They Travelled the World on a Bike!

I first heard about Goh Mia Chun and his wife Samantha Pan when a friend shared their amazing story with me — a couple who travelled the world on a motorbike! WOW!

Goh Mia Chun & wife Samantha with bike "Hope Too".

Maybe it was fate, but before I could hunt them down, their contact fell onto my lap. A PR company contacted me and suggested an interview with them.

At that time, Ning & I were already discussing plans to take a break from our careers and embark on an adventure of a lifetime. So that conversation in The Living Room with Goh and Sam was – unknown to my listeners on 938LIVE – very poignant for me.

What struck me most about the couple is that they are the most humble and down-to-earth people. We often think we have to be well-off to travel the world. But what Goh said really struck me, “My parents own a hawker stall, and I live in a 3-room HDB flat. If I can do it, you can do it.”

Check out this vid of their triumphant return to Singapore after 2.5 years on the road:

The last time I met up with them was at Ning’s “The Aerial Exit” at the Asian Civilisations Museum. Well, I met up with them again last night for a curry fish head dinner at Blk 354 Clementi Ave 2. Since coming back from their trip, this is their 1st fish head curry meal, and Goh was really looking forward to it.

A Fish Head Curry Dinner with Goh & Sam!

During the meal, they shared with me how they managed their finances on the road. What I learnt was this: Have a “reservoir” of money in an account that we can draw from. Then have a number of debit cards which are like “taps” to access this reservoir.

Don’t keep too much money in the debit accounts – perhaps 2,000 bucks. And top-up as & when these accounts drain. This is because if our debit cards are stolen, the thieves can only take away this much. Our “main reservoir” is still safe.

Make copies of vital documents like IC, passport, bank statements, international drivers permits, passport photos etc., and put them online. In case our actual documents are stolen, we can still access the soft copies and print them wherever we are.

On a lighter note, Sam shared with me about how Europeans count differently with their fingers… it was hilarious! Who would’ve thought? *LOL* But these are little details that will come in handy (no pun intended) when I’m ordering 2 coffees or sandwiches at an Italian espresso bar!

Sam also suggested we bring our own little lock for securing our cupboard at cheap 2-star hotels or B&Bs… Often they do provide, but isn’t it safer to use your own lock & key?

With Goh Mia Chun (and friends Marie & Bing Long) at The Aerial Exit.

Having friends like Goh & Sam really reassures me because I feel like what Ning & I are doing is possible. They have done it, so can we. And I’m so touched by their generosity in sharing their time, their stories, their travel tips with me.

I can’t wait for the BFF to come back tomorrow! I’m bursting to share with her what I’ve learnt from Goh & Sam, as well as Class 95’s Yasmine Cheng, whom I had lunch with today at the MediaCorp canteen.

Yazzie in The Living Room.

Yaz heard about our trip and asked if I was free to grab a quick bite together. Over a bowl of laksa yong tau foo, she shared with me about the South of France & Provence, and how we MUST rent a car and drive through the French countryside & French Riviera. She talked about fields of sunflowers and lavender, and quaint Medieval towns.

She even lent us her own guide books, with must-see places all marked out in pen. We love you, Yazzie!!! *big hug*

Yazzie's personal guide books on loan to us!

From feeling lost and nervous, I suddenly feel supremely empowered and very, very excited!!! *beams* Thank you, Yaz! Thank you, Goh & Sam, for your wonderful help and support. Goh, you could at least have let me pay for dinner!!! *pout*

Read all about Goh & Sam’s amazing adventures here.

* Join “Adventures of 2 Girls” on FACEBOOK.

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I Set Up Skype Today

It’s a Sunday afternoon, and I’ve plonked myself at Wang (somewhere across the island from my house & in unfamiliar territory) to spend some quiet time writing. It’s been a while since I’ve had time to do this, and it’s Quiet Bliss.

A quiet afternoon afternoon away from home to write.

It’s less than 8 weeks to the day we leave Singapore, and already it feels like the beginning of the end. I’ve never been away from home for 9 months before – the longest being 2 weeks. And definitely not apart from my two little boys for that long.

As a mum, it’s almost a bittersweet feeling.

Today, I set up Skype on my iPhone and added my two boys – who are already on Skype. In fact, they are tech-savvy lil’ critters, and have been urging me to get on Skype for the longest time.

I have a Skype account but (as usual) forgot my ID and password, so it’s just been sitting there, unused. Besides, why do we need to Skype when we see each other everyday? But I realise with a heavy heart that I won’t wake up to J & J every morning soon, and hear their *loud* voices, arguing about Black Shot, or reporting to me that the other has not brushed his teeth….

Immediately after I added them, I bounced out of the room to tell them to accept my request. They were playing Black Shot as usual. “Wait, mum,” J1 replied with a lazy drawl, his eyes glued on the computer screen where he was trying to kill off his brother. “We’re busy…”

J & J... whom I will miss dearly.

Well, the long and short of the story is that we’re now connected on Skype. I’ve yet to figure our how the video calling works, with my iPhone 3GS. If they see me, I can’t see them. And if I see them, they can’t see me. Hmm.

In any case, I don’t know how I will fare being apart from my lil’ darlings for so long. If anyone out there would like to sponsor them to Paris in June, I’ll kiss your feet!

* Join us on FACEBOOK.

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No-Pay Leave Approved!

I stepped into the office two days ago, opened my inbox, and greeting me was an email from HR saying that my request for one-year, no-pay leave has been approved.

I almost fell off my chair in excitement… it was minutes before I went on-air so I couldn’t break the news to everyone. The first person I SMS-ed was, of course, Ning.

The idea of traveling and writing together was birthed many months ago…. from moments of lazy daydreaming that gained momentum and were fueled by a restlessness to do something more exciting with our lives! *LOL*

Waaat…. we are adrenaline junkies mah.

Thing is, both are us love our careers, we love what we do, and we are successful in it.

Magic is Ning’s life and she has a very strong & loyal following here in Singapore, and around the world. I host a ‘live’ radio talk show on Singapore’s national broadcaster – the longest-running English chat show on radio (which turns 75 this year!). So taking a BREAK from our successful careers is damn scary lor.

It’s not the “push” factors that are fueling this adventure, but the irresistible “pull” of seeing the world together and writing about our adventures. And we always have adventures when we travel together! *LOL* We’ll share more in this blog…  but you can start by reading our About Pam & Ning page.

Read "About Pam & Ning" to understand why this blog!

In any case, an idea remains an idea until you start declaring it to people.  And we did -starting with our families and closest friends. And I have to say that Ning’s family and my family are the most supportive, loving and generous people in the world. They threw their support behind us 100%, even though they probably didn’t understand the compulsion for us to do this. And I guess that gave us the confidence… and courage… to break the news to our bosses.

To take no-pay leave beyond 6 months at my company, the request goes through many, MANY levels of approval. All the way up to the big boss. You can’t imagine how restless I was waiting for a response from HR. I think I emailed Adeline 100x, with the subject title, “Any updates???” *LOL*

Well it finally came 2 days ago. My last day is 28 Feb, and come March 2011…….. Adventures of 2 Girls begins!!!

** Join us on FACEBOOK.

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Hello world!

SOMETHING EXCITING THIS WAY COMES…

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