Interview With Ming of On-A-Lim.com
Hi Ming, please introduce yourself.
I grew up in the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, a busy Southeast Asian city that you might know as home of the Petronas Twin Towers, as well as that awfully stinky fruit known as durian. My dad would plan out of state road trips to bring us on when I was little, and it was through these trips that I saw the many lovely sights in Malaysia. It was also what made me curious about what other countries looked like, which is how I ended up travelling on the first instance I could.
When was your first trip overseas? And where have you traveled since then?
My first trip overseas was to neighboring Singapore. It was Christmas time and Orchard Road, Singapore’s shopping district was filled with man-made snow blowing from machines on the roof of buildings. Since then, I’ve been to: Taiwan, Thailand, Japan, Korea, Spain, UK, Germany, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and many states in the US.
What would you describe as your best travel experience?
There are so many, but if I had to pinpoint one, it would be the extreme kindness of strangers when you’re a lone traveller. The default mindset as a solo traveller, or even backpacker with a group, is to be very careful of one’s surroundings. But I can’t count how many times when I’ve asked for help — whether it was in Cornwall, Tokyo or New York — that I got more help than I ever expected. Of course, you should always be careful as a traveller, but encountering random acts of kindness in a foreign land is unexpectedly a very rewarding experience.
What about the worst?
My worst was quite a recent one actually. Malaysia has a rule that our passports must be valid for at least six months before we can travel overseas. I was not aware of this rule (I haven’t been in Malaysia for the last 10 years) and I suppose I have never been travelling when my passport is less than six months valid, but it was really unpleasant to get to KLIA2 a couple weekends ago and have the (budget) airline refuse to let me board the flight for Phuket. Vacation ruined in an instant. And the crazy thing? Just the weekend before, I had been able to travel to Bangkok with a different airline!
Do you have any funny/crazy travel stories?
Many. A funny one would be in Barcelona, when my friends and I stayed in a hostel with dorm style rooms. We decided to prank our friend one night by removing his mattress. When he came back later that night from a bar, he plopped himself down on hard wood boards instead of a mattress! The whole dorm was in on it. It was hilarious.
How do you finance your travels?
I work hard for my money, then I go travel. I am not a full-time traveller—hats off to all of ya who’ve figured out how to do that self-sustaining traveller thing. I have lots more to learn about that.
What is your favorite travel destination and why?
Hard to pinpoint a favourite but New Orleans has plenty to offer. People are really friendly, food is good, there is music everywhere in the French Quarter, very historical and even the graves are fascinating. It’s voodoo magic!
Answer the following questions in not more than a sentence
a) The worst food you have eaten – Poached meal worms
b) Person who inspires you to travel – Writers who write about places I’ve never thought to visit.
c) Gadget that’s always with you – Phone
d) The best travel quote you know – “Not all who wander are lost.”
e) If you would have to settle down in one place, which one would it be – New York
Show us some photos from your camera or phone.