Gina Petrovich is writing a travel column for the Capital News every two weeks. - Carli Berry/Capital News

Beat the Mondays: Use your travel time wisely

Gina Petrovich is Kelowna Capital News’ newest travel columnist

It’s time for a break. Perhaps some time away from home, and your vacation allowance is one week, which translates into nine days with weekends on either end.

Do you find yourself either taking repeat vacations or not going somewhere you really want because you have this preconceived notion that you don’t have enough time?

The term “one week” has been given a bad rap as “not long enough” and frequently dismissed as a “stay at home” or “play it safe” time frame.

I recently challenged decided to go on a week-long holiday abroad, which was approved less than two days before it got underway.

All the usual thoughts raced through my mind as I browsed flights and destinations on my lunch break. “what’s the weather like, how long is the travel and do I have enough time?”

Before my sandwich was finished I found myself reviewing my confirmed itinerary for a trip to Hong Kong departing in less than 48 hours.

READ MORE: Beat the Mondays: Kelowna travel columnist to offer something to daydream about

Most of my coworkers were understandably in disbelief when I came back from my break buzzing about my upcoming travels, some thought I was joking. The consensus was that one week simply was not enough time to travel 10,400 km. While this was soon to be my most spontaneous long-distance time budgeted adventure; I have always held firm to the belief that if you keep waiting for that perfect time you may end up waiting a lifetime.

To keep consistent with my travel trend of mishaps, included in my short itinerary was an unexpected flight cancellation in Seattle. I was displaced for 21 hours. Yes, it’s hard not to get discouraged when things go wrong, but I’ve come to learn that out of the good, the bad and ugly are also part of the adventure.

Is 300 per cent humidity a thing? My flight landed me in Hong Kong smack dab in the middle of the day in the heat of the late summer. The air felt like warm rain that was suspended in mid air even though the sun was peaking through the late morning haze.

I really had no expectations other than to completely immerse myself in this far away land and take in everything I could in the short, largely unplanned time I had. Being a travel photog, I was already aware of the points of photographic interest and after settling into my hotel in Sheung Wan, I went on a mission to learn the city’s complex subway system. I highly recommend using the subway here, it was easy to navigate, and I felt safe which to me being a solo female traveller is very important.

First on my list was Victoria Peak. This is the highest lookout, and right in the centre of Hong Kong Island. Panoramic views to take your breath away, and a nearly vertical tram ride, this point of interest did not disappoint.

Hong Kong is comprised of multiple islands and mainland connected by the subway and ferries. There is no shortage of restaurants or markets, making it very easy to walk for hours exploring the old streets.

In the few days I had I was able to easily take in all the main sites in Hong Kong and the surrounding area. I found my way to Lantau island a short forty-minute ride away via the Tong-Chung subway line. I was not aware of this place until moments before I headed towards it and I am so glad I did. Upgrading to the “crystal cabin” with a glass floor I found myself riding the world renowned Ngong Ping cable car up to the ‘Big Buddha’ on the mountain tops, meant to symbolize the harmonious relationship between humans, earth and faith.

I squeezed in a two-hour ferry ride to Macau, where I explored the Spanish ruins of St. Paul and roamed the cobblestone streets of Senada Square. Lined with bakeries and shops, this was a good place for some rather unique finds. Does a $3,000 swallow nest sound like an adventurous eat to you? I saved a few thousand dollars and had some vegetarian tapas instead.

Back on the topic of time, I am left to wonder if everyone was right about a week not being enough. I didn’t have time to binge watch the new season of Orange is the New Black or go out with the girls for appies and wine, and I certainly didn’t have time to do my routine housework. All I had time for was a trip to China, to visit Hong Kong, where I was able to navigate the massive subway system, eat vegetarian dim sum in Kowloon, and take in some of the iconic experiences that Hong Kong is famous for.

With a full memory card in my camera, a well-fed soul and eyes ready for sleep, I am left feeling like this indeed was enough time. In one week, I got lost, and found again in the abyss of people, skyscrapers and culture that is Hong Kong. Why should one week be any less fantastic than two weeks, right?

Gina Petrovich is a Kelowna-based wanderer with a knack for adventure. She’s now sharing her adventures with the Capital News in a bi monthly column.


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