds before every decision we make. I think most recently of the ban that president Donald Trump emposed on seven countries. Now I don’t really know a whole lot about it, but from the research I have done I feel like we have forgotten this question completely. I know that we cannot change the way people in power make decisions, however, we are responsible for what we say and how we accept those decisions. In the wake of this executive order I cannot help but think of the people who have been left out with nowhere to go. I am not talking about tourists or business people who more than likely have a home and a life to go back to. But I am talking about the students who after 90 days of missed classes will probably have to retake the whole semester. I am also talking about the families who have been seperated for far too long that are now having to endure another period of seperation from their loved ones. Or how about the families who have saved every penny for years in order to be able to afford the costly visa process, and travel expenses, who now are left without a place to go and may have to reapply for those visas. But most of all I think about the refugees, the people who have been forced from their countries because of violence towards them and their families. The order that President Trump issued suspends the refugee admission program to 120 days. And the Syrian refugee admission program indefinitely. I could go into the facts about refugees and terrorist attacks on American soil, but that is not what this is about. What I am trying to say in this post is that as Christians should we not open our doors to those who need our help? What did Jesus say about the least of these? What about welcoming the sojourner from a foreign land? What happened to trusting God as our protector? What happened to loving mercy, and acting justly? As far as I know there is no “But only when you are safe” clause in there. The argument I hear too much is that “We need to keep our country safe.” It saddens me deeply that we are at this place in our society, and even deeper that I hear this argument coming from Christians. I know that we cannot make the United States government change their mind, but we can control how we react and talk about this situation. The reality is that this sucks for a lot of people around the world, and I think, I KNOW that it is our obligation to at the very least empathize with those who have been affected by this order.

Grace and peace,
Caleb