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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Go Travel!

“The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.” This is a quote from Saint Augustine that I find to be really true.

I love travelling. I really do. I am addicted to it. I go for a trip, and no sooner after that, I start planning for the next one. I keep some of my trip photos on my handphone, and every now and then, I will take them out to savour them. I find myself day-dreaming about my holidays once in a while too.

When you travel, you appreciate how stunningly beautiful the world really is. There are so many beautiful sights in the world, just waiting for you to discover them.

One of the most beautiful places on Earth that I have been to is Hawaii. I went there during my honeymoon. When we were there, we visited this snorkeling bay – I forgot its name. But I still remember that it was a bit hidden from sight, so we had to look for it a while. When we turned the corner, we suddenly saw it from a high vantage point. The water was glorious, with shades of blue and green, twinkling under the sunlight. The bay was a perfect half-moon shape, nested among the mountains. It painted such a marvelous picture. It was really Mother’s Nature at her very best.

Travelling is also about spending time with your friends and family, creating beautiful and fun memories together.

When I was young and single, I travelled mostly with friends. Nowadays, I travel more with my family. Sometimes, it can be just my husband and my two kids. But sometimes, we will travel with my extended family, including my parents, my brother and sister, and their kids.

Recently, we just came back from a marvelous trip Down Under, to beautiful Melbourne. There were 8 adults and 5 small children in our trip. We rented two vans, and went on a self-drive tour to the Great Ocean Road.

The kids all wanted to sit together in one van. So we let them do that, with two more adults accompanying them (excluding the driver). We took turns to be the accompanying adults.

When it came to my turn, with so many little children in the van, and going on a driving trip that take hours to reach the next destination, I thought that things would be simply chaotic. I armed myself with sweets and chocolates to distract the kids if they start throwing tantrums.

To my surprise, we had such a fun time in the van! The kids invented this show called the “Cloudy Show”, with one of their soft toys as the central character. And then they took turns role-playing “Cloudy”, saying a lot of nonsensical and hilarious things. When I think back, this remains one of the funniest memories of this trip.

Of course, one of the best things about travelling is that it gives you an escape from your day-to-day lives. Everyday, we have to manage many timelines, and stakeholders. Our to-do list keeps getting longer and longer. We have to multi-task in so many different things that we feel like an eight-legged octopus. Unknowingly, the pressure adds up, and we feel like rice being slowly cooked in a rice cooker.

Travelling is like a big escape from this pressure cooker. And the best part of it is, just planning for a trip brings a lot of joy. Studies have shown that actively anticipating a vacation can deliver doses of pleasure before the trip itself.

And what about the actual you feel when you are on the trip? When I travel, I am usually in the most joyous “holiday mood”. Even the most ordinary things can become unusually fun and exciting.

For example, on my recent Melbourne trip, we had a bit of time in between our planned itineraries, so we made a pit stop at a beach. The beach that we stopped at was “so-so”, not as beautiful as the ones in Thailand or Indonesia. The weather was cold by Singapore standard – it was Spring time in Melbourne, about 10 – 15 degrees. It was an impromptu pit stop, so we were not in attires suitable for beach play. So the conditions for enjoying the beach were not there.

But all of us – from the old to the young – were in a joyous holiday mood. The young ones led the way. They picked up little stones that they found on the beach, and started to throw them into the water. As far out as their little arms can throw. The adults started to follow. We then stood at the edge of the beach, waiting for the waves, and sprinted away just as the waves were about to hit our feet.

We had such a wonderful time at the beach. It would not be possible if all of us had not been in this mood of having fun. On an ordinary day, the “mum” in me may be nagging at the kids for getting their hands dirty, or accidentally making their clothes wet. But when I am on a holiday, I become more relaxed about things like that. How I wish I can bring this “holiday mentality” back to my day to day lives so that I can be more relaxed and joyous all the time.

So in a nutshell, I really love to travel, and I would urge all of you to go travelling as well. It is really a wonderful activity that can bring the people that you love closer together, and you can create such great memories together. As research has increasingly shown, experiences bring people much more happiness than do possessions. So the next time you have the urge to buy something, don’t. Instead, save up the money for your next holiday trip. It will give you something great to look forward to, and you will have a wonderful time on your vacation.