Hi everyone, just to inform all of you that my next travel trip has been confirmed to take off in the coming December, during the Christmas festive season! I will be away for almost a week in late December and i'll keep all of you in suspense first on that destination until when the date draws near, the destination would then be disclosed. I am still in the midst of sorting out my itinerary and arrangement of my logistics transport & accomodation.
Next, i'd also like to share some good news with everyone is that i would be heading for some fascinating trips next year, one of which the destination would be in Europe, most likely in the Eastern part of Europe. Details of these trips to be revealed in early 2013!
I seriously don't think that i chose to travel. Travel chose me. In the recent years, i have been living a life that many of us can only dream of. One could come up with half a dozen objections within seconds to such relentless travel: financial concerns, familial obligations, the strain of always being up and about, the need for stability in the ever-changing economical landscape. Yet, i am a firm believer that you can have your cake and eat it too; money can be earned, family can be convinced and stability can be found if needed. The first time i travelled overseas without the assurance of parents or friends to figure out transport logistics and confusing travel documents, i wondered what exactly it was about travelling that everyone raved about.
First, it was an unearthly hour in the morning. Second, there was the long wait at the gate (I hadn't yet been seasoned enough to stroll in 10 minutes before boarding). Third, there was a baby sualling throughout the flight. Then, the flight attendants switched on the blazing lights at 4am and proclaimed the arrival of a less than mouth-watering breakfast.
When i finally got off the plane, what i wanted was my bed at home, not a horrendously long queue at the immigration counters.
That somewhat grumbly feeling lasted until i checked in at the hotel and freshened up. Then, armed with some little comestic help and less bleary eyes, i stepped out onto the streets of Hong Kong and was immediately hit with something i would call the parallel effect - in essence, a realisation that the world is made up of a multitude of different people living, working, playing and sleeping simultaneously.
That realisation was irresistible.
In every country that i've visited since then, be it Thailand, Taiwan, Hong Kong, the United States, or Indonesia, i've had that exact same sensation of so many people living together on this planet in so many different ways, yet essentially doing the same thing - making something out of our lives.
Therein, perharps, lies the charm of travel. Of stepping beyond your shores to see how lives are experienced differently in another country, or better still, to discover the similarities beneath the trappings, the languages and the scenery. That a smile will be exchanged for a smile, or a money note for a warm meal. Or that the couple sitting at the table next to you is taking the same pleasure in watching rain slide down the cafe window.
That in other parts of the world, mountains and rivers dominate the lanscape instead of skyscrapers. That you could be walking in the midst of a hundred cyclists in Beijing, or sitting in a bouncy little tuk-tuk that waves skillfully in and out of Bangkok's infamous traffic. That you could be eating the best dim sum you've ever tasted in your life in Hong Kong, or that you could simply be standing still, listening to the wind whistle in the trees in Kyoto.
And when you are en route home, looking at deserts and mountain ranges spreading below you on the plane, it suddenly feels like the world is a beautiful, mysterious place and there just isn't enough time to explore all its wonders.
Then even all the discomforts - the ceaselessly crying babies, the long queues, the bored immigration officers, the security checks - seem worth going through simply to remind yourself that there is always a new place waiting to be discovered! :-)