On Travel - Purpose of our trip, talking to strangers and saying proper Goodbye

On Travel - Purpose of our trip, talking to strangers and saying proper Goodbye
Photo by Marcus Loke / Unsplash


After finishing the contract with my previous company, I decided to take a break and embark on an unknown journey to figure out the answers.

Turns out, I gained a lot from the trip. It wasn't just a 2-month holiday to escape from work. I visited my friends, colleagues, and relatives in different countries, and I met new friends on the plane and in the hostel.

During the trip, I had conversations with others about life, parenting, career, love, travel, financial freedom, cities, books, and more. One of my friends encouraged me to write down my thoughts, reflections, and principles in these areas so that I can refine and refer to them in the future.

This piece contains my thoughts and reflections on travel

  1. Objective - We all need a purpose for our trip
  2. People you met during the journey - A stranger is a friend you haven't met
  3. Farewell - Saying a proper Goodbye

Objective - We all need a purpose for our trip

Having a clear purpose for each trip is essential. Initially, these purposes might be somewhat vague, but with more travel experience, they tend to become more defined.

But why is having a purpose necessary?

Wasn't travel meant to embody freedom and flexibility? When embarking on journeys, we're faced with a continuous stream of decisions. Should we visit a particular place? Should we spend time resting in the hotel or exploring the city? Should we reach out to people we don't know to have coffee?

The purpose of a trip acts as a compass when making decisions before and during the trip.

The main purpose of my trip was to determine if certain cities were livable and if I could potentially live in them one day. With this purpose in mind, I spent most of my time staying in the cities, avoiding tourist attractions, mirroring my Hong Kong lifestyle in these cities by using public transport, going to the gym, and grocery shopping. I also spent time catching up with local friends and colleagues and asked for their impressions of the city.

My trip fulfilled its purpose. Now, if you ask me if I would live in these cities in the future, I can confidently say that I would probably want to live in Kuala Lumpur and Hong Kong.

My impression of these cities

9 Factors for a Liveable Cities - Compare Hong Kong, Taipei, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur
When I was travelling around and observing different cities and people living there. I always wondered if I could move here for 1 to 2 years, will I enjoy life here.

Learn more about my impression of different cities 

People you met during the journey - a stranger is a friend you haven't met

If you were to ask me what travel means to me, a couple of years ago, it was about exploring and understanding different cultures. Now, I would say it's about being inspired by the people you meet on your journey.

Quote from a book I read on the road

"All my favorite memories revolve around the people who were there and how they made me feel at the time. It was never the place. That was merely the backdrop."

From Ten Years a Nomad: A Traveler's Journey Home by Matt Kepnes

When I was in Kuala Lumpur, there was a jazz bar I visited regularly. On a night when they had a big band jazz performance (jazz music played with more than 10 musicians), I was looking for some people to share a bottle of wine with me, so I struck up a conversation with the person next to me. He was a well-dressed gentleman, dressed exactly like a character from "The Great Gatsby."

Turns out, he was from India and owned a jazz bar there. But running a jazz bar was only his side project; he was the owner of a steel factory in India and had earned his MBA in New York in the '80s.

We talked about running (or not running) a jazz bar, how difficult it was to find a saxophone player in India (I used to play the saxophone, so I was surprised by this), watches, and tailors. These all are not typical topics I can talk with others.

This coincidence and starting conversations with others always make my travels more special.

Farewell - Saying a proper goodbye

During your solo travel adventures, you'll encounter new faces more frequently and sometimes you'll meet someone with whom you feel a connection. At first, it may start with a conversation about your trip, but as time passes, it can turn into something deeper - conversations about your life, childhood, relationships, and values.

Everything just happened at the right place and the right time, These beautiful moments turn into a romantic encounter, but as with all good things, they must come to an end.

Even though the time together was brief, it's important to say a proper goodbye. Express your gratitude, share your favourite attribute about that person, and reminisce about the moment you two spent together one last time. Hopefully, this will create long-lasting memories.

And perhaps, a couple of years later, when you think about the trip you took or visit that country again, the cherished memories of these romantic encounters will remain with you. Remember, saying goodbye properly is an important part of the journey.

Movie Recommendation - the movie I re-watch on my trip

Hanatabamitai na koi o shita (2021) ⭐ 7.4 | Drama, Romance
2h 4m
Before Sunrise (1995) ⭐ 8.1 | Drama, Romance
1h 41m | AL