This is a journey I thought I’d never taken. Backpacking. Lack of detailed planning. Just bought the tickets in & out of the cities first; fill in the blanks later. But this is also not a regular year in my life.

Plans were first developed actually, but all of them crumbled. Worried that I’d end up with a mediocre holiday, in the end I decided to buy the tickets anyway and make further decisions step by step. Hence the Grand Tour was born, with a weekend trip to Hong Kong as a pilot project – although the latter wasn’t conceived as such, I confess.

The HK trip gave me some first insights into backpacking, how to read between the Airbnb listing lines, & how to be savvy with Couchsurfing arrangements. It also helped me understand myself & my preferences better – what I need to function properly as me: proper mental & physical space comes on top.

Stereotypes have been confirmed at times but also often busted. Personal encounters actually help me develop mental capacity to treat stereotypes as prototypes: they help me not to be outraged while at the same time be ready to accept or embrace local idiosyncrasies.


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