At the time, people who knew me found it hard to imagine me as a long-term traveler, and I would joke that I’ll probably be back in a couple of weeks or never at all. Many, including myself, never really thought the second option was possible. The longest I’ve traveled on my own prior to that trip was for a week or two of business trips to the United States. At the time, I had a fairly successful career in IT, I had just graduated an MBA degree from a good school at a relatively young age, and getting away from all that seemed illogical, almost irrational, definitely atypical.
The choices that I have made during these years were also rather strange. The trip started from Thailand, because that was the cheapest open-ticket I could find to Asia at the time, and the booking agent proclaimed it as the hottest destination. I knew nothing about Thailand, close to zero about Asia, as far as I was concerned it was all just a blur of ‘different’. Once I eased into travel mode, I managed to stir my way towards more personal choices, which finally landed me at off-the-beaten-track Taiwan, one of Asia’s most under-rated destinations. Travel turned into passion, and a temporary visit turned into a long stay. By that time I have already become fairly familiar with the region, and when it came to the decision of where to pursue a PhD, I decided on Hong Kong. Up till this very day whenever I tell of my decision to pursue PhD studies in Hong Kong people react with surprise and confusion – ‘why’, they would wonder, ‘why Hong Kong of all places?’. Yet, there is little doubt that this has been one of the best decisions I have ever made.
Throughout this journey I have faced endless challenges, doubts and frustrations, but these pale in comparison to the very positive, memorable, often life-changing experiences that I went through on a regular basis. Not a day goes by when I’m not confronted with people or situations that cast doubt on my life choices, yet as the time goes by it becomes ever more clear that I am living the life I want and that I wouldn’t have it any other way. Whenever I take a moment to really look at where I am and what I’m doing, I feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude for what I have, where I’ve been, what I’ve seen, who I met, and my freedom to keep exploring and choose my own path.
At the time I could not imagine how significant my decision to start a blog and in English would be. The blog has been with me for the entire 10 years, and it includes a very detailed documentation of all the places I’ve been to. For 10 years, I was able to write a blog post on an average of every 2-3 days, filled with information, photos, and sometimes my personal experiences. In a way, this is the one and only stable thing in my life in these last 10 years.
Here’s to the next 10 years!