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Jun 4Liked by kora kwok 🌊

Wow, this was so beautifully written and such a wonder to read. It fully resonated for me, as someone on a similar path of discovery and exploration in my 30s. I love all the stories you've brought together, and the reference to Invisible Cities (coincidentally, my latest essay also brings together different story threads set in different cities).

Reading this was like looking into a mirror and being reminded of the meaning behind similar experiences and discoveries I've had, especially in the last few years. I spent most of 2022 slow and solo travelling after quitting my 10 year career path as a lawyer in London, and then learning to unwind from that life which wasn't fully mine.

I was born and grew up in Singapore, where many people (from my own country and outside of it) have questioned why I'd choose to uproot myself from "a place where I should be thankful to have been born", for the repeated upheaval of creating my own life from ground up three times, in three different countries (the US, UK and now, Portugal). 

Looking back, I've come to realize that moving far away from home (both old and new homes) was my own quiet way of resistance, for me to seek out the discovery of who I could be, when I was not physically surrounded by the opinions and lived expressions of who I was expected to be.

Something I've felt profoundly from moving and travelling around the world so much, is that there are parts of us that lie asleep until we encounter the right environments, people or experiences to awaken those parts of us, and it's so precious and feels so internally momentous when that happens.

This was what inspired my recent, biggest move of my life so far to Portugal, which I realize is the first choice I've made in life that's been rooted in a desire to be fully me, rather than to be more or less of something that on paper looks good, or "makes sense".

Thanks for writing and sharing, and I'm looking forward to reading more of your writing!

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thank you for sharing this beautiful reflection, suyin. your words really hit home. "there are parts of us that lie asleep until we encounter the right environments, people or experiences to awaken those parts of us" – i love that idea so much. travel is this continuous uncovering of our true selves. i can't help but wonder: at what point do we return home?

thank you for being here and sharing your story. wishing you all the best in portugal :)

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Thank you Kora! I love to hear how that insight resonated for you too. What I’ve found is that when a part of me awakens, I learn how to honour and nourish that part of me going forward and take that with me wherever I go, so my travels help me uncover more and more of myself and I get to live as more of myself. I feel that’s what true home means for me, that we get to live as our full selves and find a place where we feel free to be just us without having to try to be any other way 🙂

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Beautifully written. I did this, at your age, but by hitchhiking and motorcycling around the country. I was lost, but I was living. We're pushed to succeed 24/7 and not lose any time. My time, despite being broke, was the best, most free time in my life. I wrote about it in my novel Farawayer. Now I'm old, and I did fine, but never forgot that. So I live in an RV full-time, after selling all my stuff. You go, Kora! You'll be fine. Can't wait for the book.

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it's always good to hear from someone who embarked on a similar journey, billy! thank you for the words of support and encouragement. i'll be adding farawayer to my list. very excited to follow your RV journey, that sounds like an adventure :)

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May 19Liked by kora kwok 🌊

This was a beautiful essay man. I think you captured the essence of travel so well.

Especially loved your two anecdotes of conversations. There’s something so wistful and painfully sweet but alive about the people you meet and those singular conversations, opening your eyes to their corner of the world, someone from a completely different walk of life, but knowing you’ll soon part and they’ll go on being the main character of their life and you’ll go on being the main character of yours, and you’ll never see them again.

Also the boundlessness of travel. In school and career there’s one path, one track to follow. But then I travelled and realized that’s not life, thats not reality, just a frame I was viewing life through, and real life is so much broader, open, choose your own adventure

Can’t wait for the book (:

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i agree, there's always a layer of ephemeral beauty to these chance encounters... there's also something very real about the wisdom you gain from the real-life conversations you have with these people – as opposed to reading them in a book or article.

real life as a "choose your own adventure" i love that very much. thanks for reading tommy :)

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May 19Liked by kora kwok 🌊

Really loved this kora. Such beautiful writing. And, as you know, I’m in a very similar place of my life. Not really knowing who I am or where I’m going next in my career. This piece gives me hope and inspiration. Thanks for writing :)

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thank you for being here, jack :) here's to trusting this time of self-discovery and exploration.

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