Almost exactly a year ago, I made the decision to uproot myself from Singapore and move all the way up north to Denmark. I remember it was during the Easter holidays that I had a long conversation with my parents about quitting my somewhat decent-paying job and pursue something completely different (and one that is potentially not going to pay me very well).
It has definitely been one of the best decisions in my life.
I have learned a lot of new things, become a little street-wiser (although I know someone who thinks I still have a looong way to go, to the extent that I need to live on the streets in Nairobi before I can even be somewhat decent. Yep, he is brutally honest, but we are also still friends, which probably means that I agree with him), travelled to some amazing places in Europe, seen the Northern Lights and lived in two new cities (so far).
But it has also been one of the most confusing situations that I have got myself into.
I have been having a lot of difficulty in updating what’s been happening in my life on this blog. Whenever I sit in front of my computer, I simply do not know what to write. Not because nothing has been happening and that I have very few things to update. In fact, I have a whole Airbus-sized-cabin to update, but I just can’t find a way to do so.
At first I couldn’t quite place why this is the case, but these days I have come to realise that the reason I have been having some writer’s block about my own life is because things have been happening so fast that nothing has properly sunk in on me yet. I left Singapore, my home for nine years, last September, tried to settle into my new home Aarhus, only to find out a month later that my supposedly one-year stay would be cut short to mere 6 months because I got this incredible opportunity to finish my first year of Master’s at UC Berkeley. So within a span of half a year, I have had to move across three different countries in three different continents.
I have always thought that our planet is a beautiful place. But I have never really comprehended nor imagined how beautiful it can be before visiting Alaska in 2012. It was my first time travelling for nature – previously it has always been for a mix of historic sites and culture plus a bit of nature but never was the entire trip dedicated to immerse myself in nature, from the landscape to the animals that depend on it.
When my dad first sounded the idea that we should visit Alaska, I looked at him incredulously. Mainly because I mistakenly thought that Alaska and Antarctica were the same thing (and I found out later on that a lot of people had this misconception). How on earth were we supposed to get there? And what is there to do besides looking at vast expanse of nothing but white?
This is the part where I’m glad that I’m such a dutiful daughter that despite thinking the idea was out of this world, I still went ahead and did some research. Of course, the first thing that I found out was that Alaska was NOT the same as Antarctica (how did I even make the connection?). I mean it was still cold, but summer seemed manageable and even pleasant. Secondly, it was not that hard to get to Alaska. Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport is well connected to other parts of the States and Canada. Alternatively you could take a 8-day cruise to and from Vancouver or Seattle. Which was what we did – we booked an 8-day Royal Caribbean Cruise from Anchorage to Vancouver and before the cruise we drove about 300 km to Denali National Park.
As it turned out, there is so much more to Alaska than the coldness it seems to have a reputation of. Here are my favourite moments in Alaska that hopefully will inspire you to get visiting next summer.
I love looking at old travel pictures. Besides bringing back so many wonderful memories, they give me the reassurance that I have indeed grown up over the past few years, albeit very slightly.
My visit to the Statue of Liberty was testimony of this. Since the conversation about New York City has come up a few times recently, I decided to look through pictures from my very first visit to New York and the United States back in 2009. And boy, I know people have often called me childish, but if they had seen how I behaved back then, they would probably think I am a proper mature adult now.
The visit started normally enough. We made our way from Wall Street to Battery Park Ferry Terminal rather uneventfully, except for some cheeky stranger who deliberately told us to take the wrong Subway line and me pretending that the clouds were speech bubbles.
And off we went to Liberty Island, leaving Manhattan behind us.