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Have you ever tried to fast?

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Have you ever fasted? You know where you go without food for a while? I’m about to fast for 72 hours. Wish me luck!

Most of my Muslim friends go without food during the day for the month of Ramadan. That is as long as 16 hours without food, which can be exhausting. Not eating during the day isn’t all that fasting is. The Buddha went without food for 49 days before he reached enlightenment. Just so you know 49 isn’t a magical number that only those with the greatest will powers can reach. Many people who have been on hunger strikes have gone for longer. I do not know if these people ever reached enlightenment, but some did die. Yes fasting too much can lead to starvation.

When I'm not traveling I eat a LOT. Not too long ago we made a huge pile of dumplings. I ate almost all of them in a single night.
When I’m not traveling I eat a LOT. Not too long ago we made a huge pile of dumplings. I ate almost all of them in a single night.

The western teaching is that fasting is a bad idea, primarily for health reasons. Starving yourself is bad, if you practice it for a long time you could strip your body of all its vitamins, fat and even muscle.  But when it comes to short, multi-day fasts, there are plenty of people out there who suggest this is a healthy habit which can “remove toxins from your body”. I don’t know if it can do this, I haven’t done the research but I am still going to fast.

I’m going to fast because I know it’s not difficult and because it feels good. After the hunger of the first day subsides you stop feeling so hungry and feel good. There are plenty of reasons that I can fast but none are as great as the time I spent hitchhiking around the world. When your hitchhiking a LONG distance it feels rude to eat inside of someone’s car. Moreover, having food to eat isn’t always an option. At first I was eating, but more and more I hitchhiked, less and less I ate. Sometimes I would notice that I had gone without food for a day. Sure I would lose weight, but it never felt bad. So when I hitchhiked I fasted, and when I rested I ate my fill.

Now I am not as mobile as before. So I will go on a normal fast. 72 hours. Wish me luck.

Hour 0 – It is 12 noon, I just ate a big meal of vegetables, rice, tofu and I finished it off with a candy bar. I feel happy.

Hour 6 – The sun is sliding down between distant skyscrapers. I still have a few hours of day light left. I feel a bit hungry but I’m keeping busy by volunteering online for a project and reading the book Dune. Wow it’s a good book!

Hour 12 – It’s midnight and Echo is asleep.  I was trembling with hunger earlier, I did by best to ignore it. Reading helped, by focusing on the plight of another world, I forgot my own.

Hour 20 – I woke up hungry and looked for food. Luckily there are no snacks lying around. If there were then I might have ended my fast then. Breakfast today was a big bottle of water. Fasting doesn’t mean dehydration. I once ran out of water in the desert, which was miserable, so I will not artificially recreate that pain. The cool, tasteless water feels good in my stomach.  Time to read some more Dune.

Hour 24 –It’s been one day since a calorie crossed my lips. My willpower helps me ignore any cravings for food and more than that water is keeping me full and Dune is keeping me entertained.

Hour 30 –Dune is about living on a desert planet where water is hard to come by. In contrast I am drinking plenty of water. I am drinking a lot more than usual, both to keep me from being hungry and because reading about the desert makes me thirsty.

Hour 36 – Dune is a magnificent book! I’ve not been hungry in some time. Today Echo noticed I wasn’t eating. She’s been busy working at the canton fair so she didn’t see me for most of the day. She wasn’t worried when I told her I was fasting. In our world, it’s normal.

IMG_0819Hour 46 – After my breakfast I explored the city. I am in a part of Guangzhou I’ve never visited. Because Guangzhou is a super city of 20,000,000 people, being in a part I have never been in is common. I’m staying with some of Echo’s friends as she works nearby. They live in a 9 story building that has no elevator. They live on the 8th floor. The city around them explodes with color and culture: lots of old houses, street shops, and a dense marketplace. Further on is a large plaza. While exploring, a guy came up to me and pulled a MacBook out of a backpack. “Laptop good price,” he said as I walked on. It was probably stolen. I wish I could have done something to help the person who lost it. Unfortunately as soon as I realized what had happened he had disappeared into the crowd.

