Things have been a little quiet on this space of late because I’ve been hit by a bit of wanderlust. We’ve been blessed with a number of travel opportunities, and have spent the last few weeks strolling through the streets of Hong Kong, followed by Fukuoka, and then Bangkok and just last week, Perth. Between traveling, unpacking, work projects, and then packing and scooting off again, I haven’t quite had a chance to sit down to blog or collect my thoughts.
Traveling is my biggest indulgence. It opens up new experiences and a lifetime of memories, and I am completely addicted. I’ll never forget swimming through dark, icy waters in New Zealand caves to be rewarded with the sight of thousands of twinkling glow worms. Unforgettable too were snorkelling in crystal clear waters with baby sharks in the Maldives and being underwater alongside a sea turtle in Lombok. And I’ll always remember my heart skipping a beat at the sight of thousands of cherry blossoms on a beautiful spring day in Japan.
It’s been said that “the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.” I couldn’t agree more and in the past 2 months, I’ve found that even short trips to familiar destinations bring something new.
My Hong Kong trip in April gave me a taste of traveling alone. Walking through the crowded streets of Causeway Bay by myself took a little getting used to. I experienced what it was like to feel displaced even though I was in a familiar city and surrounded by people. But traveling alone also gave me the space and time to explore little nooks in Hong Kong that I had never been before. I finally found the feisty little old ladies sitting under Canal Road who will help you beat “petty little people” with a shoe for HKD50. This is a unique Chinese custom where you pay one of these old ladies to use a a shoe to repeatedly hit and curse a paper effigy that represents your nemesis (aka the villain). It was an interesting find, and showed that even in a country that you’ve visited many times before, there’s always something new to explore.
Traveling to Japan in May was a treat. The hospitality of the Japanese people, their rich culture, delicious cuisine and beautiful temples and scenery never fail to leave me lusting for my next visit. We hardly speak any Japanese, so our travels to Japan have taught us to think on our feet, and to go with the flow. Our trip to Fukuoka was filled with gorgeous spring flowers and amazing food. We also found ourselves veering off our prepared itinerary for charming street side cafes, and interesting art exhibitions. I discovered The Hubs’ gift for navigating the Japanese bus system. He had us hopping on and off buses like locals which saved time and lots of walking. Very useful, this one. Think I’m going to keep him 🙂
Bangkok was sweltering hot, dusty, and oh so very very crowded. Our last trip to Bangkok was 6 years ago and this time, we fell in love with the city again. Unfortunately, I lost most of my Bangkok photos (stupid Mac) but I have great memories of delicious Thai food, amazing shopping and the creativity that’s oozing from this vibrant city.
And then there was Perth last week. This was a last minute decision to visit the parents who are staying there for a while. It was a short 4-day trip but it was nice checking in with the parents whom I’ve not seen in two months. Instead of the usual sightseeing, we woke up at dawn to accompany my parents for their morning walk by the Swan river. We drove my parents around as they ran errands and just hung out. We watched the sun rise, discovered great little cafes, had leisurely breakfasts and I couldn’t get enough of the beautiful Perth skies. This trip also made me realize that my parents are really getting older. As I left Perth, I found myself worrying about them the same way they must worry about me all the time. I’m thankful that this trip gave us a chance for some quality family time, and I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.
And then, there’s home. It was nice being home this weekend and putting our luggage aside for a while. I baked and I cleaned, celebrated Father’s Day with the in-laws, cuddled the cats, had fun with the nephews and hosted a gaming session with old friends at home. This weekend was filled with warmth, laughter and the smells of freshly baked cookies and fresh laundry. It eased the heavy load and heart that the work week had brought, and I now start a new week a little lighter.
I expect to find myself longing to run off again soon. But while traveling brings new adventures, we mustn’t forget that there are discoveries and new experiences every day. We tend to open up our hearts and minds when we travel. We stop to appreciate even the smallest of things. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if even in the midst of our routines, we too learn to live the everyday with the same curiosity and wonder?