WHAT IS THIS SITE?
Hi! We’re Cheryl and Matt, an introvert and extrovert couple who have decided to drop our 9-5 (at times 9-10) city life to pick up our travel bags in pursuit of crossing continents, starting east to west across the Silk Road.
Looking for Laika is the travel resource for those wondering how it’s like to be bitten by the travel bug, or for explorers who are already travelling in search of their own Laika!
Here, we document our travels – sharing our stories, honest opinions and travel tips for the best adventures. We share with you our advice and best finds for an authentic, well-balanced experience. With each destination, we give you what’s practical. We give you what’s real.
Despite the polar personalities we both have, we love trying new things in life; embracing a traditional Japanese Onsen, rap jumping off a building, weaving through chaotic traffic on a motorbike in Vietnam, to culinary adventures (we’re always hungry), you name it. We love nature, hiking, kayaking, yoga (we try), culture, history and subtitled movies.
Given all that, we have still yet to look up how a site gets UNESCO heritage listed or how a restaurant earns a Michelin star rating.
Join our journey across the globe while you explore the wanderlust of your dreams.
WHY WE STARTED TRAVELLING
In 2014, we started to feel a little too “settled” with a comfortable lifestyle. We’ve had a taste of ordinary life (good jobs, house, car, bla bla) – but it wasn’t yet for us. It wasn’t so much the routine of daily life that got us restless, but more so the feeling of not being ‘alive’. We knew that in time we would look back at some point in our lives thinking we could have done more. The world maps, Nat Geo magazines and annual leaves can only do so much.
We decided to take control and create our own realities. We let go of our material possessions and went through the seemingly easy task of fitting our lives into 50L backpacks. Good news is, it gets easier letting go of things we didn’t need very quickly.
We now find joy in the knowledge and growth discovering new perspectives brings each day.
WHO ARE WE?
I’m a left-handed Cancerian with a brave enough blood type to slide down the top of a mountain the first time I get on skis, but I get incredibly nervous when I’m on the phone ordering take-out any given day. I bite my nails too much. I am always curious. I also feel the same surprise whenever I read about these personality descriptions and how I fit into them so perfectly.
Growing up in Singapore and moving to Australia for university, it wasn’t long after I graduated in Media & Communications before I turned into a 9-5 girl in the corporate world. I am happiest when everyone around me is happy, when I have a balance between having a good sleep-in with just enough solitude, and being out and about soaking, exploring new atmospheres. You see where it gets hard?
I love reading, philosophy, astronomy, science, languages, and the general arts. I love deep blue seas and mountain solitude. I love order, planning and finding the most efficient ways to do things. I love home, my family and good food with good friends (horoscope confirms this). I wish I could draw, ice-skate and run faster, but we all know that’s not going to happen. For now, I am working on getting my directions to the corner-store right.
I hope to share with you the meaningful interactions and adventures from our travels to come, with hopes of someday being able to provide some value and contribution to the world around me.
If you can’t already tell, I’m the introvert.
Originally from Melbourne, Australia. I completed my bachelor of Nursing and post-graduate in Critical Care. Working in the Intensive Care Unit for 4 years and seeing people’s lives being taken away at a moment’s notice reminded me of my own mortality and how important it is to constantly live life to the fullest.
I loved my job, seeing people heal for the better, or helping family of the sick have a little more time with their loved ones before they go. However in doing this, it prompted me to reflect and act on the thing I’ve always wished to do, travel.
Some people wish to build wealth, houses, and cars. Some want to be rich, some want to have a simple life. I personally believe that no amount of money can make you a better person. Instead, what we experience, feel, and do with our time is what makes us alive. To challenge myself, explore the world and keep that dream alive is more fulfilling than sitting in a 9-5 job. That would be a totally different challenge altogether.
I love fitness and completed my personal training certificate. Keeping a healthy body is just as important as a healthy mind, and trying to keep in shape while travelling is difficult but I’ll keep on trying. Being a foodie is natural growing up in an Asian household, and the hardest thing is saying no to a bowls of US$1 noodles in Vietnam. I also drink way too much coke for my own good.
I try to see the funnier side of life even when we’re stuck at a train station in Japan at 11pm, missing one train, and then getting onto two wrong ones after.
All that said, my dream is to learn and grow with what life has to offer, with hopes of encouraging others to do the same.
WHO IS LAIKA?
Looking for Laika originated from a short story that inspired us to venture into space.
In many ways, we each have our own definition of ‘life’ and ‘living’. For us, our ‘Laika’ is to explore the world to seek meaning and enlightenment in ways we could never experience without leaving our comfort zones. People, culture, history, stories, nature, food, personal reflections, life.
Laika is essentially a sense of inner happiness, a sense of inner peace. Laika is having ownership over your life.
If you were wondering, this is the passage by Jeanette Winterson’s from her book “Weight”.
“When the Russians blasted Laika into space in 1957, they knew she wasn’t coming back. An automatic hypodermic would poison her after seven days. She would orbit in her sputnik until the universe stopped.
When they closed the lid on Laika she trembled and her mouth went dry. There was water in a tube and she had been taught to drink from it. There was food too, but she didn’t want water and food, she wanted her master, and night, and quiet, and all this not to be.
She was patient. She would have gone to the ends of the earth for her master. Instead she went into space.”
Here is a picture of Laika.
Okay, back to happy thoughts.
HOW TO FIND LAIKA?
To many, long-term travel and dropping worries from loans, mortgages, debts and other unwanted responsibilities sounds like a wonderful deal with a heavy price to pay. That is not true. Escaping the formalities of everyday and embracing life does not need to involve a bank account like Kim Kardashian’s. The worry is normal (if not encouraging). It took us a while to get over it.
Now we just want to inspire aspiring wanderers by sharing our journey with you, help you explore the same ideas too.
LOOK FOR US!
We’ll be happy to hear from you if you need any information, if you would like to share some of your thoughts, or just to say a simple hello.
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Thank you for reading!
– Cheryl & Matt