When I was eighteen I went on my first travel adventure to South Africa with a group of friends from my school. We went on a safari, saw (four of) the Big Five, trekked through the Drakensburg Mountains, took a brief jaunt across the border into Swaziland and went kayaking down a river of rapids.
Back when I was eighteen I wasn’t the strongest physically, I was small, bony and still growing into myself. So the idea of having to navigate myself through rough, choppy waters was something that I was unsure whether I would be capable of, but I still wanted to try.
Because there is something about water that soothes me; something that calms my soul. Maybe it’s the salt in it, or maybe it’s the sound, but whenever I book a vacation I always opt for the ocean view.
So when we went kayaking I couldn’t have been more excited to try it. However, looking at water is one thing, but navigating your way through it is entirely another. So, to put it rather bluntly, my partner and I were not the most talented at the sport. And, at the end of our dramatic journey down the river, we got stuck at the top of some river rapids that were on a precipitating rocky verge. So, along with help from our instructor, I had to lean out of the boat in order to dislodge our kayak from the rocks.
Our instructor had apparently never seen such a terrible duo of kayakers, and really, we were quite bad. But throughout that afternoon I never felt fear, never flinched (unlike my petrified partner) and leaned quite comfortably out of the kayak in rough rapids to dislodge our boat before we plummeted down the gushing river. I even jumped off a cliff at the end of the day.
So, whether I am beside the idyllic sands of Palawan in Singapore …
… or looking at the beautiful blue of Bora Bora …
… or even closer to home on the Han River in Seoul …
… water will always has a special spot in my heart.
And when I write, when I think of what inspires, it’s always the concept of the ocean or the rivers of the city, or the holidays that I have been lucky enough to go on that help to spark my creativity.
Water will always inspire and because of that it will always have a special place in my stories. Even if it’s just a raindrop on a window sill, it’s still there and it’s still important.
We are planning to go back to Jeju island this summer for our holiday, and even scouring airbnb for pensions right on the waters edge is enough to soothe my soul. I can’t wait to breathe in the fresh sea air again, and sit by the ocean as we barbecue samgyeopsal. Perhaps I will even stay on a few days longer than my husband so that I can write by the ocean and feel the fresh sea air in my hair as I create my next work in progress.
It’s going to be perfect. 🙂