1. You have to be excited about life to really be living.
Part of this is having people around you who are passionate about things that make you think. Find conversations with great stories and people that make you want to laugh, cry and be inspired by life and all of its quirks.
2. Be selective.
Most people I know in London are super sociable, they are happy to go to any party and love to connect with others on social media. London taught me to be selective about my inner circle. A lot of the time, people may want to get to know you because they think you have something to offer. Life is not a job interview, so get real friends.
3. If you don’t grow spiritually, you haven’t grown emotionally.
Here I have been able to grow a relationship with God, which has been so essential to finding peace and building an identity. When I first moved here I felt so surreal, like I was stuck in limbo and I was just watching things happen to me and around me. I forgot who I was and got so wrapped up in trying to take part in my new life.
4. Having friends with the same outlook on life is more important than having things in common.
I have been properly living in Singapore for just over a year now and honestly, I have next to nothing in common with most of the people that I’m close to. I have realized that what holds our meaningful relationships together are an inquisitive and creative approach to things. We don’t always laugh at the same things, like I get complaints about the ‘weird’ things I screenshot and send to them but when it really comes down to the important, potentially life-changing conversations, we’re all in the same team.
5. Growing up is about learning to see being ‘alone’ as being ‘independent’.
I used to be one of those people that could not sit by themselves and have a meal. I literally could not sit at Pret and have a salad without talking to someone on the phone. Being in a long distance relationship with pretty much everyone I love and grew up with meant that I couldn’t talk to my best friends when I needed to. That period of time taught me to reflect a lot during my hours of ‘solitude’ and stop seeing it as loneliness, but instead as quiet time with my own thoughts. Also, Instagram really helps when boredom kicks in.
6. To make memories, act like you’ve never been there or done that before.
Hong Kong is a crazy, hectic city with an almost jarring juxtaposition between old and new, local and foreign. It’s definitely one of those chaotic places that you have to dive right into, or stand at the waters edge, gingerly debating whether or not it’s for you. I’ve been to this city about eight times in the last year and a half, and every time I’m there it’s like seeing it afresh, for the first time.
7. You have to know who you are, to take on changes.
“Hong Kong has changed so much!”
“That didn’t used to be there a month ago.”
I have never heard a single objection when a HK local makes a statement like that. I suppose it is true. Even from my micro perspective as a frequent visitor (they should really give me stamps like on a loyalty card and then I could get free passes to Ocean Park or something) bars and restaurants in Hong Kong come and go so quickly that I barely remember what stood there before. I think that in life, when we face changes, we feel insecure and anxious. If we know who we are, nothing or no one can change that. Self-exploration but most essentially, self-improvement is key to dealing with drastic change.
8. A sense of humour is the most important tool when travelling.
When I first arrived in Zurich, I was told that it was the most international city in Switzerland. After 24 hours there, I was like, “why are you lying?” In my three and half month stay, Zurich had been hospitable, but not ‘home’. Instead of feeling like I was the tourist, often I felt like I was a tourist attraction. What I mean is that Zurich is like that beautiful, sweet and sheltered child that keeps asking you questions that sometimes, you don’t know how to answer.