Sunday, 7 September 2014

Going Back to Work & Life – After a Sabbatical

End of my trip after 6 months + traveling around, I had to go back eventually back to my stoic lifestyle, work, friends and family. It is very hard for me to describe the feelings that I had coming home. Somehow life on the road had become a routine and in such it became the home.

Home or where I used to stay and work (Singapore) or where I grew up (Malaysia) had a different meaning.


Everyone wants a piece of the story … only a piece

Despite the increasing number of adventurers and acceptance that traveling the world is becoming a norm, it is still a rare sight that a friend / family member goes vagabonding especially when you are from south east asia. It does not happen often thou nowadays it is more easily accepted.

The first difference I notice was the expectation of a wild Indiana Jones story. If you have traveled the world you are expected to come back with a tale or two. Eventually in any meet up or get-together the question will pop up sooner or later.

“Tell us what is the ……( Insert Imagination here )….. most/crazy/memorable/horrible ……… thing that you had come across while traveling ??”

The questions comes in different forms and times. Even after a year being back from my travels I still get them. Even if you don’t speak of your vagabonding adventure sooner or later the question will pop up. It’s a natural conversation filler. However … only a piece at a time … that is what I learned after a while. No matter how exiting my adventure was to myself their attention span could only last a story or two. So I learned not to join one story to another …. Live in asylum that your adventure is your own to cherish and does not need to be advertised.

Work Work Work ….. Somehow it’s not that important …

I used to think that work is an important aspect of ones life. In a way I still do but coming back from a long travel shed a light on the need for work. You will always need to work to sustain oneself but where you choose to work and what you choose to do is entirely up to you.

After backpacking and surviving on bare minimum for so long, material things no longer has the same value. A cheap watch will do the work of an expensive watch. It does not really matter I guess as long as the job gets done. Surviving on bare minimum for a long time helps change the way I look at things. If I can settle for a cheap watch that works fine I won’t have to work twice as hard to buy the expensive ones.

Now I work to save up for the next travel …… the next adventure became my expensive watch ….

Work for your own beliefs … and not others ….

Adjusting to the comfort known as Routine

It’s amazing how much comfort one can get from just knowing where he will sleep tonight and every other night for the next dunnu how many months. If there is anything I don’t miss after coming back from my trip … it’s the routine in simple things. Where to get my food, where to sleep, where to get laundry done and how the transport works

Thou the problem about routine is that time is optimized …. Suddenly time is slowly being packed up again with work with chores, duty and hobbies and things that you wanna try …. Eventually I ended up in the same place again …. Not enough time to do everything. Every once a while I take a pause to remember the time on the road …. Never do we have enough time to see the world ( its huge ) but we learn to accept and focus on the thing that is here and now …. Appreciate Rome when in Rome … do not think of places that you could have visit by cutting short the time in Rome.

Appreciation of anything takes time …

Having a Social Life again ….

This is a big one I guess. Being alone for 6 months means no responsibility …. With the knowledge that the mass majority of the people that you meet will never see you again makes you more true to oneself. I so appreciate the ability to not bother about taking care of another person’s dignity or as we call it here in Singapore/Malaysia Face/Muka/. The Asian community is very vain in nature and offending someone within a circle will definitely come back to haunt you unless you are immune in some way.

While I do slowly integrate back into the culture of Social manners …. I also reduce my level of tolerance to accept peoples shit …. Life is too short to please everyone …

That said what I missed the most while traveling was companion of good friends who never judges and are able to share a part of your history …. Hence the easiest part of being home is having friends that you already know and don’t need to introduce yourself over and over again.

When that Travel Itch Starts again

One day Some Day … it will come ….

To those who have done a long term travel beware this is a disease that is incurable an insatiable. For those who have tasted it …. It can never be forgotten …. Even short term travel have the same effect, a 3 days holiday today and after sometimes the crave for another holiday will follow. Long term travel is no different just a little harder to fulfill financially.

For me it had come pretty soon. Maybe because it took me nearly a year to write the full cycle of the 6 month travel in a year …. (I am not that focus … tend to forget to write) … but even as I am typing the final entry of my six months travel I am already planning another sabbatical.

To infinity and beyond

Application for sabbatical to my company has been done and route charting is already in progress …. So I guess this blog is going to be well fed for another couple of years with my stories.

