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
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.
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?