Stealing Away

The challenges of expat life have been piling up for a while.  Though expected and normal, I have needed a break from them.  My energy and spunk have ebbed to dangerous levels.  I cordoned off a day on my calendar and started planning an escape.  Adventure and rest soothe my soul, so I planned a trip that included both and hoped to regain my intrepid nature along the way…

Some articles I found recommended the southern islands around Singapore as they are largely undeveloped and one can find solitude there.   Escaping hustle and noise was my goal.  Yes and yes, please!  The day arrived and I excitedly packed my things.  There are no facilities on the islands for food or water, so my gear included ample provisions.  Then I headed out to Marina South Pier to catch a ferry.

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Once the adventure began, I realized just how long it has been since I have been truly alone.  It unsettled me a bit…here I am new to the country, husband’s away for work, and no one but the children knew where I was going.  For the first time, I had misgivings about my grand plan.

Those who love me overlook many things; one of which is my dogged determination (aka stubbornness).  This quality serves me well in many endeavors, but it also invites more trouble than I desire, particularly when heading out on one of my adventures. I didn’t know when I could find another empty day and I craved time away.  So, I reassessed the risks and charged ahead feeling somewhat assured that I would return home safely.

Marina South Pier welcomed me with helpful signs to the ticketing office and in no time, I was boarding a ferry to the southern islands.  The ferry makes a round-trip from Singapore to the islands twice on weekdays.  First stop is St. John’s Island, then on to Kusu Island.  Mid-afternoon, the ferry returns.  If you miss the ferry, you enjoy a night of unsheltered sleep on whichever island you unwisely chose to linger.  If you are interested in the geography, check out our Maps tab!

My plan was to disembark at St. John’s and traverse the causeway to undeveloped Lazarus Island for the day.  St. John’s typically has some facilities, a trail, and houses a marine museum.  Unfortunately, all of these are under construction until the end of 2018.  If you plan to visit, you might want to wait a bit.  With nothing to do on St. Johns, I strolled over the causeway to Lazarus Island.

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A short walk later I found one of the beaches, stretched out my towel in the shade and spread out my days’ activities.  There were a few other people around, but the quiet breeze and distance between us lent all the ambiance I needed to relax.

The views were lovely.

Dipping into the water refreshed me after lounging in the sun.  The beach offers great relaxation and safe swimming in the cove.

Feeling rested, it was time to walkabout.  The sparse trails and road around the island take you to some memorable places.  My favorite was this hut nestled inside a coconut grove.  Deliciously, I had it all to myself.

The “road” circles the island but my time was short.  I saw about 3/4 of the route before needing to head towards the ferry.  Here are some shots I gathered along the way:

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Lazarus Island is home to a colony of feral cats.  One in particular took a liking to me.  I enjoyed a few sweet moments with his company before dashing back to the boat.  As a last surprise, I came across a family of monkeys.  The father was persistent in trying to steal some food from other visitors until they weaponized their umbrella.  It was a comical scene and a happy ending to my time on the island.

There was one last treat for me.  The ferry stops at Kusu Island before returning to Singapore.  Rain pelted travelers as we disembarked, but brave souls still ventured into the rain.  After a bit, the rain broke enough to allow some pictures.  I hope to visit again and do a more complete post about Kusu, but here are some shots of the Chinese temple and the tortoise sanctuary there.

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So…no disasters, I made the ferry, and I enjoyed some beautiful sights.  Stubbornness for the win this time!  Here’s a parting pic to satisfy curious souls wondering how a stressed, midlife expat appears after her first solo adventure.

I’m keeping this pic:  she looks a little sassy.

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