In the absence of my parents, my sister and I endeavoured on a 3 week trip to a place we knew so well (or so we thought). Fast forward past the mandatory customs and immigration procedures and having to be stuck in a seat for 10 hours (which, by the way doesn’t mix well with motion sickness), we found ourselves in the oh so familiar country of Taiwan.
I feel like as we grow older, we find appreciation in things that we never took notice of before. Having been back many times before, I thought I knew what I was getting myself into. The places I had visited multiple times before, the skyline I had become familiar with, seemed to remain just as they were in my memory as a child. Having done the majority of the “touristy” things before, this trip focused on exploring the local side of Taiwan, immersing ourselves into the culture and finding the beauty of Taiwan’s nature (that many people don’t get the chance see).
A shopping trip was quickly shot down for a chance to drive an hour into the next city to explore the vast extension of night markets. The same food tasted slightly different from the prior one as we continuously found ourselves devouring into Taiwan’s amazing street food. The unique taste of stinky tofu, oyster pancakes and an assortment of fried foods were always within close proximity and as my aunty would say “you never have to worry about getting hungry here”.
A 4-day roadtrip along the east coast of Taiwan was hands down the highlight of the entire holiday. Each day was just as eventful as the next as we found ourselves exploring hidden caves, surfing along a deserted beach and river hiking (something I had definitely not heard of before).
It wasn’t all fun and games when I found myself lost in a city I thought I knew pretty well. In the humidity of 35 degrees and relying on the wifi of stores along the street, I found myself embarking on a treacherous 3 hour journey back home (it would usually only take an hour to get back). After accepting that I wouldn’t be able to figure my way back, it was the kind hearted locals that pointed me in the right direction. Having family in the country, I never had the need to interact with local strangers yet this desperate situation taught me sometimes its ok to accept help from those you don’t know as they are probably more than happy to.
This holiday was without a doubt the best one yet. The memories made and the experiences learnt are definitely things I’ll treasure. I encourage you also to explore what your own culture has to offer. You never know, you might be surprised!