Sunday, May 06, 2007

Time to Travel

I woke up this morning with a strange feeling. It was something I hadn't experienced in more than three months. It was a sense of peace, a complacency, but it masked something deeper and more complex, something that set me on edge. It was a feeling I'd experienced during my last few weeks in New York City, when I knew there was a trip around the corner, a world waiting to be discovered. I was comfortable: I had a routine, a warm bed, cable television and 24/7/365-access to the Internet. What would happen when I unplugged, when I started living out of a backpack and changing my address every few days? That deeper feeling was fear. As long as I stayed in one place, I was fine. What would happen when I ventured into the unknown?

Such is the life of a traveler. I've been in Singapore for two weeks and, frankly, I've become a bit too comfortable. If the joy of travel is facing the unexpected and the new (some say it's the people, I think that sentiment is overrated), it's time for me to once again cast off the familiar and jump into the unknown.

I'm a fan of the travel maxim that you can either live in one place and change your clothes every day, or wear the same clothes and change the place. A few days ago my friend Karen from The Inn Crowd hostel remarked on the static nature of my wardrobe. It was an innocuous comment. But to me it was as obvious as flashing neon: Time to move on. So I've decided to leave Singapore in the morning and head to Pulau Tioman, an island off the east coast of peninsular Malaysia. According to legend, it is the home of a dragon princess who offers shelter and comfort to travelers.

I will miss Singapore. I've written about stuffing my face with delicious food, giving short shrift to the rest of my experience here. There's not much for a visitor to do here other than work, eat, shop and sleep. The travelers I've met have spent their time at Sentosa Island (an amusement park), at the zoo and spending way too much for beer at nightclubs. These things don't interest me. I spent the time buying supplies; watching movies ("Sunshine," "Spider-Man 3," "The Wind That Shakes the Barley"); making new friends (Billie, Karen, Margie, Giovanni, Pete); reading ("Special Topics in Calamity Physics"), writing (Packmonkey, pieces for Time Out Singapore and , taking photos; and generally taking a break from my break. I also played tourist with visits to the National Orchid Garden, the Merlion and Shuang Lin Monastery.

I spoke with my friend Elizabeth in New York City this morning (Skype, .021 cents a minute!) and she supplied another sign in flashing neon. I was telling her how I'll miss free Internet access and afternoon Starbucks, and she said I could have stayed in New York City if that's what I want. Thanks for pointing out the obvious, Lizzie.

What's the point of this post? Nothing more than it's time to become a traveler again. And to find something new to write about.

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Blogger Renee said...

Kathleen gave me the link to your blog and am so enjoying following the tales of your travels. It's bringing back memories from my childhood - mangosteen, yum. All I remember about Singapore was Tiger Balm Gardens, which totally freaked me out.

5:23 AM  

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