Recently, I have realized that my travels and adventures do not just include me. I am not a solo traveler even though I have done solo travels in the past. Since Moving to Taiwan, I have had a companion to join me on numerous adventures and travels. Her name is Sarah Cheung. Together, we have complied weekend after weekend of hikes, river traces, travels, and hotsprings. None of these have been easy, but it certainly they have been a learning experience.
I want to introduce you all to Sarah Cheung and why she decided to travel. She is a traveler, adventurer, my amazing photographer, she does a ton of planning, is a teacher, and is someone that is my partner in life. I asked her several questions about how she got into traveling. Where her influences came from, and some tips to share as well.
First of all, I am wondering about your travel background. As a young kid still growing up, was travel something your parents valued? If so, where were some of the places you all traveled to? Where exactly is your family from?
Yes. My dad grew up working for an American airline in the logistical department and currently continues to work in that department with his own company, Pro Global Logistics. My mum was a travel agent and often travelled with my dad overseas. As kids, we often travelled overseas and interstate during the school holidays rather than within own our state like my other school friends did. We went to Hong Kong, China and up the east coast of Australia as a family. My sister and I went to New Zealand to attend our relatives wedding by ourselves during high school; I went to Malaysia with my relatives and to Thailand to deliver shoeboxes with the Operational Christmas Child Shoeboxes when I was 16 or 18.
My parents are born and raised in Hong Kong but migrated to Australia 35+ years ago.
To go along with that last question, did you ever have an opportunity to travel while in university? Where were some of your favorite places if you did travel?
I had the blessed opportunity to study in the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada on exchange in my 3rd year of university. I travelled all across Canada and through the east and west coat of the USA. I even celebrated my 21st at The Bahamas. All of this sprouted my love and confidence for travelling on my own and within my own country. When I returned home from the trip, I made it a goal to explore and travel to every state and main cities within Australia. My university friends and I celebrated our graduation in Bali, Indonesia together.
My favourite places during my university years was, of course, Canada and the USA where I spent most of my travels. I love Vancouver which is like my home in North America. The rockies in Canada are beautiful. I had some fun and unique experiences in many cities that I travelled to across Canada and the USA. Every place has special memories due to the people that I knew or met over there.
What brought on the travel bug for you?
Definitely travelling on my own in Canada. I didn’t plan to travel on my own but because my holiday times were different to my university mates, I just had to go and do it be myself than waste time waiting for them. That definitely made me aware that travelling as a solo female traveller was possible and brought on the travel bug! I’ve been to many places on my own since then!
Have you ever been on a mission trip? Could you talk about it if you have? Name some of the experiences, challenges and joys of the trip?
Yes. I went and delivered shoeboxes with Operational Christmas Child to schools and slums in Thailand when I was 16 or 18 (I can’t quite remember). That was an eye-opening experience for me, especially as a teenager. Seeing so many children trapped on a mountain or children with aids or in orphanages who truly appreciate the simple things that we take for granted like, sandals and musical instruments etc. was the most touching thing. To see the joy and happiness they had for seeing us and living in their lifestyle definitely made me aware and learn that you can find joy in the simple things in life; that you don’t need expensive materialistic things or need to live in luxury to be happy.
I also went on short-term mission trips around Victoria called Coffee Shop (the name has changed now). This allowed us to set up a coffee shop for holiday participants in holiday parks and set up games and share stories of Jesus with the children and teens there.
The most recent trip I went on was called ‘The World Race’ with ‘Adventures in Mission’ (American organisation based in Georgia). I went to 11 countries in 11 months and this was the most life-changing experience in my life. It was definitely hard, learning to live in community with 50 other people who were so different to you, but it was definitely the most life-changing and most growing experience for me. I learnt how to love people unconditionally and pursue people like Jesus does, and work through personal issues I had in my life like insecurity and pride. I witness things I have never witnessed in my life throughout the whole trip. Things that happened in the bible like healing and prophecy and hearing God’s voice through images and people, I was able to see it and experience it with my own eyes! It was mind-blowing and I can’t deny the presence and existence of God in this world and in my life. Also, visiting so many Christian organisations and churches in so many different areas around the world, made me aware of how God truly loves and is working all around the world. It was an amazing experience that I will never forget. I will never do it again but I will definitely recommend it if you want to truly experience the power of God in your life and understand the true freedom you have as child of God.
As you are now older, wiser, and have been traveling to 56 different countries, could you share some of your advice, wisdom, experiences and stories that may bring up some great inspiration? Could you also share with me any regrets?
- Just go do it! Don’t be afraid, especially if you are single lady or just anyone that is scared of travelling by themselves! Be smart of course and research, but enjoy the adventure! There’s always new people to meet who are in a similar boat than you. People who want travel buddies so you can always find someone who will explore new places with you, especially if you stay in hostels, when you first start off.
- Step out of your comfort zone and say hi to strangers, esp. in your hostel or on tour buses or tourist spots! Everyone, well most people like company so say, “hi” and you’ll be surprised how many wonderful and interesting people you will meet.
- Try new foods. Don’t be scared of getting sick, though also be smart. 😉 I’ve had food poisoning 3-4 times but I don’t regret enjoying the local delicacies! :p
- Join in and get involved with what the locals are doing! Make the most of the trip!
- Walk everywhere! You see more, you get some exercise and you save money! 😉
- Cooking classes in different countries are amazing! Joining “free walking tours” are also great to hear more about the history and meet new people! Just google “free walk tour” in whichever country. Some can be boring but a lot are very interesting and cheap (based on tips at the end)!
- I love couch surfing and have met some incredible people in so many countries that I have done it at. You can have amazing and some interesting experiences…but most amazing!
Regrets…..I don’t really have any regrets. I did stay with one couch surfer that was very unpleasant but overall I believe that every experience, whether it’s good or bad, is a learning experience! I’ve had the best time everywhere that I’ve travelled; I just always wished I had more time!
Overall, how has being able to explore the world one piece at a time shaped your life?
Just appreciating cultures and people from all over the world, and learning how every place is so unique and can bring and contribute so much flavour to the world as a whole! Listening and learning about people’s stories and their lives has been the best experience, especially when they take you on a local adventure in the back streets.
Every time I visit a new place, I just want to see more! Every place is seriously so unique and different and it fathoms me to know that God created and designed all of this, for us to enjoy!
So much can be said by those that travel, it is the feeling and experience that creates a whole new world of opportunities and expolorations. Sometimes sitting and wondering about travel and not doing anything to make it happen keeps us trapped. Reading and listening to Sarah’s adventures inspires me more and more to travel and adventure, and I hope it inspires you as well.
Send us a comment or email. We are always looking for some good traveling stories. Follow us on facebook, twitter, and instagram. Life is an adventure. Live it a day at a time.
“The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.” – Saint Augustine