Taiwan is where I hit the “reset” button on life, and my visits always seem to coincide with seasons of transitions. In May 2011, I was fresh out of college, unemployed, and had just left Chicago for the East Coast. In December 2014, I was amidst transitions from DC to New York and from the private to the nonprofit sector. And this year, I had a few weeks off before starting a new job—and am within a year from turning thirty. To me, Taiwan is both familiar and unfamiliar and a fitting home from away.
This time around, I kicked off my time in Taiwan around Kenting National Park so I’d get to spend time in nature. I stayed in the town of Hengchun, where I rented a bike and headed east toward the ocean, zipping through small villages along the way. After making a turn southeast on Highway 26, I was accompanied to my left by majestic views of Taiwan’s east Pacific coast. Longpan Park awaited at the top of an aggressive, windy climb. There, I was awarded with a breathtaking view of the cliffs, mountains, grasslands, and the sea and sky.
From Longpan Park, I continued south on Highway 26, flying downhill toward the southern tip of Taiwan with the wind behind my back. It felt like freedom.
I do my best reflection and learning when I’m on the move. Over time, I’ve also learned that the “traveling mindset” is an instinct that requires practice. It disrupts us from our rigid rhythms and asks us to let go of ourselves and embrace uncertainty. It’s like a dissonant chord or a pause before the beat drops. Even though I’m thousands of miles away, there’s something about this place that feels like home.