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the luxury of expatriate travelling

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I sometimes forget the blessing I have had – travelling and living in different cities.

I have been to many places in this world. While I cannot boast visiting every country in the world as Chris Guillebeau, I certainly have had my share of vagabonding and learnt the secrets of mileage and reward points through credit cards and loyalty programs.

Travelling had become so second nature to me, so much that I was baffled why it seemed so difficult and such a Herculean task for some friends to attend my wedding in Beijing, 3 hours from Hong Kong. Surely last flight on Friday night, or first flight Saturday morning, meant they could attend our Saturday afternoon & dinner wedding festivities, and an evening flight on Sunday would get them back to Hong Kong in time for a good night’s sleep and work again on Monday?

My arrogance blinded me to their obligations of family, work, and finance — I took travelling for granted.有時候,我會忘記我已經有過的幸運——旅行

曾走遍世界很多角落。當然我不能吹噓,說我曾遊歷世界所有的國家(正如Chris Guillebeau),我肯定已經分享過我的流浪生活以及通過信用卡或信諾項目獲得里程數積分的秘密了。

旅行已仿佛變成我的另一個本能。以至於當一些朋友不能從香港到北京參加我的婚禮時,我會困惑:為何對於他們,這會是一個接近不可能的任務?顯然,若搭乘禮拜五的尾班機或禮拜六的頭班機,他們就能參加禮拜六下午的婚禮和晚上的婚宴了。再乘坐週日的夜班機,他們就可以回香港,睡個好覺,準備禮拜一正常上班了。

我的自大使我無視了他們對家庭,工作以及財務的責任,並且我把旅行變成了一種假設。

But sometimes I complain that I don’t travel as much as other people, especially these days when I am stuck where I am physically and mentally, and when I see photos pop up incessantly on Instagram and Facebook of friends’ latest conquests or foreign gourmet dishes. My focus was zoomed in on those who have been to more places than I have.

I forget the inutility of comparisons. We all have our life stories and a time for everything.

I forget it was a luxury I had, not only travelling and visiting, but actually living overseas in different cities, be it a few weeks of summer school, a few months of internships, to a few years of work.

My friend is excited because she is going to Paris for the first time in her life.

Over a discussion as to where Iberico ham is from, a friend remarked she wouldn’t be sure, as she had never been to Spain before.

Someone said her wish was to go to New York for her honeymoon.

I have been to all those cities – multiple times. And I forgot to be grateful for such opportunities.

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My dreams of travel now are more for an activity or a particular venture, instead of simply checking the boxes of having been to certain cities. I want to wrestle with polar bear cubs in Canada, I want to see the Northern Lights through a glass igloo, I want to samba at carnivale in South America, I want to watch crafters weave Persian carpets in Central Asia, I want to pilgrim into the Holy Land of Jerusalem, I want to sky dive into Manchu Picchu…..

So much more to do and see – perhaps a reason to stay alive for now.

Sometimes though, we need to be thankful for the experience we already have had.

I looked through a lot of old photos today on my hard disk. Scrolling through the cities inspired a segment of memory, an insight into me, and a build up into who I am today. Figments scattered in the backstage, under the limelight.

Each place has a memory, a different me each time I went, for a different purpose.

Indulge me while I write about the different travels in the last three decades here every now and then. I am living vicariously through myself.

What opportunities have you had that you can be thankful for today?


但有時候,我會抱怨:為何自己不能像別人一樣,去這麼多的旅行。尤其當我在Instragram和Facebook看到他們的戰利品和異國美食不斷浮現時,怨聲會愈發強烈。我的焦點放在了比較誰去的地方比我多。我忘記了比較是沒用的。我們都有我們自己的生活經歷和做任何事情的時間。

我忘記這是我曾經有過的奢侈品,不僅僅是旅行,還有在海外不同城市居住的經歷,或是數周的遊學,或是數月的交流,甚至是長達數年的工作。

我一個朋友為她的第一次巴黎之旅感到異常興奮。

在一次關於大麥粥來自何處,與其制法的討論後。我的朋友承認她不知道,就像她沒有到過西班牙似的。

曾有人說她的願望就是到紐約度蜜月。

而我,到過上述的所有地方——許多次。我已經忘記了能獲得此等機會的興奮感。

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如今,在旅行中,我憧憬的更多地是一次行動或特別的冒險。而不是簡單地就我所去過的城市觀光一番。我想去加拿大和北極熊幼獸打鬥;我想透過玻璃圓頂看北極光;我想去南美的狂歡節盡情跳桑巴舞;我想去中亞看crafter如何編制波斯毛氈;我想到聖城耶路撒冷朝聖;我想到天空之城馬丘比丘……

有太多的事情想去看,想去做了。也許這就是活著的意義。有時候,我們需要對我們已有經歷懷有感激。

今天,我看了我硬盤里的很多舊照。在這些城市的遊歷,激起了我記憶的碎片,帶給了我見識,造就了今天的我。在灰光燈之下臆造的事物散布在臺後。

每個地方都有它專屬的記憶。不同的我,每一次到達,都為著一個不同的緣由。

當我在敘寫過去三十年來我的每次不同的旅程時,請放縱我。我正被另一個我代表著。

而什麽又是今天你可以感激的事情呢?

11 Responses

  1. Zhang Tom says:

    Best Wishes.

  2. Black dog says:

    你还有服用抗忧郁的药物吗?我感觉能量很糟了,如果要长期吃药,很有压力,真的很害怕。

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about Noch Noch

Enoch Li, (pen name: Noch Noch) is born and raised in Hong Kong and Australia. She has also studied / worked / lived in the US, France, UK, Japan, The Netherlands, China, and has travelled to more than 40 countries. She loves travelling and her curiosity in foreign cultures and languages has led her to enjoy her life as an international executive in the banking & finance industry. However, she was forced to take time off work in 2010 due to her illnesses and after spending time in recovery, cooking, practising Chinese calligraphy, reading and writing – in short, learning to take care of herself and letting out the residual work stress, she has transitioned into a Play Consultant for corporates interested in creative change management and employee well-being using the psychology of playfulness.