Hello everyone, it has been a while since i last updated my travel blog. I hope all of you are well! I've been very busy before Christmas last year and I travelled to Amsterdam and other parts of The Netherlands for almost two weeks before returning to Singapore on New Year's Eve. When it comes to travel, there are some destinations we instantly fall in love with, others that we become fond of in time, some just remain in our minds forever.
Visiting Amsterdam is a life-changing experience no matter what time of year you go. However, the city dials it up a notch over the festive season and New Years. It’s not known as one of Europe’s merrymaking capitals for nothing. Even for the most world-weary traveller, there is something very special about Amsterdam. #iloveAmsterdam #iamsterdam
When you arrive at Schiphol airport, be on the lookout for the I amsterdam motto, which is hard to miss. The huge set of letters has become a city icon and a much sought-after photo opportunity. I felt that if i did not take a shot of this iconic sign, it simply means that i did not visit Amsterdam at all. It was in my mind when i first landed at Schipol Airport. I don’t know what is about this sign that makes it so fascinating, but there is a certain mysterious appeal about it.
Many big cities have a subtle air of hostility to them, where people tend to be kind of on edge all the time but not Amsterdam. Every single person that gets on a bus, no matter the time of day or night, will beep their transport card and say hello to the driver, who will smile and say hello back, every time. While it is a big city and by default people will keep to themselves, 99% of the time everyone’s friendly and happy to help out. There’s this feeling of, “Well, we’re all in this life together, let’s enjoy ourselves, right?”
I've taken so many photos during my stay in The Netherlands. However unlike all my past travel posts, I decided that for a change, i will attempt to combine most of the photos into a few blog posts instead of several posts for my winter trip last year. This would also mean that each post would be quite lengthy but more insightful (i hope). It also means that it will take slightly longer time to publish a post on my Amsterdam trip due to the length of post. I should be able to publish my first blog very soon. Just stay tune for further updates!
I did not make any new resolutions for the new year (unlike last year which i think i had achieved quite a few actually. See my blog post last year January here). The problem with a goals-first mentality is that you are continually putting happiness off until the next milestone. Furthermore, goals create an either-or conflict: either you achieve your goal and are successful or you fail and you are a disappointment. You mentally box yourself into a narrow version of happiness and i find this is misguided. So, perhaps it's time to consider another, softer, more self-compassionate approach. A less fixed expectation of the outcome, perhaps? A process that allows for the unexpected vagaries of life, while you hold (gently) on to the reins, steering lightly along the path of self-betterment? Perhaps it's better to set intentions, or personal preferences, rather than choosing strict goals. By setting an intention, say learning Korean in time for a Seoul trip, or taking longer walks in preparation for a hiking expedition, for example - there is an innate acceptance of the potential obstacles that will evitably crop up. It's more flexible (and given life's ever changing nature), a more realistice plan. It allows for every circumstance and encourages a different mindset. One that is more self-accepting and less self-critical, one that doesn't perceive surrendering control as giving up.
And, much like a seed, an intention must first be planted, then cultivated and nourished with love, care and understanding of the entire process before it bears fruit, ripe and ready for tasting. So i am going to plant such seed and see whether it will grow. While growing the seed, I will continue to travel more, photograph more and write more! Let's all stay happy, healthy and live life together.
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