I have wandered all my life, and I have also travelled;
the difference between the two being this:
that we wander for distraction, but we travel for fulfilment.
Hilaire Belloc, 1870 - 1953
Ever since I was bitten by the travel bug, I have not recovered from my wanderlust.
I went on my first trip when I was 10 years old, with my parents to Thailand. I lucked out. My sister was supposed to go, but something cropped up and she had to stay at home. So I got to go. I nearly couldn't make it - I came down with mumps just 2 weeks before the trip. Luckily, I recovered in time and made the trip. And that was how it all began.
But I supposed the seeds of wanderlust were sowed even before that first trip with my parents to Thailand.
You see, my father was a sailor. And even when he had stopped sailing and settled into a land job, he never stopped talking about his visits to various locations. As a kid, I used to be fascinated by his tales of faraway places and photos of a different world.
I grew up wanting to be just like my dad (probably like most children, no?), or at least to have a job like his. To travel to far and distant lands and meet people of different cultures and ways of life. I know it sounds cheesy and all, but childhood dreams are like that, aren't they?
What I'm trying to say is that travelling is in my blood. To stay put in one place goes against my nature.
So I travel. Not as often as I wish, due to very practical reasons - lack of funds, but enough to keep me going.
Some people live to eat. Others eat to live. I live to travel. And travel to live. I live for my next trip. My next adventure. I get excited thinking of the people I'll meet, the different food I'll get to taste, soaking in the different culture.
The best pictures are the ones taken by your eyes and stored in the memory space of your brains, or so some people say and I agree with that, to a certain extent.
My problem is I have limited memory space in my hard drive, and these days, it's been running slower, if you know what I mean.
In any case, with print photographs, you get to share what you saw on your travels with others, important for solo-travellers like me.
I came to Niigata City in April this year (2004) because I was offered a job here.
So, I uprooted myself, travelled thousands of kilometres north and tried to make a home out of my temporary house here.
The irony of it is not totally lost to me. My grandparents had made a similar trip decades ago, in reverse direction. From the southern-most island of China, they had travelled south, away from the paddy fields, for a better future for themselves, and hopefully their children and grandchildren.
Now, I have travelled away from that modern city back to the paddy fields to make a better future for myself.
The second irony - that a sun-lover from sunny Singapore is living in a place known for its cold and snowy winter.
1) Travel from Singapore to Moscow by train. If you want to know the truth, as much as I love to travel, I hate flying. I'm afraid of take-offs and landings. And the journey is half the fun of travelling to the destination, isn't it? Flying is just in-flight entertainment (which can be unentertaining at times), sometimes horrible airline food, and not much of a view (even with window seats). So my preferred mode of travelling would be trains, buses, ships (boats) or my own 2 feet.
2) Backpack in Bhutan. Because it is one of the last unspoiled places left in the world.
3) Swim with manta rays and dolphins.
4) Trek to Everest Base Camp. Have been thinking about this since my trip to Nepal.
5) Cycle along the old Silk Road route. Dervla Murphy is one of my hero(ine)s.
1) Okinawa - I messed up and didn't go during the spring break, so it's high on my list for this summer.
Things to do:
- island hop
- scuba dive / snorkle
- visit ancient sites
- learn to play the sanshin?? I love Shima-uta and Natsukawa Rimi!
- ride on the water-buffalo cart
Amarube for the iron bridge train station
Kyoto for its history
Miyajima for Itsukushima shrine
3) Other places in Japan
Nikko for the old temples
Tokyo because no-one gets tired of it (at least not people who don't live there)
4) In Niigata Ken
Sado ga Shima - gotta go there soon
This list is getting long, oh dear. So many places, so little time!
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