“American Tourist”, Walt Disney Resort in Orlando, Florida, 2002

Noot noot !

My first overseas journey took place when I was 6. I was put on a plane to Queens, New York for a 2-month summer camp where I first experienced what is now termed “cultural shock”. I remember crying on the phone everyday and refusing to swim at the school pool because I didn’t want to shower with everyone in the locker room with no curtains. It was funny to look back, because in the end I cried because I didn’t want to go. I eventually opened up, made American (kid) friends and became a braver person.

Midnight painting with my host, Naha, Okinawa, 2013

After I turned 18, I bought tickets to Okinawa, Japan only after finding a host on Couchsurfing. It was my first solo trip abroad and I was inexperienced. My Japanese was broken (still broken) and my backpack over-packed. However I was enlightened by the experience as I felt the taste of freedom and independence, and I got in touch with my own curiosity. Then going on exchange became the biggest plan of my university life. In Sheffield, England, I started my 7-month in Europe of exchange studies, French summer school, visits to my Flatduck friends and travels.

I always carry with me a small notebook, a pen and an instant camera when I travel. To write and to capture are the ways I, without pretense or adornment, record my journeys and feelings, memories and experiences, and a way to reflect on my place in the world. Like my many predecessors who sailed from China to Central Asia, or from Europe to the “New World”, what I write is just an account of what it is like for me to be in a foreign place, not a list of the top ten things to do in a city. If you travel to explore and experience, and you are interested to read very personal accounts of those who had already been – I hope you will like my blog with a pinch of salt (because I am often sarcastic).