The year 2013 was a year of firsts for me – travel-wise, that is. The places and the people I have met have made this year all the more memorable and all the more richer. Here’s a quick look back on all of those special moments.
BANGKOK : For some strange, I always missed my chance with Bangkok. So, when an opportunity rose for me to meet some lovely Canadian travel buddies in this exciting city, I jumped at the chance. I had a lovely time (even though the tuk-tuk driver tried to scam me!) and I got to check out all the amazing places Bangkok had to offer. I just hope I get to make a few more return trips.
Hanging out with great friends in Bali
BALI : A couple of close friends were celebrating their birthdays and decided to head out to this beautiful island. I’ve been here a few times before, but this was made all the more special with all of us coming together for a lovely occasion. And it was especially nice to share the beauty of Bali with friends who were first-timers there too. Here’s to more birthday celebrations the world over!
SINGAPORE : I normally head down to Singapore for concerts on a yearly basis. So, when a colleague came over excitedly with news that The xx were performing in August, we bought our tickets ASAP! What took me by surprise was how quickly some other friends and I came to know about the Pet Shop Boys concert happening a day later. Pet Shop Boys = childhood dream! Hence, I was lucky enough to experience two amazing performances over two days. A fantastic first for me. Oh, and I also ate half a chilli crab down by Clarke Quay. Perfect!
LONDON : My fascination with London had been going on for far too long. The fact that I hadn’t visited the city shocked more people than it did me. I finally got to spend some time here before heading out to Spain and I was not disappointed. The city was as vibrant and brilliant as I imagined it to be. Strangely, it also felt like home. Dare I think of a more permanent return? Well, a girl can dream now, can’t she?
Hola! Spain was beyond amazing
SPAIN : My dream of visiting Andalucia was made all the more stronger thanks to Jason Webster’s fantastic book “Andalus”. I was mesmerized by all his adventures in Southern Spain while unveiling the brilliance of the Moorish empire. I didn’t know much about Spain at that point except that I needed to go there. My two week trip from Madrid to Barcelona via Seville, Granada and Valencia left me wanting to explore more of Spain – the stunning architecture, the delicious food and the lovely people. And also, what a way to improve my rather minimal knowledge of the Spanish language. Who knows? Maybe Granada can help me with that someday.
AWEASIA13 : The first Asian Women’s Empowerment Conference was held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia a few months ago. Organized by the amazing Juno Kim, the conference brought together female travel bloggers from around Asia (and some fantastic men from beyond the continent!). Now, I am generally not one for conferences, but this one was different. After meeting and getting to know these wonderful women, I was assured that my constant wanderlust was not “something weird” or something that “will go away once you finally settle down”. These inspiring ladies are living proof that you can go after your travel dreams and not have to feel guilty about it. They are smart, successful, inspiring, strong and a whole lot of fun. Most importantly, they are some of the friendliest and helpful people I’ve ever met. I am SO looking forward to the next conference in 2014, wherever it may be.
Ultimately, this year has been such a fantastic year for travelling, making new friends, meeting up with old travel buddies, trying out Airbnb (amazing!) and most importantly making some of my life-long dreams come true. I could not have asked for a better year and I will always be grateful for the amazing experiences I have had.
Thank you, 2013. Now, here’s to more firsts in 2014!