TRAVEL NOTES 101. Geneva. 0048hours
A Look Back After More Than A Month
I’m on the road now for 5o days. When I left Singapore, I only have 2 certain places in my itinerary: Madrid, Spain and Paris, France. That time, I am crowded with so much fears and a lot of uncertainties because of the unsolicited negative remarks I got from a Singapore-based Catholic priest. I kept a record of what he said and I personally believe it was totally uncalled-for coming from a so called “messenger of God”. I wrote him a letter and another letter to Philippine Ambassador to Singapore, Ms Minda Calaguian-Cruz which later, I decided to keep to myself because it harbored anger and disgust to the priest. My letter to Ms Minda however, is of gratitude, because she gave me a just, reasonable and sensible advice when I accidentally met them at the celebration of Migrant Day last September in Singapore.
Visiting Lisbon, Portugal; Rhone Alpes region of France; now Geneva, Switzerland; and soon Morocco, North Africa just happen as it goes. Sometimes when I’m alone, walking along the quiet streets of the city of Aix les Bains or when I cycle at the lake of le Lac du Bourget, I am amazed how things gradually unfold before me. That at least for once in my life I get to experience and live the kind of life that I have always dreamed of.
Living My Dream
I have always imagined myself to be living the kind of unpredictable adventurous life like those who host travel channels. And in my own way, I am living just like that. Not without the camera in front of me. But just living fully, moving quietly, celebrating simple joys, overcoming little challenges I am facing along the way.
Traveling alone does not equate to loneliness. Occasionally, I feel homesick. I guess, it is human nature. But when I am alone, the more I feel being empowered. As an individual? Yes. But more so, as a woman. I get to know myself better, my strengths and my limits. I can confront the ugliest side of me and still accept and embrace my totality. Maybe that’s the only way to genuinely improve oneself.
Worries Of My Family
I am always receiving text messages from my mother worrying about me. I have no work. Where do I get the money, how I eat, where I sleep, how I survive. I told her, as if to re-assure her not to worry because I have more than enough. I won’t starve. I won’t sleep in the street. There will always be full of abundance because that’s how I have always lived my life – full of abundance. [In future, I will write a detailed description of the adventures that I plunged-in and how I survive traveling and living in Europe].
What Travel Is Really-Not
“Travel is never a matter of money but of courage.” -Paulo Coelho, Aleph
It’s true you don’t need too much money, in order to travel. You only need determination and a strong will to follow and do what you have always wanted to do. And everything else will follow. The lessons I am getting from my current experience: being resourceful plays a significant factor to sustain when you are traveling on a shoestring, expanding your network and circle of friends, and be comfortable with who you are – just be yourself. In this life, human relations is everything. Full stop.
More often than not I could not contain how grateful I am for always to all those strangers who seemed like just would turn out to help me. Like the guy who gave me 2 Swiss Francs so that I can make a call when my French number auto roaming did not work in Geneva. Andy, the exchange student from Macao who by chance we were on the same train going to Geneva, we bumped into each other again on the way back, how good of you to offer me dinner. My kind host Shoaib, whom I did not make it to his invitation to go to learn and dance Kizomba because my feet was seriously aching because of the whole day walk! I still learn a few steps, thank you! These are little things that I often overlook but actually its the little thing that makes up the whole.
Some Photos And Some Awesome People I Meet In Geneva 😀
Second time in Switzerland. First time in Geneva.
Geneva may not be as fascinating as Zurich nor as romantic as Paris, but it has its unique charms. If given an opportunity, I can imagine myself working here. The city is home for around 45 international organizations like United Nations (UN), International Organization for Standardization (ISO), World Health Organization (WHO), International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) to name a few. From which most of these organizations I shared with their goals and objectives. My passion for working with the people has always been there. Maybe I can shift a career from private to NGO? 😉
Another plus about Geneva is it is a walkable city. You can practically see the entire city just by walking. If you enjoyed long walks like I do. now 😉 Jet d’Eau – is Geneva’s most prominent landmark, with this huge fountain located in Lake Geneva (in Swiss) or Lac Léman (in French). By the way, Geneva is the French speaking region of Switzerland. While Zurich is the German speaking region and Lugano in the south, is the Italian speaking region.
And last but not the least, my Geneva’s 1st CS meet up :-D. Shukran to my Pakistani host Shoaib for introducing me to these like-minded pips! Likewise, Merci beaucoup to Aurelie who organize the meet up!