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2014 Round Up – Writings

Besides looking back at my travels in 2014, another thing I like to take stock of is my writing for the year – This year I have quite a lot of posts that I’m quite proud of.

I will have to admit that I wrote a lot less in 2014, especially towards the second half of the year. I just can’t seem to write as quickly and easily as before – coming up with good posts definitely takes a lot of work! On some inspired weekends I can finish about 2-3 blogposts if I’m not doing anything else, but on average each blogpost takes a couple of hours in total on top of the actual writing, which usually includes research, photo editing and inspiration. My latest tablet acquisition (the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 if you’re interested) has definitely helped in blogging on the go and on trips too.

But sometimes you just want to enjoy your trip and get away from behind the screen, even if it’s just staring out the train window and switching off your brain for awhile, y’know?

Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy writing for the blog immensely – writing blogposts really straightens out the thoughts in my head and the research helps me appreciate my trips and learn so much more. So 2015 will definitely be about finding that balance – regular posts to keep my writing sharp and get my stories out, but with enough wiggle room that I can still have a life beyond it. Right now we’re looking at around 1-2 times a week, down from 3 times a week previously. On that note, not-blogging also annoys me, so it definitely won’t be too quiet.

But anyway, here we go with a recap of some of my favourite stories from this past year.


The Day I Forgot To Travel (And How I Learned To Remember)

This picture was taken back in 2012 with my dear Unholies back in the Liwa Desert. I still remember the sand dunes very fondly, and have J to thank for the amazing photos we came away with

January produced what I’ve been calling my ‘origin story’ (I can’t believe I wrote this in 2014, somehow it feels like I wrote it ages ago!), this post took me quite some effort to churn out, but I’m really proud of it, I think it’s some of my better writing and more importantly, it tells a story about me and who I am as The Occasional Traveller. Also, I’m quite fond of that super long title :P Thanks again to the folk from Planet D Dave and Deb for this excellent series about inspirational travellers on their blog – it’s a really good read!

Read it here: The Day I Realized I Forgot to Travel (And How I Learned To Remember)


Singapore Seas

You know you’re reaching Singapore when you fly over all the berthed ships in our waters!

In February I edited and reposted an initial piece I did as writing class homework for MatadorU about my thoughts on Singapore as my home. It’s technically 2 years old, but it seems to have held up pretty well. Perhaps one of my more personal pieces.

Read it here: My Heart is at Home, My Heart is in Singapore


5 Trips you really need to take in your 20s

How can you not love this picture. It’s one of my main sliders so I see it all the time, but it never fails to crack me up.

My birthday post in March, or the omg-how-am-i-30-years-old post 5 trips in your 20s had actually sat in my drafts for many, many months. Every so often, I would pop open that draft and tweak it a little, so by the time it actually reached the time to post (i.e. my birthday), it was about as good as I could have written it. Unfortunately I don’t have that same sort of luxury with most of my posts… My favourite part of writing this blogpost was discovering the piggybacking sheep photo while looking for a suitable photo to summarize budget backpacking – I try to find eye-catching photos that match the article and not flood you with all of my own selfies, so finding this was like JACKPOT.

Read it here: 5 Trips You Really Need to Take in Your 20s


Where to find street art in George Town Penang

Two stealthy rats (factoid: I’m born in the year of the rat according to the Chinese zodiac. I can’t believe I didn’t make that connection/pun earlier)

I don’t really have a favourite post from April and it was a really busy travel month for me then, so here’s another one from March which has been making the rounds on the internet based on my stats, and I’m actually quite proud of this because this was my first super comprehensive street art guide which spawned those that came after. This one is a little outdated now though, I have to go back to see the new street art they’ve put up!

Read it here: Where to find street art in George Town, Penang


Shanghai Zhang Yuan Pole Holders

Visiting Zhang Yuan and learning about shikumen from a local expat expert made me think about how well I know my own city

My pick for April was initially a toss up between my musing about solo travel not being the must-do for all travellers versus my 48-hr guide to Shanghai, but in the end I decided that my piece on Shanghai’s shikumen trumps the other two because it was a rather different experience from your usual tours and it did give me some local insight, something I definitely wouldn’t have been able to get on my own.

