TO BE ABLE TO TRAVEL and explore the world is one of my greatest dreams of all. I remember my younger days when I would open up my atlas and imagine myself in every country in the world, learning about a new language, experiencing an exotic culture, knowing people of all races and religion. This urge to travel started to come true as I left my beloved country Malaysia for Taiwan to complete my medical studies.
Being a Malaysian with Chinese ancestry, the Chinese language and culture itself is not a big challenge for me and I went through my four years of college with adequate doses of fun and excitement. Throughout the years, I learnt a great deal about the Taiwanese culture, both the traditional one and the modern one. Even though I’m yellow skinned just like the Taiwanese, it’s a shock to notice that we still have many differences.
I HAVE WAITED (AND WASTED) FOUR YEARS for the opportunity to cycle around Taiwan, and look at its wonders, trying to know it better without the barrier of a glass window. To carry out that, I would have to cycle through the roads of Taiwan, and go to the cities and villages so that I can go near the Taiwanese people, and experience their traditions and lifestyles up close.
Thus the story begins with this dream, and with five other dreamers, which coincidentally has the same aspiration, we planned this journey since early June and would start it on 22nd July.
TO BETTER UNDERSTAND OUR JOURNEY, here’s a brief introduction to the characters of this real life story~
Frankie ~ I’m a Malaysian born Chinese with high ambitions and a big heart, I love volunteering and traveling, and dancing is my favorite pastime. Currently a medical student, I have dreams of venturing into the alternative medicine specialty in hopes of making people enjoy health better.
Ying En ~ Malaysian Chinese student majoring in life sciences and can cook extremely well, probably surpassing many expert chefs. A persistent business minded girl, she has dreams of becoming a rich entrepreneur and I’m glad I’m a friend of hers (ha-ha).
Kian Hwee ~ Like me, a foreign medical student, he is my classmate, roommate and good friend. Kind and humble, he loves philosophy and Chinese history, the two things I would never want to touch. Other than that, he is a very helpful and loyal friend.
Ying Zhen ~ He is my classmate and avid swimmer; he is an expert navigator as he is also a frequent traveler. Being a local Taiwanese, he is of great help to the team because of his down-to-earth and precise attitude.
Ru Jiang ~ He is my other classmate which is also a local; he is the comedian of the team, never-failing to entertain everyone, be it day or night. A fun and sincere person, he is very likable and a great asset to the team.
Ruo Ci ~ Ying En’s best friend is a dentistry student with an unquenchable thirst for drinks from convenience stores. She is said to be able to turn food into energy in seconds, because as soon as the food reaches her mouth, her stamina level replenish itself instantly, as if she’s a real life video game character.
BEFORE READING AND ENJOYING the following entries describing our journey, it’s best to let you know the equipment I brought along to help me survive the 11 days outside the comfort of my beloved room. Here’s the list:
Bell bicycle helmet
Bicycle distance counter
Head lights and rear lights
A pair of bar ends
Waterproof rack trunk bag
Waist pouch for important items
A pair of sandals
3 pairs of quick dry shirts and short pants
A bottle of Peter Island sun lotion
Personal hygiene items
Diary and pen
LAST BUT NOT LEAST, I tried to make the entries as informative as possible for when there’s anyone out there with hopes of cycling around Taiwan. Comments are most welcomed and I hope you enjoy my journey as much as I enjoyed it. Dream on because dreams may come true one day.