Thursday, September 4, 2014

Last Major Trip for 2014

Twenty-fourteen is probably the year I travelled most. I've gone for 3 trips so far (Siem Reap, church camp, and Sketching George Town 2), and the last one is coming up in just a few days' time. Several of these trips were not originally planned for, such the last one to Penang and the coming one. They just happened to come up and I couldn't miss the opportunity. Where am I going next? I'm headed to England.

I've been to England - 13 years ago. The last time I went, I brought my sketchbook, but it wasn't used for sketch-journaling (actually I did go to the UK another time within those 13 years, but it wasn't for holiday). In fact, though I had been drawing all my life, and had the habit of carrying a sketchbook everywhere, it was used as a travelogue where I wrote down my experiences along the way and later added printouts of photos I took. I resisted drawing in the book during the trip because I didn't want to interrupt the flow of the travelogue. Back then I had not taken up urban sketching.

Copyright © Favian Ee  May 2001

Copyright © Favian Ee  May 2001

Copyright © Favian Ee  May 2001

Copyright © Favian Ee  May 2001

Copyright © Favian Ee  May 2001

Copyright © Favian Ee  May 2001

Copyright © Favian Ee  May 2001


I wasn't planning to go to the UK this year. In fact I was planning to go to Australia and visit my friends in Melbourne and Sydney. But as circumstances would have it, my aunt from Cambridge came to visit earlier this year and invited me over.

So here I am, preparing for my trip, and right after finishing the layout and formatting for my book of the last trip (it took me more than a month to complete!).

I just might bring this old sketchbook along for my trip to show my friends and relatives who I met up with in England some 13 years ago. I am much older now, and wiser (I certainly hope so!); and my writing style has changed much. My love for writing, taking photos, and drawing, however, remain the same. The only thing is now I don't have to ration my film (thank God for digital photography!).

The photographs are full of memories - some filled with fondness and nostalgia, others full of heartache. Much has happened in those last 13 years - people have moved on, fallen ill, or even passed on. Little did I imagine then that today I would be working for a British company that was just 3 years-old when I first set foot in England.

My itinerary is packed. I will not be retracing my steps - only some. There are many people to meet, and perhaps, tears to be shed. Thirteen years ago I went in spring. This time I will go in early autumn. The exchange rate has moved in my favour, but England is still an expensive place to visit.

As usual, I will post about my trip, but only upon my return. I am restricting myself to 1 sketchbook this time round and one spare. The tools I've packed are somewhat different from previous trips (I will be using a thinner fountain pen primarily, if I stick to my plan). Of course, that doesn't mean I won't be buying more art materials in England (how could I go all the way there and not buy stuff I can't find here?). I'd like to think I've trimmed my kit down a bit, though. Maybe I'll do a separate post on my toolkit if I have time.

All the photos in my sketchbook above were taken with my trusty Canon EOS 300. It still works! I think I spent some 12 rolls of film or so on that trip. As I read through the entries, I realised I used to be a much more leisurely traveler. I seem to be much more compulsive now (I want to see everything!). After all, I'm spending all that money to travel so far, and who knows when I will get to go again, if at all? Added to that, I want to sketch-journal. It is a very hard balance to strike. If only I had all the time in the world...

This trip has been on my mind for the most part of this year. In fact I'm already tired after all the planning and thinking. I'm sure things will change after a 14-hour flight which hopefully will be restful (or maybe not, since I'm planning to catch up on some neglected projects and readings) and after I touch down in good old England. We will see how it goes. I am thankful for the opportunity to travel, and more so when I realise there are so many who cannot in their entire lives leave their countries - even to flee.

Each trip is an education: from the dark and shady past of Down Under, to the rapid urbanization of the Middle Kingdom, to the poverty and desperation of Cambodia, and now to the rich history and culture of England, to whom my country owes its present prosperity in no small part. My ties to England are not few, and I look forward to seeing the country again.

Our itinerary from 2011

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