Wanderlust Wishlist

Lambert Low, Chie Zhi Ying, Lee Yee Mun, Ganesh Kudva

Countries are looking at slowly and safely resuming international travel amid COVID-19 and many people are certainly looking forward to being able to travel leisurely again. Four Council and Editorial Board members share where their next dream stop (when travelling is possible) would be.

Lambert Low

Vienna definitely comes to my mind as one of the top places I would like to revisit, should travel resume. Vienna is rich in culture, and the architecture of its buildings and its food are also quite extraordinary. Particularly, I love the taste of freshly served herb-crusted chicken schnitzel and the aroma of freshly baked apple strudels. And there is the world-famous Sachertorte cake as well.

When I last visited, I had the opportunity to watch an opera at the Vienna State Opera where the acoustics were excellent and its design overwhelmingly beautiful. The trip was particularly memorable as my wife, mother-in-law and I also had a delicious meal at gastronomic powerhouse Steirereck. The smell of their freshly baked loaves of bread still permeates my olfactory receptors from time to time. The experience was truly wunderbar!

Chie Zhi Ying

Once the pandemic is over, I would love to travel to Southern New Zealand to have a surreal escapade. With snowcapped peaks, sparkling coves, coastal glaciers and rainforests, its captivating scenery offers such a perfect respite to our bustling city life.

I would first stop over at Canterbury Plains at Christchurch to see the postcard-perfect Church of the Good Shepherd and the iconic Sheepdog statue at the edge of the sparkling lake.

Then I would visit the picturesque Lake Tekapo with its radiant flora and blue waters and see it transform by night into a dazzling skyline – how magical! Next, I want to visit the scenic Lake Pukaki, with its turquoise waters and enchanting scenery from atop Mount Cook and feel myself literally at the top of the world. Lastly, I would immerse myself in the old town ambience at Arrowtown and enjoy a cup of coffee at one of the cafes. Hope we can all travel soon!

Lee Yee Mun

My last two overseas destinations before the pandemic were to the Chinese cities of Beijing and Guangzhou. Both were work trips with pockets of time to explore the cities, after which my interest in China was piqued.

So, I have chosen the city of Wuhan in Hubei province as my destination of choice when travel is allowed again.

Wuhan may not be as modernised as many of the coastal cities, but has excellent transportation connectivity, and is one of the foremost technology hubs within China.

An attraction I plan to visit is the Yellow Crane Tower, one of the Four Great Towers of China. Another is the Wuhan Yangtze River Bridge, the first to be built across the great river.

Finally, though I doubt it will be permissible, a visit to the Wuhan Institute of Virology would definitely be the icing on the cake!

Ganesh Kudva

The familiar "welcome aboard" tune, the banal in-flight safety video, the smell of recirculated air, the stewardess who asks if you would like a meal, the feel of soft sequin seats juxtaposed with the limited legroom – these are experiences that for the longest time I would have viewed with little emotion. A part of the process rather than the highlight, a means to an end, a small, often glossed over detail in the highlights reel of a holiday.

Perhaps the dream holiday might involve taking in a scenic view of Manhattan, witnessing a tango in Buenos Aires, getting lost in a Moroccan souk, or taking the Trans-Siberian railway across the frozen Russian hinterland, but these now seem like distant, lofty fantasies of yesteryear. A vestige of an era long-gone, a time when social distancing and working from home seemed alien to us all. That is not what I yearn for now.

All I want is to step into a plane again. It could be to anywhere. Does it matter? All one needs is a break, a chance to remind ourselves that beyond our shores, a world exists. That a vast realm of seven billion people with a myriad of experiences awaits us with its sights, smells and sounds. And the way to get to it, by plane, is the travel experience that I now yearn for, and shall never take for granted again.

Lambert Low is a psychiatrist with the National Addictions Management Service at the Institute of Mental Health. He completed his MSc in Addiction Studies at King’s College London. Dr Low holds a Graduate Diploma in Acupuncture and is a registered acupuncturist with the Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners Board.

Chie Zhi Ying is a family physician working in the National Healthcare Group Polyclinics. She also holds a Master of Public Health from the National University of Singapore and is a designated workplace doctor. She enjoys freelance writing and writes for Chinese dailies Lianhe Zaobao, Lianhe Wanbao, Shin Min Daily News and health magazine Health No. 1. She can be contacted at chiezhiying@gmail.com.

Lee Yee Mun is a urologist whose passion lies in medical education and mentoring. He is an associate professor and principal lead for Urology with the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, and previously served as programme director for the NHG Surgery-in-General and Urology residency programmes.

Ganesh Kudva is an associate consultant at the Institute of Mental Health. He is passionate about mental health and public policy. In his free time, he avidly follows his favourite team, Liverpool FC, and travels when he can. Each country he visits makes him realise how alike we all are to each other and how much more united mankind should be.