Last week, I went to China-Hainan Island for the first time. A relative invited me to stay in his apartment in Hainan Island for a few days. It was a good five days break from my work and household chores. I was lazing around in the house and do nothing in particular, other than shopping and visit my ancestor’s home town. I was thankful that I do not have to be bothered by washing, cleaning and tidying the house at all.
Of all places, why Hainan Island? It was because I have heard a lot about this place from my dad and my grandmother as it was once their birth place and home. When I was young, we were too poor to travel as a family. My parents and grandma went to Hainan Island to visit relatives a long time ago once; when China first adopted open economy system.
It was a pity that I did not have the means to bring my family to Hainan Island back then as my children were very young and I was a full-time housewife with no income. My parents had long past on and my grandmother was 100 year old when she passed away two years ago. Although I have the means to bring my grandma to her home town a few years ago, but her health does not permit.
It is important that we take short break and travel more often when our body is still healthy. It is of no good to you if you have the money, but do not have the physical and mental health to enjoy life. You may not like to travel, but you can choose to spend your time, money and effort in pursuing other interests. Painting, hiking or attend some courses on: new language, cooking, photography; do things that you like. The point which I want to emphasize here is that, we need to take short breaks from our hassle and bustle of city life. We need to spend time with ourselves. We need time to be free and do nothing, do some self-reflection, and find new goals and purposes.
The money you have is not yours until you spend it on yourselves. Whatever money you have in the banks is for safe keeping and it is not yours until you withdraw it for whatever expenses you decided to incur. (You are not going to take your money with you when you die! The money you left behind in your bank accounts belong to your beneficiary. While you are still alive, enjoy spending a little of your money and take time to have some fun throughout your life journey.)
I am not advocating self-indulgent in luxury lifestyle. What I am saying is that while saving and investing is necessary to ensure a comfortable retirement living, you need to spend a little on yourselves and make life more enjoyable along the way.
I love to travel. I must say that I am very blessed and have been to a number of countries, for leisure and for missionary work. Whenever I travel, I make an effort to learn something from the trip. In this recent trip, I learn that living in a small town in Hainan Island is less costly than one in a major town. Prices of things differ vastly and regulations are enforced strictly in a bigger city, like Hai Kou. In a small town, like Qiong Hai, law enforcement is slightly relax. Simple thing like crossing the road is a huge challenge as vehicles do not follow the traffic rules. It was scary to cross the road as the traffic is crowded with motor cycles and cars constantly.
My observation tells me that unemployment rate is high. Many locals in Hainan Island resort to selling on the streets and offering motor-cycle taxi services illegally. In small town, medical facility is lacking. I could not see clinic or hospital in the vicinity. However, in bigger city-Hai Kou, there are a few hospitals and outpatient clinic available. Things are slightly more costly in a bigger city. It is not safe to walk on the street at night if you are not familiar with the local streets. Handbag is advisable to be slung in front and watch out for suspicious people. Although majority of the people are Hainanese, their common language is Mandarin. However, I could hear the local people speak Hainanese everywhere. It is interesting to hear them speak dialect at work among the colleagues and to the local as well.
I realize that I need very little thing to live alone. In future, I would like to stay in Hainan Island for a longer period so that I could explore and visit some of the tourist attractions.