Month ten became bittersweet as we left Japan to visit Taiwan. If you were to ask me where my favourite country to visit has been during this year of travels, I’d have to say Japan is quite high up on the ranks.
While in Japan, I met a Taiwanese lady who kept telling me that I am going to feel so depressed when I get to Taiwan. In my mind, I thought that was crazy talk because I love Asia.
But then I arrive in Taipei, and I started to feel post-vacation blues. Post vacation blues while travelling – it’s real. Taiwan is great, don’t get me wrong, but it’s such a huge contrast to Japan.
And because we are settling down in Taipei, I couldn’t help but compare Taipei life in Chiang Mai. Add to the fact that it is insanely humid in Taipei and I was feeling bummed out.
That feeling lasted for a week – once it got out of my system, I started warming up to Taiwan and the perks of living in the land of bubble tea.
Dates Travelled: April 19, 2018 – May 18, 2018
Budget: We totally went YOLO during our last week of Japan and threw our budget out the window when it came to food. In fact, on certain days, we spent MORE money on food than we did on accommodation! Our other unexpected spend is related to Gary’s crown cracking…again (happened the first time in New Zealand during month nine for those who are wondering).
So at this point in our travels, I gave up on tracking the budget by month and have been looking at our budget holistically. Also, I’ve been getting a lot of questions about budgets, so I’ll write a post at some point breaking down the categories for our year of travel.
Places Visited: Kyoto, Hiroshima, Osaka, Taipei, Kaohsiung, Kenting
Items Lost/What I Wish I Packed: Gary lost his credit card. Luckily, we brought backup cards so really, our most significant loss is losing out on potential points. I have to say that I am quite surprised at how long we’ve lasted without losing any credit cards and debit cards.
Not entirely something I lost, but I had a mini tripod at the bottom of my camera which broke. So sad – it’s going to cost me about $30 CAD to replace
- Bus from Hiroshima to Osaka
- Fly from Osaka to Seoul, and then to Taipei
- Train from Taipei to Kaohsiung
- Private driver from Kaohsiung to Kenting
What I Miss:
- Sleeping on futons in Japan. In fact, I think I’ll buy a futon when we are back in Canada
- Cooking and preparing my own food
- Not being able to focus on completing a task. I’m constantly losing momentum because we are always on the go. Taipei will be our quiet time to catch up on boring life stuff
- Signing our apartment contract in Chinese – I felt pretty illiterate. I empathize with people who live in a new country without knowing the language
- Feeling an earthquake in Taipei. I was on the bed and woke up to what felt as if someone grabbed our bed and shook it hard. It was quite scary, although quite common in Taipei.
Funniest Moments: Watching a guy in Japan accidentally drop a piece of fried chicken in the garbage can. He stopped eating, paused to think about what to do before reaching into the bin and grabbing the chicken. He then blew on the chicken before popping it into his mouth. While it was a super funny sight to see and might come off as gross to some, I know why he did that. For one, the chicken was pretty good and two, five-second rule is more like a five-minute rule in Japan. The country is seriously that clean!
- Catching the sunset at Miyajima
- Having the best conversation with the owner of a tiny curry place and meeting an awesome couple from California. We learned that they were going to be in Taiwan the same time as us so we met up with them a few times in Taipei!
It’s in these moments where I am reminded that we never felt alone during our trip. We’re always meeting new people whom we’ve connected in a way that I know we’ll stay in touch.
Defining Moments: Visiting the Children’s Peace Monument, which commemorates Sadako Sasaki in Hiroshima. It’s a sad story about a young girl who died of leukemia because of the radiation from Hiroshima. She was the reason why I learned to fold cranes and became obsessed with origami.
Cijin island was also a very defining moment for me. I never thought I’d see people of all shapes, sizes, and races coming together to chill on a beach in Taiwan. I started to wonder about how life would be like if we lived in Taiwan… for a year… (notice a trend? …LOL).
Yucky Moments: Finding a huge fly in my noodle soup while in Taiwan. It was gross, big, and looked like a maggot with wings. The even crazier thing is that I picked it out with my chopsticks and didn’t bother to get a new pair of chopsticks.
I also saw huge rats in Kaohsiung! (In case you didn’t know, rats seem to have an affinity for me – they’ll even jump on my head! You can read more here under my scary moments section in month five).
Thoughts and feelings during month ten as a modern nomad
We did a lot of walking again in Osaka – so much that my feet would ache by the end of the day
The soreness made me want to do nothing but lie in bed and binge watch YouTube videos. But that never happened because Japan is too awesome not to explore.
