I am a bona fide nerd. I spend hours scrolling through Google Maps. I daydream about the foreign lands, adventures that be, sights to be seen, and fears to be conquered.
Ever since my obsession with wild places marked its peak in 2018, the first thing I would do when planning my travels is to look up all the national parks in the country of destination.
After the first taste of a thru-hike in August 2019, my second task was to look up long-distance trails in the area.
Despite the charcoal grey, metropolitan aesthetic I aspire to, despite my professional…
Twice I’ve “returned home”, only to find that my home had been left behind on the adventure I just finished.
The first time was after I returned from my first 9 months living abroad, in southern China. Today, I want to speak about my second experience of homesickness.
I lived for 1.5 years in Bristol, a new home of sorts. Even during my expat life in England (which was arguably already an international adventure of its own), I got out as much as possible.
When I returned from my first 6-day solo trip in the Scottish highlands to my friends…
Oh boy, was it cold.
By the time I saw the first glimpse of the turquoise water, sweat was gathering in my every crevice. We had hiked for hours to get to the lake.
Our group comprised of novice hikers, led by the one expert who carried the burden of leading and feeding us. (I.e., as the strongest hiker, he carried the heaviest load, which meant all our food.)
We collectively squealed in delight as the surreal sight slowly revealed itself through the forest cover. My mouth was wide open. …
It was all fun and games until I had to rappel down this.
AllTrails told me this was a ‘Moderate’ trail. Moderate, my ass.
I am a robust hiker. Short height and slight build never kept me from attempting some tough trails. One thing kept me back from some: my fear of heights.
This fear has haunted me since before I adopted the outdoor lifestyle. My vertigo has been my Achilles’ heel.
I started on this spontaneous trail because this was the highest rated trail under 4 hours in Murrin Provincial Park. I was on a quest to visit every…
Sara parked us at the end of the unpaved road. This was the longest drive we had been on together in our new friendship. Given the state of Sara’s car, we had been only 85% sure it would take us to our destination, but we arrived in one piece.
We fretted and chatted incessantly about the weather (as the Brits are known to do) because we saw the clouds looming over the horizon. By the time we finished our impromptu linner of baguette, crackers, cheese, hummus and way too many olives, August rain seemed to have passed us by. …
Winter hikes always take me by surprise. The cold, the short daylight, and the relative isolation increase both the risk and the sense of adventure.
I donned my new microspikes, eager to test them on a proper trail for the first time.
Jin’s car was not equipped to tackle the snow on the unpaved logging road. We stepped out of the car, ready for the hike ahead… but would have never guessed that the worst part of it all would be the grueling hour upfront to get to the trailhead.
Jin and I were already sweating through our pits by…
Water flowed lazily by our wooden raft. Even the hot air seemed gentler and more forgiving down this river.
Nothing much was happening. All we did was float, sip our drinks, watch the world glide by at the river’s pace, and make unimportant conversation with each other.
I was on my long weekend trip with my Chinese co-workers on my first internship. The privilege of travelling with locals meant I got the bonus of tagging along on prices only reserved for native speakers with the right haggling skills.
April turned a sharp corner. My province seemed eager to go through a spring cleaning and a wardrobe change.
Temperature skyrocketed within the span of a week. Vancouver blossomed from a dreary 7 degrees Celsius to a breezy 22 degrees with sunshine as far as the eyes could see. Blossoms of every flower imaginable took the chance when they could. Vancouver was suddenly alive with colour.
Even the ferry terminal was a-bloom with cherry blossoms. Blue sea across Horseshoe Bay was glistening with the sunshine as if to foreshadow the amazing trip I was about to have.
When I initially…
Long considered a magical place by locals, the unofficial website with the very official web address introduces this site as such:
Glastonbury Tor is home to Gwyn ap Nudd, King of the Fairies.
All I cared was that this “tor” — or tower on the hill — happened to be the most prominent National Trust property near the town that I had travelled on a day trip from Bristol.
My Presbyterian upbringing has trained me to hold an instinctive aversion to healing crystals, mystical stories, and anyone who claimed they saw any supernatural phenomenon not written in the Bible. Naturally…
I re-hiked (a part of) the trail that was the first serious hike I’ve ever done.
It’s the infamous Chief Peak trail in Stawamus Chief Provincial Park, in a town called Squamish between Whistler and Vancouver in Canada. Locals like myself just call it ‘The Chief’, as if some affectionate name for a First Nation tribe leader that I am sure they are not a part of. Most hikers who talk about having done ‘The Chief’ are white. …