Forgotten Memories from an almost forgotten journey

Earlier this week I posted that : it still pays to do a little planning for your journeys, and that being totally spontaneous can be an extreme. In other words, don’t just get lost on purpose, as opposed to the article I read. See post here.

I take it back. Well, partially at least.

Was just leafing through various reading sources and came up to this article by Andeep Singh about what vacation memories are. Her post was written last September.

Hmm…I must say the article made a lot of sense and injected a fresh paradigm into me. Imagine what you might have recalled (memories) from your last trip. Now compare that with someone who shared the same journey. Make a list of the memories you each recalled to be the defining experience(s).

As a little experiment, Mel and Suan sat down separately and wrote down what were the hallmarks of our journey to Japan in February. The results :

His Hers
Driving in the winter. So exciting after many years! The view of Mount Fuji from Lake Yamanaka is so beautiful.
Watching with throngs of Japanese ladies buying Valentine’s day gift. Amazed with the intricate confectionery! Standing on the rooftop of Maruei Ryokan with Mount Fuji in full view in the morning and my photos taken.
Taking Suan’s photo at Lake Yamanaka with Fuji and a swan in the background. Waiting for sunset at the Natural living center at lake Yamaguchi.
Waiting at the pre-own stores while Suan goes wild looking! I was trying hard to browse… All the shopping still fresh in the mind from all the walk in Tokyo. Parco where I bought many clothes!
The dinner on Valentine’s day on the 53rd floor, with the night lights of the city and we having a nice cosy corner to dine. Remembering in quite detail the meals we had in Tokyo. I planned to eat at those places! (PS: she actually CAN recall them all…)

I must say there are quite some contrasting views of the same journey we made together. I mean, its supposed to be shared memories right? But how come we seem to recall them from such different angles? Can this be explained with just how our neural synapes connect differently in each one of us? We really seem to remember moments, differently! Its now proven with an experiment! Sheesh, amateurs. It would only be logical to see things differently right?

Consolation : at least we are agreed on the beautiful modelling at Lake Yamanaka. And photography too…

So, Andeep’s article gives credence to the view that we sometimes overlook the often thought ‘insignificant’ experiences within experiences of our journey. She mentioned events (or perhaps activities). I think she meant from the point of another person. What is an inconsequential occurrence to one can be a defining moment for others. Though you could be there, you tend to ‘forget’ some of these moments. After all, one man’s meat is another man’s poison.

But then its not bad at all! And perhaps that’s the whole point. We share our own moments from the same journeys, and with lots of photos taken these days, have the opportunity to enjoy a meatier conversation about it down the road. And photos form an important part of triggering our recollection. Remember the baby photo albums that your parents kept?

For those with children, take note. We recommend you ask your kids what they really remembered about the vacations you have taken together.

You just might be surprised!

Quitting your job to travel the world?

Ever thought what it would be like to be traveling and earning a living at the same time?

Well some folks seem to!

How do they do that? Or what about the people you read of, who seems to be perpetually on the road, working as needed (for the money) and then enjoying life like there is no tomorrow?

This post is really interesting. I must admit I had given it a really hard thought before.

Quitting your job, hopping on a plane with what you can carry with you and scurry round the planet is a dream for many, us included. The idea that one can drop your current life and craft out a new one is an enticing one. While Matt’s article focused on the twentysomethings, it does not mean that it cannot apply to you. Especially if you have achieved financial independence.

Or perhaps you have such an audience at your blog post that the advertisements and sponsorships alone will be sufficient to live off…Guess it will be hard when you don’t have a lot of readers.

One thing though, while Matt advocates taking chances and coming back later to slog, it is clear this is something the late thirtysomethings and fortysomethings might not stand a chance. It is highly likely you do not quite have the emerging skillsets that are now recognized as invaluable or transportable. You probably have kids and a mortgage (or two). Most of all, you probably have an inertia to change that can only be described as inhibiting.

You know they say it is hard to teach an old dog new tricks.

Its not like you can put all that teaching of English in the middle of some exotic country or the fruit picking experience you did somewhere in France on your resume when you are closer to retiring than starting up your life of work servitude!

Actually, Matt is being optimistic. It ain’t looking good out there, even for the twentysomethings. And it probably isn’t going to get better in the next few years. So, all that optimism about being able to come back later to join in the workforce when the going is better – is probably an illusion. It might work out for some. But not everyone will be a winner and quite some may be disappointed. We’ll all find out as we live in interesting times.

So is this really an option for us? I mean the late thirtysomethings and fortysomethings…

Probably not, but it was a nice thought. If we can ever re-live our lives again…

Journey with a purpose

A recent article in Singapore reminded us about the adequacy of retirement planning. While we do not comment on financial or investment issues, our focus is on what people intend to do when they DO retire.

Not surprisingly, ‘traveling to see the world’ is one of those activities. And we are talking more on this one activity. Seems this could be one thing that is common across aspiring retires across the world?

Like any economic exchange, traveling is an act of a traveller spending his/her monetary asset in exchange for an experience (via services rendered). The providers of the service(s) which produces the experience expend time and effort to deliver this. From the traveller’s perspective, this was a consumption of his/her capital asset. Many people expect to have sufficient retirement funds to meet this aspiration. Never mind that it is not clear why they want to travel a lot in their golden years if they hadn’t done so earlier in their lives.

Clueless traveler

Is it just for leisure and then forget? To shop, eat and don’t remember anything? Sometimes we can be clueless as to why we travel in the first place besides the “I wanna go see the world”. For what?!