Hour 48 – I’m not hungry, not a bit. Food is usually my biggest expense, and now  I am saving a lot of money. Ok not that much, maybe $5 per day. This is China after all. I feel energetic, I’m going back out, this time for a run.

Hour 60. – As soon as I got a few blocks away, the clouds opened. I didn’t bother coming back for an umbrella. Getting wet is better than taking an unnecessary trip up 8 flights of stars.  I splashed around the city, avoiding huge crowds of people hanging out under awnings and the waterfalls rushing from gutters. By the time I made it back my cloths were washed, although in what is likely some of the most dirty rain in the world.

After my shower to wash off whatever was in the rain I noticed a body mirror. I look thinner, the little belly fat that I accumulated somewhere between eating the spring rolls and ice cream is gone. Very lean.

Hour 72 – Ah 3 days complete. No food at all. I’m out to eat! I’m going to have an amazing dish of fried noodles sautéed in tomato sauce and covered in shredded potatoes. It’s an amazing dish.

I just got back from eating, I’m stuffed. A HUGE plate of food that cost me nearly $4! considering most plates cost $1.50 in China this was a lot of food. Before eating all of that I found a scale and weighed myself. I think I lost about 3 lbs (1.5KG). Oh well, I’ll get it back soon.

So now that I have fasted, will you try it as well? If you do I would love to post your experience here as well. 🙂

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Find this useful? Funny? Sad? Emotional in any way? Or better yet, did you like it? If so please leave a comment. I enjoy reading them, each is a little surprise present that keeps me motivated and keeps me writing. By the way, I will reply to any questions you ask me.
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Hey, I’m Eric, www.YourWorldYourHome.com is my travel blog. I write this website to show you how easy it is to live, work and travel all around the world. I’ve been traveling almost 8 years now. I’m just about to publish my new book Where the Wind Blows: Traveling around the World on $5 a day

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6 Comments

  1. I fasted once for forty hours while in a christian youth group.
    I absolutely found some enlightenment. –that
    I never want to fast again.

  2. fasting is not bad it does a very good help to detoxify our body. the only main cause of it is for us to feell irritated most of the time because we lost energy. I do fasting every year and it’s for 7days but with water and liquid only to intake. Always a great relief everytime I finish my fasting and I feel my body lighter and full of energy and ready for another life battle again… nice blog by the way… keep it up

  3. I’ve not fasted, but wonder if the physical feeling is the same as when I don’t eat all the foods I’m intolerant of and thus feel light, and flat stomached? Heard about your website on NPR today in the car and couldn’t wait to get home and look at your blog. I think it’s a sign (to me) that you went to Thailand since that is the place I’ve been hankering to travel to. May have to go without the hubby, but would love to take the 10 year old son. He needs to wake up and see that all is not Indiana. Any advice for a mother and son with regards to safety and budget and cool learning experiences?

    • Hey Denise, I am fasting again right now, on day 2. I do it every few months. Yes I feel very light and flat stomached. I am glad you heard about my blog over NPR. I love Thailand, I was just hitchhiking through a few weeks ago. A great place that you must go to and it is very safe. Well you have a lot of options in Thailand. There are a lot of islands in the south along the coast, there are the beautiful cities of the north where the hills roll into the distances and everything is covered in jungle. I recommend going to Chang Mai on April 12-16, that is the Buddhist new year and you will have an AMAZING time. I recommend avoiding Pattaya and Phuket, you will not enjoy them as much as other places.
      Prices in Thailand are low. If you would like you can both stay in guesthouses which will cost you from $5-10 per night for a nice room. No need to stay in expensive hotels.Also food is affordable, most Thai meals will cost you $1-$2. Everything is delicious but if you don’t like spicy you should practice saying “Mai Pet” which means “Not spicy”. There is so much for him to learn in Thailand, he will be learning non-stop, but make sure to leave the tourist trail and visit the locals, they are sweet and will teach you about the world 🙂
      I hope that helps. Also I am working on my book about traveling around the world and all of part 1 is about Thailand, would you be interested in reading it and telling me what you think? Any more questions?

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