Week [1227].

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It just occurred to me that this is the last [Week] post of 2013.

Huh.

We wrapped Issue 11 yesterday and the office is closed for a few days next week. Hooray. Time to ring in the New Year with a little time away from work stress and to think more about the “big picture” of 2014.

And it shall be big!

The year will kick off with another annual trip to my beloved London. Might be my last for awhile. I will have a few work-free days and usually I will get greedy and hop over to another country, but this year I think I just might indulge in the city a little bit. Get reacquainted with my former home. Stroll through my favourite Kensington Gardens. Have lunch at Borough Market, grab a Monmonth Coffee and do my favourite Tate Modern-Millennium Bridge-St.Paul’s Cathedral-Trafalgar Square walk. Can’t wait.

So hopefully this change of pace will give me a kick-start to the year.

And I hope you have a fantastic time ringing in 2014, because it shall be great.

In the meantime…

Heading to Hong Kong? See my must-do recommendations, commissioned  by AFAR.com.

The 100 books to read to become “well-read”.

Beat the holiday bloat with these juices.

A gender-neutral Chinese character represented by letters of the Roman alphabet? I have yet to encounter this.

This box of tea fuels both my obsession and indecisiveness perfectly.

Have a wonderful, celebratory weekend!

Photo: London, 2012. 

Home.

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“Home”.

I always say, having moved around so much, that I’m not sure where “home” is. That’s still my answer whenever someone challenges me to choose the one place, from all that I’ve loved, to call “home”.

But really, it’s always going to be the place where I grew up, where the happy memories are, and where my childhood lies. Where I head to when I begin to feel lost.

Vancouver.

The above is what’s NOT going to happen tomorrow…but what might happen when I return, especially since I’ll be taking a detour to my other “home”, New York.

I’ve looked forward to this trip for so long, but all that I can see and want is not the food, nor the shopping, nor the places I want to (re)visit. All I picture is taking a deep breath the minute I set foot outside YVR. It’s the fresh air and parks and ocean that is the biggest draw on this trip, and what I’ve been missing and craving. (Not to say that I won’t be over-eating and stocking up on North American goodness…)

Off I go. I can hardly wait.

Photo: London, 2010.

Tix.

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I love to travel. But like many people, I hate the necessary planning that comes with it. Namely, the online air ticket purchase game. For international travels from China I rely on the handy Ctrip – it’s merely hours from booking to e-ticket being in hand. For more short-haul flights in North America, it’s back to Expedia, Kayak and the like. Hours of comparisons, multiple tabs full of options, everything leading to one destination.

Let’s put it this way. The online ticket hunt experience is not fun for an indecisive individual. That hold-your-breath moment before the wheel in the center of the screen stops spinning and the prices appear is just…ugh. Maybe it’s just me? Someone invent a teleporter already!

But that said, I stress that this is not a complaint. I know that I am privileged to have several big travel opportunities a year. Ultimately, I believe that all money spent on the experience of travel is always worth it. What do they say, Travel is the only thing you spend on that makes you richer? So true.

So now I hold in my hands a ticket to Vancouver, and another to my other other other home, New York City.  And believe you me, it was all worth it.

Three weeks to go!

Photo: Shanghai, 2013.

Wanderlust.

palawan Beach Philippines

After a rejuvenating weekend, my mind is now on the above. Planning a quick getaway but am having trouble decided between a) island life in Palawan b) visiting a friend and her sweet bubba in Tokyo c) somewhere else where I can just shut off from Shanghai life.

Mind you, this is probably wishful thinking on a Monday. Fingers crossed.

PS. Need a song for Monday? Try this sweet one. Reminds me of the times puttering about in my little London flat.

Image: Palawan.

MIA.

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The hours have gone by too quickly and the recent sunshine has pulled me away from the Mac, hence the lack of updates in the past few days.

Speaking of missing, thoughts of the Big Apple keep billowing in my mind. I reckon it’s time to plan a visit to my once other-home, and to peer at one of my all-time favourite buildings, the Seagram, again. The New York Times has a great story on the building of this landmark today, filled with fun name-dropping anectdotes. Love.

But before I can schedule in another 12+ hour flight, I’ll make do with a 2.5-hour one. See you tonight, Hong Kong!

Photo: New York City, Columbus Circle, 2009.

Scientist.

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I was passing by the Piazza Della Repubblica the other day, on my way to meet him at ‘the other David’, when a busker stopped me in my tracks with his rendition of Coldplay’s ‘The Scientist.’ A crowd had gathered near the precious Picci Carousel on this blue-sky day, and he was lost in his own musical world, enunciating his words carefully despite having a heavy Italian accent.

That song has been stuck in my head for the past three days now. And will probably be the song that will always remind me of this holiday. And more.

Last night in Italy.

“Oh, take me back to the start…”

Photo: Bali, 2011.

Lag.

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Hello from my temporary neighbourhood in London.

Being back has been wonderful, and luckily the weather’s been anything but typically London-wet. Chilly, sure, but bearable.

Meeting a new friend resulted in a complimentary ticket to hear the amazing London Symphony Orchestra last night, and reminded me of just why I love this city: the arts, the culture, the vibe.

I plan to start off this weekend by a stroll through Hyde Park, followed by some museum hopping. Working on the Strand means that I am greeted by Trafalgar Square each morning as I climb up to street level from Charing Cross station, and no amount of coffee can conjure up that burst of energy like the beautiful National Museum does.

Jetlag? What jetlag? I’m far too busy soaking it all in.

Photo: London, 2013.

Off.

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And off I go, on my annual Europe excursion. A quick stopover in Hong Kong first, then I’m off to my beloved London.

It will be a trip of rediscovering a city that I adore, seeing my lovely colleagues and friends, and of side trips for fresh inspiration and new ideas that I will bring back with me. These are the best kinds of souvenirs! My excitement is still slightly masked by travel stress but if history repeats itself then I’ll be walking out of Heathrow with a silly grin on my face soon enough.

I will undoubtedly be taking notes on the things that I see, old and new, and you can bet that I’ll report back here soon.

Photo: Somewhere between Shanghai and Hong Kong, 2013.