Hey there, as traditions hold, it is time for a year in review!

2017 had been an exceptionally great year, my life took a switch of course and I am on a high road. Took the leap of faith to exit the comfort zone had been the best thing I had done in the year because… YOLO.

YOLO with paragliding
YOLO with paragliding

Let’s begin with reviewing the resolutions I made at the beginning of the year.

1) Venture into a new environment (Checked)

When I first set this resolution, I have no clue how life was going to turn out. I merely wanted to introduce new elements into my mundane life.

Little did I know I got myself into ELE FOCALE program, quitted my job and took off to the other side of the world. Spent 4 months in Colombia and made my way through other countries in South America.


2) Community work (Checked)

Put my guiding skills to good use by volunteering 1 Sunday every month to guide under MyCommunity for Tanglin Halt and Margaret Drive tour. Of course, that was prior leaving Singapore. It was fun and I get to learn more about the history of Queenstown from some of the participants too. I like that the commitment was not heavy which was perfect for me.

3) Learn how to bake and start baking (Missed)

With a purchased of a 4-in-1 microwave in the beginning of this year, it allows me to do some baking but I never did. However I managed to use some other functions to oven-baked some food.

4) Refresher course to gain back the confidence in driving (Missed)

I am still a road hazard and I am still afraid of operating machinery on the road. On a positive note, at least that means I have spared others their lives on the road! ????

I am better at being a passenger instead of a driver.
I am better at being a passenger instead of a driver.

5) Write at least 1 post per month (Missed)

This resolution never materialised. I THOUGHT I would be able to have more time to write when I left Singapore but I was wrong. I was having too much fun exploring Colombia. Now that I am travelling on the road, it is even harder to write. I need to be more disciplined!

Not just travelling, I put in effort in class too!
Not just travelling, I put in effort in Spanish class too!

Summary: Hitting 2 out of 5 resolutions for the year. To be honest, I do not think I did too badly, considering that I am out of Singapore for almost half of 2017. Plus, the first one was a big resolution which steered my life in a different direction so yeah… at least I fulfilled my theme of the year, YOLO!


Here is a breakdown of other aspects of my life for 2017.

Active lifestyle

Routines of a mix of runs, yoga and weights were developed with discipline instilled. I even tried kickboxing too. I was at the height of my fitness level. Unfortunately, I had to give up my gym membership because I was leaving.

Living in Bucaramanga with classes in the sports department means I had the opportunity to try out new sports such as squash and table tennis. I never thought I was able to hold a game of table tennis but I did! Those dance lessons were a good way to improve flexibility and dance to those latino rhythms.

Transformed into Cumbia dancers
Transformed into Cumbia dancers

It is hard to maintain an active lifestyle while travelling. I do not think swinging my heavy backpack on my shoulders and walking around with 2 bags are counted as a form of exercise right?


Started off the year in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Flew to Perth, Australia in March. A solo trip to Sri Lanka in May followed by a business trip to Tokyo, Japan in June. I even squeezed in 2 weekend trips to Kluang and Ipoh, Malaysia just before I whisked off to South America in July. Clocked Colombia, Ecuador and Peru just before the year ended.

I could not have asked for anything better than this!

A total of 7 countries with 5 new countries is a RECORD BREAKING! I do not foresee topping this record anytime soon.

Personal development

After leaving my comfort zone, I had to learn how to be a grown-up. Something I never had the opportunity to do in Singapore. I learnt how to be independent and take care of my own well being. I am proud of myself that I can even cook Asian food now! (Although half the time, my Asian pre-mixed came to my rescue!)

Bah Kut Teh
Bah Kut Teh

My limits were tested and what does not break me will only make me stronger. (Except for the backache that I am constantly having. I am convinced that my back will break one day and that will be the end of me!)

Nomadic life

The only times I feel homesick were National Day and days I was sick. The only time I wished I was going home was after the ELE FOCALE program ended in Bogota. I was overwhelmed with emotions because I was sick and most of my friends were heading home.


Besides, I only confirmed how long I will be travelling when I arrived back in Bogota in November. I did not even plan a single thing for my long-term travel.

I was afraid, afraid of the unknown lying ahead because South America is a new ball game. It was a familiar sense of uncertainties which I knew will go away once I kick start my trip.

All I knew was that I had to get out of Colombia fast (before I turned myself into an illegal immigrant). My initial plan of taking a bus from Bogota to Quito was changed to a plane ride in less than 36 hours before I departed.

I got used to the nomadic life quickly, moving from places to places. I was fulfilling my dreams. I saw aplenty, gain new experiences and made new friends on the road. Some which I ended up travelling with for a period of time.

I like how I have a vague plan but never planning too far ahead. Finalising my plan one or two days ahead, sometimes making last minute changes. I enjoy the flexibility of coming up with different permutations of travelling.


Achievements of 2017

1) Ran my personal best during Sundown half marathon. Vast improvement shaving almost 30 minutes from my previous results. I attribute that to my discipline of training with Aaptive, an audio coach which is my mentor!

Sundown 2017
Sundown 2017

2) I used to think I would feel a sense of accomplishment if I am able to go to a coffee shop in Spain and complete a transaction of ordering a cup of coffee and a pastry in Spanish. Now I know I have achieved much more than that. I could make at my way around South America with my limited and sometimes broken Spanish. I know there is still a long way to go before I can speak fluently but I will not stop trying.

3) Coming to South America is a dream come true. ’Nuff said.


4) Mastered the skill of cooking rice over stove-fire!

5) Differentiating the different genres of Latino music.

6) The hike up to Lake 69 was not an easy one. I battled with altitude sickness but when I stood in awe in front of Lake 69 I forgot all the suffering instantly. I am thankful for the companionship, patience and encouragement throughout the whole journey. That made me pulled through!



ELE FOCALE completely changed my course of direction. It created an opportunity for me to live in another country and to experience a different culture.

I believed I partied more in 2017 than I ever did in my whole life. I was never a big fan of clubbing until I came to South America, I came to realise that it is not me but the music to blame! Techno and Electronic are not my type of music which unfortunately is a big thing in Singapore. Not to mention those expensive alcohols! I came to recognise what kind of music genre I prefer and that is a good realisation.

As much as I am enjoying myself, there are things I miss in Singapore such as food, Singlish and my bed.

2017 was definitely one of the greatest years with many new experiences.

A ship in labour is safe but that is not what ships are built for.

I guess I am meant to be a drifter. ???? I wish I could drift forever but I am very sensible (hahaha!) and money-strapped for that!


I hope your 2017 had been nourishing and you have achieved those (or at least some) goals you have set for yourself. Else, there is always 2018 to try again!

Pamela Loh

Pamela, born and raised in Singapore. She is a dreamer, explorer, traveller and local tour guide.

A perfect day for Pam would be being on the road, having beers and endless of great conversations that shape a wider perspective.

Come say hi!

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Pam goes travelling