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At Journey’s End

An emotional conclusion to my adventure in Singapore

I put a great big cross on my bucket list on November 27th as I stepped out of Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands MRT station to be greeted with the high-rise view of my end destination.  I had accomplished my ambition of an overland adventure spanning an entire continent, and it took days to wipe an everlasting smile off my face. There was a noticeable spring in my step during the final 4 days!

A second Innings

My stay at the Bohemian Chic hostel located in Chinatown was an ideal spot to get around the city. I didn’t get a great first night’s sleep as, let’s just say, I had to stop the guy beneath my dorm bed from pleasuring himself at 5AM, and making a horrendous racket to accompany his buzzing alarm clock. But I warmed to the place and the owner took great care of me, despite the backpacker atmosphere being a little muted.

While Singapore is a place that I visited two years prior, I managed to enjoy it just as much the second time – even some places I had previously visited. I had more time to walk around Little India and find souvenirs for the family, and a chance to take a more leisurely stroll through the beautiful, man-made Gardens by the Bay. There was no compulsion to see all the tourist sights in the city again, so even if it was hanging out at the old cricket club or the Fullerton Hotel, I felt at ease just admiring the history of this modern metropolis.

Looking out over a  sunset from the Supertree in Gardens by the Bay

My return was also a chance to visit sights I couldn’t cover the first time. One notable stop was at the recently opened National Gallery, which has undergone conversion from former city hall and supreme court, originally built in the 1920s. It’s quite remarkable how well preserved these buildings are; the two buildings have been merged together and the original facades remain untouched. The interiors are equally well preserved, visitors can even walk into the jail cells and see the trapdoor above.

Inside the gallery, the court rooms have been converted into themed art galleries. Most of my time was spent browsing around a special exhibition running in conjunction with the Tate gallery in London to depict images of those living under colonial rule. While looking through some visitor crafted art outside the gallery, an assistant outside the gallery approached me and became the first stranger who moved me to tears. In a peaceful, soft tone he mentioned about not thinking about the future and past, and taking time away to meditate. It was as though he had met the voice in my head and could tell some of the personal challenges I had tried to overcome in the past few years.

Inside the National Gallery of Singapore. facing the bridge between the Supreme Court and City Hall

The next day I headed to the ArtScience museum at Marina Bay Sands which featured a NASA exhibition. It’s much smaller than the Air and Space museum in Washington D.C. that I visited earlier in the year, but there are a number of interesting artefacts here from the US space missions. Later on, I perched beside the Marina water just in front of a nearby Louis Vuitton store, and admired the skyline while reminiscing about my trip.

Marina Bay Sands

My final excursion just a few hours before my flight was to the place that I partially credit for inspiring this trip in the first place. A second visit to Singapore Zoo didn’t fail to amaze me, especially watching the orangutans free-roaming the tree-tops. I can’t help but admire their human like characteristics and playful behaviour. It might sound strange, but I think humanity can learn a lot from our ancestral relatives. Sometimes, life’s about enjoying the bear necessities (as Baloo said from The Jungle Book).

Often it takes a second visit to somewhere to really appreciate a place, and that’s what I found with Singapore. I was reminded me of how convenient the city is – the public transport system works brilliantly and the city centre is easily walkable – it helps Singapore is only the size of Greater London. It’s wonderfully clean and green, unpolluted and uncongested, which is in stark contrast to most of the other Asian cities I had visited on my travels. It’s up for debate whether this is a universally good thing. I stand by my original conclusion of it being a rich cultural melting pot and a luxurious place to live, even if it’s quite sterile in places.

Homeward bound

I wasn’t dreading going back home, and I hadn’t even thought about it until I arrived in Singapore. The time had come to return and there were certain comforts that I was quite looking forward to – namely, my bed and home-cooked food! There were so many memories I had to dwell on that I didn’t have the mental capacity to even think about going back to my old life until I got there.

After bidding the city farewell, my final destination was Changi airport where I spent my final night on a bench in the terminal. I couldn’t sleep prior to my 6AM flight to Kuala Lumpur, which would then connect to London Heathrow (all for a very modest £240 via Malaysia Airlines)

I was last on-board the A380 jumbo jet in KL after falling asleep at the gate. The flight was perfectly acceptable; I managed to bag a window seat beside an emergency exit door so had plenty of legroom. I didn’t bother with any of the in-flight entertainment – this had almost become an alien luxury – but instead caught up documenting my experience.

An unremarkable and comfortable 13 hour flight  brought me to London Heathrow at the scheduled arrival time of 15:00. Not long afterwards I received emotional welcome by my parents who were prepared with balloons and a thick winter jacket at the arrival gate.

Within two hours of touch down I had arrived back in Milton Keynes, back to my own room that had been empty for months. Despite the memories still flashing through my mind, for the time being I put these aside. I untied the rakhi, a bracelet that my mother originally tied to my backpack for protection, and fastened it to my wrist as an omnipresent reminder of this journey of a lifetime.

