With more free time and before I take on another corporate responsibility, I decided it was time to do something that I had always wanted to do but never had the time or opportunity – to see and experience the world at my own pace.
The many working trips I had made to several places around the world were often short, in and out very quickly, without a chance to really see or experience anything indepth.
Around that time, I chanced upon Jim Rogers' two books, Investment Banker and Adventure Capitalist, and I thought, wow, what a great way to experience the world. Then in December, a friend and travel journalist, Siew Hoon, passed me two books for my holiday in Kerala, India – Long Wa Round and Long Way Down by Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman.
By then, I was convinced that this was something I really wanted to do, which was to see the world on wheels. In February, I bought a one-year-old Mitsubishi Pajero.
When I first told my wife, Li Hoon, about my plans, she was, not unexpectedly, initially apprehensive. She probably thought I was joking and my dream would fizzle out after a while. She kept asking who would want to travel with me and told me I knew little about the mechanics of a car.
But when I bought the Pajero, she knew I was serious and determined. She is now resigned to the fact that I will make one trip after another and has been very supportive since.
I have always loved cars and driving. It's the freedom to explore that really appeals, to go to places that few tourists would have a chance to explore, at your own pace. Also, it's about getting out of one's comfort zone to do something out of the ordinary.
I have owned many cars over the years the Pajero is the first car dedicated to road trips. My first motoring holiday was in 1994 when we drove around South Island of New Zealand – 4,000kms over two weeks.
In early March, I joined the Singapore team and participated in the ASEAN Family Rally from Singapore to Hatyai. I was one of 11 cars that took part in the rally, organised by SMSA, led by Leslie Chang. Up and down, we travelled more than 2,000kms in my Pajero. Li Hoon came along.
That's just to prepare for the real adventure I know lies ahead with ASEAN On Wheels.