I just got home from a truly awesome 5 day trip in Hong Kong with my bestest girl pals. This trip was also the longest time I have been away from Zoey since she was born. While there was some anxiety on my part about leaving Zoey behind, I needed a good break, given the amount of work I have been doing this year.
This trip was a different experience because it’s the first time since Irene and I started dating that I have gone on a leisure trip without her. Yes, I know it seems terrible because I make it sound like we are joined at the hip, but its not that. When you don’t have a big budget and take only 1 or 2 vacations a year, you tend to want to do it with your partner. Add a baby in the mix and you almost never travel without the family.
However, I had agreed to do this trip even before Zoey was born. My girl pals wanted to do this trip 6 months after Zoey was born, as a kind of “post maternity” reward, but it had to be delayed as I was still breastfeeding Zoey. It was in February this year when Irene K (yes, I happen to have a number of Irenes who are important in my life) chanced upon tickets to Hong Kong on Singapore Airlines at only $272 all-in return. The offer was too good to refuse, so we bought tickets immediately. This became what I was looking forward to for the whole year as I worked on my various projects.
Thankfully, the trip was fantastic and in the 5 days I was away, this is what I realised.
It is possible to travel light
Ever since we had Zoey, every time I need to travel, I find myself dragging so much stuff along. We need to pack multiple sets of clothes, diapers, toiletries etc. For this trip, I packed the smallest suitcase we had and it was only half full. In fact, I checked it in and it was barely 10 kgs. The most important difference was I got on the plane carrying ONLY my handbag! That has not happened to me in a long time. For the past few years, I have always either had a laptop bag or a diaper bag. So it was really a relief to be travelling so light.
Hong Kong is so expensive now
My memories of Hong Kong have always been that it’s a great place to go eat and shop because its really budget friendly. However, a combination of the poor exchange rate and apparent inflation in Hong Kong made this trip more expensive than I expected. Even taking the MTR seemed more expensive than usual, our HKD$100 Octopus cards only JUST lasted us 5 days.
I missed Zoey more than she missed me
I had worried before the trip that Zoey would have meltdowns from not seeing me while I was on the trip. She was really not that affected. In fact, when I tried to Skype her on one night, she got bored and ran away. I think we sometimes forget how adaptable children can be and I’m glad that she was happy to stay home with her mommy. Although she’s been extra sticky since I got home.
Girly trips can be fun
I’ve been friends with Emily and Irene for over 20 years, Liz for just over 10 years. In this time, we’ve all taken trips with each other, but this is the first time we’ve done it just us 4. It was a really great way for us to bond and create great memories together. Looking back at our friendship, I think we’ve never really had a chance to really focus on each other. So even though I spent 3 hours in Chanel, the love and laughter that came out of this trip was awesome.
Farewells don’t have to be all sadness
This trip was a little bitter sweet for me as Irene K will be moving with her son, Isaac, to New York next week. They will be joining her husband who has been in USA since last year. She is someone who has featured prominently in my life for the past 10 years. Our families are so close that I consider her mother my Godma. I am the proxy parent to her son when both she and her husband are away. We have walked with each other through thick and thin, tears and laughter, our weddings and the birth of our children. Her son is Zoey’s favourite “kor kor”. This trip was a great reminder of our friendship and the need to take time out to be with my friends.
I look forward to making this trip a yearly occurrence and we are already talking about Japan for 2016!