An International Experience: October 2017 to February 2018.
From October 2017 to February 2018 I went on a journey. I travelled around Southeast Asia and met people from all walks of life, enjoyed various local delicacies and experienced true Singaporean, Thai, Indonesian and Taiwanese cultures.
In order to truly capture my experiences abroad to share with friends and family back home, I started creating travel videos encompassing moments from each country I visited. My Go Pro Hero 5 essentially became my best friend and I started a Youtube Channel under the alias, “The Hoppy Hippy.”
I’m sure you’re wondering why I would venture on such a quest and/or what could have inspired me to start The Hoppy Hippy project. I’ll tell you why; because why not? I knew once I started my career in a new city I would become a workhorse (it’s a default of my personality). Therefore I thought, why not take the opportunity to travel the world, indulge my natural curiosity of other cultures and gather inspiration for future creative projects? I had nothing to lose and everything to gain.
Each country I visited was entirely different from the next, hence each gets it’s own segment below. If you are one who loves traveling and learning about other’s experiences abroad you will enjoy this project! And if you are deciding whether or not to pursue a journey such as mine, pursue it. You won’t regret it.
“Wanderlust consumed her; foreign hearts and exotic minds compelled her. She had a gypsy soul and a vibrant hope for the unknown.” – D. Marie
Sentosa, Little India and Chinatown, Singapore | October 5, 2017 to February 2, 2018
Singapore is a small city-state at the tip of Malaysia. Most people would not be able to spot it on a map but don’t let that deceive you, this country has a lot to offer. Singapore is known for hosting a variety of cultures and people. It is also known as Southeast Asia’s international business hotspot. If you enjoy cultural immersive experiences while traveling and/or are interested in international business, place this country on your bucket list.
A lot of my time in Singapore was spent indulging myself in the local cuisine and discovering cultural sites. Chinatown, Little India, Arab Street you name it, I went there. I witnessed people praying to their deities and Gods, entered temples dressed in religious figures and statues and experienced some of the richest cultural celebrations you could ever imagine. I happened to land in Singapore just in time for the Hindu Festival of Lights, Deepavali. If Indian culture is something that peaks your interests, you can catch a glimpse of this celebration in my Little India video below. It was one of my favorite moments in Singapore.
As you’ll see in my photos and videos, Singapore is a beautifully diverse country. You can satisfy your taste buds with almost any cuisine your heart desires and you won’t ever be more than a 15 minute ride away from a cultural haven. But don’t just take my word for it! Visit when you get the chance!
Bali and Lombok, Indonesia | November 22, 2017 to December 4, 2017
Oh Indonesia, how I miss you. Indonesia is another country located in Southeast Asia. It shares borders with Papa New Guinea, East Timor and eastern Malaysia, it’s central location makes it a very popular destination for travelers all over Asia as well as Australia. If you’re one who loves meeting other travelers from all over the world like I do (especially Australians), Bali and Lombok are just for you. This is where I met some of my now closest friends.
Indonesia’s tropical environment makes it hard to resist for those that enjoy the outdoors. You’ll find beaches, jungles and mountains all in the confines of these islands. Actually while I was in Bali, Mount Agung (a stratovolcano and the highest point in Bali) erupted and I was stranded on the island for another five days. But hey, no complaints here! Who wouldn’t love to extend their stay in such a beautiful country?
If there’s one thing that sets Indonesia apart from other countries, it’s its people. Indonesians are the friendliest, kindest souls you’ll ever meet. I spent a night singing and dancing on Bali’s Kuta beach with a group of locals and other travelers and I remember thinking to myself, “see this, this will forever be an amazing memory.. I love these people.” Nothing shows you the true essence of a country better than its people.
If you’d like to wake up to the sound of prayers sung in mosques and have the sea only 10 minutes from where you sleep, you need to visit Indonesia.
Bangkok, Hua Hin and Ratchaburi, Thailand | November 4, 2017 – November 10, 2017
Thailand has long been an international travel crush of mine. In my room there is a painting of a scene in Thailand. It’s of a man rowing through a river on a wooden boat surrounded by the jungle. Whenever I used to stare up at it, I would envision myself visiting such a place and enjoying the view. And quite so, I did.
Thailand is beautiful. It’s cities are rich of cultural history as one can imagine, and its people are some of the most spiritual. At one point, I visited a temple in Bangkok where there was an enormous Buddha placed in the middle of the room. In front of the Buddha there were people paying respects, meditating, praying; it was the most peaceful sight I have ever come across. I took the opportunity to meditate and enjoy the spiritual presence while in that room.
My travels in Hua Hin and Ratchaburi were a bit different but still amazing (both are rural areas lying a few hours outside of Bangkok). In Hua Hin, I discovered many beach resorts and glorious sunsets, and in Ratchaburi I rode a motorboat through what they call a “floating market.” If you don’t know what a floating market is, it’s a market where goods are sold from boats. You’ll find a feature of Ratchaburi’s floating markets and of Hua Hin’s beaches in my Thailand video.
In light of my time in these three cities, Thailand is a perfect country for those looking for a spiritual journey–as I was. And if you’re a follower of Buddhism, it’s teachings and way of life, no need to look further. Buddhism is very much alive here, you can find a Buddha on almost every corner in each city (literally).
Taipei, Hualien, Dulan, Taitung, Kenting, Kaohsiung, Tainan, Taichung, Puli and Sun Moon Lake, Taiwan | December 12, 2017 to January 3, 2018
My last big adventure–Taiwan. I didn’t know what to expect from this country, all I knew was that I had a friend who had been studying in Taipei for quite sometime and it would be fun to have someone show me around the city. Little did I know my intended 10 days of stay would turn into a 22 day coastal city trip.
I began my adventure in Taipei, traveling around the city visiting its national museums, art exhibits and night markets. Then I made my way by train to Hualien, a city on the east side of the island. About three days before I was meant to leave Hualien and fly back to Singapore, I decided to extend my stay and began traveling with a few friends to Taiwan’s coastal cities. We made a full circle around the country and ended our travels at Sun Moon Lake, a lake lying in the middle of Taiwan. I spent Christmas and New Years 2018 here.
It was quite an unconventional way of celebrating Christmas and New Years, but not for one minute do I regret extending my stay in Taiwan. This was by far the most spontaneous and eye-opening experience I have ever experience and not one day goes by that I forget my travels here. Not only did I travel around an entire country, but I also made many amazing friends–friendships I know that will last a lifetime. (I think my video says it all.)
Need any advice on traveling abroad? Want to learn more about my experiences in these countries? Feel free to shoot me an email! I’d love to share more with you..