Growing up in a small cityscape like Singapore, and in between cultures, like most Singaporeans, I’ve always had a sense of wanderlust. Travel is an addictive thing, and I’ve always looked forward to it becoming a meaningful part of my life. Honestly, it’s easy to feel depressed about the many awful things that are happening but at the same time, when you get out there, you realize how awesome the planet is. There are much to discover, that is both wonderful and humbling.
Curiosity is a definite travel essential – to understand the culture, the people and to ask questions to better understand. It’s like a good book that you can’t wait to read, yet, it also requires patience and the attitude of letting everything takes its natural course.
When I travel, I usually do my fair share of research and with time, I came to realize that the best moments are not engineered, and it those serendipitous encounters makes people fall in love with travel.
Traveling with an open mind and no expectations is important because it allows for wonder. Wonder is a truly valuable and rare thing.
My recent trip to Osaka, Japan was so impromptu that we simply booked our tickets, Airbnb, tickets for Universal Studios and nothing else. I had little expectations due to the lack of research so that I wouldn’t form a certain impression of it. Perhaps, it was the wisest decision I’ve made since it turned out to be one of the best holidays I’ve had in years.
Our very first stop after landing at Kansai International Airport was the Kuromon Fish Market. The food was just absolutely mind-blowing, and the variety of food available was great especially since both S and I don’t really take raw food and prefer cooked fishes or beef anytime.
Osaka is often known as the kitchen of Japan, and it’s vast varieties of food has left us wanting more. Let’s take the famous Takoyaki for a great example, we are no stranger to these balls topped with yummy flakes. These are relatively common place in Singapore, and whilst we expected it to differ only slightly from the ones we are used to, these were beyond comprehension. They melt in your mouth and the freshness of the octopus used can’t be rivalled with.
One constant throughout the trip was Ichiran Ramen. We would usually end up at Ichiran for supper before heading back to the apartment. I love the broth and it keeps me constantly wanting more. Coming back after our trip to Osaka, I’ve often find myself at Ippudo, the closest alternative for Ichiran for my ramen fix.
Traveling with friends is tough, and add a kid into the combo really meant that we have no basis for comparison for what we were up against. Prior to this trip, we have only taken trips with friends, but surprisingly, never one with Clem in the 16 years I’ve known her. When Clem knew that we were flying out to meet them in Japan, she expressed her concern about how friendships are destroyed because of incompatibilities in travel habits.
It was an adventure for the 5 of us, navigating the streets of Japan with Cas in tow. Attempting to time his sleep cycles to train rides, feeding him as much food as he would take whilst sneaking in forbidden food without him noticing, taking turns riding the rollercoasters in Universal Studios and carrying him around took an entire “village”. Compromising on the number of attractions you can see, and just simply slowing down is what was essential for us on this trip.
Captured by S. Benjamin with his beautiful Sony A7M2