Week 48: My voyage home – a year on
You can’t connect the dots looking forward. You can only connect them looking backward
It’s been exactly a year since I packed all my belongings into 3 suitcases weighing approximately 55kgs, a backpack, and a duffel bag, and left Melbourne on a one-way ticket.
Never would I have dared to imagine that a year later, today, I would be sitting at a dining table in Kyoto, Japan, reflecting on all that has happened (or, changed) in the past year.
Firstly, air travel – or any sort of travel for that matter
A year ago, I had to take a PCR test to be able to board a plane. Airports were empty. I strictly followed the sanitise-your-hand-after-touching-anything rule and the change-your-mask-every-four-hours advice. It was also right before the Omicron variant started peaking in Melbourne and Singapore.
A year later, today, I’ve been to Boston and back for a study trip, I’ve gone home to KL twice, and am now in Japan, on holiday with my parents. Travelling, though tedious, feels relatively normal.
On crowds and public, large-scale events
A year ago, on the 28th of November, I watched JJ Lin’s After the Rain special charity event online, live streamed from Sands Theatre, Marina Bay Sands in Singapore. One, because I was still physically in Melbourne (obviously), but also, two, because the event could only be attended by 2000 per night.
“暂时收好羽毛待飞 到时我一定会 如期而至 陪你 哪都无所谓”
(loosely translates to – “Let’s tuck away our feathers for now, and when the time comes, I will fly off with you once again, no matter where we go, as promised.”)
And almost a year later, on the 4th of November, I attended the kick-off leg of his JJ20 (20th Anniversary) world tour at Singapore’s National Stadium, in person, with 30,000 other fans (and with Singapore’s health minister who was in the crowd too).
Yes, that was a big dream-come-true.
But it also felt as if the promise that we made to weather the storm together was fulfilled. And now that the skies have cleared, off we go, together, once again.
And finally, on building a new life in a new country.
A year ago, in Melbourne, I had a little community of friends and trusted colleagues at work. I had hobbies I pursued, cafés and restaurants I frequented. I had built a life away from home, and had a cozy nook I could return to to escape all of life’s troubles.
A year later, I find myself rebuilding, redefining my space in a new country. I’ve met people I can call friends through my Masters course, I’ve kept pursuing my hobbies (and picked up new ones – like, cycling by the coast, which I gratefully live really near to), and found new food places to frequent.
And within the year, I also had the opportunity to work on Space Tech (and meet new, amazing people), which had started out as a passion project whilst I was still working in Melbourne. Had I not officially resigned, I don’t think I would have had the chance to properly be involved in the team and to contribute on such a large scale.
“You can’t connect the dots looking forward. You can only connect them looking backward. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.” – Steve Jobs
Connecting the dots
When I’d decided to uproot my life and prepared myself to (possibly) let go of all I had achieved, I was clueless as to how life would pan out. To quote Steve Jobs, “You can’t connect the dots looking forward. You can only connect them looking backward. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.” And trust was all I had.
Looking back now, the year was full of ups and downs and in-betweens, but I would say the last 365 days have been an eye-opening journey home nonetheless.
As for the future, I am about to graduate with another Masters degree under my belt, and I don’t yet know what’s in store.
It’s a little daunting, yes. But I have faith the dots will connect, as they always have.
I packed up 8 years of my life in Melbourne in December 2021 to move to Singapore to be closer to home and also to explore the world outside of what I already knew. This is a year-long series of reflections on #myvoyagehome. Thank you for being a part of my journey.