Saturday, June 24, 2006

To Land of the Rising Sun - Country #119

Dear All,
I’m about to set off for Japan after concluding my company’s Annual General Meeting yesterday – my first since becoming the company’s CFO. The last one year has been very hard work and I’m glad that the company has become listed with satisfactory stock market performance (Ticker: J31.SI ; ).
I’m flying to Osaka, Japan’s second largest city and will be in Japan for the next 2 weeks, traveling around using the Japan Rail pass. I will see the Kansai region – the cities of Kyoto, Nara and Osaka – then to Hiroshima region then eastwards to Tokyo. There I will meet my old friend Alvin who is now based in Tokyo, and then all the way north to Hokkaido Island. Back south again to Tokyo to fly back to Singapore from Narita Airport.
More from me from Nippon!
Wee Cheng

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

The Passing of Kinga Freespirit

In 2003, I got to know a beautiful Polish lady, Kinga, and her partner, Chopin. Both were adventurous travellers who have seen much of the world, not in the semi-luxuious style I am used to, but roughing it out in the wilderness and remote localities in countries that most people cannot spell. They travelled around for years, bringing freshness and inspiration to the many people they met in their journeys.

In Singapore, they camped in Marina area - the only people I ever knew have done that, and they told me of how a hospitable Singapore family drove them down the east coast of Malaysia. We met outside Kuan Yin Temple and had a quick snack and exchanged travellers' tales. I felt humbled by their travel experiences and wondered if I could ever abandon my corporate robes once again to embark on such a journey.

Over the years, I have followed their travels through their website ( and emails. They returned to Poland and published a book about their travels. Last year, they set off again, this time for Africa. Unfortunately, a month ago, Kinga was down with malaria in Ghana, and I have just received news that she passed on a week ago.

I have attached extracts from another website about her passing in my little tribute to this great traveller. May Kinga's freespirit live on!

Wee Cheng


Remembering Kinga Freespirit

By: Terah Shelton on June 12, 2006 "Every dream is given to us with the power to make it come true.¡±
Kinga Freespirit lived by that quote during her six years of traveling with her companion, Chopin. Her dream, in fact, led her to Africa, the destination of a lifelong goal. And while living and fulfilling that dream, Kinga Freespirit passed on June 9, 2006, due to complications associated with celebral malaria.

Who was Kinga Freespirit? Ask one of the locals she encountered on her six years of traveling, they'll tell you she was an inspiration. Ask fellow travelers, they'll tell you she was an motivator, encouraging others to live a life less ordinary. Read her website, and you'll say she lived by her surname -- a free-spirit-- who hitchhiked around the world and traveled without plans. But, whoever she was -- an inspiration, motivator, or free-spirit -- she lived and died doing what made her happy.

On a personal note, I first heard of Kinga through Bootsnall while preparing for a trip to Thailand and Laos. I read a post by Kinga that motivated and moved me to purchase her book, Led by Destiny. Immediately, she fascinated me with elegant writing and unbridled spirit. Kinga was the person I wanted to be, but didn't know how. She lived a life without borders and unbounded by rules. Her book helped me release my inhibitions and open my eyes to discovery.

To say her death was timely is a gross understatement. How can a person who saw the beauty in bottle trees, street scenes, and all forms humanity be gone? But, instead of dwelling on her death, let's celebrate her life and live our lives as she did.

"Best things in life are free. Best things in life are not things."
~ Kinga Freespirt

To learn more about Kinga or pay your respects, visit her website. You can also follow two Bootsnall threads dedicated to her memory, here and here.

As you know, Written Road is a part of the BootsnAll Travel Network. Jen and I wish all of you who are grieving, peace.

Monday, June 19, 2006