My name is Shin Yi. I was born in Malaysia and when I was small, my family migrated to Melbourne, Australia and I pretty much grew up there. I did my undergrad at Melbourne University and this included one year as an exchange student at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. I graduated with a Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts majoring in geology and geography.
After university, I went to Western Australia because I found employment in the resource industry as an exploration geologist. I worked in the Western Australian desert exploring for nickel and gold, and lived a fly-in, fly-out roster lifestyle. After six years of this, I decided I had enough of working and living in remote areas. I quit my job, packed up my house and went traveling around the world for a year.
I discovered I was at a stage in my life where I felt boxed-in and was in a rut. Most young Aussies do their big overseas trip between high school and university, or between university and work whereas I went straight from school to university to full-time employment. I wanted to broaden my horizons and experience new and different things and see the bigger picture. I also wanted to try to venture to places most tourists don’t dare go.
My parents took me on several holidays when I was little, so I suppose traveling is in my blood. During my undergrad, living the poor student lifestyle, I couldn’t afford big overseas trips but every school holiday I used to go hiking with friends in Australian National Parks.
The hardest thing about doing a year-long around the world trip was making the decision to actually do it. There were many moments of “um-ing” and “aah-ing” but once I set my heart to it, it was as if a load had been lifted off my shoulders and the rest was easy. The planning of my itinerary, airfare, travel insurance and traveling money were only logistical technicalities and they were not that stressful to arrange. Mind you, it was still hard deciding what to bring along as I was going to both warm and cold climates and for extended periods of time. In the end, all I left Australia with was a 16 kg backpack, an email account to keep in touch with family and friends and most importantly, a heart filled with adventure and enthusiasm to get out there and see the world.
From: Shin Yi Siew
Subject: Hola from Buenos Aires
Date: Tuesday, April 26, 2005.
A big hello from Buenos Aires. After I left Perth, Australia, on Apr. 23, I had a quick stop-over in Sydney where I visited a friend for the Anzac Weekend. I did the touristy thing and went on a harbour cruise, saw the opera house and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Then I moved onto the Rocks, Darling Harbour, Paddy’s Market and the Queen Victoria Building. Sydney is wonderful, a nice Aussie city. My friend lives near Newtown and so I hung around there at night and checked out the restaurants. King Street in Newtown has the highest concentration of Thai and Indian restaurants I have ever seen, outside of Thailand and India.
Yesterday, I flew from Sydney to Buenos Aires and arrived in Argentina. It was a very long trip and I am so glad not to be sitting on a plane anymore. It wasn’t a good flight. LanChile doesn’t provide the best customer service, it doesn’t even bring water around, so I was very thirsty on the plane ride. At least I got to my destination safely and on time.
Buenos Aires is great. It’s like a less wealthy version of a big European city. The architecture is amazing, very Parisian, with intricate metal awnings and facades.
The backpacker hostel that I’m staying at though is a real dump. It may be cheap and in a central location, but the facilities are old and cramped. I don’t mind too much as I am only here for four nights. Just my bad luck to get a room right next to the kitchen too. It’s noisy, but I’ve got earplugs.
Today is my first day touring. I’ve walked all around downtown, saw the Casa Rosada, the famous building where Evita (and Madonna) stood on the balcony for “Don’t cry for me Argentina.” I’m going to see a tango show tonight, it’s THE thing to do in Buenos Aires. That’s all for now.