COVID-19 truly did damper a lot of spirits for the adventurous, globe trekkers and travel enthusiasts.
Before the pandemic hit, my last flight out of Singapore was in 2018.
Fortunately, the regulations slowly got lifted earlier this year (2022) and I'm grateful to have travel enthusiasts friends and colleagues who were excited to make trips happen.
My travels in 2022 - so far
The first trip out of Singapore was to Kota Kinabalu (KK), Sabah, Malaysia.
The purpose of this trip? It was solely dedicated to one thing - to summit Mount Kinabalu. I have been wanting to hike up for quite some time, and plans were made since 2019. But because of the pandemic, all plans got shelved. Thankfully, with the easing of restrictions, my buddies and I decided it was time to make our dream a reality and off we went!
The second trip was my first ever trip to Europe. Visited Prague, Salzburg and Germany.
This trip was organised by our company and together with more than 80 finexians, we explored Europe. My eyes were full of wonder and amazement at the different sights and sounds that part of the world has to offer. I was like a little child, excited to check out new places and listen to all the stories shared during our excursions.
The third trip was a life-changing one to Nepal.
I cannot begin to tell you how much delight I have now that I'm back from this trip. My heart is full. My purpose is set. Nepal has given me so much to think about and it's all thanks to the generosity of the people who arranged this trip, the people I met along this trip and the noble work that is being done.
I've archived many wonderful moments on the Story Highlights of my Instagram page: gladystjy. Feel free to check them out!
The fourth trip is to Phuket, Thailand.
It's been 3 years since we had a team trip! With our numbers doubling during the pandemic, we were all looking forward to spending quality time with each other after being socially distanced for the last couple of years. And what a lovely trip it was - full of laughter, food (oh my), drinks (heh) and activities - never a dull moment!
What travelling has reminded me
It is a huge privilege to travel again - especially on so many trips in a short period of time (all four trips happened within 5 months). It was never something I imagined doing but here I am, already thinking about next year's travel plans. If anything, travelling has reminded me of very important lessons.
1. We never stop learning
I learnt how to properly use hiking sticks when I was climbing a mountain in Malaysia. I learnt about the history of Nazi at Dachau concentration camp. I learnt how to use hammers and drive nails into wood ply in Nepal. I was taught how to equalize ear pressure when I was swimming in the sea in Phuket. That being said, we can still learn something new in our everyday life. But when we travel, the opportunities to learn come in abundance. New cultures, new people, new foods - everything is a learning curve and a chance to broaden our minds. Every experience and every conversation holds something we can potentially learn from.
2. You understand a different way of life
Financial freedom is what most people I know, are working towards in their life. But that is not the only way of life, as the people of Solukhumbu, Nepal, will tell you. To them, as long as their loved ones are safe, they have food on the table and enough clothes during winter, they are happy to enjoy what each day brings them. And unlike here in Singapore, people in Europe take it easy and slow - basking in the sun while enjoying freshly prepared meals. Life is very different for many people and there isn't a better or not as good way of life. Ultimately, it boils down to what is important to you - what are your priorities - and don't be afraid to own them.
3. As cliche as it sounds, you grow when you step out of your comfort zone
Routine. Predictability. Stable - they are great for certain aspects of our life but it should not be ALL of our life. Leave behind your friends and learn to make new ones (like how the 6 of us did when we travelled to Nepal), try that new dish or cuisine, be curious about the language the other person is speaking. There is no better feeling than expanding your horizons and coming home with endless stories.
A note on financials
As a financial advisor, I can't leave this post without talking about money! I must say travelling so much this year has taken a toll on my savings (but I don't regret it definitely!)
Setting aside a travel fund was never my intention since before this year, my travels were few and sporadic. Obviously, it's going to be very different moving forward haha!
If you're planning to do something like this for yourself too, here are some quick tips to give yourself the chance to travel every single year!
Set your intentions i.e. how many long trips or short trips
Plan a travel budget
Invest in apparel and equipment of higher quality so you can re-use them
Check out discounts, offers to keep costs affordable
So tell me, where are you heading to next? :)