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Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

New habits I like: blogging; Thai boxing; swimming

Travel to over 20 cities. The more memorable ones are places where I get to know new people, learn/try something new, or catch-up with existing friends.  

Highlights: property tour in Chengdu, Chongqing, and Sanya; business trip in Columbo, Mumbai, and Delhi; vacation in Rome and Florence; backpacking in Kunming, Lijiang, and Dali; guy trip to macau; catching up with friends in Singapore, Shanghai, and London; attending my best friend’s wedding in Maldives.

Reflect more on books I read. My favorites (in no particular order):

Other activities I enjoy: windsurfing, squid fishing, watch live soccer and rugby games (my takeaway: trying thing for the first time is often enjoyable, especially activities that involve learning new skills or something about yourself); hiking; snorkeling; basketball; coming up with names 

Relationship goes well. Traveling to another city just to catch up with good friends is definitely worth it; steady and peaceful family life with plenty of home cooked food and a nice Christmas dinner.

Finance also goes well. I like Jacob’s Early Retirement Extreme philosophy. Todd’s How Much Money Do I Need to Retire? is a good short guide on retirement planning.

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Istanbul trip – photos

Since I got over 400+ emails to catch up, I outsourced the photos uploading task to my trustworthy CFO/auditor.

The photos are here. I’ll post something on the trip when I’ve time.

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On Travel

Most of us want to travel more. Maybe we want to broaden our mind and learn more about a different culture, see new places and try more food, or just to take a break and relax. If we haven’t travel much, we might get satisfaction just being to a different country, visiting famous tourist attractions, and trying foods recommended by travel guides. But to get more out of travel and make it an enriching experience is rather difficult.

Sometimes I feel I haven’t made my travel worthwhile and the time is not well spend. I’m the type of person who’d feel dissatisfied if remain idle or haven’t done anything meaningful for a day or more (killing time is an alien concept for me). I tend to bring books with me wherever I go so at least I got to read and feel like I’m doing something meaningful everyday. I generally bring fiction or other non-work related readings during travel and read them during commute or waiting time when nothing much is happening around. But if not manage well, reading can take the fun out of travel, especially when going out with friends. So I guess the best thing is to make myself a better wanderer (in terms of making my travel a great experience).

Below are some thoughts on travel from my Japan trip:

-Travel with friends who you can strive a good conversation with make activities more fun and memorable. Being able to share thoughts and discuss ideas with someone who understands is time well-spend no matter where you are.

-Enjoy the spontaneity. Let go of your mind from time to time (not something that come naturally to me) and do things you don’t usually do. We’d do more of this in everyday life as well, but I found it’s easier during travel when we’re in a different environment and have a break from everyday regularities. Some of the more memorable things often happen when you get lost, try unexpected things, or pump into a strangers.

-Keep note of what happen with journal and photos. Since our memory is not very reliable, it’s good to note down thoughts and things that happened along the way. Some people worry that taking photos might take the joy out of travel as we don’t get to enjoy the actual happening and savor the moment. But I think as long as you don’t overdo it, photos are a good way to record what happen, and often viewing the photos afterward make the original activities more satisfactory and fulfilling. Seeing things through a camera lens can also help concentrate your mind and notice things you’d not otherwise notice. Just make sure that you’d time to put down the camera and enjoy the place/activities/events.

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A Sanctuary

Last Sunday I traveled to a small town near Cambridge called Grantchester to get away from my hectic student life and free my mind from my mid-terms. It took around 20 minutes of cycling along the river to reach the town. Although this time of year is not the best time to visit Grantchester (or anywhere in UK as January is regarded to be the darkest and gloomiest month), I like the place very much. It’s a small, quiet town with little activities going on, so people who’re looking for parties, shopping, or entertainment would probably be disappointed. But those who enjoy the idyllic mood, deep meadows and open sky along with a serene river might fall in love with this place. Whenever I immerse in the vastness of the nature, I feel the power, mysteriousness, and beauty of the universe. It helps put my life into perspective as my worries, doubts, and desires appear so small and insignificant.

 

After freeing my mind in the wide-open field, I went to a nearby tea shop Orchard to have some tea and a delicious cake (not something I can find often in UK). Lots of past famous figures had gathered in this place before. They include philosopher Bertrand Russell and Ludwig Wittgenstein, economist John Maynard Keynes, novelist Virginia Woolf and E.M. Forster, artist John Augustus, and poet Rupert Brooke. The people I mentioned are friends with each other and often spend their time in Grantchester when they were students at Cambridge. I can see how they come to love this place. Brooke once wrote that Grantchester is a place that will remain ‘forever England’. A great place indeed.

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