So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails.
Explore. Dream. Discover.
I was just looking at pictures of Cotswolds online and felt such a longing to go back to Oxfordshire. I only spent a few hours there when I was in the UK, and didn't take many photos, but shucks, look at these.
I mean, is there anyone living in these places who don't feel like they're in the most beautiful place on Earth?
So yeah, I started looking back at the trips I made last year. I'm really fortunate to have been able to make three trips to places I've never visited before - what's a gap year for, after all?
In August, I went to Penang with Maddie to visit Fang Jiunn before he left for the States. I fell in love with their char kuay teow. I mean, my favourite Singapore food was char kuay teow, but visiting Penang ruined Singapore's char kuay teow for me.
And I also fell in love with their walls. And architecture.
Oh, and we also tried jetskiing and parasailing!!
Anyway, my Penang album can be viewed HERE. A lot of photos of old pretty walls and buildings and Maddie's back lol.
And then, in October, I went to the UK on my own.
I went to Oxford first (album HERE), where I stayed with my parent's friends and their family in the countryside. They own a vineyard. I plucked grapes and labelled wine bottles and walked around thatched-roof houses and marvelled at 12th-century churches. The fields were never-ending. I managed to meet Sarah for a while, and she showed me around a few of the Oxford colleges in the city. Oxfordshire's still the most beautiful place I've ever seen, and probably will always be the most beautiful place in my heart. AND I'VE GOTTA SPEND SOME TIME IN COTSWOLDS WHEN I GO BACK.
And when she asked if I'd like to walk the dog around her place with her...
Sorry the photos are so small and annoying; this new Blogger photos thing totally isn't working for me.
Anyway, I think it was during my return to London at the end of the trip that I spent my days more fruitfully. Theo and I spent a lot of time walking around confusedly in search of guitar shops / studios / Abbey Road etc., and we spent too much time at Oxford Street, so I made sure I planned my days well when I spent my last couple of days there. But yeah, I really liked Camden Market and Kensington Gardens. And Hamley's atmosphere was terrific.
And then Theo and I went to Edinburgh (album's the same as the London one), where we stayed at Budget Backpackers (great place! Definitely recommend it) and met Christabel, who graciously spent a lot of time taking us around :). Her Halloween party was fun - Edinburgh dungons oooh - and we sneaked in for a lecture at the University of Edinburgh (I had previously almost accepted their offer for Lit!) and stuff. Oh, and Christabel took us to Livingston, where we went mad at THE designer outlet shopping centre. That's where I got my $50 Fred Perrys. (Oops, now my cheapskate secret's been leaked) We also went for a little jazz performance thingy at St. Giles' Cathedral. Edinburgh's such a lovely place, so much dark history too haha, but gosh, the WIND.
Oh, and we didn't try haggis / black pudding.
And thennnn Theo left to go back to Singapore since army boys can't take that much leave, and I headed back down to Coventry to visit Jaslyn at my (initial) dream school, the University of Warwick! (album HERE)
Two weeks before the A's, I went into panic mode because I hadn't studied at all because of depression rubbish and like I suddenly sprang back up and went WHAT ON EARTH AM I DOING. So I printed photos of Warwick and put the paper beside my desk whenever I was doing my essays, to motivate myself. I mean, the pictures of the place were beautiful. And it definitely didn't disappoint. I did a lot of walking in the woods here. And fell. In mud. In the middle of nowhere (actually thankful for that, because no one saw me fall / I hid behind a building to strip). And I started getting this crazy craving for potato chips. Like, I'd finish a big twelve-pack in three days, max.
We also went to Birmingham, but only to shop, and to Royal Leamington Spa to walk around a bit. And I took a six-pound bus ride to Stratford-upon-Avon, because I obviously had to go, being a Lit student who did a Renaissance paper and all! It's a beautiful, quaint place, but extremely Shakeapeareanised.
And my last stop: back to Barnet (Greater London) and central London itself! (Album HERE)
Okay. Must-visit: Hampstead Heath. The National Gallery was great too! And I managed to catch Phantom of the Opera, which was fantastic.
I stayed with my friend Andrew's godparents. They're pastors, and they conducted street healing at Trafalgar Square when I was there! Because Andrew's godfather used to have imbalanced leg lengths and it got healed on the spot one day when he was prayed for, he was really excited when someone else came up to him with the same problem that day. And you could actually see the leg growing on the spot. He left jumping and praising God.
OKAY THAT CONCLUDES MY TRIP TO THE UK!!
My third trip was to Australia with my family and Ivan, because my dad had just finished his Master's at ANU. I've been to Australia before, but never to Canberra and Sydney. We rented a car and drove from Canberra to Sydney, stopping at little places along the way, like Katoomba, Kiama and Wollongong.
Okay! Long post! Finally blogged about my holidays, albeit in brief. But it was fantastic. I'm very, very glad I took a gap year - it gave me time to try out different jobs, go to bible school, and travel to new places. I was hoping to travel more on my gap year, but I'm out of cash. Will do a lot more travelling in university!
First up, CONNECTICUT IN JULY!!!