Since we are on a roll here with NatGeo from my last posts, I will share with you an article written last November on getting lost with a purpose. While I do agree with Heather that creating a checklist to meet is potentially stifling and could lead you to “miss the tree for the forest”, most people inherently do some planning because of finite resources be it time or money. Perhaps youth is an asset where time is seemingly infinite.

Her tips on how to ‘get lost’ seems innocent. But be wary that the neighbours and strangers that you seek advise from may live around checklists too…just that the items on theirs is not on yours…Being open is what I agree on. But most of all, see what you want and not wander aimlessly. It’s still good to do some planning.

Back to traveling with a purpose.

So I posed to Suan this question : why do we (ie Mel and Suan) travel so much?

Her answer was : so that we gain a shared experience as a couple.

So here you go, memories. Since we decided not to have children, our memories will not be of changing diapers, the child’s first words etc. Our purpose is not just ‘to see the world’, but to go on journeys together and gain a shared memory, something that will tide us over in the most trying of times. As we mentioned time and again on this blog, memories are all you have when you lie down expiring.

Traveling. What is your purpose?


Fancy a Panda Safari?

In the first of our series of introductions to Singapore travel attractions both on or off the beaten track, we start with a safari here in the urban jungle that is Singapore.

Since 2012, a young pair of Pandas have been domiciled in our little island. Yes China “give” Pandas to many countries its true. And here they only stay for 10 years (perhaps they should think of getting Permanent Residency) and will be returned to China at the end of that period. Better see them soon!

Panda Safari
Taken from the Singapore River Safari

Click here to read more.

Sunday reading

Ah, it is another weekend. Finally able to spend it in full at home.

On Friday, I purchased a ‘coffee table’ book at a local bookstore featuring the wonders of the world. The photo journal showcases the ancient and present. Present wonders include architectural and construction feats (eg the 3 gorges dam). It ends with 7 replicas (8R sized) of historical photos, some taken as early as 1943. Wow, retro.

There were a few instances where reference was made to Angel falls being one of the world’s natural wonders that reminded me of the cartoon “Up”, in which “Paradise falls” was the bucket list destination of Carl and Ellie (feature image of the post taken from the animated film).

One focus area of today’s post is planning trips on the phone with “Destinations on Google”, an article featured in the Straits Times.

As the author points out, the use of such apps on a smartphone is probably limited to folks who are looking for well trodden paths. It would be a real challenge to seek out information on something more specific that advanced travellers such as you would demand. Perhaps the app can be used on the go, and for most cities it will probably be useful.

Personally we believe it pays to invest a little more time ahead of the trip to plan for some aspects of the journey. The extreme would be to meticulously plan it down to the individual activity. But that may help too if you have limited time! We have found sites that facilitate reviews by real travellers to be useful. We actively submit reviews ourselves, to help others evaluate and plan for their trips. We are sure trawling through these reviews will be useful to you too!

Was reading my National Geographic magazine today. Their newest line of journeys are now in collaboration with G Adventures, adding to the proliferating offers of the venerable society (NGS started out as a elite club for academics interested in travel).

From magazines to television and also travel, we have been long time subscribers and members of the society. We must now have hundreds of back issues of the magazine in our little library (remember Melvin collects books) and since last year added the History magazine (bi-monthly issue) to the stable.

One of the most interesting  (aside from the many the society sponsors) for us is the ‘out of eden’ project, where Paul Salopek retraces the journey that our human ancestors are said to have walked, on their way out of Africa. Since  2013, he had begun a series of journeys and shared the stories about the people he met while on this epic long journey (online and also in the magazine). How we identify with him!

Out of Eden Walk
Tracing the long journey of our ancestors

Starting from Ethiopia, Paul travelled on foot (and on boat where there was water), through Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Israel and across the western Mediterranean onto Cyprus before landing in Turkey. At this time he is moving to central Asia via the old former soviet republics of Georgia and Azerbaijan. Follow him here.

Very soon, it will be Easter egg hunting season. Long weekend coming up ahead. Some countries have Easter Monday as well! Unfortunately not here in Singapore but sure will make the most of the 3-day lull next week!

The Singapore Page is up!

Yes! We are taking this blog to a different level!

Singapore red dot

Time to share and introduce more about the travel sights of Singapore.

Think about it. Today most people have smart phones. And these phones have cameras, ones that are much more powerful than the large “professional” ones of yesteryear (well just 5-10 years ago). If one is able to harness fully the capabilities of the cameras on the phones (it would be unusual to only have one on your phone), really professional looking photos can be produced. This is actually one of the selling attributes amongst others.

So most people around the world take photos, wefies, groupfies etc.

I am pretty much sure they take a lot of pictures at restaurants and outdoor locations. It cannot be different in Singapore. And here blog posts on food “critique” are a dime a dozen. Must be plenty of pictures out there if you google it. So what’s our offer?

Every two months or so, we will post a page on a specific attraction, neighbourhood or activity that folks from outside our little red dot can also experience, if you come here. We have been making it a “habit” to collate and organize our experiences that equate to bite-size reads. Now anyone wishing to harness their time enlarging their travel handprint in Singapore can use some of the material we will share with the deluge of information that they can find on the web.

Look out for the first article on the River Safari. We’ve been there twice ourselves, so we count as experienced visitors. You will find the page in the drop down from “Singapore, our home base” page in two weeks’ time.