So here it is… I’ve decided to write a blog and I can tell you now that it’s a pretty scary experience trying to decide what to write for your first post. I mean, I like to write – but what can little old me possibly have to say that people might actually be interested to read about?! Well, I do have a few ideas which I daresay will evolve as I go along, but for the first post I’ve decided to go with a little bit of a background – an introduction of sorts if you will. So here goes…
For as long as I can remember, I have always wanted to travel. I remember when I was younger, sitting with my Dad looking at books of ancient places, poring over the pages, listening to my Dad talk to me about what he knew about some of those places. I remember thinking that I’d love to visit some of those places, but they seemed so far off, so unreachable. I thought to myself at the time that I’d probably never get to see them; they were just too far out of my reach. I must have said something along these lines out loud, to which my Dad responded the same way both he and my Mum often did when I came up with the latest childish ‘dream’ of being a model, or inventor, or explorer, or whatever it was I fleetingly decided I’d like to do in that particular moment in time: “You can do anything you want to do in life. If you work hard and keep at it, you can do anything”.
Those are words that have always stayed with me. A realisation, or a confidence that if I want something I can’t just sit and wait for it, I have to go out and find it. I have to make it happen. It felt hard to believe at the time, even with those words of encouragement I found it hard to imagine how I could ever possibly manage to get to visit even one of those places. They were so far off, so exotic, so unlike anything I’d ever seen or heard of before. Staring at those pages of places, cultures, cities and architecture unknown to me it was as though I’d found my own real life fairy tale. Magical, mysterious far off places that captivated my mind.
In early 1997 my brother moved to Hong Kong to live. He had been offered a job out there and left the UK in Sept 1996. I decided I was going to pay him a visit in my summer break from University – after all, this was a perfect opportunity to see somewhere new, explore a new place and culture. To me, it was an opportunity I couldn’t afford to miss. I went off down to the travel agent in Brighton, where I was studying at the time, to book my adventure. I had in my mind that I would go to Hong Kong for 10 days or so. It also so happened that the time I had planned to go was at the time of the handover of Hong Kong sovereignty from the UK to the Chinese. The travel agent assisted me with my plans, but out of nowhere, asked if I had considered combining my holiday with a trip to Thailand. I wasn’t sure. It sounded exciting and the pictures in the pages of the brochure took me back to the time I would pore over the ancient places books with my Dad, but now, I was a student. I wasn’t sure how on earth I could afford to make it happen. I was so excited at the prospect and more than likely due to some well-practised sales tactics from the booking agent I felt I needed to make a quick decision. I told the agent I‘d think about it and scuttled across the road to a quiet side street and called my Mum. I remember that I was half expecting a stern talking to: “how on earth do you think you can afford that, you’re a student, you have to eat and buy books for study!”. Looking back now, I shouldn’t have been surprised at all when my parents told me they thought it was a great idea – when had they really ever said otherwise when there was something I had set my mind to?
So that was it. That was where my adventure as an ‘International Woman of Mystery’ (so-called by my friends for my frequent trips) began in June 1997. I now live in Abu Dhabi and intend to write about aspects of my daily life here, travel and topics that interest me in the hope they might also interest you. Well, there’s only one way to find out…!