The following is a series of emails I sent to friends and family as I was travelling through Hong Kong, Thailand and Japan in early 2017.
For those of you who don’t know, I’ve decided to take a gap year and go travelling across Asia. “But you’re not studying and barely working, so what’s this a gap year from?”, you may ask. “My gap life” I may reply.
I thought I’d put my travelling updates into an email as whenever I try to start a blog I get overwhelmed by the amount of options and end up spending so long on design, layout, name etc.that I can’t be arsed to write anything at the end of it.
You don’t have to read or reply to this long, long email. Some people might want to read it all (hi mum), but mostly it’s just a digital copy of my journal.
Hong Kong is a beautiful, and ugly, place. I’ve not been in many places where objects of those two categories are in such close vicinity and so sharply contrasted. Crumbling, plumbing-impaired skyscrapers erupt from luscious green canopies. Mountains, jungle and endless sea, peppered with towering rectangles – all this rolls by as you stare out the window of a sterile and drab commuter subway train.
I love it.
I’m always searching for somewhere with the perfect blend of city and nature. In Hong Kong, for perhaps the first time, I’ve even found myself appreciating, and being in awe of, skyscrapers, those buildings I would have once deemed an eyesore and in need of swift demolition. I’m not sure exactly what it is, because I don’t think the skyscrapers in HK are very different in size from those of London or NYC, but maybe what struck me about these skyscrapers is their unexpectedness. They can be seen next to one story buildings, or no buildings at all, or even the sea. When they’re not clustered together you get a true sense of proportion, and you realise how unnaturally, and impressively, large they really are. It’s quite a head trip.
I was peaceful and content just seeing the sights and soaking up the culture. It satisfied my cravings for raw untamed nature, fresh mountain air, as well as the thriving, throbbing, goings-on of a city.
For about three weeks. Then I felt the itch to start moving, start working on something, building something. And so, after my typical routine of umm-ing and aww-ing over every single detail of a decision, I booked some flights to Phuket, Thailand, planning to sign up to Tiger Muay Thai, a Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) camp.
An MMA camp is a very special place where you are beaten up for up to 8 hours a day, sleep, and then repeat for 6 days a week. In the blistering, air-so-humid-you-could-cut-it-like-Dairylea heat of south Thailand.
I could not have predicted the total nightmare I was about to put myself through. And I didn’t even make it to the camp.
Stay tuned to find out more! (Bored of writing for today…)(it turns out good don’t worry.)
For reading everything you win… my favourite song of the trip https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m4t5R3fTbD0