I could have called this post “A Year in Review” or “My 2015 Travels” but I thought it would be a cliche. We always do this year-end post or write-up where we cross out a few items in our travel bucket list (or any bucket list for that matter) and admittedly, this post is in some ways no different. But it’s a little bit more than that. As I was writing the draft for this post, I breathed a prayer of thanks to my Maker for helping me get past a year of office work marked by an organizational mayhem caused by some internal special elite force who obviously refused to work for the common good. We are happy that we were able to neutralize that group and have put them all in the past. Peace has been restored and now we are back to doing the things that we are supposed to do, and that is (as a colleague puts it) “to work hard, to play hard, and to travel harder”. 🙂
Looking back at my calendar, I noticed that I did spend a large amount of time travelling. I realized that in part, these sporadic wanderings somehow helped to put a lot of things in my life and work in perspective and has enabled me to better understand my peers who come from all sorts of backgrounds and temperaments. Funny thing though is that I only started travelling recently (just this year actually). These however are not extravagant travels but are rather short trips within the region and to neighboring countries. Travelling is never cheap (even the ones done on a budget). 🙂 And if you’re like me travelling with a family, you understand how challenging it is both financially and logistically.
So why this sudden passion for travelling? Well for one thing, I needed an excuse (an expensive excuse) for learning and practicing photography. 🙂 In the past, I also passed off a lot of opportunities in the office for free travel. And lastly, I got this big scare from a fitness consultant a few years ago (which is perhaps my real and silly reason for this travel frenzy). The consultant took a quick BMI check and told me I have a somewhat high level of fat in my system (which is quite surprising considering my thin body frame) and that I might even get a massive heart attack by age 45. I was not sure if he was just trying to make me sign up for a gym program. Anyway, I didn’t buy into the program but I did freak out a bit after that. I did give it a thought and made a few lifestyle changes over the following months. Alongside those changes is a list of the places I wanted to visit (kinda like a 1001-places-to-see-before-you-die sort of stuff). So I told my family that from then on, we will meet regularly in some distant foreign lands and we’ll explore those places together. 🙂
I am still doing the things that I love very much and care passionately about; but now with more of the things I really don’t like to do but I needed to do (e.g. exercise, strength training); and eating less of the food I love and more of the ones I really didn’t care about before (e.g. greens). Nowadays, the only time I eat with reckless abandon is when I am travelling. 🙂 When eating in another country, you should have a mantra. I have one (something I learned from my church apprentice). “Counting the memories and not the calories” is a reminder of why we eat and travel and why nothing that you eat in any foreign land will have any bad, real-life impact on your health and body. 🙂 Kidding aside, eating is my excuse and the best way for me to learn and to experience another country’s culture.
So here you go. My postcards from 2015 (the very cliche I was trying to avoid). Sorry for this. I didn’t mean to brag or boast about these modest travels. I just turned 45 three months ago and still feeling quite grateful (and obviously still alive at the time of this writing) for each day I receive past that 45-year mark. 🙂 I am currently looking at travelling outside the region. It may take a while for this to happen as it will require a more challenging planning strategy. Meantime, enjoy the images as much as I do and I hope I kept you inspired and always grateful.
1) Visiting Victoria Peak and Victoria Harbor (Hong Kong: Fabruary 2015): Didn’t have much time to take so many photos but tried my best not to miss these spots. I have seen this view of Hong Kong so many times that it was almost a cliche. But seeing it personally gives one a different kind of high. Taking photos at night in Victoria Peak was a challenge with children either knocking the camera tripod or extending their arms into the camera’s frame. Not to forget the crowd behind me pushing each other to capture a photo.
2) Anniversary with the missus in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia: April 2015): Kuala Lumpur is just an hour away by plane from Singapore. So it would be a sin to miss the iconic Petronas Twin Towers. As an architect, I made sure I didn’t miss this one as well as other places of interest.
3) Team Building in Bali (Indonesia: May 2015): I think our company did well the previous year so we had this weekend in Bali. It was not the best part of Bali but it was a great opportunity to connect and re-establish relationships with our colleagues.
4) Road trip to Legoland Malaysia (Malaysia: July 2015): I found myself stuck during a public holiday so I decided to take this last minute road trip. The decision was perfect as the journey ended with me being reminded of why I became an architect in the first place.
5) Photowalk at the Bund and Pudong Districts in Shanghai (China: September 2015): I quite enjoyed this one despite the long-haul flight. The weather was pleasant with the air starting to get cooler (the beginning of autumn) and the skies a perfect blue. There’s no need for me to saturate the sky colors in the post-editing of the photos. Not to forget the amazing architectural wonders in this area.
6) Visit to Bangkok (Thailand: November 2015): It was quite sad I didn’t have my family to join me in this trip. Nevertheless, Bangkok surprised me with its unique flavor and twist to every experience possible. Not to forget the food that you could enjoy just almost anywhere in the city.
Enjoy the holidays!!
See you in my next post. Cheers!!! 🙂