Friday, December 21, 2018

Around The World In 12 Years

Finally, I did it! I've traveled all across the globe. Not exactly in 80 days, but still quicker than expected.

My lifelong goal was to visit every continent of the world. But there's a catch - it has to be an 'accidental adventure'. Only places which I did not intentionally plan to visit counted - or in other words, places which I visited due to work, events or free trips.

Last week, I hit the beaches of Rio de Janeiro - and in doing so, ticked the last remaining box off my world tour i.e. 'South America'. It was quite a lucky break. My brother won a football-related contest for two, and kindly invited me along. That's how I got the samba groove on.

Despacito! Joga bonito!
* * *

Finally, just like my idol Pitbull, I can truly claim the title of 'Mister Worldwide'.

Visiting all continents is quite an amazing feat, considering I'm quite a 'reluctant traveler'. It's not that I hate travelling. For when do I actually travel, I try to make the most of the journey. It's just that I have no time and chance to plan my own personal trips.

My very first international trip was to the USA in 2006 - to represent Malaysia for the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition at Washington DC.

And since then, I had the good fortune of 'adventures' piling up on my calendar due to external circumstances, and none of my own planning.

In university, mooting and debates expanded my horizons. As a regional legal counsel at Shell, work took me across America, Europe and Asia (one of my travel 'hack' is to extend my work trips for a few days in different places i.e. work transit). And now that I'm back in my alma mater as a moot coach, the world tour keeps on going...

Here's a list of countries I have passed through on my 'accidental adventures' since 2006:

1. China (moot)
2. India (work)
3. Vietnam (debate)
4. Cambodia (moot)
5. Indonesia (work)
6. Singapore (work, moot)
7. Thailand (work)
8. Japan (work transit, moot)
9. South Korea (debate)

10. United Kingdom (work)
11. Italy (work transit)
12. Spain (work transit)
13. Germany (work transit)

North America
14. USA (work, moot)

15. Australia (moot)

16. Kenya (moot)

South America
17. Brazil (free trip)

King's Landing Dover Castle

* * *

I'm not a traveler, but instead an adventurer.

Hence, the best adventures are usually solo trips where I'm trekking to the unknown alone. No fixed itinerary, constant detours, mingling with the locals, enjoying each day as it comes.

The way I travel is very much like the way I live my life.

Bear in mind that I didn't join moots or debates, nor choose to work in Shell, because of the prospects of traveling. The trips were all an unexpected bonus of hard work.

I always wished to travel all around the world. But I never once laid out meticulous plans to achieve that dream. I just harboured a fleeting hope that fate will take me there, someday.

And true enough, fate has taken me around the world in 12 years.

London Bridge Brooklyn Bridge

* * *

The lesson here is not to stop making life plans or leaving all your life decisions to fate, of course.

Rather, the lesson is that life can take you to wonderful places, if only you are bold enough to strike down paths unknown without any expectation where they will take you.

I don't know where my next adventure will be - and that's the best part of life.

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