Ka Ea writes about her love affair with travelling.
It was quite an old-fashioned love story set in Klang many moons ago. Most of the signs were there:
I was discouraged from doing it when I was a young girl.
Father hated the “boy” (and still does).
I gave it up to be filial but as soon as I became an adult, I couldn’t wait to lose my virginity.
Now, I am just promiscuous.
Let this be a cautionary tale to all: be as promiscuous as you can because the pleasure of having multiple new adventures and experiences really make it all worthwhile.
Before you start to get all excited or disgusted, hold your horses. I am talking about travelling and since this is a Valentine Day’s special edition, I’ll be writing about my love affair with travelling.
My love for travelling did not start early. As a young girl, I didn’t really have the privilege to travel. It wasn’t because my family couldn’t afford it, but my Father hates traveling more than he hates any back-stabbing-double-face business associates. Needless to say, I was discouraged from going anywhere further than Genting Highlands.
My first international “fling” was Singapore. (Yes, my standard was pretty low then. ;) ) I was 18. It didn’t leave much impression on me except for the glittering lights and shopping malls at Orchard Road and the zoo. I thought the latter was the most amazing zoos I had ever seen, but then I only had the National Zoo of Malaysia as comparison.
I think the first time I ever took a flight was to London. That was the biggest journey I had to make in my life as a young adult and it ended up being my longest ever “relationship” because I stayed for 4 years.
It was also the journey that changed my life forever. If there is any way of describing it, going to the United Kingdom was like the aftermath of eating the forbidden apple in the Garden of Eden. My eyes were opened and I saw many new things which I couldn’t see before. I was able to form my own opinions about them without having someone else telling me first. I became someone who responds to temptation and of course, like Eve, I ended up having to pay for it.
I must admit that I was a complete country bumpkin when I left home to pursue my undergraduate studies in Wales. I might as well packed my things in one of those blue-red-white checked plastic bags used by village people from China and wore my hair in two pigtails. Instead, I had packed all my belongings into one super-sized luggage that could probably fit two contortionists easily. My best friend’s uncle who was meeting us at the train station in Leeds had to lug it all the way to his house and I was rather embarrassed for imposing such a heavy burden on him.
I also didn’t know how to eat with a fork and knife properly and I couldn’t stand eating the food there. You can tell I was a total loser.
I was extremely homesick during the first year and I can’t really pin-point what had changed but by the second year, I was feeling quite at home. I began to enjoy my life as a student and partied hard with my housemates and foreign friends. I even stayed back during the long summer holidays by working as a waitress and bar tender at the local student union cafeteria and bar.
At the end of my final year, my best friend and I rewarded ourselves by taking a bus tour around Western Europe. We travelled to the usual hot spots; Rome, Paris, Brussels, Luxembourg and Frankfurt. I did not fall in love with Paris, but I did with Rome instead. I find the latter to be one of the most elegant and romantic places I had ever been to. Italy, in general, gives me a warm, lively and happy feeling. The local language is music to the ears and the gelato is to die for. I ended up going to Italy three times and I think it is my favourite place to be in Europe.
Since then, I began to travel more and more; an average of three times a year. I suppose I was addicted to it by then. I had gone to Canada, Netherlands, Tunisia, Spain and Cyprus while I was doing my Masters in Nottingham.
I can’t describe exactly what it feels like when I travel but I can say in all certainty that one of the best things about it is the anticipation. Very often, the moment I booked my air ticket, my mind has already begun to travel to that destination.
Here are 10 reasons why I love travelling:
I hope to have this love affair for a long time. St. Augustine said, “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only a page.”
I’m looking forward to the next chapter.
Ka Ea is the Executive Officer of the Constitutional Law and Criminal Law committees at the Bar Council. She is the only full-time, paid staff running the MyConstitution Campaign. She searches for her inner LoyarBurok at night. During her free time, she writes for The Malaysian Insider.