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What to expect!

I came across an article “14 things that will inevitably happen if you date a woman who travels” on Matador by Kimberley Chan, which inspires me to write one for myself and my future partner.

I possess a free spirit. I have seen a lot and have tons of ready stories to share. I can be the type to disclose all of my extravagant journeys upfront, or I may prefer to remain silent until the time is right. I am a traveler, if we date, you will be dragged in for some adventures any time. In return, here are few of things you may gain:

1. You will learn to dedicate time to yourself

My travel has given me lots of time spending on my own, taught me to be comfortable with enjoying time by myself. I live to be free and believe that being at peace with myself makes me a better person and live an easier life. If you want to spend time with your friends or family, I won’t be upset or questioning. Instead, I will pamper myself in my favorite corner of a cafe or organize a potluck day with my friends. Eventually, when I make plan on my own, you will learn to enjoy your solo time as well.

- Getting lost in Singapore on the first days of new year 2015 -

2. You will learn to laugh at yourself and embrace the absurdities

You will go on adventures with me and do things that we’re not expecting to. We will make a fool of ourselves by trying to babble a local language we just learnt minutes ago to order food or ask for directions, or even surprise ourselves with the improvising skills. People may laugh at the way we act and dress. We will laugh at the way people do certain things. We will screw up our well-planed schedule, end up missing trains, flights, misunderstanding directions, sleeping on the street, getting robbed. You get frustrated at first, but then you realize that how life is and the absurdity gives it colorful faces.

- It's better to be the ugliest than just "pretty" -

3. I will choose outdoor activities over a blockbuster movie

I will stay in and catch up on some blockbusters once in a while. But I will be more content and excited, if you take me on adventurous dates. Hit the road, explore corners of the town where we haven’t set foot in, eat street food that we have never tried before. Go for a nature exploration in the woods; sign up for a painting, cooking, dancing class together; or take on body-rock challenge together and make a damn good difference to our bodies.

- On Putri island, Indonesia, trying to pose like a model but failed terribly -

4. I will not be impressed by materials

I don’t care about how many fancy things you may possess, but I care how you own and use things smartly. I won’t spend 50$ on clothes or unnecessary things because I know with that amount I can purchase a flight ticket and will be immersing myself in a new place which is a lot more worthwhile. There is no need to buy me a gift, I live in the moment and can define time by nature and plus I have this mentality of living out of a backpack so I really don’t have space for any gift. Impress me by spending time with me, taking me to new places, trying new things with me, and together bettering each other.

- Meanwhile in Prambanan candi, Joyga, Indonesia -

5. You will strive for your dreams

I live my life to the fullest and will be ready to die at some point. Once I envision a destination, I will work hard to get there and when I do, I will make every minute count. I will encourage you to talk and share about your dreams and ambitions, and will always be there to support you on your journey.

- Meanwhile in Shangri La, Yunan, China -

6. You will become more altruist

I have seen and experienced things like: living with a family in a slum where water, electricity was luxurious; spending days on train, bus in long journeys, sharing space with many strangers; seeing people queuing up for their turn to shower in a village public bathroom; teaching kids who had to work after school, carrying heavy goods on their back to the market hoping for a sellout. If you complain about something mundane, I will tell you stories about what I have seen and give you a reality check. I travel to learn to become compassionate, I always try to help people when I can, I won’t close my eyes before injustice (I did before but I’ve learnt to have my say now) and try to redress it no matter what it may turn out to be, at least I will give it a try. I will keep reminding you of the hardships that everyone has to go through, thus appreciate the life that we are living in.

- I took the plunge and shipped my scooter with me to the north of Vietnam, then we rode 1800ish km along the coast back to HCMC -

7. We will grow and better ourselves every day

You will walk alongside the rich and feel overwhelmed. Then, you will walk amongst the poor and feel grateful for what you have. Whether we are at home or on the road, I will share my passion for trying new dishes, learning new languages, and seeing the world in a different way. And every perspective will help us grow.

8. You won’t settle down right away

Don’t expect me to have a life plan, however, I may already picture a family and a house on the beach, a kid, a dog and sadly without you, I will put you in the scenario when the right time comes, but not now. My mind is now fully occupied by non-stoppable journeys to new lands. I want to see the world with my own eyes, feel the soil with my bare feet, breathe in fresh air, touch the sky with all my senses. I want to be as spontaneous and free as I can. If we date, be prepared to go where life takes you to. Indulge each other and all the pretty things that life has to offer. So when is the right time? It's when we are two birds ready to fly free.

- The blue wooden house where I grew up and learned so much from adversities, Milu and I were best friends -

9. Sometimes you will feel unneeded, but most of the time, you will know you are wanted

I’m used to being faced with the unknown and dealing with problems on my own. I won’t need your help to carry a heavy box, or remind me to take care of my health. I will turn down your offer to pick me up because I would rather enjoy the walk, the people streamline on the street to feel alive. I am often being told that I am “too independent” and I am proud of it. I am not afraid to go extra miles or change the whole plan for something that makes me crazy over and pleased with, and when I find it, I treasure it and keep it close to my heart. My mind may deceive myself that I don’t need you but I want you, the truth is I need you and I will hold on to you even if I am on the opposite side of the world, and you should hold on to me too, because a lifetime of adventures will come to our way.

- In Gobi desert, Dunhuang section. We camped one night and trekked 5km through this part -

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