Oh, the places you’ll go!

Look at that! Two blog entries in one week! This must be some sort of world record! I kid, I kid… But before I dive into today’s blog, I just wanted to let everyone know – because obviously, my blog sees loads of regular visitors, so that’s why I’m using the word “everyone” – which reminds me that I haven’t set up Google Analytics on this new domain yet – that I reread my previous blog entry and made some edits to it. My blog entries are statistically unproven 99% word vomit, which means I don’t reread or edit my blogs after I click “publish”. Apologies if you’ve noticed any pronounced grammar errors in my past entry!

Anyhow, I met up with two of my longtime friends today, and on my way home, the get-together made me daydream about all the places I wanted to visit in my 20s and 30s.

I have been friends with these two ladies since I was 13-years-old. We first met online on a Neopets forum called “Dizzy Cafe”; in later years, it was called “Delirium” and “Aura”. They were the first ever online friends I met in person. This was back near the beginning of university, in 2007 or 2008. Now, at 25-years-old, the three of us are moving into a brand new stage of our lives. I recently graduated; Jess just finished teaching her first year in Korea; and Niki just got engaged. On my way home from the get-together, I counted the years that we’ve known each other, and I couldn’t believe that I have known these two women for over a decade of my life. We met up today because we all recently came back from a trip overseas, so we decided to meet up so we could catch up on each other’s lives. At The Drake Hotel’s Sky Yard patio, we chatted Hungary (Niki), Korea (Jess), Brazil (me), along with general updates about our lives.

It was the discussion about the countries we recently visited that stood out to me the most. Ever since I’ve been back from Brazil – it’s been a month since I’ve been back! Can you believe it? – I’ve been bitten by the travel bug. Today’s conversations really had me thinking: What are the top places I want to visit before I turn 40?

So on my way home, I made a mental list, which I will publish here, in no particular order:

  • Australia: Mostly because I really want to visit the Great Barrier Reef!
  • Egypt: I want to do a double whammy of both Cairo and Alexandria. Alexandria because I was obsessed with the Ancient Library of Alexandria when I was a kid. How grand it must have been, to carry so many culturally important scrolls and documents within its rooms. Although it’s no longer standing, it still fascinates me (and saddens me) that so much was lost in that fire. Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could somehow time travel to a day in time when the library was still standing? Its semi-replacement, Bibliotheca Alexandrina looks to be a worthy of a visit though. I am not entirely sure why I want to visit Cairo, but for some reason, that Egyptian city fascinates me too. Also, Egypt has the pyramids! An obvious must see.
  • Tibet: I have an impression of Tibet being a naturally stunning country. I am not sure if it would be an ideal place to visit when I am young and loving cities, but from the photos and videos I’ve seen, Tibet just looks beautiful!
  • London, England: Their long history and their modern culture are so interesting! Plus, London is a rather short flight away from Toronto. Very do-able for a 20-something-year-old.
  • South Korea: Food. I love Korean food. I also want to get LASIK surgery done there.
  • Japan: I think I might leave this place until after my 40s. I’ve heard Tokyo is very expensive, and I don’t think I can afford that right now, especially with OSAP payments coming up!
  • Greenland: I definitely want to visit Greenland one day, and hopefully before my 40s too. The photos and videos I’ve seen of the country are absolutely stunning, and it seems like one of those naturally beautiful places that would take your breath away!
  • Hong Kong, China: I have never visited Hong Kong since immigrating to Canada when I was a kid, so I have no recollection of what it is like as a city. As a city lover, I define Hong Kong as the city of all cities. Its skyscrapers, huge population and superb transit system are things I would like to experience. Plus, I can almost speak the language fluently, so that’s a huge advantage for me!
  • Shanghai, China: I have heard stories about Shanghai’s smog problems, but regardless, I would still like to visit the city. It looks like a stunning, up-and-coming city in China, so I want to be able to be apart of it as it grows! I also want to visit a city where I can learn and practise my Mandarin.
  • Taiwan: Mainly because of their food.
  • Sao Paolo, Brazil: I wasn’t able to leave the Sao Paolo airport when I visited Brazil this summer, but because I’ve heard lots of great things about it as a city from my friends in Brazil, it has entered into my list of places I want to visit! I hear that it is the most multicultural cities in Brazil, and is much much bigger than Toronto in size. I love cities, so these characteristics are something I want to check out!

The list is obviously incomplete because I am sure there are dozens of other places I’d like to visit but I can’t think of them right now! What do you guys think of my list? I’ve contemplated on adding places like Venice or Rome on to the list, but I feel like they can be left for a later stage in my life rather than in my 20s or 30s.

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Also got to listen to @justinpjtrudeau speak about diversity in Toronto. He really is a handsome and charismatic world leader... 🤩
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  • It's been an entire week since I landed in Toronto, and I haven't updated my little Instagram photo blog gallery. Lots of wedding preparation stuff have happened so far – my brother's, of course, not me, #SingleLady – but none of them relate to the photo I'm posting today.⁣
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I did an epic journey via Uber and train from Canary Wharf, London to Gatwick Airport with three massive luggages and one carry-on on my last morning in the UK. It took me three hours because I had to somehow get all three bags – two of them were overweight, one of which was 31kg – from the second floor of my apartment building to the @AirTransat airline counter. An airline counter that wasn't even in the same terminal as the train station I would be arriving in.⁣
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So, from second floor flat, to a 30+ minute Uber to Blackfriars, to the second floor of the Blackfriars train station (by lugging two bags 20 metres, then the other two 40 metres, repeat), to the Gatwick Airport train station, to getting an airport employee to find a trolley for me (by asking him nicely as I stood there waiting by my four bags because lol I'm not going to drag four bags across a busy airport terminal), to somehow pushing my trolley cart onto the inter-terminal train, to finally, reaching the airline counter of #AirTransat.⁣
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For three hours, from 6:30 AM, to when I finally had all my bags checked in at 9:15 AM, I was running on pure adrenaline. I don't even know how I was able to do it. I was like a bull on a mission, to get from point A to point B to point C etc. But what I also remember, was my body basically crashing into a damn near anxiety attack while at the counter. I was gulping for air, taking deep breaths, and trying to calm myself down. When I finally walked away from the airline counter, I nearly forgot my carry-on on the trolley, and when I finally had the chance to sit down, my hands were actually shaking. For all the times I've solo travelled around the world in the past year and a half, this has never happened to me before. That morning, I finally understood why airports need therapy dogs.⁣
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(Continued below...)
  • Not the most aesthetic of Instagram photos, but tonight will be my last (out-of-home) dinner in London, so I thought I would make it a very British one: Fish and chips, and a pint of cider on tap. 🍟

Photo taken while at a Reddit meet-up for the season premier of "Game of Thrones"! (The UK plays a rerun of it the night after.)