Triple Lanterns Café is one of the stilt houses in Tai O Village (Hong Kong), offering beautiful views of the canal, the bridge and sunset, besides great pizzas, cakes and coffees. What makes this café really special though is Julia, the owner, who is always happy and cheerful, and ready for a conversation with every customer. During our visit to Triple Lanterns yesterday, we talked about the story behind the café, dreams, happiness, success, customer service and the importance of slowing down to enjoy life… parts of which were also captured on my phone. Here’s an edited version, and I hope it inspires somebody to follow through on their dreams…
The first time I wrote about ‘five reasons I travel solo‘ was in August 2012, after my trip to Chenzhou in China. Since then I’ve been blessed with many more solo trips and experienced the endless joys. Earlier this month, I was in Da Nang and Hoi An in Vietnam, for a week, all by myself. I got to experience for the first time…
- Living on USD20 a day, including accommodation, meals and transport!
- Riding a scooter, and that too on the right side of the road!
- Learning to make ‘Vietnamese fish rolls’!
- Homestay in the middle of rice fields (way different from the B&B above the rice terraces in China)!
- Taking a tour with a traffic police officer!
- Starting an online travel journal on TravelPod!
Most of these wouldn’t have been possible if I wasn’t traveling solo. So here’s my expanded list of benefits, and why you should travel solo at least once a year:
- Plan easily. Pick your own dates and destination. The places-to-see on your list are not the same as the places your family or friends want to see. And finding a time that suits everyone is not easy.
- Try new things – accommodations, means of travel, food – and get out of your comfort zone.
- Have conversations with fellow travelers and locals. You learn a lot more about the people and places when you are on your own.
- Be more flexible with your time, destinations and decisions you make. Wake up for sunrise or sleep all day.
- Overcome your fears. Whether it’s fear of new places, fear of being on your own or fear of darkness… the more you travel the less you fear.
- Gain confidence by handling problems and situations on your own. You take your own risks and learn.
- Indulge in whatever you want, without being judged.
- Stay within your own budget. No compromises or overspending.
- Become a better traveler by observing more. You engage more fully with the people and places when you are on your own.
- Get to know yourself better. When you are on your own, it’s easier to listen to your heart and focus your mind. The extended me time is an opportunity to dream, plan, think, and even reflect on your travel experiences.
That doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy traveling with family, friends or groups… solo travel just a different kind of great experience!
PS. One of the most common questions I got asked by fellow travellers and locals: ‘Your wife doesn’t mind your solo travels?‘ And the answer is, one of the reasons we have been so happy with each other for over 30 years is that we accept, understand and appreciate the differences between us. And we allow each other to do our own things. [Thank you, Salma!]
And 10 inspiring quotes about moments:
- “Life isn’t perfect, but it has perfect moments.”
- “Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment, until it becomes a memory.”
- “The best things in life are not things, they are moments.”
- “A good life is a collection of happy moments.”
- “Don’t wait for the perfect moment; take the moment and make it perfect.”
- “We don’t remember days; we remember moments.”
- “Fall in love with moments.”
- “You don’t get the same moment twice in life.”
- “Life is all about moments of impact, and how they change our lives forever.”
- “Make this moment count.”
For many years, I have struggled to come up with a perfect answer to this question. The following piece from Paulo Coelho’s “Manuscripts Found in Accra” is the best answer I’ve ever read. I hope it inspires you too:
Success does not come from having one’s work recognised by others. It is the fruit of the seed that you lovingly planted. When harvest time arrives, you can say to yourself: ‘I succeeded.’
You succeeded in gaining respect for your work because you did not work only to survive, but to demonstrate your love for others.
You managed to finish what you began, even though you did not foresee all the traps along the way. And when your enthusiasm waned because of the difficulties you encountered, you reached for discipline. And when discipline seemed about to disappear because you were tired, you used your moments of repose to think about what steps you needed to take in the future.
You were not paralyzed by the defeats that are inevitable in the lives of those who take risks. You didn’t sit agonising over what you lost when you had an idea that didn’t work.
You didn’t stop when you experienced moments of glory, because you had not yet reached your goal. And when you had to ask for help, you did not feel humiliated. And when you learned that someone needed help, you showed them all that you had learned, without fearing that you might be revealing secrets or being used by others.
2014 was indeed an awesome year in every area – family, work, personal growth, traveling…
Wow! Maysoon is extremely inspiring, super funny and very beautiful. One of the most dinchack (wow!) TED talks I’ve ever heard…
You may watch in HD on TED through this link.
Are you guilty? What are you going to do about it?