After a month on the road, travelling across 6 states and 2500kms later, we asked ourselves....
“where do we go from here?”
“Is this the end?"
After a disastrous AND delicious time in Melaka, it really felt like the end of the road for us because we had to return to Singapore. The Singapore government had announced that even those with a recorded previous covid-19 infection had to take their booster jab to maintain their vaccination status and so I had no choice but to get it. It was unpleasant to say the least and it took me out for two days…
We sat down with the kids and weighed our options before taking the journey down south.
Dead asleep and I couldn't wake them up!
The immigration officer was kind enough to come out and look at their faces.
If you remember from Part 1 we spoke about why we took this trip. Grieving is a process and we are still in the process of processing our pain and loss. We are very grateful that this trip has given us time to rest and reflect. We’ve come to these 3 conclusions that will shape our lives and the road ahead.
1. Less is now more
Experiencing a death of a loved one was a rude shock to how short life is. Yet, many of us spend the majority of our time focusing on things that in the grand scheme of things, matter very little. We have learnt that when we say no and do less, we can live more.
Furthermore, when we let go of things we don’t need, it gives us more time to focus on people, experiences and our surroundings. When we left for this Grand Tour, we basically packed our entire lives into a tiny hatchback (supermini class). That has taught us to let go of things we don’t need. Less is now more. We even went back to Singapore to drop off the things we didn’t need. Throughout the trip, we’ve realised how liberating it was to have only things we needed.
Shutting Hiro & Jack Co. for an entire month wasn’t an easy decision. But it has helped us rethink our business model and plot the days ahead. Restructuring the entire business that we’ve painstakingly built over 6 years is an even harder decision. We are learning to say no and do less. We are working on a smaller product range that best reflects less is now more.
4 of us + Gluten Free food supplies +
School materials + clothes and everything else in our little car.
2. Slow is now the flow
Slow is a healing and liberating way of living our lives. When we say slow, it doesn’t mean the opposite of fast. Neither does it literally mean slow.
Slow is living at a pace where we can live intentionally while making meaning and connection. Too much of our life is about “everyone else is doing this”, “I will lose out if I don’t do it” and “faster is better”. In this busyness, we’ve turned our relationships into transactions. Friends are just people who help fix your loneliness. Family is just there to provide for you. We’ve forgotten the joys of genuine connections. We’ve lost the ability to enjoy the flow of our daily lives. Fast has erased traditions and cultures and replaced it with convenience and more work.
It sounds very abstract but let me just illustrate this. We live in a society that gives children 30 minutes (or less) to queue and inhale their food + rest/play daily at recess time. Under Ministry of Manpower laws, meal breaks are supposed to be AT LEAST 45 minutes long. If we can do this for adults, why are children treated differently? Do children have no rights? I don't know why this is still acceptable in 2022.
I grew up in a family where we eat quickly and get on with our lives. It was not until later in life that my parents and I travelled Europe and we realised people made meals a very important time of making connections with other people. 2 hour meals were common and coffee breaks were part of life. I got to experience this in depth when I studied in the UK and I loved cooking and sharing a table with people. But these experiences are incompatible because our society is built upon faster, cheaper and better. We just cannot afford to savour the flow of our lives. We inhale our grab food orders at our own desks. Family meals are brief and functional.
Travelling helps us see life in a very different perspective. Travelling slowly allows us to live this perspective. In our “slow” Grand Tour, we’ve taken our time to eat and connect with the kids. We took time to enjoy visual aspects of our food, the smells and the textures of our food. We actually discussed how it felt eating our individual dishes!
I think mummies will all agree to this: once you have a kid, you'll forget how your food taste like.
Actually some can't even recall if they've eaten. SLOW has allowed mama to taste her food and smile again!
Matthias has learnt to appreciate the different textures.
He even picked out the curry leaf smells infused in the meat and asked if he could eat them.
More than just trying to survive, humans turn to food for enjoyment.
I've learnt to appreciate how dishes are plated! I've learnt how colours can turn on our appetites.
Gwyn tried truffle fries for the first time and she loved the aroma. She noticed that the grated cheese was twirly! How cute!
We need to reclaim our meal times! It is more than just trying to survive.
It is both a sensory and social experience we share with people we love.
Instead of rushing off, I thought reading the kids a story after our meal would be nice.
True enough, it felt so special!
We want to make slow the new way we flow. We want to reclaim our time, rest and freedom from the world that has taught us that they don’t belong to us.
3. The grand tour is now our life
We are making the Grand Tour a model for our lives. We do less, we live slow.
We love travelling but more than that, we would like to have deeper connections, understanding and authenticity in our relationships. We want to love ourselves and others.
We are definitely still working out how we can continue travelling, homeschooling, remaking Hiro & Jack, growing this blog and engaging our audience. It really isn't about gaining more wealth or becoming famous.
One thing for sure we know we want is to HAVE TIME to grow into the person WE WANT to be. The person we CHOOSE to be. According to Maslow, this is can be defined as Self-actualisation. It is the highest level of psychological development, where personal potential is fully realised. (Source: Wikipedia)
This means we will be growing our photography, writing, illustration, design and authoring skills through Hiro & Jack Co. We hope to produce content, stories and products that people connect with and enjoy.
So what are we up to now?
We are back in the highlands! The climate here is doing us tangible good. At 5000ft and a daily average of 19 celcius, we are at home. We are less irritable, feel a lot more relaxed and inspired! We will be spending the rest of the month here taking inspiration for more stories and a brand new product range. More than that we are taking more walks, cooking more/enjoying our food and connecting with each other.
If you would like to connect, share ideas, collaborate or work on a sponsorship, simply click on the red chat button or drop us an email at email@example.com anytime!
p.s: We are only blogging once this week but we will be posting daily stories, reels and launch our tiktok channel!
Stay tuned and follow us on Facebook & Instagram!
Vincent & Debra Kwan, Founders of Hiro & Jack and stay-at-home parents with the odd life.
Drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org