Before I realize it, it is time for me to leave for Singapore. I panicked today (like I always do before every foreign trip). I leave from Baroda on 3rd May for Bombay to catch the flight to Singapore on 4th May early morning. I can’t express how excited that vision is – of holding your passport in one hand and the suitcase handle in the other. Before that comes lots of preparation – deciding what clothes to carry (see how this comes on top of the list), packing in utilities, ensuring no essential item is missed out, local travel, currency. I kept thinking I have loads of time and lo behold, I just have 5 days left!
I wasn’t as excited for this trip as I was for my previous 2 trips because Singapore isn’t new to me. I’ve been there 2 times before – both as a tourist and as a local. Having seen Sentosa, Merlion, Night Safari, Little India, Jurong Bird Park, I have also explored their malls – Ion, Vivocity, Tampines & Jurong Point – and food joints. There is still a lot to be done and seen there. This time, I am going to be armed with a brand new SLR and just the image of me clicking photos with it is quite satisfying.
We are going to be spending good 8 days in Singapore. Out of these, my sister (who is going to be our host for these 8 days) will be attending work for 3 days during which time my Mum and I will be on our own. A very careful itinerary has been made (otherwise also needed to decide which ensemble to wear when) mentioning the mall, food joint and sightseeing spot to be visited each day.
Having seen the most apparent parts of Singapore already, I am keen to see below the surface this time. My sister instantly ruled out nature parks and trails. I managed to get Chinatown, Singapore Zoo & Emerald Hill approved.
As I catch hold of whatever piece of paper I can find to quickly make the things-to-carry list, I remember my first foreign trip 5 years ago to SE Asia (Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore). I was so excited that my suitcase was packed and ready to be taken a month before we actually left. I have still preserved the to-take list I had made that time. Since that first foreign trip, I have not seen any dip in my enthusiasm levels. I am as excited as I was that time for every trip hence, whether in India or outside.
The first trip abroad in 2007 was driven by the childish curiosity of seeing what foreign countries were like. The real moment of enlightenment came in 2008 when I visited Switzerland & Paris with my family. That trip me showed me a world that I was actually attached to but still so unknown, different and far away. I had told my parents that time that by 2010, I wish to have 10 countries’ visa stamp on my passport. I managed to have 6 (excluding the multiple Schengen & Singapore visas). My dream from that time was to see the whole world. My eyes had opened to the fact that the world out there is very huge and very different and you can’t die without seeing it. When I took a stand in the last 2 years and went to Australia and Europe even though my family and several friends condemned me for wasting (imagine, spending money for travel means a waste for them) money like this. Very few supported. In my heart I knew I had to go. And I did. I cherished each moment of walking on foreign lands and feeling a part of a world which is much bigger than my hometown.
A friend asked me today how resolute I am towards travel. Will I travel irrespective of company / situation? Am I a compulsive traveller? I was forced to think about it. So, I have been a compulsive traveller till now. If not foreign trips, it is nearby Baroda. Or in Baroda. But the desire of seeing /experiencing something new, the need for being marvelled at staggering new sights & the yearning for being transformed into a different being never eludes me. The quest here is not of travelling but of learning which will always remain eternal for me.
The third visit to Singapore is going to amaze me equally more. I am quite likely to return as a new being.
Some pics taken during my first visit:
Merlion from ropeway to Sentosa
The famous hotel where we were told Shah Rukh Khan always stays when he visits Singapore
The typical coloured windows
A Chinese temple
That’s me at the southern most tip of Asia at Sentosa island