I thought by the time we arrived at the last stop on our trip around the world, I would be ready for the end. Ready for a decent closet of clothes. Ready for a familiar bed. Ready for a day without language barriers. But arriving in Hong Kong brought none of that. Instead, I was marveled to be in the first place that looked like it could be home (as far as cities go). The city was a whirl of people, neon lights, and rain. Sloshing, humidity-intensifying rain. We did a fair share of puddle-jumping/sight-seeing before we decided to head for the southern coast of Hong Kong Island to a small town called Stanley. We took a purple double-decker bus to get there, a drive that both awed me with beautiful views and made me fear for my life as our driver whacked into any tree branches in the way.
We didn’t pick a great day to go to the beach if you use an overcast sky and a 70 percent chance of precipitation to judge, but the place was charming in that sleepy-seaside-town sort of way. We wandered through the market stalls where locals, tourists and many ex-pats are rumored to shop for knock-off brand clothing, but the weather seemed to slow things down in what I imagined was normally a busy market.
After seeing the rush of the city, Stanley was like a welcome nap in our tour. We had no agenda and no particular place to go, which has become my favorite way to travel after all these miles. Taking a look around, the green hills surrounding the beach almost reminded me of our future home in Brazil (though definitely more developed in Hong Kong!). We found a German-style brew pub, no doubt created for tourists, but we relished the chance for a good pint and a view of the sea. After a lunch that mainly consisted of Bavarian pretzels, I took a lone walk down to a temple by the sea. This little spot was surrounded by some big boulders - big enough to scramble over to get to the next beach, which was even emptier than the first we saw. My only company was a questionably-placed camping tent (permanent resident?) and a questionable amount of sea glass. I love finding the occasional piece tumbled to imperfection, but the amount I found on this beach was startling, as if the sea was the only recycling bin available.
I rejoined Jonathan at a quiet bar on the beach where he was kind enough to have a drink waiting for me. We watched a few windsurfers battle the seas and a mom chase her kid down the sand. It almost felt like a normal afternoon, but the next day we would fly back to Los Angeles and officially finish our trip around the world. I wasn’t ready for it be over. I didn’t need a closet of clothes or a familiar bed or even a place where I spoke the language. I just needed to keep seeing the world in a new light, and I have a feeling Brazil will help me do just that.