-S

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164 Comments

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  77. we really should get the option if we want to swich or not. it would make everyone alot happyer. people are also mad that the partners get to choose and we dont. i also think that the fadeung option isnt really that helpfull becuse for some backrouds that couldd make the profile and comments harder to read.

  78. Estou à espera da sua crítica. Afinal a AICEP e a CMFundão (tudo Estado) estão a oferecer as calças e o que se mete dentro das calças para "ajudar" a Altran ou será só em Lesboa que se oferecem coisas? As pessoas estão a recusar os salários oferecidos pela empresa. É preferível emigrar para o país de origem da Altran e retirar lá o trabalho aos nacionais desse país.

  79. Eres políticamente incorrecto, mira que hablar contra los manifestantes antibush. Aunque neta, no hay a quién irle, por un lado el discurso gastado y el ropaje tipo marcos (PASAMONTAÑAS, DOS RELOJES, CHALECO DE FOTÓGRAFO, ETC),jipiteco o de protesta (hurache, mezclila, bolsa de alpaca o portafolios de cuero crudo), y por el otro, men in black,007, junto con poleceas tipo el siete-siete-siete…En, fin, de haber ido a Mèrida, hubiese preferido verte a tí que al bush

  80. My husband and I are interested to attend at early bird price of P1,400.00. How will I send payment? Tomorrow is the last day of payment for early birds, i hope I can catch on it. But if possible, can u extend our payment until Monday for an early bird price?Thanks….

  81. A, you can't live your life for your parents and if they love about you, they won't expect you to. Having kids out of guilt would never work. You'd be the one raising them, not your parents and you might get very resentful eventually. Let it go.

  82. I am very interested to apply the scholarship because in our country, we really need to intensify on helping rural families to uplift their daily living. I am a graduate of Bachelor of Science in Development Communication, major in Development Journalism. Currently employed at a leading microfinance institution in one of the developing countries-Philippines as a training officer.This would help me expand my capability to give quality services to our clients through credit with education (CWE).If ever given the chance, I would be very grateful and honored to be part of your institution.More power!!!God Bless!!!

  83. I was hoping to come back and comment on this with a reference to a cute dress I was planning to turn into a skirt, but it turned out the lining on the dress didn't have enough give in it. Since chopping the top off the dress, adding a waistband, AND relining the skirt would have turned an $8 thrift store find into a $70 project, I decided against it. Now I think I'm going to make it into throw pillows instead.

  84. Why can Facebook offer ~10 thumbnail options and YouTube just gives 3? What in this world is the problem of giving more flexibility there? Why did they change the middle, x/4 and 3x/4 thumbnails now? Why so hostile 🙁

  85. Thanks so much for this quilt label idea. I plan to try it on my next project needing a label.I was wondering if anyone had any ideas as to how to label “Reversible Table runners and tote bags”? I have been making many of them for shower gifts in the past and I have 5 weddings showers in 2013. I’d like to label them but don’t want to take away from the runner or tote bag appearance. Any ideas are welcome!! Thanks in advance.

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  94. Comment Sarkozy ose-t-il proposer sa visite et surtout quelle utilité aurait-elle dans l’immédiat alors que les autorités japonaises sont débordées?Aucune décence, la France avec Sarkozy franchit un pas de plus dans le ridicule et le grotesque chaque jour.

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  96. What balls?Klein would have displayed these mythical “balls” only if he admitted the opposition was right when it mattered–in other words, when the opposition raised the issue. Instead, lies, spin, and partisan propaganda. 14 years of that on repeat–and then, on the way out the door, “oh, hey, about the future… yeah, the Opposition was right–we don’t know what the fuck we’re doing!”… is not “balls”.

  97. Caligula dit :Arnold est un droitiste, pourtant Arnold reverdit la Californie en plantant des arbres et en passant les lois les plus sévères au plan environnemental.Être vert n’a rien à voir avec la droite ou la gauche.

  98. I would like to add if you do not currently have an insurance policy or you do not form part of any group insurance, chances are you’ll well really benefit from seeking the assistance of a health broker. Self-employed or those with medical conditions ordinarily seek the help of one health insurance dealer. Thanks for your writing.

  99. Moment grandiose de cette écoute!! …suis déjà impatiente d’attendre le printemps prochain ;-)Excellente chronique Chère Saab (…me manque les émoticones -lol-)Amicalement Bises

  100. Broadwood: I did not intend to pick a fight. I was just responding to your response. The point of the article is that nobody can deny that Israel belongs to the Jewish people. People can try to deny it, it doesn't make their denials true.That's all.

  101. angel…bunny wunny…sending lots of cyber attention you way *waving my arms like a mad woman over here*….oh boy…lemme just tell you that you are a super duper special lady who deserves to get what you want and need… don’t settle for second best… who betrayed your secrets???

