The importance of a break

I breathed a sigh of relief as I landed at Taoyuan International Airport in Taiwan. I felt as if the invisible weight on my shoulders for the past two months has been lifted.

I was back in motherland, touched down in a place where I knew I was able to communicate and navigate myself without much trouble. It was a godsend and a much needed break after being in countries where I couldn’t tell the difference between whether they were trying to rip me off, or if they were offering to help with directions. Staying vigilant and alert, as I did, had paid off quite well.

My original plan was to go directly from my SE Asia backpacking trip to Australia where I would start my one year working holiday. It also worked out that my parents were going to Taiwan for a short visit, and our extended family (read: 50+ people) were organizing an annual get-together dinner which I had always missed.

I had been back to Taiwan myself several times in the past couple of years, staying mostly in Taipei where my grandparents lived. I’m used to getting to all sorts of places myself to meet up with friends and family, running errands here and there, and do a bit of shopping with the ease of the metro system in the city – enough that sometimes I’m even able to offer others who ask me (yeah, a local asking a foreigner, haha).

You had no idea how nice it was to finally talk face to face with friends and family you have known for a long time. Throughout this trip, I mentioned how easy it was to meet others while travelling solo, and while it was nice, it doesn’t replace the feeling of talking to your group of friends. You also come to realize and appreciate more of the short time that you spend with them.

Time does pass quickly. In the short two years that I have been away, many have changed their jobs, some have moved onto new relationships, while some have new members in their household. I am glad that I was able to catch up on some of the details and the daily life talk. Oh, how I’ve also missed gossips.

Coming back to my second home was also “comfortable.” Some asked, if I don’t have a job and my vacation days are “limitless,” why not stay longer in Taiwan? You have to be careful to fall into the trap of getting too comfortable in one place, or else you won’t have the motivation to get out and explore again.

As the Chinese saying goes, “休息, 是為了走更遠的路” which is translated literally into “to rest is to prepare for a longer journey.” Prior to this trip, I usually try to jam-pack my days with multiple itineraries as most people on vacation do. After the first couple of weeks, I started to take short afternoon breaks in coffee shops, then later adding a few padding days here and there where I would be able to either relax or spend some time regrouping my thoughts on the past few days. Travelling isn’t all about checking off the list of places you’ve been; when you slow down a bit you get a better feel of the local everyday life. Highly recommend it if your travel time allows for it.

Feeling re-energized after spending two weeks in Taiwan, I was ready to take on the new challenges in my next city, Sydney!


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