Dear Europe, maybe next time.

I was on NY Times browsing for editorials when I came across an old article The 46 Places to Go in 2013. There were plenty of impressive images posted in the piece and I got interested in only a handful mentioned. It is weird to read that my country is also on the list. Not sure if I should be proud because my city clearly is more concrete than jungle. I have been traveling around Asia for the last few years and I just can’t get enough of them and Europe has not been on my list of to-go even though I have many friends who have visited and marveled at the cultures.

Incredible negative responses from natives

Parisian cats. Ah.

“Job crisis, money crisis.. blah” My ideal place to get married or have my honeymoon was Paris. Even if I were to head to Europe one day, I’ll skip the city and reserve it for the day. It will be great if my guy is a Paris ‘virgin’ too. I have read up on the multiple locations for beautiful aerial views of Paris’ landmarks and I am sure it will be great. But then… the French/ European rommies that I have met on the road have discouraged me on doing that. They would share that the French can’t wait to get out of the country and loads of negative stuff that is happening around. In fact, a few of them are constantly on the road in Asia and not returning home. These are the people who had lived in France their whole lives and only made it out after college. It puzzles me. I always miss Singapore whenever I travel for more than a week. My Mum’s dishes, the hawker fare (Gordon Ramsey just had a cooking challenge with our local cooks!) and high speed broadband. I recently got to know an Italian college girl in Nepal. She was the epitome of Italian food because every meal of hers consists of pasta and olive oil. I ROFL when she used olive oil to lubricate a creaking door hinge! She’s pretty, lively and the type of executive any boss would like but she has trouble getting an office job in Italy because she only has a bachelors degree(?!). I feel so bad right now. I should just go on and take up an MBA or be really grateful to my boss for giving me the job. So… the responses from fellow travelers about their home countries were not so favourable but not big enough to turn me off. *I just googled ‘Paris suburbs’ and most of the images were of strikes and smoke bombs. WTH?

5000 years of history

Fortifications of Xi`an: Never try scaling and walking it after a big chinese breakfast

Chinese history = 5000 years ++. I visited China for a three-city backpack and fell in love with the land of dragons. To add on, I had the best guides ever in friends who grew up there. The hospitality and warmth I have experienced was indescribable. As a Chinese, I always felt out of place for my poorly spoken mandarin. But in China, I was proud to demonstrate what I had learnt in Chinese classes, amusing some of the locals with my accent and sentences which was peppered with English. I am narcissistic to a certain degree and when a group of people love me, I love them back even more. China is a place I will love to live in, if given the opportunity. They have everything! I just love how rich in history the land is. Add in the neighbours India, Nepal, Sri Lanka and nearby SEA countries, I will never have time for Europe! I totally forgot about my favourite South Korea and its hermit kingdom bro! And awesome Thai massages.. list goes on.

Innate stubbornness

Just because many of my friends have toured Europe doesn’t mean I have to do it too. I would gladly take on Africa or North and South America any day. My finances aren’t that bad. Plus my Mum’s in a spending funk right now so I think I’ve gotten a potential sponsor. (Ha!) Having stubbornly denied Europe, I would still love to visit Paris and explore the Nordic region. It seems like rumours are true, the best looking people are the Scandinavians. (Ha! x 3) I’ve only met a few of them and I think all Caucasians look the same to me. Maybe a visit will prove me wrong.

What’s next

I am in the midst of planning a coastline railway tour of Vietnam in August/September, starting my journey from Hanoi. The tour will include the coastal cities of either Hue or Danang, and end at Ho Chi Minh City. I am buying my tickets ASAP. I saw this Royal Enfield bike tour available in Hanoi and I am totally psyched!

We shall see. Dear Europe, maybe next time.