As an avid traveller, I started this blog to share some travel tips and just to document my experiences. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed reliving the memories to bring you these stories. As my first post, let me tell you a bit about myself. I’m a software developer by trade and I live in Toronto, Canada. I live together with my wife, son, and feisty little Shiba Inu dog - you will probably see them in many of the photos I feature on this blog as we tend to travel together (except, not usually the doggo). My first experiences with travel overseas were family trips when I was still in elementary school. While I did enjoy the trips from a “it’s better than being in school” perspective, I never really appreciated the adventure aspect of travel until much later. Even the first time I had any kind of “solo” (I use the term loosely) travel experience, when I was about 20 years old and went to Munich and Rome for the first time ever, I didn’t really want to be there. My mother had convinced me that I’m somewhat of a philistine and needed to culture myself through an immersive European experience (at my own cost, which was begrudgingly accepted by me - I had really just wanted to use my summer job savings to buy a new PC). The trip did not leave me with a sense of wonder, nor did it really work in terms of making me into a cultured man. It wasn’t until years later that I really caught the travel bug.
If I had to try to pin point a precise moment for when the travel bug really hit me it was after I met my wife. We had been together a few months when she told me she has to go back to China to visit family and asked if I wanted to tag along. I weighed the pros and cons:
- Pro: I’d get to go to a drastically different country, with a completely different culture, and experience the whole thing with a tour guide (my girlfriend) who speaks the local language fluently. I’d get the kind of first-hand, authentic, “like the locals” experiences that all these travel aficionados are always bragging about and really get to see the lay of the land.
- Con: I didn’t have a lot of money, being a student on a summer job salary
- Pro: I had no idea that I’d end up marrying this girl, so there was no telling if this kind of opportunity would ever present itself again if we did end up parting ways. This was literally a once in a lifetime opportunity I thought.
- Con: Again, 💸
I decided, what the hell, I had nothing better to do with the time off after finishing at my summer job and having several grand saved in the bank so next thing I knew I was applying for a visa. I’m not going to dive deep into every aspect of the trip but needless to say the combination of a fantastic travel partner (my now wife; 😘 you Jen!), a very favorable exchange rate, and numerous adventures and challenges in China, I was hooked. Since then I’ve been around the world to at least 4 continents and about 150 cities in about 20 countries. I know it’s not a lot compared to some of the more seasoned travellers out there, but thus far I’ve had some terrific experiences and have learned a lot about the world and about how to improve my travelling game. I want to bring some of those experiences and learnings to you, dear reader so I hope you enjoy reading this blog and hopefully get something out of it. I’ll leave you now with this over-used, and sort of pretentious quote that nonetheless I find myself always thinking back to:
The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page. – Saint Augustine