5 Revelations From A Vacation


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.

Image result for escape

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.


12 thoughts on “5 Revelations From A Vacation

  1. LP

    yes yes yes 🙂

    That’s what my internal dialogue is when I read this post. I feel the same whenever I go for extended trips…I’m ready to go on to work. It’s an interesting feeling, perhaps partly helped by the fact that I don’t get paid if I don’t work, but I know that’s not a normal feeling among people who are employed.

    With one uni student finishing his exams, I’m left with a little bit more time to do my reading. That’s something I had been neglecting since the start of the year. I’m 5 or 6 books behind time haha

    1. My 15 HWW Post author

      Hi LP,

      Yes, I guess not getting paid when we are overseas makes us look forward to work!

      There’s no doubt it’s been a refreshing break.

  2. Cory

    For 4 persons, taxi is alot more affordable and efficient to airport. The bus cost like NT110 to145 pax. Taxi you can negotiate for 1000.

    1. My 15 HWW Post author

      Hi Cory,

      Yes, based on the meter and it was just slightly above 1000. I think previously we relied on those express buses which probably cost us closer to 200 per pax.

      I think if I visit Taiwan again, I would definitely not want to anxiously wait for/look out for buses and lug those heavy luggages.

  3. B

    Hi 15hww

    Welcome back to earth.

    Glad you enjoyed your trip immersely without the fragility of the need to respond to questions or whatsapp chatgroup 🙂

    We need this once in a while no doubt. Its just so refreshing that we actually came back stronger, unconsciously.

    1. My 15 HWW Post author

      Hi B,

      S’pore is not that bad. The weather isn’t as bad as maybe two weeks ago? I think I will slowly ease myself back to the chatgroup. 🙂

  4. Frugal Daddy

    Hi 15hrww

    Try achieving the same mental state in Singapore. I actually felt like I was travelling during my 2 weeks break in Singapore. Not too bad either. Of course, we need the love from Taiwan too!

    1. My 15 HWW Post author

      Hi FD,

      Half a year into self-employment, I can’t describe how much more I prefer this than a corporate role. I am quite satisfied and happy even in Spore and the chase after more money for an early FI or semi-retirement isn’t as strong as before.

  5. Jared - SMOL


    1. Traveling to escape and travelling to experience, now you know the difference 😉

    2. No need opulence or excessive luxury; just to be able to say let’s take a cab or travel by SQ to get more comfortable departure and arrival times – that’s the feeling of “enough”!

    Life is good isn’t it?


    1. My 15 HWW Post author

      Hi Jared,

      1. No longer escaping, and more about what I can achieve. It’s a good switch!

      2. I get turned off by opulence but having the option to “purchase” a bit of tangible comfort and ease is indeed worthwhile. That’s why we save up, right?

      Yes, life has been good. I am smiling more often now… Thanks for dropping by!