The collected writings of a Renegade Tourist

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Snowboarding in Zoa Onsen

My passport will expire in a few months, a fact which I overlooked when I was in Sweden last year where it would have been convenient to apply for a new one. Due to Taiwan’s diplomatic status, it’s not possible for me to renew my passport here, I must leave the country. It so happens that the Swedish embassy in Tokyo is the most convenient of all nearby ones, so I decided on going there. Traveling all the way to Japan just for a passport run seemed like a waste of time and money so we figured we could combine … Read the rest

Neglected Statue Park

I’ve been living in Taiwan for more than ten years now but funnily enough it’s only recently that I’ve started to discover just how many odd places there are in this country. If you check the Taiwanese map for landmarks and tourist spots you’re not likely to find them, which is part of the reason it took me so long. However, if you take the time to explore the back streets, country roads and other less touristic parts of the country, and you pay a little bit of extra attention to your surroundings, you might stumble on some such place … Read the rest

Going Home, Part2: Sweden

I intended to make a single post about our trip back to Sweden but it became so long I decided to split it into two parts. You can find the first part here.

After the train debacle that you can read about in my last post, we were really happy to see my parents standing on the platform as the train rolled into Helsingborg station. All the stress from the last two days just melted away as we stepped off the train into their arms. Pretty much as soon as we got to the house, things slowed down and we … Read the rest

Going Home, Part 1: Europe

When me and my wife went to Sweden in April 2017 we had no idea we wouldn’t be coming back for more than six years. However, due to various circumstances, Covid being one of them, we haven’t been able to go back until now. Last time we had no plan whatsoever on having children and now we have a small boy, and this would be his first trip to his fatherland. We’ve gone on plenty of short trips since Tantan was born but this would be his first long flight as well as his first time in a different country; … Read the rest

Abandoned Homes

A couple of weeks ago my friend told me he had found a bunch of abandoned buildings in central Hsinchu, not far from where I live. One Saturday when I had a bit of time for myself I grabbed my camera and my flashlight and went to check them out.

Since becoming interested in urban exploration I’ve been to all kinds of abandoned buildings; factories, hotels, amusement parks, police stations, military tunnels, temples and so on. This list of course includes ordinary houses but as I started to explore the first one, I soon realized this was more than just … Read the rest

Tiny Adventures

Every couple of weeks I have a Saturday or Sunday afternoon off to relax by myself without having to worry about my son (my wife gets the same deal). Lately I’ve been trying to turn these afternoons off into little adventures by finding hiking trails that are reasonably challenging yet short enough that you can finish them in a couple of hours. As a busy dad, I find that this kind of hike is a perfect way for me to clear my mind and make my body comfortably tired. So far I’ve been on two such mini adventures

The Xianshan Read the rest

Mountain Road Art

The thing about Taiwan’s countryside is, like Forrest Gump said, like a box of chocolate, you never know what you’re gonna get. Last weekend we went up in the mountains outside Hsinchu without any real plan. As we were driving along a small, rather remote road we rounded a corner and came upon a bunch of large, colorful paintings on the concrete wall next to the road. This was utterly unexpected. This was deep enough into the mountains that you’d expect to see little more than vegetation and waterfalls, yet here was some extremely colorful art. This of course fit … Read the rest

The Pot Plant Park

Not too long ago I was running some errands and on the way home I took a bit of a detour along some smaller side streets. While I was riding along I happened on a small park by the river and stopped to look around. It seemed to be little more than a path next to the shallow, partially overgrown river. I strolled along it for a few hundred meters until it ended then turned around to see where it led to in the other direction.

Read the rest

Beautiful Chaos

Just around the corner from our house lies a large indoor market. The vendors there sell all kinds of groceries, fruit, vegetables, meat, seafood and spices; whatever you are cooking, you can probably get the ingredients there. The market is so big, in fact, that it spills out of the building onto the surrounding streets, the vendors lining up their stalls – or sometimes just a tarp on the ground – along the curb. In the mornings, especially on weekends, the entire block around the market building is complete chaos; hundreds of people milling about, their paths intertwining as they … Read the rest

The Alleys of Hsinchu

Something that you see often in Taiwan, and I believe also in other parts of Asia, but far less common in Europe, are the small alleys; the winding lanes in between and behind the buildings of a city block. For the most part these little nameless streets are rather ugly in a utilitarian sort of way. Since few people enter these alleys there tends to be lots of stuff there that’s hidden from view: water pipes, AC units, disused scooters, piles of recycling and so forth. I have found however, that there’s a special kind of beauty in these places, … Read the rest

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