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We are going to die, and that makes me and you the lucky ones….Most people are never going to die because they are never going to be born. I intend to make the most of my momentary time on this Earth by admiring and discovering what she has to offer. This is why I travel as much as I do. Travelling satisfies my innate curious mind and urges me to find out what is around that corner or beyond that mountain. We were born to admire sunrises from different latitudes and sunsets from different longitudes.
My first real travel experience (except Faliraki and Ayia Napa which I will shamefully disregard!) was spending a month in 2002 backpacking through Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore with three friends at the naive age of 19. To put this into perspective, this was just before digital cameras hit the mainstream! After watching “The Beach” at my parent’s house one evening we wanted to emulate DiCaprio’s pursuit for that secluded beach paradise hence the choice in destinations. It was the first time in our lives we were given a taste of real freedom, the freedom to roam our planet as we please and the autonomy to make decisions at each crossroad and live the consequences. Ever since the return flight back from this trip, I never looked back and I self-diagnosed myself with the travel bug! And as Michael Palin once said:
“Once the travel bug bites there is no known antidote, and I know that I shall be happily infected until the end of my life.”
At 19 years old, I was chronically infected. Travelling made me the master of my own day and the world was my playground. It was a liberating feeling that was congruent with the last year of our teens. Year on year the destinations I’ve travelled to have become increasingly remote and atypical because I was constantly searching for paradise. Paradise and tourists are mutually exclusive!
Now, my notion of paradise is not a specific beach nor is it perched on top of a particular mountain as a matter of fact it wasn’t even a location as such. It was a feeling in one short moment of being awe-inspired by the world and humbled at her feet. Words will not do justice the feeling of being captivated by the first sun rays to illuminate Machu Picchu after an arduous trek or getting caught in a storm on a small remote island off Malaysia with three great friends (two of which would later become by best men on my wedding day). I’ve now realised that the 19 year old boy back then did find paradise all along.
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