City love (and lack thereof)

There are lots of things I love about you, Sydney.

I love your dazzling waterfronts, stretching out from the Sydney Harbour that the tourists see, all the way west up the Parramatta River – simply spectacular, even on an overcast day.

I love your cafés, even if you’re no Melbourne.

And I actually love your trains, even if people are always complaining about how these are always running late.

Royal Botanic Gardens-6

When I thought I might be leaving you for good last year, it was easy to list the things I would miss.

But loving things about Sydney isn’t the same as loving Sydney.

Now that I’m back here with you again, I’ve realised that I … Well, I don’t love you.

Unfortunate, hey? Continue reading “City love (and lack thereof)”

Australia: Not the place I thought you were

The other day after work, I was flowing with the peak hour crowd down Anzac Parade, when I witnessed something awful.

An Aboriginal man was heckling and shoving an East Asian man. The Indigenous guy was yelling obscenities and things like “Go back to where you came from!” to the suited up Asian guy, who was trying, literally, to shake him off. That was Awkward thing Number 1.

People just watched. And did nothing. That was Awkward thing Number 2.

By people, I mean mainly Asian people. The University of New South Wales appears to be predominantly Asian, even the law faculty – a contrast with the College of Law at my own alma mater. That was Awkward thing Number 3.

And I did nothing because, frankly, I’m both Asian and female. I actually thought I might get hit. That was Awkward thing Number 4.

It made me think about how Australia is not the place I thought it was when I was little. Continue reading Australia: Not the place I thought you were

From travelling light to living light

Packing light Coming back from 12 days away over the Christmas-New Year break, I realised that I only used half of what I’d brought along with me – the rest could have stayed at home. I really thought I’d gotten good at packing light. When I travel with others I often get comments about how little luggage I get by on. I’m a bit chuffed … Continue reading From travelling light to living light

Re-entry. Still from the movie Gravity.

367 days after re-entry

Ten years ago, a lady named Debbie asked me if I was studying Spanish because I wanted to be a missionary in South America. At the time it was a seriously long bow to draw – I in fact had no better reason for studying Spanish other than Age of Empires and the Spanish national football team.

Once I started learning the language, I discovered how beautiful it was to the ear, the mind, the tongue. But even then I didn’t have any particular interest in Latin American culture. I had even less interest in becoming a missionary.

Debbie and I are unlikely to cross paths again, but what she said turned out to be rather prophetic. Continue reading 367 days after re-entry

My biography, as told by my booze

A personal atlas of alcohol.

Before you get the wrong impression, this post is not about booze-filled nights from my backpacking days. It’s an anthology of anecdotes and memories, linked by a common theme: alcoholic beverages.

My discovery of different drinks parallels some important memories. These are what I’d like to share with you.

So let me take you from my childhood, all around the world and back home again. In this brief autobiography, I’ll let the alcohol do the talking. Continue reading My biography, as told by my booze

10 Tips For More Meaningful Travel

What’s the difference between a tourist and a traveller? And how can we have more meaningful travel experiences even while traveling for leisure?

Throughout my experiences of being a tourist, exchange student, international intern and expat, I have been reflecting constantly on these questions of identity, foreignness and the assumptions bound up in the practice and concept of travel. Continue reading 10 Tips For More Meaningful Travel