Hope to those who have been following has enjoyed this humble Malaysian Backpacker … An Asian perspective on Long Term Travel 

Monday, 1 September 2014

The Backpacker Became the Tourist ….. Seoul …. Land of the Soul …. Korea

It was something of a welcome to be back in the Asian part of the world where all the people don’t immediately look at you and single you out as an outcast. Of course this only last as long as you don’t try to start a conversation since I don’t know Korean hence immediate labeling as tourist.

Seoul was the one and only stop where my parents decided to crash and hijack the trip. So I met them there and toured around Seoul and somewhere partway we ended up in Jeju island as well. As I thought that the trip was crashed I wouldn have to do much planning but alas I forgot that parents expect you to plan things for them …. Luckily planning things on the go for 6 months running give you some basic survivor tips

Emergency Tour Tips

Tip 1. Just go straight to the nearest tourist information booth you can find and pick out a day tour or 2 days or 3 days (however much days you have) and just pay the money … the rest is just tune out and enjoy the ride

Tip 2. Declare today as No Map Day …. Walk Walk Walk around and whatever will be will be …
(note: be careful if you need toilet break for walking far far away can get a little tricky with toilet issue)

Tip 3. Hire the Tout. I Don’t recommend this but sometime if your USD/GBP/YEN/etc money is just big enough … especially in some parts of south east asia …. The tout may actually be worth hiring in your point of view …. A few extra dollars for a personalized tour guide Dedicated to Boot

It helps if you have money to spend I guess … yet I have manage to self-entertain myself thought my travels with very little spending.

So I used all the three above and somehow manage to scrape an itinerary together in 2 hours …. Spend one day in Seoul with walking around …. Popping out the maps at urgent times only …. Used tip 1 on 2nd day in Jeju Island and manage to get a day tour by your very own friendly neighborhood taxi driver recommended by the tourist information center and in the middle of the trip by taxi got touted to detour to other places as well …. Hola ….

I am now a tourist in Korea …. Sightseeing …. I guess I will have to come back again to see the actual heartbeat of Seoul ….

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Aloha Mahalo - Hawaii

Hawaii - Waikiki Beach
Aloha Hawaii. This place used to be like a dream vacation when I was young. Paradise was the word with all the television marketing and ultimate honeymoon destination it was a place I dream off yet did not even know where it was on the map. Not to forget the huge wave and surfing. Well I made it almost back to Asia now.

First impression of Hawaii …. Could be better. These was when I notice an extraordinary amount of Japanese tourist and lots of Japanese translation as well. The Hawaii island is huge and is actually a multiple of island but right now I am stuck on the tourist track. Dilemma question is weather to run the marathon and do everything of just chill and enjoy the quiet time

Pearl Harbour

Pearl Harbour is really something. In a word it’s the excuse USA needed to join the war. Their first taste of power. After that as the largest superpower in the world they feel obligated to join in every war and dispute they can find even if it does not concern them.

Vietnam woke them up but once you tasted the fruits its hard to quit. Still there were good people within all the bad. People who believed they were trying to end the war. In the end there is no winners in a war. The memorial was slightly bias thou they tried very hard to walk the fine line and paint the picture as neutral as they could not blaming anyone too heavily. The mighty ho called the Missouri memorial was a battleship full of history.

The surrender of Japan was done or signed on the Missouri Battleship marking the end of WWII

Of the whole ship guided tour the tearful story of a kamikaze Japanese fighter pilot who crash on the ship and died. Not much damage was done but the amazing thing was he was buried at sea by the Americans navy with full honour by order of the captain. Respect was given not to hate to the enemy whom was willing to die for his country and believes.

Missouri Battleship

Diamond Head Peak

Diamond head hike was a nice morning walk. Thou they said it was a hike it was more like a long walk. Looking back it was really high but the gradual climb did not make it that difficult. The crater was amazing and the view breathtaking.

North Shore Adventure

North shore adventure day became east shore exploring due to reports of strong winds and gust. Well I was just glad it took off coz planning another day on what to do was not on my list. Sit back enjoy the ride for the day was the plan. The view and just strolling around Oahu was definitely worth the trip. I had to get out of Waikiki. Too touristy

I know I

probably should be enjoying Hawaii more but so close back to home … maybe the homesickness finally set in