I love sunsets til the extent that they are a quintessential part of my travels! Observing how the sun casts an orangey glow onto a foreign scenery – be it buildings, lakes or mountains – is always magical. It envelops me in a moment of mystique, resulting in me feeling almost ‘zen-like’ and at one with the world.
Recollecting on the sunsets I witnessed during my travels, these 3 especially stood out:
1. Mount Fløyen, Bergen
I was already in a euphoric state of mind from visiting the magnificent Bergen fjords the day before. Adding to that, I rode a funicular for the first time to get to the top of Mount Fløyen. Seeing this gorgeous sunset over the lovely city of Bergen was the final icing on the cake! Hence, it is no surprise that this sunset appeared first on my list. Oh – and given the high cost of living in Norway – it was particularly satisfying to sip our orange juice costing 10 Norwegian Krone that we bought at the supermarket, while waiting for the sun to set :)
Continue reading 3 Favourite Sunsets of Mine
Double rainbow spotted at Lake Matheson, near Fox Glacier
If you were to choose a colour to describe yourself, what will it be? Will you choose red as you lived your life with passion and energy? Or will it be blue to reflect your calmness in even the most stressful situations? Perhaps, you might prefer white as you have purity of thoughts and seek high standards in life? Or, could it be black to symbolise your stoic and unnerving personality? Or are there no appropriate colours and you consider yourself to be colourless – void of any identity and ordinary in all aspects?
In Murakami’s book, “Colourless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage”, the protagonist Tsukuru is colourless amongst his colourful friends, whose names all contain a colour in it. On the surface, his childhood friends have vivid personalities in-sync with the colours in their name: Aka (Red), Ao (Blue), Shiro (White) and Kuro (Black). Only Tsukuru (Colourless) is dull and unremarkable. However, as the story goes along, you discover contradictions and perceptual differences, which to me are the central themes of the novel.
Continue reading What Colour Are You?
The Bergen fjords were one of the first places I visited in Europe and it captivated my heart the moment I set my eyes on it. Steep, pristine mountains protrude out from both sides of a narrow body of water. The crystal-clear water reflects and creates a mirror image of the snow-white mountains in its icy blue water. Simply majestic!
To me, the snow-capped mountains represent freshness. At the end of winter, the snow begins to melt and flows down in streams, where it can be collected and bottled into fresh mineral water.
Angkor Wat is amassed with spectacular ruins, but my personal favourite has to be Ta Prohm. Witnessing trees towering towards the sky and their roots deeply entwined within the elaborate walls is simply a sight to behold. It’s truly the convergence of nature and history!
“Hiking?!?! No wayyyyy…” I have never been an outdoor-sy person, and although I am by no means out-of-shape, I am not in-shape either. So, I have never thought that I will someday go hiking!
So, when my friend pitched to me the idea of hiking Mount (Gunung) Merapi – I surprisingly said yes. But at the back of my head, I kept thinking “well, If I can’t do it, I could just stop halfway up the mountain and enjoy the view from there”. (PS: Little did I know, the view is actually obstructed by trees all the way, and it’s only at the summit that you get a clear view)
Gunung Merapi – standing at 2,930m – is one of the deadliest volcanoes
in Indonesia, with the last major eruption in 2010 killing 38 people.
So, at 2am in the morning, this virgin hiker wore his winter boots (the closest substitute to hiking boots!), carried his backpack (stuffed with 1 litre of mineral water, 1 litre of energy drink, two packets of biscuits and a few chocolate bars!) and started to climb Gunung Merapi with his friend, 2 German tourists and 2 guides.
Continue reading My Virgin Hike: Mount Merapi
“I did it all, I did it all
I owned every second that this world could give
I saw so many places
The things that I did
Yeah, with every broken bone
I swear I lived”
~ I Lived by OneRepublic
(In Part 1, I covered the worries and apprehensions prior to undertaking solo trips and that transitioned towards Part 2, where I listed the reasons to why I love solo travel.)
After travelling alone numerous times, I realised that there have been changes in my approach towards solo travels and I have grown from an “uneasy” newbie to a “confident” traveller. And the more I travel alone, the more changes there are in my behaviour during such solo trips. Hence – in Part 3 of the travelling alone series – I will like to detail how my travelling patterns have changed throughout these solo travel experiences.
1. Becoming more comfortable with myself (introversion)
The first city I travelled to alone was Paris, and I can still remember the experience of watching the sunset over the Eiffel Tower. Being alone afforded me the serenity to savour the moments of the sun slowly setting into the horizon in such a picturesque and world-renowned landmark. Yet – although there was calmness in me, there was this lingering sense of melancholy in my heart still. As throngs of couples surrounded me, I (perceived and) envied them for being deeply in love when I only had the company of my own thoughts.
Continue reading Changes in travelling alone (Part 3)
Murphy’s Law: Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. To all travellers out there, don’t you agree? Things go wrong all the time while travelling, and we start to pride ourselves as “spontaneous” and “being able to deal with the unknown” :)
Regardless on whether you are a ‘plan-in-advance’ or a ‘go-with-the-flow’ traveller, shit always hit the fan at any available opportunity. Below are a few close shaves I have had while travelling, some due to my own stupidity and others just due to Murphy’s Law!
1. Almost missed a crucial ferry from Fethiye to Rhodes
Spending just 11 days in Turkey and Greece (I know, even 11 days in Turkey alone is short) meant a hectic schedule with no room for errors. Especially with the recession and strikes going on, as this led to even more infrequent ferry schedules. Hence, missing one connecting ride would create a domino effect and affect the rest of our Mediterranean adventure!
Continue reading 3 Close Shaves while Travelling