Well, we have been here in Hong Kong for 5 nights and 6 days and it has been absolutely amazing. This is my first time here and in my mind I had imagined it to be really smoggy and polluted, lots of people on the move, litter on the streets and way too many neon signs. I don’t really know where I got that idea from, probably movies, but it hasn’t been like that at all.

The people are so lovely, everyone smiles and say hello and I’ve had strangers help us with directions, recommend places to eat and let us play with their dogs on the street. Everyone we’ve met has been so relaxed and chilled out, nobody is in a hurry to get anywhere and it gives the city a really peaceful vibe. There is pollution, but it’s not overwhelming like I’d imagined it might be and while there are a lot of people walking around on the streets, it all just flows and works. Getting around has been super easy too, the public transport system here is a dream (take notes, Brisbane City Council).

Before we left Brisbane and in my last Travel Diary post I had set my intentions for this trip. The major them was for me to slow down and enjoy the moment, to not wish away the trip or be constantly looking forward to the next part, causing me to miss what was right in front of me. The wishing away thing is an old habit of mine and something I’ve done most of my life, I’ve always struggled to be settled and still in the moment.

Exploring the Wet Market
Exploring the Wet Market

For the first time ever I’ve been able to enjoy every moment without even trying. That’s a really big deal for me and I’m really happy this trip has given me the perspective to realise how far I’ve come and how much I’ve changed. Even when we went to Sumbawa last August I found myself looking forward and not being present in each day. The change between then and now is huge for me and I feel really proud at how much I’ve changed without even realising it.

Every day I wake up and feel calm, centred and not in any kind of rush. I’m happy to go along with the flow of the day and enjoy each moment for as long as it lasts, whether that’s slowly sipping a coffee, eating a meal and then staying to talk for a while in the restaurant or just laying in bed that little bit longer. All these things have given these past 6 days a really great vibe and made this trip really, really enjoyable. I’ve never experienced a trip like this before, where I’m not in a rush, and it’s awesome!

I guess that’s what travel is about, you learn a lot about yourself and gain perspective as well as see beautiful parts of the world and gain wonderful memories. I’ve had all those things so far and it reminds me why I do this and live the way I do. It’s when I feel most like myself.

I had planned out an itinerary and spread it out over our 6 days in Hong Kong, but we were so full of energy and happy to be here that we accidentally went through the whole itinerary within a few days! We just kind of walked around and stumped upon all the places I’d wanted to visit anyway and before we knew it we had a few days with no plans. This gave us a great opportunity to just find things organically, like some amazing local coffee shops, cafes, restaurants and markets.

When I travel I really like eating where the locals eat, so I did some research to find a few of Hong Kong’s best local spots. We’ve eaten at some really cool little places, surrounded by locals and felt really comfortable, like we’re just one of the crowd and not tourists at all. I love that feeling when you’re really in the heart of somewhere local and you’re the only non-local there and for that moment you’re completely lost. Nobody knows where you are, nobody can contact you and you don’t even really know where you are either. You could be anywhere. You are anonymous. Those are the memories that stick with me the longest.

The highlights of Hong Kong so far, for me, have been the incredible dumplings we ate at Din Tai Fung as well as the amazing local food we’ve eaten, like congee at the top of a wet market complex. We gave in and let the universe take control one day by jumping on the first tram that came by, with no idea where it was headed, and ended up in a really cool part of town with lots of bars.

Another highlight happened this morning, we found a hidden cafe we’d walked past at least a dozen times. The baristas were so cool and made the best coffee we’ve had the whole time we’ve been here. It was nice to be tucked away in a little laneway cafe with nowhere to be and nothing to do. One of the big highlights for me has been the flower market, I absolutely love flowers and plants and the streets here were covered with both. It made me feel so happy walking along that street and filled my head with ideas for our new house.

Exploring the local flower market
Exploring the local flower market

I’ve also really loved walking through the wet markets and wandering through winding narrow streets, just following the path. It has been a photography dream and has given me the chance to take my time and frame photos properly, adjust settings and capture the moment exactly as it is.

I had been worried about how I might balance the work aspect and the holiday aspect. My approach was to just chill the heck out and that’s worked out great! Everything has been coming together really easily and I’ve found time to do the things I need to do work-wise as well as have lots of fun and enjoy the trip. I guess sometimes we worry about things that haven’t even happened yet, which is really just a waste of time and energy.

Today we’re having a chill-out day at the hotel. I’m keen to do some writing and get all the words in my head, out and onto the internet. We also need to get organised and packed as we catch a train tomorrow morning from Hong Kong into Guangzhou and our clothes and stuff are ALL OVER this hotel room right now.

It’s our first time in China and we’re both interested to see what it holds, what we capture and the chance to experience a completely new part of the world.

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