Welcome to the First Seegs Travels Quarterly! Besides just having very travel specific posts, I think it would go further if I shared more about my journey as a whole. The internal journey is just as important as the external one.
While I don’t have enough interesting things happen to me to post monthly updates, I’ll do a general update post about every 3 months, which will of course turn out to be 4 times a year. Hence the name. My business background also makes me partial to quarterly findings :)
So here’s what happened from January to March 2016:
I finally did it! I moved abroad (to Taiwan) at the end of January. I spent most of January trying to pack everything I’d need into as few bags as possible, packing up my childhood home that my parents would be moving out of while I’m gone (kind of a surreal feeling to not have much of a true “home” anymore), celebrating the 30th birthdays of a few good friends, saying goodbye to as many people as time would allow (which turned out to not be nearly enough), and just generally soaking in NYC.
I achieved full-on tourist status on my last days in NYC
Arrival in Taiwan was pretty seamless. I found the people to be extremely friendly, the food to be mouthwatering and the scenery to be jawdropping. You can read my musings on arrival here.
I also realized that Taiwan was the 30th country I’ve visited. To be honest, I thought I had a lot more countries under my belt than 30, but it was kind of interesting to visit my 30th country in my 30th year.
#nofilter in Taipei
Mid-February kicked off the Chinese New Year celebrations in Taiwan, which was an unforgettable experience. Throughout February, Facebook kept reminding me of how I used to make my friends in the U.S. always celebrate Chinese New Year with me in the past, and it made me feel very lucky to finally be celebrating it firsthand on the proper side of the world. That check off my bucket list feels great!
The Taiwan Lantern Festival was the highlight of the Chinese New Year for me and I’m so happy I was able to make it to Pingxi to gaze at the enchanting lanterns floating into the night sky carrying beautiful wishes for the new year along with them. You can read more about the festival here.
I also took a little weekend trip to Hong Kong in February. It wasn’t my first time there – Hong Kong was actually the first place I visited in Asia more than 10 years ago before moving on to China. But Hong Kong is the type of place that’s always a good idea, and I had an entirely different experience this time than on my first, staying with someone who lives there instead of in a hotel.
I went to the highest bar in the world at the Ritz Carlton Hong Kong, I went for character-themed Dim Sum, took the Star Ferry to Kowloon and had some very decent Mexican food (random I know), which Taipei is lacking.
I’ll never tire of the Hong Kong Skyline
Luckily, the flight from Taipei to Hong Kong (and back) is less than an hour, so it’s a really easy jaunt. I feel so lucky to live in an area of the world where I can take a quick trip to Hong Kong, and accessibility to the rest of the continent was really what I was looking for when I came here.
Back in Taipei, I tried tendon for the first time and was honestly shocked at how delicious it was. It was a little gummy, and soaked up all the flavor of the broth it was in. I know what I’ll be ordering if I see tendon on the menu in the future.
I also made some truly wonderful friends in the past few months. There’s a really solid expat community in Taipei, and it’s easy to meet people. The idea of moving to a new city without knowing anyone can be intimidating, but trust me when I say that idea is unfounded and there are always new and interesting people to meet if you’re open to it.
What’s next for Quarter 2 (Apr – June)?
A lot more posts about Taipei! I’m enjoying this city much more than I thought I would, and am trying to savor the time I have here.
I’ll be heading back to the East Coast for wedding season towards the end of June. I’m sure it will be quite odd the first time being “home” but not having a “home”. Although, I really should stop complaining because it sounds obnoxious when I read this back to myself – sorry about that.
I’m looking forward to seeing my best friends and family, and spending some time at the good ole Jersey Shore. I’m also looking forward to eating as much pizza as time will allow.
Back to New Jersey for June & July
But first, I have a long weekend planned in Seoul, Korea which I’m incredibly excited about. That’ll be my 31st country! I want to be completely surrounded by K-Pop, eat some really legit Korean BBQ and just maybe visit a puppy cafe.
I’ll probably make it back to Hong Kong a time or two also, for some personal reasons which I may or may not write about in the future ;-)
On another note, I’m going to be VERY sorry to miss a few VIP birthdays while I’m still in Taipei in April including my grandma’s 99th (you read that correctly), my mom’s XXth birthday (you’re welcome for the omission), and my best friend’s 30th. It’s really a bummer to miss these and trust me if there were ANY way I could be there for them I would be in a second. These are obviously 3 very important people to me and it actually almost pains me on the inside to miss out on any celebration in their honor.
One thing is for certain, though: I am the happiest I’ve been in a really long time, which makes me think that all of the hard choices I had to make in the last year were worth it and I wasn’t doing such a terrible job figuring my life out.
I wish I knew it at the time.
Stay tuned for the Quarter 2 update which will arrive at the end of June! You can also follow along on my journey in real time on Snapchat. My username is: seegstravels .