Annie’s Place 1.0

It’s been a while, and a lot has happened. A good news is that I was able to find an affordable apartment in the new city I recently moved to, and started Annie’s Place for real on Airbnb.

Before moving, I was able to host a few travelers in my hometown to see how I feel about running a BnB/homestay. The result was comforting. It was an experience like no others to meet travelers from around the world, and listen to their stories of adventures. It was like bringing a piece of the world to me. Needless to say, it calmed my travel bugs a bit so I can stay more grounded to save. After the experimental trial, I thought, why wait? I may not have my ideal house in my ideal location right now, but that should not stop me from moving closer to my dream. Other than that, I’ve finally completed my TCSOL (Teaching Chinese to Speakers of Other Languages) homework last weekend. At first, I was going to wait til I have the chance to leave Taiwan before enrolling in the program. Long story short, I decided to stop waiting once moving to another city became certain. And here I am, 2 months later, with Annie’s Place listed online and ready to teach Chinese.

So, if anyone’s interested in visiting Taiwan. Annie’s Place is open for you.

Kaohsiung lodging

The living room.

New Birth

遊學, study tours

After years of procrastination and lack of confidence, I finally decided to turn ideas into practical operation. And that’s the birth of my business – 背包遊學客 Affordable Study Tours.

Although fears of failure still haunts me, I chose to treat “business” with a more casual approach this time. Shortly after the website is published, many other aspects of my life started to fall together. This is a milestone and a major leap for me towards my dreams. As uncertain life continues to be, I’m taking my time to march on with a better sense of direction and purpose.

優勝美地

Right at the Doorstep

Couldn’t decide whether to head to the pool or do Yoga at home, so I went on a bike ride. ;P Ever since I found the photo in one of my previous posts, Freedom, I’ve been dreaming about traveling along the woods. Memories of past road trips abroad kept flashing back. Coincidentally, the reservoir in my neighborhood shares a similar scenery and is a popular bike riding route in town. When I entered the “bushy” hiking area, the road almost resembled the place on that photo. A smile came to my face while I pedaled hard over the hills. Then a sudden revelation hit me. Right here at my doorstep is the kind of place of my dream, and I’ve never noticed its beauty. No, it’s not a different country, but it’s a similar terrain.

Must it be somewhere far away for you to get the satisfaction of traveling? Must travelers go somewhere far to gain insights about life?  If we look closer, maybe what we’re looking for has always been right here at our doorstep.

Freedom

For some reason, driving gives me a sense of freedom. It’s been about 2 years since I was behind the wheel. Yet, the moment I sat in the driver’s seat, it all came back to me. Due to a recent employment change, I have to commute to a nearby city. To many westerners, a 30-50 minute commute on the train or by car may be every day life. However, for this small city on this little island, 10 minutes on a scooter can feel like a lifetime.

Good that I used to commute at least one hour to and fro in LA traffic. Therefore, 30 minutes is like driving to a neighboring community. Luckily, traffic does not exist in the part of Taiwan I live and work in. And I hope it stays that way…(knocking on wood) The moment I got on the open highway, it just felt like the world is under my control. And being on the road is probably the only stress-free moment I have in this country I call home but don’t really feel at home. Images of open country roads constantly fly by my mind. I could almost breathe the fresh air, smell the scent of the woods and see that endless road ahead of me. That “anything can happen” anticipation is what I really miss and love about traveling. Today’s first commute finally awoke that energy buried deep down in me since my return a year ago. It shouldn’t be long before I put myself on the road again, as history has proven it unlikely that I surpress my calling. And maybe this time, I’ll let it all in.

There Shall be a Way, If There is a Will.

This is so far the real-life cottage most similar to the cottage of my dream. Browsing photos of country scenes and cottages never fails to calm me down. As I proceed with the development of country tour packages, many regulatory concerns are brought up. And the practical sides of business have been the excuses I backed down from many other opportunities before.  It just seems to me that building a small business should not be that difficult. After all, isn’t that how blogging started? j/k

Through chatting with friends, I discovered an unpleasant revelation. My passion towards life was somehow lost during my “soul searching” journeys. Nothing could excite me or interest me anymore. Traveling became part of the routine, too. I picked up some ideas here and there, and taught myself some technical skills like creating a simple logo and building a website on CMS. The learning process was fun and frustrating at the same time. Hence, I have not been able to carry out anything I started before. And that’s all because I wasn’t that into those ideas. 

With the shocking realization that I might be stuck where I am for the rest of my life, I started  browsing photos of the beautiful nature to generate some peace of mind. And that was when the longings for a country lifestyle in a cottage started to become clear. With a sense of self discipline to not quit half way this time, I examine my heart’s desire every day with the reminder in the title.

Everything we see now used to just be a thought. There shall be a way, if there’s a will.

What Does Traveling Mean to You?

When it comes to traveling, what is the first image that comes to your mind? Skyscrapers, exotic food, foreign people, language barrier and cultural shock? I’ve always been curious about why I’m so hooked on traveling. When managing a country cottage B&B became a vision for my future, I started to realize the part about traveling that I love the most is the People. Whether they are random local people on the streets, accommodation hosts, or fellow travelers, meeting people is always the part of the journey that gets embedded in my memory.

Good hosts give warm welcomes and make us feel at home. Adventurous travel companions share their stories and open our minds. Locals show us hidden spots and unknown history of the area. In my opinion, traveling wouldn’t be fun without making a few acquaintances from all over the world. What do you think?

Project Carbonara

Decided to give myself small projects to focus on. Been craving for pasta and  western food for a long time, but have always been too lazy to cook. After scouting my parents’ Taiwanese fridge for the 3rd time this afternoon, I grabbed my keys and headed out for grocery. Before grocery, I went on the website of my favorite chef, Jamie Oliver, for an idea of the ingredients I need to make the cream from scratch. As I thought, I wasn’t able to find all that I need at the store. After all, this is Taiwan. Carrefour or not, it would still be a big surprise of the day if I had found zucchini, heavy cream, turkey bacon or 5 different kinds of cream sauce for my pasta. And this is what I really miss about the west. All the greasy food I love!

Yet, that didn’t stop me from creating a self-satisfying meal. With limited budget and resources, I decided to get a jared sauce at the end. Well, I was happy after putting some bacon and cheese in my stomach. Had to use the Asian style black pepper because that was the only kind of black pepper in my parents’ kitchen. Overall, this is not my best effort, but still a good start to actually “try” to make a good dish. Next time, I’ll get everything ready and see if I can make the cream from scratch. It’s always motivating to have a project to occupy my mind. My baby steps to managing a country B&B: one step at a time.

What should my next project be? Gardening? Knitting? Pottery? Am I sounding a bit stereotyped? ;p