“A whimsical ride, peculiar with a tinge of adventure.”
That’s how I would sum up my latest trip. I’d been to a small handful of countries ever since I started wanderlusting. It all started after Seoul Searching with my boys whom I can proudly call family. We had fun, probably too much fun. Went for Ultra Korea and I actually got a little too drunk for the first time, but to make it up, I climbed the highest mountain in Seoul.
You know little priceless achievements like these that let you learn and grow? These snippets of them don’t come every day and usually comes to you during travels as you’re out of your comfort zone (literally). So what if our guest house is literally in the middle of a construction site (it wasn’t really completed yet when we arrived) We still had our fair share of fun, I pretended to be store staff, greeting Caucasians who are walking in, I even recite the pledge in front of a Singaporean family because they thought I’m not local.
Sure this list goes on. But I couldn’t brag more about my latest trip. Because it’s a solo trip, I stayed alone and was traveling alone most of the time. Scrapped Google maps and opt for a hard copy instead. And this can’t be more legit as I was literally marking out places on my map.
It was my second time here but I could barely remember my first as I was a child (more than 16 years back). I could only remember the “sea tunnel”, “Victoria peak” and the cable car ride.
It was my first Airbnb stay too, as it was a solo trip I kinda have to settle everything myself. From accommodations to traveling and even planning my itinerary. Even though it’s all about diving in and getting lost, you still have to know where are you going to get lost too. And occasionally you’ll still have to check the map. I would say, it comes with minimal planning, but the returns… wow.
My apartment is of those little Hong Kong apartment that you’d seen. Those with metal gates and you have to walk past a series of steps and input codes before you could find your bed. However as cheap as it is, the apartment is renovated into 4 other apartments, and after opening the door you find yourself standing in a narrow corridor in front of your own room (apartment).
It felt as it like I’m living in Dying Light (game title). Or was it that I’m a refugee on the run. My apartment is so small that it only takes 2 steps to reach my bed from the door with the toilet literally on the right with a toilet bowl and a shower head on its right.
I smiled and took a deep breath before inspecting further and settling in. Left the TV blaring for a bit while I took comfort in its coziness while I set up camp. Arranging my things to make it more homely. Even though I love window shopping, I wasn’t a fan of it when I’m overseas. I couldn’t give 2 hoots about shopping and I was contemplating whether to nap or to just go down and take a good walk.
And I decided on the latter. Despite the little drama where I couldn’t really figure out how to open the metal gate. Only to realize there’s a secret button underneath after awhile, fresh air hits me upon alighting the flight of stairs. That’s when I decided to walk and get lost after taking a few photos of the street as a reference in case I have trouble getting back.
I zipped around and make random turns at whichever side interest me most. For someone who’s bad at decision making, this certainly is a good place to start. Checked out random malls, weird ones which are like toy arcades and gadget malls. It didn’t take me very long to get used to the few streets, but I could almost remember them after an hour of zipping around. It certainly beats darting your head to and fro from your phone. And you get to see and experience the city for once.
I wandered further in the next days to come. Took a train ride to meet my distant relatives for the first time and I had my first vivid heart-warming dim sum gathering while sipping some hot tea. I bought my paper copy map which I’d salvaged from a hotel lobby along and little did I know that map would follow me for the rest of my trips.
Took my first tram ride and explored other parts of Hong Kong like Causeway Bay and also central. I’m literally thrilled. I’d been to so many different places too. Spoke to so many different people. One of them literally showed me around the PMQ, this amazing artistic and beautiful place that is so rich in historical value as well. And I even spoke to a museum curator in Comix Base for like 20 minutes while he introduced to me a number of comic artists and their art exhibits.
I’d met my penpal for the first time too! And we had a meal, shared stories and we decided to walk back from Tsim Sha Tsui all the way back to Mong Kok while she gave me an authentic tour throughout the whole journey! From the Man Mo Temple, the legendary “Fortune Telling street”, to the Yau Ma Tei police station! And the weird eerie clinic where drug addicts hung out. And that was probably one of the best decisions I’d ever made. Randomly manage to took a walk with some as they guided me along the amazing city of Hong Kong. Now, this city has just meant much more to me.
I’d taken a liking to backpacks as they could contain my little necessities. The 2 most important being the umbrella and my giant water bottle. I don’t usually bring or plug in any music as the city’s very own authentic soundtrack is still the best to go when you’re getting lost. Oh, not forgetting my little notebook habit right after I’d seen Hector and the search for happiness. Ain’t going around interviewing people about happiness, but more of mindless scribbling, doodling what’s on my mind and random insights that come to my mind. And I brought a little cute plush too! (points to the one header picture) It’s one of my childhood toys and I’d decided to bring him along on my travel since he’d been appearing a lot in my Snap Chat video logs. And man, that little toy do spread a lot of laughter when I’m trying to take photos with it. Pretty much helped to start some random conversations too!
I found out about some random anime/game convention through some random brochure, and I set off for yet another adventure again, this time speaking to Gundam fans, cosplayers and even had a selfie taken with 2 of my favorite characters from League of Legends! Was geeking out all over and totally had a blast with other overseas fans from Taiwan and Malaysia.
Even stumbled upon a wet market, bakery, a wholesale toy area, and spoke to a few random people in the red light districts of Sham Shui Po! It was certainly an eye opener for me seeing this, much. And every day I just keep looking forward to more adventures like this. It made me a more positive person too. The Law of Attraction, I literally felt it around me throughout the whole of my trip from all the random stuff that happened lined themselves up beautifully like a well-orchestrated symphony.
Recounting my little tale from the distant land to my family and friends, I caught myself in disbelief, for it was something that I would never consider or even imagined myself doing.
I’d friends who said that “wow, this time you really went to the extreme”, when I told them about the long walks, the random talks with strangers.
Or rather, some felt I became “a little too adventurous” when I said I even spoke to prostitutes and smokers in the red light district.
That was what probably made me asked myself.
Maybe I longed for an adventure. Maybe I wanted stories to tell myself…
It was about widening horizons, trying out things you haven’t tried before. Learning, growing, meeting new people. I’d always taken this as a very serious spiritual ritual. Because traveling is where I learn about new stuff, where I experience many different first times. And things like this don’t come by often.
The beautiful memories from Hong Kong, till this day, still etched in my head.
I could never forget the people I’d met, the places I’d been, the things I’d experienced.
This trip just opened my eyes a little wider and made me lust for more wanders.