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Sunday, 17 November 2013

Ramblings from Malaysia: On Sightseeing and Losing the Sight



Often when we travel, or rather, when I travel, I tend to look for popular places and things to see. The Big Ben and the Westminster in London, Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe in Paris, the Pyramids of Giza in Cairo, the Taj Mahal in Agra, the Golden Rock Temple in Kyaiktiyo, and so on. Well, you get the drift…


Over the years however, I have come to realise that the best moments and memories of my travels come not from seeing these places but from the people whom I have met while travelling, whether briefly or over a cup of tea, or even after a lengthy chat over nothing. I mean people like the old guy I saw staring into the black sky in the Corniche area in Muscat; the Syrian kids I had a great chat with in the courtyard of Omayyad Mosque in Damascus; JC, the stranger turned travel friend whom I first met while climbing the hill to go up to the Acropolis in Athens a few years back; and many, many others too.

Take away the famous sights where those encounters took place and I would still treasure the moments and memories. 

Sometimes in our haste and rush for time, we forget that we travel not to just see places and things but also to experience something… something that we would treasure for a long, long time, possibly for a lifetime. And these experiences depend on not just seeing places but also on our four other senses as well, i.e. hearing, taste, smell and touch. Whether it’s hearing the sound of birds chirping in the Lake District in autumn, or tasting durian for the first time, or smelling the fresh air while taking a stroll by the beach or even just holding hands with the loved ones while watching a movie at an outdoor cinema… These are the things – which most of the times are the simplest things - that could and would make an experience more wholesome, and more memorable. 

Too often we rely more on seeing, i.e. using just our sight, rather than using all our senses even in everyday life, and this tends to affect the way we travel too. God forbid, but what would we do if we lose our sight? Would we still travel to places? Would we still go to a park to enjoy the autumn leaves or to the beach to breath in the fresh air?

Would we still go and watch a movie with our loved ones?

A recent experience with Dialogue in the Dark, which left me incapable of using my sight for almost two hours has certainly made an impact in my life and the way I view things. It reaffirmed what I have come to realise a while ago about travelling and seeing places and things, and experiencing moments. 

Nowadays I prefer to travel more slowly, taking in moments without a care whether or not I would manage to see everything that is “supposed” to be seen in the city or the place I’m visiting.

Because experience is not just about seeing places and things, ticking them off a check list. It’s certainly more than that. 

And because the best of moments, when you experience them, are meant to be savoured, not rushed through.

Let's hope we'd never lose sight on this.


[ This is the 1st out of 5 entries for #TSBreakAway ]




Thank you Tourism Selangor for the opportunity to join #TSBreakAway programme; and to all sponsors (incl. Empire Hotel, Subang Jaya, Travelmate Magazine, Travelution Magazine, Majalah Fotografika, Damansara Performing Arts Centre and Canon) for making #TSBreakAway 2013 an awesome programme!

For more information on Dialogue in the Dark, you may refer to either their website or Facebook page. They'd also be having an exhibition at Petrosains, Suria KLCC from 1st Dec 2013 until 31st May 2014.




For other www.rambleandwander.com blog entries on #TSBreakAway, click here.

To follow Tourism Selangor, check out their Facebook page or Twitter account.



14 comments:

Comments and feedback are always appreciated. So do leave one or two if you have the time. Thank you!

  1. mr. totally agree w you.my recent trekking trip gave me a nudge. meeting a group of kids in the middle of villages in annapurna range, and one gave me a flower as i was enjoying their singing etc. , a worthy moment than visiting the old-hindu temple in kathmandu (and paying 1000 rupee for the entrance).

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    1. Exactly. The temple would still be there if you ever go back to Kathmandu in the future but the kids wouldn't be there to give you the opportunity for the same memorable experience with them.

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  2. Replies
    1. Bunyi mcm cikgu bagi report card akhir tahun je, haha! Thanks! :-)

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  3. I agree with you. I sometimes traveled to those unpopular places that not many people heard about it, Pitsanouluk for example, but I really enjoyed being there and mingled with its people.

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    1. Waah! You're right, I've never heard of Pitsanouluk! Heheh! ;-) But yes, true, most of the times, our travels become more enriched when we interact & mingle with the locals.

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  4. Wow! Well said, bro!
    What is a place without its people, culture, food, generousity that touches hearts,,,
    Most of the time, our travel and mingling with the local people, dealing with beautiful scenery, lanscape and atmosphere, especially ones that involves diversity would bring us to the realisation that God is Great...Allah Maha Besar...

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    1. Thank you :-) Very true what you said, and that last part... that couldn't be more true.

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  5. Bagus sekali, Bang. Cuma bisa bilang itu aja. Selebihnya speechless. Kerrreeeen...

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    1. Hahaha! Citra! Kok sampei gitu sekali? Belum pernah lagi saya liat kamu speechless. Hehe! Makasih, ya :-)

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  6. gw ngak bisa lihat apa-apa pada gambar tersebut.dark/hitam/black

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    1. Itu ideanya, Tahid, heheh! Kamu gimana? Lama ga nampak di FB & Twitter?

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  7. Nice post. :) To me, travelling allows us to fully utilize all our senses, rather than merely "seeing" and/or snapping lots of picture "to show" to our family and friends. In fact, until today, I could still feel the breeze from the Mediterranean sea as I sat by Platja Gran in Cadaques,Spain, and the wind that embraced me while snacking on snails while in Lisbon, Portugal. The warmth of the sun ray, the coldness of sea water which came from the Bay of Biscay, those are among the things that made my travels memorable.

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    1. Thanks, Elly. Totally agree with you although sometimes I'm guilty of taking too many photos myself, haha!

      By the way, you've just made me long to go back to Lisbon and beautiful Portugal in general. Probably one of the most under-rated countries in Europe.

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