Sitting in my comfortable, air conditioned hotel room after a hot, sweaty trek to see the Big Buddha on Lantau Island, I had a choice to make. I could stay and rest, or leave my cocoon to see more of Hong Kong.
Going half way around the world by myself only makes sense if seen from two perspectives: embracing uncertainty and giving myself permission to discover more about myself.
Someone once said that uncertainty is where life begins. Embracing the unknown forces you to be in the moment, reliant on your instincts and intuition, while having faith in the beautiful unfolding of life.
Taking a deep breath, I knew that I had to leave my cocoon, if only to prove to myself that I could actually venture into one of the busiest cities in the world. And return in one piece.
Uncertainty joined me in the elevator and became my shadow. What I learned in the next few hours turned it into my friend.
Victoria Peak was the destination. The question was how to get there. I took the easy way and called an Uber.
When the car arrived, the driver was a bit surprised that I wanted to go to Victoria Peak. I knew it was a good distance from my hotel, but I thought he would be pleased with the fare he would earn.
Turns out…he was worried about the traffic. It took over 45 minutes to make our way to the other side of Hong Kong. We passed over the cargo ship yards, where thousands of containers waited to be loaded onto ships. All probably headed to the USA, the insatiable consumer of all things made in China.
We also passed rows of apartment towers. Standing more than 50 stories high, they line every inch of empty land. When you look closely, the flotsam of living hangs out most of the windows, blanketing the bland architecture in color.
My driver took me up to Victoria Peak. I could have taken the tram, but the line was long and we were already on our way. The question was…how was I going to get back to my hotel?
My driver wasn’t willing to wait for me. Fortunately, I had a small map of the subway system and noticed that one line went straight back to my hotel.
This was the part of the adventure that could have gone either way. Was I a wimp or a travel warrior?
Turns out, I am both. I relied on the kindness of strangers and I had a great time.
Victoria Peak is the highest point in Hong Kong. It is the top tourist attraction and a must see for any visitors.
The views are as spectacular as promised. But the crowds make an interesting juxtaposition. Jostling for position at the rail for the best view; group photos orchestrated from the most advantageous position; children running around while their parents point out different sites.
A British couple asked me to take their photo. When you travel by yourself, offering to take the photo for couples or groups is a great way to meet people. They reciprocated and I had my photo at Victoria Peak.
After enjoying the views for several minutes, I decided to buy a tram ticket for the ride down. As I was standing in line to board, still not sure how I would find the subway station, a tall gentleman behind me commented on the crowds.
Turns out, Shamish was from Galway, Ireland and had that beautiful lilting accent of all Irishmen. We had a lively conversation about Brexit, Trump and all things Hong Kong. He was on his way to the Philippines and had stayed for two days in Hong Kong to see the sights.
Shamish was taking the ferry back to his hotel. When I showed him my map of the subway stations, he graciously offered to show me the way. The station was at the waterfront, so we were going in the same direction.
As we walked through the busy downtown, I said a prayer of thanks to a kind stranger. The station was a short walk from the tram, but confusing to get there. I thanked him profusely and hope he left with a good feeling about American travelers.
The subway was similar to the ones we rode in London and navigating to the correct line was easy. Just follow the orange signs and “mind the gap.” I was back near my hotel in less than 20 minutes!
As I again entered my hotel room and set down my things, it hit me. I had plunged into the heart of Hong Kong and returned, a bit wiser and definitely more intimate with uncertainty. Trusting in abundance, knowing I was supported and safe, and being open to the kindness of strangers created the perfect set of circumstances to make uncertainty my friend.
And that is the end of my Hong Kong adventure. It’s an amazing city of contrasts, with visitors from all over the world mingling in a different culture. It truly is a blend of the East and West.
On to the next leg of my journey — Bali. The land of enchantment. Wonder what uncertainty has in store for me?
It’s just another step in the Heart Dance!