Archive: Dec 2016

Leaving Hong Kong

The practical process of departure, with its gradual completion of a seemingly endless to-do-list of goodbye dinners, membership cancellations and final bill settlements creates a useful distraction from too much introspection and reflection about what is being left behind.

Because leaving Hong Kong, or anywhere you have called home for a significant amount of time is not easy. You become bound to a place, you develop a myriad of threads that connect you, and the process of cutting those threads, of creating instability, feels unnatural and counter intuitive. 
But I’m going to make a conscious effort to not let the practicalities of departure overtake my enjoyment of Hong Kong in these final days. Because if I don’t make time to look up from my to-do-list and back on my time in this incredible place, then I know I will regret it. 

Sailing round the Greek Islands

I sat on the deck of the small sailboat drinking a mug of green tea in the dark. Jetlag from Hong Kong had finally caught up with me, so I climbed from my cozy cabin to sit outside in the cool morning air. It was 5.30am, and the only sign of life was the occasional light being turned on in the Greek fishing village across the harbour.

It was day four of my seven day sailing trip round the southern Greek islands. I had never sailed or slept on a sail boat before, and I found myself enjoying the freedom it provided. On the one hand you had the claustrophobic life below deck, where you only had room for the essentials, and on the other you had the ever changing and endless expanse of incredible scenery up top.

It was a family trip, and I could hear dad beginning to move around below. Dad knew how to sail, but he approached sailing in a pretty haphazard manner. Other boats contained serious skippers who had attitudes, attire and an aura of sailing prowess, whereas dad tended to put two fingers up at such stuffiness. There were special gadgets you were supposed to use when plotting your route for example, dad just used an old water bottle and rolled it across the chart.

Dawn was beginning to break over the mountain behind the village, revealing the orange tiled houses, fishing boats and tavernas on the waterfront that only moments ago had been hidden by darkness. The night before I toyed with the idea of unhooking the stand-up-paddleboard and going for an early morning adventure, but now I was a little too content and warm to bother trying. I had used the paddleboard extensively the day before, we had dropped anchor in a small secluded cove and ate spinach and cheese pies, drank beer and swam off the back of the boat. The water was cool and crystal clear, with silver fish flashing around chasing crumbs of bread mum would throw into the sea.

Dad popped his head up from below to offer a top up of tea. We sat for a while together before deciding to walk into town to get some food and drink for lunch. We had more coves to explore, beer to drink and fish to feed.