So. I have come to the end of my stint at GoBeyond.SG.
It is definitely sad to say goodbye to something that I have worked on for quite a while now and which I grown attached to, but I am also looking forward to a new chapter in my life.
My time at GoBeyond.SG as Assistant Editor has been fruitful. It has taught me a lot of things, answered many of my burning questions (about life, about the world, about my future, about possibilities), and expanded my skills set, network and of course, my worldview. My next trip will (hopefully, if everything works out!) be to Israel and Russia. Pretty stoked about that! (Drop me tips if you have any, please. I appreciate it.)
I remember when I first joined, the first task (seemingly insurmountable then) was to craft GoBeyond.SG’s identity so we started working first on our logo. The process was really long and arduous… I am the last person to discuss aesthetics with, and that anyone would pick as a “logo designer“. But thankfully, the team has been extremely nurturing and helpful. After several rounds of experiments and consultations, I am glad everything worked out the way it did and I have learned something I didn’t in school.
Throughout my time working at GoBeyond.SG, I frequently think back to where I was a year ago – living in Germany, travelling the European continent, North America and even venturing to Africa. I did crazy things I never thought I would (have the guts to) do – amongst all the madness, what’s worth mentioning is that I explored Spain, Portugal and Morocco alone, armed only with a backpack, three sets of clothing and about SGD500. And pathetic print outs of where all my hostels were. (Referring to maps to get to places was the thing to do to stamp ‘tourist‘ on my forehead.)
Marrakech was unforgettable. You can rest assure that maps do not make sense there… Because their roads are just well-trodden paths – at least in the Old City – but that’s my opinion of course. It’s an orderly chaotic mess that only people who grew up there will understand and are accustomed to. I remember walking through a huge area without clearly marked roads or traffic direction, amongst numerous motorbikes, horse carriages, pony carriages, buses, ancient cars (like those in 1970s or 1980s) and bicycles all going in different directions. And in 40 degrees Celsius.
I was scared and constantly afraid of being robbed or kidnapped or raped. I remember, when I first got off the bus from the airport to the Old City (P.S.: I was the only person on the bus!! Honestly, I felt it was a little dodgy… ), a very friendly Moroccan approached me and offered cheap camel tours, while trying to dig out where I was heading to, where my hostel was, what my name was, where I came from, etc. He meant no harm, but merely wanted to get some quick cash from walking me to my hostel – which is a common, well, tourist scam there. Thankfully, I read about such stories online prior to my arrival, so I was prepared for that but never did I expect the kind of friendliness that really makes you put your guard down. But Morocco is a lovely place, if you have the chance to, go to Chefchaouen. It’s a beautiful town with buildings in different shades of blue. It might not beat Greece’s Santorini, but is extremely charming in its own right.
Despite all the dangers exploring the city/ies on my own in the day and at night (it is considered taboo for females to be roaming the streets in Morocco once the skies turn dark, but I did anyway), it was the best time of my life. I saw so many things, people and culture, all in a different light. My travels made me realize that all it takes is just for one to be willing to take the first step forward, as cliche as it sounds.
So, on a parting note, be brave like the brave souls in the GoBeyond.SG community. All of them have taken chances once in their lives, fighting fears and apprehension, but look where they have come.
By the way, did you know that “aloha” is a Hawaiian word used when greeting or parting from someone?
Portraits by Melissa Lim.