My life was turned upside down when I returned from a trip overseas and a few weeks after my Hong Kong quarantine, my partner texted me from another girl’s apartment stating that we were breaking up. When I received the text I remember sitting down on the bed and my first reaction was annoyance and oddly enough relief. The relief was short lived as the devastating wave of what was to come crashed over me – breaking up sucks because you lose someone but the part that truly devastates (when you’re not actually in love) is having to let go of the future you had been staking on for so long.
It’s a symbolic death of your future potential and an earthquake to your current perceptions of the world. But I didn’t forget that momentary feeling of relief, I hadn’t admitted it to myself but I had been unhappy in the relationship, with the man I had chosen, and more importantly I was unhappy with who I had become. For years, I had traded in my identity and who I wanted to be for the idea of stability and for an ideal of love to anyone who would reciprocate which is a quick ticket to unhappiness.
With all that fear, it’s much easier to stay at home in our comfort zones
than to break out and travel.
The last time I had gone through a major breakup in my early twenties I had fled my home country to come to Hong Kong to start afresh and I had spent my first months partying and drinking away any hope for self-reflection. But this time was different. After a few days of being covered in melted ice cream and red wine stains, crying on the couch watching hated romcoms, I sat with myself, alone, in full discomfort and some disdain.
Who was I? What did I want from this world before I die? What will my life look like from now on?
I had never really been single before, going from partner to partner from the age of 16, so the mantle of singledom was a responsibility I was desperate to shirk. The thing about being in a relationship is that you can pass off decision making to the other person. You don’t have to decide what your favourite colour is, you just have to remember your partners. You don’t need to decide what you want to do with your free time, you just adopt the hobbies of your partner.
It was time to find out what I wanted to do, and who I wanted to become.
So, on one particularly bad day, I sat and wrote down everything I want to do before I die. I reached in deep within myself and thought back to when I was a child and would dream about what was out in the world and all the amazing things I would do once I’m grown. It made me realize that I had become out of touch with that little girl and all her fantastical dreams and so I gave her full voice as I wrote down my list. What is life if it’s not meant to be lived? I had nothing stopping me, no partner, no children, no family (stopping me), no mortgage, no bills to pay.
Next, I calculated how much money I would need and whether I was ready for my Hong Kong chapter to come to a close. I gave myself at least six months in Hong Kong to save up my funds, live up the single life, and enjoy my newfound lease on life, then I would decide. So about two months ago I knew in my bones that it was time, so I handed in my month resignation and started preparing. These past nine months have been the best in my life – from deepening of the friendships I had, making new friends, improving the relationship I have with myself, to wild nights, early morning hikes, and to truly falling in love with someone when I wasn’t expecting it.
But I knew no matter what those nine months entailed I would stay true to myself and for the first time in my life I would put myself first. So here I am, wrapping my normal yuppy city life to buy one-way tickets around the world, living out of my Aura 65L osprey pack, ready for new experiences of the world until my money runs out!
I’ve made this website more as a documentation of my travels for myself and for my loved ones who might take any interest. If you are here and reading this, then thank you, and I am honoured <3