International travels and how it changed my outlook to life

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Ticket – check

Passport – check

Money – check

These are the essentials things that one needs when travelling internationally. Living in a small country like Hong Kong means that every time you leave this place, you are really going abroad either on holiday or business. 

A Battered Passport & Finding Random Currency At Home

With all the frequent international travels, my passport is slowly getting stamped and battered. I’m not sure what you guys out there are thinking, but every time I look at my passport at the immigration queue, the stamps and visas somehow bring back the memory of the previous trips and the anticipation of another exciting adventure. Secretly, I almost think that is something to brag about?!

Apart from the passport, another thing must have is the local currency of the country that you travel to. It is almost a ritual to pay a visit to the bureau de change every time you go abroad (unless you live in the Eurozone). Almost each time, I end up having some leftover at home, even thought I try to spend the last penny at the airport. These random notes and coins end up lying everywhere in the house, wallet and bags. I recently paid for some grocery (in Hong Kong) in a mix of Hong Kong dollars and random foreign coins without noticing, until the lady at the till pointed out!

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My battered passport with a Lao visa, Thai stamp and a Chinese stamp. Some random coins from the Philippines, Taiwan, Japan and China… I haven’t been to the states for many years, but it is useful to keep some at home as you will find it useful in some countries in Southeast Asia, where one can be a millionaire very easily.

Life changing experience

Apart from these “superficial” mementos, travelling is a continuous life changing experience for me. It opens my eyes on other culture and history as well as how people think and act. Of course trying a different cuisine is a major part too! Some of these trips make me realise how lucky and privileged I am, especially when travelling across many parts of China and Southeast Asia, where wealth gap can be enormous. These experience made me more humble and appreciative to many things in live. It also made me wonder whether the ‘rat race’ life is worth it, given that people can live happily with very little.

Laos – My favourite country

Laos, by far one the most memorable countries that I travelled to. Not only did Hayley and I went there for our honeymoon, but also culturally very different to what we had seen before. The combinations of Buddhism, French colonial past and old communist regime made it very interesting.

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A typical Lao village – some of these villages can only be accessed on foot via mountain paths

Of course it is one of the country of less travelled and one of the poorest in the world. Hayley and I loved meeting the people there and tried to explore the way they live. In the villages, animals roamed freely and people lived in bamboos huts. Children played with toys that we would only see in the museum. It felt like we went back into the past.

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Typical evening in a Lao village – having a fire outside the house is the way to keep warm and cook. It’s some mesmerising
Video of our honeymoon at Thailand, Laos and Vietnam

We were also privileged to have participated in the Hmong new year, where the Hmong people from all over Laos travelled to Luang Prabang to celebrate. People dressed up in the traditional outfit and young people took the opportunity to meet their future partners.

Have you been to somewhere very different from your home? Have you experienced / seen that you have never seen before? Comment below and let me know.

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4 Comments Add yours

  1. It wasn’t too long ago when it was the same in Europe. I lived near the Slovenian and Italian border before, so we went there a lot for just one day trips. Or just to drink a cup of coffee or for lunch. (We even do now when we visit my parents.)
    My old passport is full of stamps from there and we had lots of different European money at home too. Now, we only find Hong Kong dollars and Japanese yen at home. Last time I even found a 1000HKD bill lying around in a cupboard.
    Living in the middle of Europe I theoretically have lots of opportunities to travel abroad, but somehow I only end up in Japan or Hong Kong all the time.

    Your pictures look great! I would also love to go to Thailand once. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. yhpchung says:

    Going to a neighbouring country for a cup of coffee or lunch sounds like a good day out time me. It’s nice just to explore the town, visit the churches etc.

    Yes, Thailand is nice and I would recommend it. Lots of beautiful beaches, jungles and full of culture too.

    Like

  3. Laos is also my favourite country! I took my mother there for a month and it was one of the best experiences of my life. So relaxed, so beautiful, I understand why there are people who travel there for a holiday and never leave (we met several!)

    Liked by 1 person

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