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Blog // Travel
September 7, 2011

Vanishing Point

As much I enjoy exploring the world, travelling and moving from country to country, there’s something I don’t enjoy – the process of packing, unpacking and setting up a new home. It’s not just the nuts and bolts of home-making, it’s the feeling of being unknown in a “foreign” land. Here in Singapore we’ve got […]

As much I enjoy exploring the world, travelling and moving from country to country, there’s something I don’t enjoy – the process of packing, unpacking and setting up a new home. It’s not just the nuts and bolts of home-making, it’s the feeling of being unknown in a “foreign” land.

Here in Singapore we’ve got a good place with great bones. It could become an amazing home. But, a good life doesn’t flow out of a place that just looks good – it flows out of a place that feels good.

Normally, a home evolves over many years, but when you move to a new country, it’s hard to be that patient – especially if you’ve come to feel “at home” in the place you left. My last place in London was a minimalist dream, full of white walls and harvested natural light. I left that for a brick and marble rural retreat in Delhi, only to wind up a few years later in a luxurious, dark, soft furnished high rise apartment in Hong Kong. Each of those places came to feel like “home,” but they all were very different from one another.

And, in each case, setting up home was a slow, laborious and isolating experience.

I often felt invisible in my early years living in Hong Kong, as if I simply vanished while waking down the street and no one could see me. Now, I’m in Singapore and I’m back to square one again – people are asking me for a resume for goodness sake – I haven’t written a resume since 1995!

Perhaps that’s why recent blogposts have been so introspective and autobiographical. My days largely consist of sorting through old belongings making sense of things, planning for the future, deciding on furniture and so on – interspersed with the odd meeting and all the logistics of setting up bank accounts, utilities and other services in a new country. Living like that will make anyone contemplative after a while (or just a little crazy).

There are some intriguing work opportunities coming up – if only a few of them pan out, it will be a very good end to the year. And, there is plenty of travel on the horizon, with at least five amazing cities to visit before Christmas (and maybe more).

But, right now I’m a bit of a broken record. Staring at the past, grinding through the present and unclear as to what the future holds.

Something I’ve realised, funnily enough is that during these periods the only thing I seem to do well is write. I haven’t played much guitar in recent weeks and looking back, I didn’t play much in my first months in London, Delhi or Hong Kong either. Same goes for photos.

Writing, however, seems to come to me at these times. In fact if I made more time for it, I could get close to the pace I used to set back when I was in academia. With so much biographical stuff bubbling up, it’s easy to see where the inspiration for writing is coming from.

Having now filed three columns for the South China Morning Post’s family section I had the good news earlier this week that my editor is happy for me to continue writing from Singapore. I’m thrilled to be carrying on with that project.

But, I’m not sure I actually want to keep being so biographical and introspective on this blog. Maybe it’s time to step away from the unpacking and home-making and just create something.

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