January: Tokyo/Kyoto/Osaka, Japan – 10 days
March: Phuket, Thailand – 4 days
May: Jakarta, Indonesia – 3 days
July: Perth, Australia – 8 days
October: Boracay, Philippines – 8 days
December: Krabi, Thailand – 7 days
40 days, 8 cities, 5 countries. This is the amount of travel done this year even while holding onto a full-time desk bound job. Looking back, each trip was enriching and definitely memorable in its own way.
This was a year of ups-and-downs as I ended my 4-year relationship, left my first job, lost a bunch of weight, broke a foot, got cast in stone and travelled with a walking boot. It was the year I ticked off items on my bucket list. Australia and Japan were my dream destinations since young and I discovered a new love for the islands in Philippines.
2016 is truly a year of self-discovery. I never knew I had this fierce and resilient spirit lying within me. My adventurous and curious nature was finally being realised as I took on a leap of faith (both literally and figuratively) one after another.
Trekking over 10km and getting lost in the middle of nowhere with hungry tummies and zero internet connection with my friends, cliff-jumping from 10 metres high when I’m scared as hell of heights, kayaking solo on choppy waters when I have only done it once many, many years ago and booking a flight 12 hours before taking off. Sometimes, I get jitters from what I’m about to do and these thoughts can be intimidating but deep inside, I knew it was something I wanted to try so I went for it without consideration.
It’s never easy to leave your comfort zone but my travels were made easier because of the people I met, the inspiration from fellow travellers, the kindness I received,the warmth and hospitality from the locals and the insider guides I received for a trip off the beaten track.
And I’m glad I didn’t let fear hold me back.
I embarked on two solo travels this year, and met a whole bunch of people from all over the world – Germany, United Kingdom, Tunisia, United States, Czech Republic, Ireland, Isle of Man (how cool is that!), France, Spain, Norway, Korea, China, Hong Kong, Canada, Peru
Truth be told, travelling is tiring. It’s not uncommon to be sleeping only 3-4 hours a day especially when you are in a foreign land. Sometimes when I’m traveling, I actually feel a lot more worn out as compared to staying in Singapore though life back home is hectic as well.
Meeting a bunch of people and bonding over drinks is the best way to know new people on a trip. Nothing brings people together more than some drinks, crazy fun, silly and goofy dance moves and laughing over it thereafter.
But what I truly enjoy when I meet people is to see their world from their eyes.
I may not have been to Paris, but hearing the stories from my fellow backpacker and his unique stories is almost akin to an invitation into their world, allowing me to live their lives. Knowing people from different backgrounds inspire me and unlock a whole new world I’ve never been to.
Travel the unconventional, non-touristy places.
It is now difficult to comprehend the thought of a shopping trip to Bangkok, Hong Kong or Taiwan with my peers like before. Shopping is no longer on my list when it comes to traveling but a spontaneous adventure or good drink to know fellow backpackers is. The amount of stories I collect in that couple of hours is simply fascinating.
Every traveller is a storyteller, and I seek to uncover and know more about his or her stories. This is my meaning of life. It is not the blind paper chase, or the pursuit of material wealth, but the ability to self-discover and improve everyday without having to succumb to societal’s pressure.
I want to lead a life without regrets. I want a life with stories I collect from fellow travellers, and I would like to leave my footprints all over the world. This is what I would be working on and looking forward to in 2017. Major beach destinations in Southeast Asia have mostly been conquered, and it’s time to head towards the mountains next.
Solo travels are addictive. I’ve never looked back since and never will.