  102. Wars with gays guys n wine both of my gay uncles like wine n hardly drink beer but glad u guys don’t hide being gay u guys seem very nice

  103. Hmm is anyone else experiencing problems with the images on this blog loading? I’m trying to figure out if its a problem on my end or if it’s the blog. Any feed-back would be greatly appreciated.

  104. Small is graceful – I would love to read that article. Currently I live in a studio apartment and I find it sometimes difficult to make it look pretty and have a great presence. Great post!You may be interested in entering for a chance to win a $500 cash prize and become the Beso Fashion Correspondent for the month of August. Thank you for sharing, as always, I look forward to your daily posts.Dana

  105. To relax, I either read a good book that has nothing to do with my profession or any of the other pressing demands of life, or I take the time to create something. The creation can be as simple as a new smoothie to as complex as a quilt. But, this allows me to pull away from the world and remember beauty.

  106. ‘Dammit, I have a very interesting life.’You do, Sheila, you do.“Robert E. Lee’s horse’s north-facing ass.” Hahahahaha.On a random note — and this is so totally random that I won’t pursue it unless you want to hear it or don’t know it already — do you know what the horse’s raised/not raised legs mean on a statue? There’s a whole meaning to it. Which is so irrelevant to this post that I hate myself for even mentioning it.Okay. Dork out.

  107. This is really a genrous effort to help people learn english at their door steps. Honestly speaking you folks are doing a hell lot of a job, all I can say at this point is keep up the good job. thanks

  108. that no one deserves the terrible fate inside the execution chamber.  She teaches a message of forgiveness and love that everyone, no matter if you believe in capital punishment or not, should respect.

  109. It’s funny, a serious craving for home baked cookies came over me yesterday afternoon, and this may have just pushed me over the edge. I’m off to raid the cupboard and bake some cookies now!

  110. May25 You actually make it seem really easy along with your presentation but I to find this matter to be really one thing that I feel I’d by no means understand. It kind of feels too complex and extremely huge for me. I’m looking forward on your subsequent post, I¡¦ll try to get the hang of it!

  111. io abito a mendrisio… geograficamente parlando siamo a circa 20 minuti (traffico permettendo) da Attivissimo. Il territorio si assomiglia, anche se il Ticino è bello perchè molto variato, difatti ogni regione ha le sue peculiarità. Un buon consiglio: le prossime vacanze passale ad esplorare la zona, non ne rimarrai deluso!

  112. Vreau sa citesc "Nu plange sub clar de luna" dar de fiecare data cand ma duc la biblioteca .. e luata poate cine stie am noroc saptamana asta si pun "gherutele" pe ea:O

  113. Mi caso es que tanto mi marido como yo trabajamos en la misma empresa y el mismo turno. Seremos padres en breve y mi pregunta es si la,empresa esta obligada a facilitarnos a uno de los dos cambio de turno para poder cuidar de nuestro hijo.

  114. makes me wanna fly more than half of the earth to join your next workshop !!!!!! too bad that in our condition right now i won't be able to save any money but paying all what we earned for my french man's the once every-two-month trip to hong kong to apply his visa in order to stay in taiwan with me…in even if we're already married ! life is crazy sometimes…oh ohi adore the short tour in your lovely lovely home, dear camillathank you so much for sharing, makes me so happy:)

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  117. Excellent review brother!I just ordered this board and the other components from New Egg today so it should be on my front door by the end of the week.Parts coming for my new build brother Nox:Gigabyte GA-EP45-UD3P MBIntel E8500 CPUG.Skill 4GB DDR2-1100 (2x2GB) MemoryOCZ StealthXStream 700W PSUEVGA 01G-P3-N981-TR GeForce 9800 GT 1GBWD Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB 7200 32MBDynatron P985 92mm Ball CPU CoolerLITE-ON DVD Burner iHAS222-06GIGABYTE Triton 180 ATX MT Case

  118. Hello Mister,Thank you for all, it’s very amazing!I need 150 000 euros to create my own firm.I hope that you can make something for me.Thank you et à bientôt ! Marc

  119. Passive-aggressiveness is called “manipulation.” So, address this, each and every time. Address the behavior, not the person. It is a respectful way to ensure that it stops with you.Stating that you will not be manipulated by anyone is a healthy response, and they know that you have “no difficulty calling it exactly what it is!” They will stop.

  120. Dude!I’m sorry to hear you’re temporarily immobilized. Traffic-accidents suck!Do you actually know what is wrong with your knee? I couldn’t tell glancing over your previous posts. I guess the game of pocket billiards will be postponed quite a bit. I’m guessing being back in China around the OG must’ve been amazing, right?

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  122. Listening to music and HALF a car. Yikes. That is a good gig you have going on. Derek and I lived in New Jersey for the first several years of our marriage. At the beginning and end of each summer we drove across the ENTIRE COUNTRY (4 days). I didn’t mind it at all. Now that we have the kid factor, I can barely handle a trip to Tahoe (well, lets be honest, a trip to Target is an ordeal). How fun to be in the car and have time to yourself!HAPPY HALLOWEEN

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