As much as I love Japan, I’m glad that I don’t live there
Only because I’d become a big round shape from eating all the delicious Asian dessert all day.
Our days are never set in stone
Our schedule almost entirely revolves around the weather. Having this flexibility is one of the reasons why I love the slow travel – we can change our itinerary depending on the day. This way of travel is a far cry from the days when I used to treat my time travelling like it was a sprint.
I have an addiction!
Arcade games… ugh… you win… thanks, Japan.
Whenever I’m at an airport, I’m stunned at the amount of luggage people bring
What we travel with between the two of us for one year is what people carry for a short (assumption here) vacation. The funny thing is that I think we brought too much stuff and could have packed 30% fewer clothes than what we brought.
Making every sunset count
I love watching the sunset; something I never appreciated unless I was on vacation. But I realize each time I watched the sunset, the place I am at becomes so much more meaningful to me. I hope to continue to fall in love with sunsets even when I am back in Canada.
So many “pure bliss” moments in Taiwan
Nothing can possibly beat the ones where I am wandering the streets sipping bubble tea while hearing Jay Chou classics playing in the background.
I want to live in Kaohsiung
Like really really really want to live in Taiwan, just for a year (Ha! Surprise, surprise). I caught myself thinking how possible it is for us to live in Kaohsiung.
I can’t keep track of which side of the street to look for cars when crossing
We visited so many countries with cars driving on different sides of the roads that I’m just confused now.
Taipei reminds me of Hanoi
I was quite shocked by that thought because I thought Taipei would be akin to Singapore or Hong Kong. But nope, we were greeted with a million scooters and honking motorbikes the first time we got off the MRT.
My VPN doesn’t always work because of crappy internet connection
Kinda sucks when I need to log online for my banking needs.
The world is my school
I call myself the student of life because I love learning. I love how travelling for a year means I am learning every single day. For example, I’ve wanted to improve my Mandarin, and now that I am in Taiwan, I have practical Mandarin lessons on a daily basis! Every person I meet is a potential Mandarin teacher, and I try to learn from the people I meet. When I am in the MRT, I read the characters, read the pinyin to help with the pronunciation, and use the recorded announcements to adjust my tone. Way more fun than the traditional classroom setting.
Travelling creates such a universal perspective of the world
Seeing new things and talking to different people has dramatically expanded my frame of reference.
I love long flights and long bus rides
It means I get to catch up on podcasts and movies… a downtime I haven’t had the chance to experience in the last few months.
“I can’t believe you’re halfway around the world and you have to worry about taxes” – Friend
Yeah, I can’t believe it either. They don’t lie when they say the two sure things in life are death and taxes.
The more I travel, the more I realize how lucky I am to have the type of passport that I have
Ever so grateful for being born in Canada. I never realized how much I took my Canadian passport for granted until this year.
It’s hitting me how we pay an arm and a leg for data in Canada
We’ve been pretty spoiled with our cheap data plans while travelling overseas.
I cleared my history on my web browser, which was a huge mistake
I ended up not being able to log into my PayPal account without having them send me a verification code through SMS. The only problem is that my Canadian phone number is not in service! Ugh. Let this be a lesson for you future travellers… or maybe bring your SIM card in case you need to log into a website that only offers verification via SMS.
Health is wealth
I’m relatively healthy and never experienced any significant pain with my back. That all changed one day when I woke up to extreme back pain. It was so painful that I could barely move out of bed. The last time I had this kind of back pain was self induced (playing bubble soccer with really aggressive guys who would send you flying in an instant). For a moment, I was scared that this back pain will not go away. Luckily, it did the next day, but the pain was scarring and it made me think about how my health is way more important than being rich.
Photography progress for month ten as a modern nomad
I don’t have any progress this month except I am trying new things – i.e., shooting reflections, learning to shoot with a TON OF OTHER TOURISTS, and my first product shoot haha.
Not spending enough time framing photos is an area of improvement
I spend most of my time waiting for people to get out of my shot and then rushing to continue with our day.
Started experimenting with reflections
That was fun. For once, I know what I’m doing! Now, if only I can improve the photo editing…
Did a “photoshoot” with… KIT KAT!
I’m not very good at photographing product, so this was a fun new challenge for me. Of course, I felt that I needed to eat one bar of each flavour to have a fair comparison of the taste.
I gave up after the sixth bar. There is such a thing as too much Lit Kat, even for this dessert monster.
What’s next for month eleven of the modern nomad life
We will still be in Taiwan exploring the southern part of the island. I’ll also try to catch up on my blogging and share more travel stories (time to blog my brains out!). If you are following my stories about nomad life, you’ll realize that my stories are only up to month two of our travels.
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