Words & Photos: @oliverinstead • Location: Wai-O-Tapu, Rotorua, NZ
This has been a long-time-coming sort of entry since the common theme of the comments I receive in my blog posts and Instagram is either the “Wow beautiful scenery!” or “Where is this? It looks incredible!” And you might have noticed that I love to travel from my response to those comments – which I’m very thankful for btw! Keep ’em comin’!!
To say that there wasn’t a history of travellers in my family would be an understatement. In fact, the longest distance my ancestors ever travelled was probably when my grandparents shipped themselves from mainland China down to South-east Asia, known as the Nanyang ‘South Ocean‘ in those days. Apart from that, hardly any of us had ever ventured beyond Malaysia. As a result, I spent most of my childhood fascinated by the outside ‘world’ reading junior magazines learning about various landmarks and festivals from around the globe. I cannot recall a second that passed by where I wasn’t wishing I could just go and see, and experience all these ways of life in this giant melting pot of cultures.
One of the reasons why I’ve been able to travel so much for someone who grew up in a small town in northern Malaysia is probably the fact that from a young age, I realised the importance of language – hands down the most fundamental tool when it comes to travelling. I started taking interest in learning English when I was five, or six, watching Sesame Street and TV shows way out of my comprehension but that’s where it all took off. Without language and education, I would never have had the opportunity to see what I’ve seen of the world, especially with a background like mine that doesn’t allow as much luxury as someone from, say present day Seoul or Shanghai so education was my only ticket out of Sungai Petani.
By now you should understand why I’m still waiting on tables at a coffee shop several years after graduating with a First in Linguistics and the English Language. Now, catering jobs are perfect for my needs as I get paid, albeit crappily, for doing nothing. I don’t have a car, I don’t even drive! I don’t have a mortgage so I have practically no financial ties. On top of everything else I’m in control of my schedule, which can be difficult if you have that occupational commitment. Although things are looking to change soon, luckily in a way I figure I can make time and money to travel while doing things I enjoy, in a field I’m passionate about and still surround myself with people I adore…