A left-or-right day


I live on an island in Hong Kong called Lantau. For those of you who have visited Hong Kong, you may know that Lantau also hosts Hong Kong’s impressive international airport, and it is where the government is building a spectacular bridge to mainland China. But I live on the south side of the island – a strong contrast to the industrial north, albeit only 10 minutes drive over the dividing mountain range. Here in the south, we have beautiful beaches, memorable hiking trails and a wondrous orchestra of wild animals including roaming water buffalo, wild deer and giant spiders. I love where I live.

As I visited my nearby local town today, I was reminded of a time – twenty years and a few lives ago – when I visited Hong Kong from Singapore. I was staying in the middle of the city at the Furama hotel – once famous for its rotating restaurant on the top floor. The hotel no longer exists and a shiny new insurance building stands in its place. Progress. Anyway, I happened to be at the Furama for two weeks, and I woke one Sunday morning wondering how to spend my day.

My normal state of being is uber structured. I'm not a pantster.

I thought it might be fun to have a left-or-right day, meaning I would randomly pick where I was going (left or right) as I came to a junction or the end of a road. My normal state of being is uber structured. I’m not a pantster. I like to plan ahead; I like to know where I’m going before I set off. So having a left-or-right day is both uncomfortable and rare! Leaving the hotel, I turned right here and left there, and presently arrived at a ferry terminal. I boarded a vessel to some place called Mui Wo. Several buses waited outside the destination terminal, and I picked one that said it was going to Po Lin Buddhist monastery.

Little did I know that Mui Wo is in fact on the southern side Lantau island, and that the journey to the monastery would pass where I now live. It’s a small world. Mui Wo is now my local town, which I visit most days. Call it serendipity, but I smile to myself every time I think about that particular left-or-right day two decades ago.

I'm going to pick a path and go down it and not look back

Starting my first NaNoWriMo this week, I am tempted to try out a few left-or-right days. You may be wondering - why is she writing this blog instead of focusing on writing 1,667 words per day?! I’m comforted that I do have a structure in place for my novel. In fact I’ve already drafted the first act, so I am using NaNoWriMo as a means to stay focused on the task at hand, and that is to finish my first draft. But when I reach a crossroads in my writing, I’m going to pick a path and go down it and not look back. Who knows where I might end up? I’m looking forward to finding out…

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