I suppose an account, or at the very least, an explanation is in order.
It has been a full eight months since my last post – which had a rather definitive tone to it, I might add. I hadn’t a clue how else to proceed, after that post. But at the same time, I didn’t think it would take me that long before posting something else.
The completion of my twin projects, The Grand Tour of Southeast Asia, and Manhattan in 12 Streets represented, to me, the end of an era. And a few things happened which made it seem all the more so.
Good news and somewhat more mixed news, shall we say.
The good news is that I secured myself a book contract for The Grand Tour. Yes. A traditional full-blown book contract, signed in August last year, and which would see, by September this year (fingers crossed) an actual coffee table book out of my year of intrepid wandering. Yay!!!
Of course the coffee table book is going to be completely different than what I had initially thought I was doing – and which I documented on Dream of A City in a series of 38 posts in the course of a year and a bit. I had planned on a docu-travelogue, and what I’ve gotten out of it instead is a History Book, of sorts – complete with colourful archival images and contemporary photography (mine and other photographer’s). I had lots of fun (re-)writing it (and occasionally incorporating what I had earlier written). And I’m looking forward to when it will be released. I’m hoping it will make quite a stir when it is.
(And yes – one of my excuses for not posting is that I’ve been working on the book, which is almost done… =) )
Which brings me to the somewhat more “mixed” news. And that is my finally succumbing to what everybody else my age does here in Singapore: buying a flat of the public housing variety. To be honest, I’m not really a stickler for whether a flat is public housing or not. What made me – and still makes me – very uncomfortable, is the idea of permanence that buying a house implies.
Having this flat means that I’m stuck here in Singapore for five years minimally – because only after occupying it for five years will I be allowed to rent or sell it. I haven’t been in any one place anywhere close to five years. Three is the most I’ve gone. The very idea of staying put for so long frightens me. I’m going to have to make do somehow.
Which explains why I’m starting up the blog again.
I started Dream Of A City almost three years ago now, when I was quite literally homeless, and fraught with anxiety about what my future would hold for me. One thing was certain then: that I travelled frequently, and found solace in travel. And so I decided to write about it, and document it with photos.
Ironically, I now find myself home-bound – note that the root of the word “bound” is “bondage” – and no less fraught with anxiety. Again, I find that it is only though constant travel that I’ve found solace, and so I’ve managed to keep up a rather busy travel schedule, while still holding a full-time job, working around my work schedule, which becomes ever tighter the higher I rise up the career ladder (through no desire of mine to do so, I might add).
Perhaps I should let on that I’ve been playing at subterfuge this past year. Unbeknownst to almost everybody, my Grand Tour has not ended, not in the least. Almost immediately after my last stop at the Raffles Hotel in Singapore over a year ago, I embarked on the second part of my journey: northwards to the erstwhile treaty ports of China and Japan.
As in the case of colonial Southeast Asia, these were essentially colonial settlements and today still have a wealth of colonial-era architecture. As with The Grand Tour I, my plan is to stop off at 12 of these cities. And to be absolutely frank, I’ve almost completed my journey at this point.
And so I think its high time that I stop pretending and get on with it. I was initially afraid that my posting blog articles about my journeying will somehow impact the potential of this second volume of the Grand Tour being able to secure its own book deal, like the first one did. But I think I’m being overly cautious. After all, what I will write FOR my blog, will be very different than what the eventual book will be – Travelogue vs History.
And so, I think… it’s time to start writing again.