singapore

# 21 Find yourself in Singapore

The view from my hotel window at the Orchard Grand Court in Singapore.

The view from my hotel window at the Orchard Grand Court in Singapore.

Every woman has several of these 'I need to find myself moments' in life, I think I've had about three so far. The most recent was when I turned 30, and in the back of my mind is the faint ticking of my biological clock, which was drowned out when I started travelling again. Children are a blessing, but for now, I still have a great yearning to experience different cultures, people and eat delicious food I didn't have to cook.

This time last year I was in Singapore too, and I experienced the Lion City as a lone traveller. Travelling alone has never phased me, as I consider myself a social person, not too reckless but still adventurous. Although, I did vow that if I was to return, it would be great to share it with someone else. So I did, but I will cover our dance camp adventures on another post.

When people talk about 'discovering yourself' or 'getting away from it all', most will think of a scenic beach on a tropical island, bathing in sunshine. Add in minimal clothing, late nights and midday sleep-ins, and if you're lucky, you won't bring home mosquito bites for a souvenir.

A band-aid of invisibility

As I waited for the red light to turn green at the pedestrian crossing, I'm surrounded by a milkshake of ethnicities, so blended it's hard to tell who are the locals, foreign workers and visitors. In the vast sea of people, I realised the pavement was my beach. In this modern Asian metropolis I felt calm in my invisibility, energised by its hustle, and surprised that the unknown excited me because it was filled with potential, instead of fear. They didn't know my story, and I didn't know theirs. This band-aid of invisibility was further helped by the fact, that although I had places to be, all my destinations were temporary. My real life, at this crossing, was at a stand-still.

I felt calm in my invisibility, energised by its hustle, and surprised that the unknown excited me...

Getaways are pattern interrupts, a great term explained to me by a business mentor. He said that people often become trapped in comfort and routine, and a pattern interrupt is a bit like a slap in the face of that routine, and gives you a chance to look at the bigger picture and gather your resources. Singapore speaks to me because they too chose to make the seemingly improbable a reality in just a few generations. It challenges my perception of what it is I am missing out because I have chosen to stay in fear.

Potential is ageless

I have always taken for granted that I don't look my age, and I probably won't appreciate it until I am well into my sixties. Because people didn't know my true age, I felt I had wound back time, and that I didn't feel the same pressure to make life altering choices as I do in my day-to-day living. Potential is ageless. Here I was taken back to my twenties, the age most people thought I was, and it felt like a chance to do it better. Years I spent being self-conscious about my body, my career, and whatever else I was disappointed at. 

Here I was back in my twenties...(sic) Years I spent being self-conscious about my body, my career, and whatever else I was disappointed at.

It takes me about a fortnight to recover from the Singapore hangover. To get back into routine and restart my life in Whakatane. I would watch videos from the camp, and wish I would be transported back. Insomnia creeps in like a ninja. Living with me at this time isn't easy, but eventually it wears off, and I see what the experience for what it is. A place to be excited about my own potential again.

You don't need to be fearless, just be brave enough

Sometimes we get caught up in the pursuit of perfection. Waiting for the perfect time, having enough money or feeling like we are 'good enough' to begin. That's just it, how do we measure these things, when we are only accountable to ourselves in finding that 'perfect' moment. You don't need to be fearless, just be brave enough to make a start. Learn as you go, ask questions, make mistakes. Live, love and travel. And eat good food.

So go forth, and conquer...start with yourself.