Read it here: Shikumen in Shanghai – a Peek at Zhang Yuan


My Dad the Pilot - Vintage photo

All vintage sepia toned and rounded corners

June involved a week-long overseas work trip so writing was a little sparse, but I guess this post about my late Dad is my favourite because, well… duh it’s my Dad~ and also because the photo is so vintage-y and kinda awesome.

Read it here: My Dad the Pilot – a vintage photo from the family archives


Jac Appreciating Art

trying to figure out art can be an overwhelming business

July saw this post about art appreciation, which is something quite close to my heart and while I currently work in the arts for a living, I really don’t have that much arts and culture in my background. It’s just not something my family is in to, and I spent my schooling years mostly as a sportsperson, so some of these art things I encounter at work really go right over my head. Travel did help, as I do think that cultural discovery is an important part to understanding a place, and just wanted to tell the fellow bumpkins like me that it really isn’t as high-faluting as you might imagine it to be. Also, this post’s title is in running with the January post as one of my all-time favourites.

Read it here: The Art of Appreciating Art When You Know Nothing About Art


Bangkok - Rajadamnern Stadium Muay Thai Fight

I can still feel the sweat spraying towards me, right there in the front row!

My favourite August post would be the one about watching a real Muay Thai match, and I guess I have to thank the two guys who decided to set it up in the first place as it wasn’t part of the original FAM trip itinerary, and of course congratulate myself for being a little thick-skinned and tagging along because it was a really memorable part of my trip!

Read it here: Catching a live Muay Thai fight at Rajadamnern Stadium


Travel at Home - Globe

When your only form of travel involves staring at a globe…

Travelling Occasionally is a more personal section of the blog because it’s more of my own musings than travel tips. This post in September about keeping the feeling of travel alive when you aren’t travelling was borne out of my wanderlust – I had a pretty intense second quarter of the year, and suddenly I was stuck for three months solid with an intense workload and no travelling. As always, a lot of the posts are aimed at myself really, reminding myself and others like me to take stock of our lives and work with what we have.

Read it here: When Life Keeps You Down – How To Travel Without Leaving Home


Portugal - Lagos Street Art Aryz

One of my favourite photos – the thing about solo travel is you just don’t get awesome pix of yourself like this – I call this my blogger at work photo (Thanks Y)

I finally headed on my long trip to Portugal in October, and upon returning I put together this post on street art in Lagos, Portugal quite quickly as it was still very fresh in my memories, and it has gone even more viral than my old record holder How to Piss Off a Singaporean (possibly because because there are just a lot more people interested in Portugal than there are in Singapore)! I spent quite a lot of time looking for information during and after the trip to put this baby together, so it is gratifying that so many people think that it’s a post worth sharing.

Read it here: Stumbling upon street art in Lagos, Portugal


Portugal - Lisbon Roman Galleries Shadow Wall

What exactly are roman galleries? I will admit my understanding is still a bit hazy, even after research!

November produced another favourite from the Portugal posts, this one about my visit to the rarely opened Roman Galleries in Lisbon. I was quite excited to write about this because it was a really unusual event that I chanced upon on my trip – I didn’t even know this place existed! I do like the tourist spots, but unusual local experiences definitely get me more excited about writing. I have a bunch of posts that have been in my drafts for the longest time because I loved my experiences on those trips, but they weren’t particularly unusual like this was.

Read it here: A rare chance to enter the Roman Galleries of Lisbon


December was pretty sparse with writing, because my brain is in holiday mood (still) so I’ve been trying to stay motivated, though not as successfully as I would like. I shall cut myself some slack and not include a favourite post here, though looking at my archives, street art was very much on my mind.

And that’s it for 2014 folks, here’s to a brand new 2015 ahead. If you have any favourite posts of mine from the past year, fill free to let me know, I’d love to know what you guys want to see more (or less) of here. In the meantime, check out where I travelled to in 2014.