Two weeks ago, I actually spent about a week in Taipei and Taichung with my wife and my in-laws. This was my first overseas trip beyond Johor Bahru in close to two years (akin to an eternity for a 30 year old Singaporean?) and there were some interesting revelations, which I have penned down below.
Time Slows Down During A Vacation
It has been almost one week since I came back and to be honest, the past week has been a blur as I readjust back to my daily and weekly routine. Preparing for lessons, marking, and of course, the housework.
Honestly, the past week seemed to zoom past at least twice as fast compared to the preceding week when I was in Taiwan.
Of course, one second is one second. But when you pack a day with activities that deviate from the norm (like going around night markets at 11pm or waking up at 7am for a Karaoke session), time really does seem to travel relatively slower.
How cool is this?
More Time Spent With Loved Ones
Even though we get to spend a little more time in the morning since the Mrs starts work only at 10am, it really does not fully make up for the lack of time spent together at night. This is set to get worst as we near the exam period and I get flushed with requests to increase the frequency of lessons.
Therefore, this vacation is much cherished as we get to be beside each other for almost 24/7 for the entire week. Whether it’s appreciating the Calla Lilies at Yang Ming Shan or having a cold fen yuan in Jiu Fen, we do it together.
I actually had two bowls on my own
I am sure the Mrs also enjoyed spending alot of time with her parents too. :p
A Vacation Is No Longer An Escape
Two years ago, just before I left my first job, we also made a trip to Taiwan. I was looking so forward to it as an escape from the office.
During the last couple of days of the trip, I actually could feel an immense dread engulfing me. I was literally very upset that I had to come back and go to work during the next few days. That was how much I disliked working in that specific role back then.
Interestingly, this time round, I was actually looking forward to coming back and seeing most of my students. (The feeling might not be mutual for some of them though.)
Experiencing Lifestyle Inflation
This is actually intended as something positive. :p
Both of us have made 3 trips to Taiwan in the past 4 years. During our first trip, which was in effect our honeymoon, we went really budget. Each of us probably spent less than $1,000 all-in on that trip.
We went on a budget airline that flew at night and since both of us are the type that can’t sleep sitting down on our seats in a plane, we were dead tired when we arrived at Xi Men Ding at around 7am. It was so bad that we actually went to book a room for an extra half a day so we could sleep in till 2pm.
And the place we stayed in only costs $50/night, because it was a good 15 minutes walk away from the train station…Before you start scolding me, all these are the Mrs’ ideas. We practically travelled like college students.
Even on the second trip two years ago, we refused to take a cab from our hotel to the airport. Instead, we relied on buses. This meant that we had to get ready an hour earlier than normal, drag our heavy luggage across streets and be in a state of anxiety in case we missed the bus.
Recalling those memories…
This time round, we took our flights on SQ with decent departure and arrival times, spent more on accommodation that’s located somewhere more central, and yes, finally relented and took a cab to get to the airport comfortably and without stress.
We probably spent $1,500 per pax this time round, which is 50% more, but yes, #justtakemymoney
Getting Away From Mobile Devices
Even though there were 4 of us, we only purchased 2 SIM cards, one for the Mrs and one for my father-in-law. This also effectively meant that I did not have internet access and was un-contactable for large parts of the week.
And yes, I enjoyed it.
For the past few months, I found myself taking out my handphone and checking out whatsapp/facebook/surfing for blog updates whenever I became bored. It had become a subconscious reflex and I was spending alot of time on mobile devices.
During this trip, I only plugged in on certain nights and only responded to “more important and urgent” matters.
The result was that I had better sleep and that I actually managed to finish a book in less than a week.
I didn’t travel last year and actually conducted an experiment spending $1,000 in Singapore instead of travelling. There’s little doubt we would prefer to save a few of these $1,000 and spend it on a vacation at least once every two years.