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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Scooting Around Taiwan

Ray Yen

This past summer vacation, I kept my promise to myself that I would take a trip around Taiwan. This was my first time to take such a special trip. I enjoyed myself very much and learned a lot from the trip.

All photos by the author
One reason I made this trip was because my friend, David, had invited me to join him and his brother on the trip; the other reason is that I just wanted to travel and have a special experience. Our journey would be a long one; it would take us 6 days to travel the 1000km route.

Of course, we had to plan for our trip. We made sure that our scooters were in good condition (David and his brother rode together) and that we had enough money and clothing.  We started in Taichung and went south. We had to ride the county roads and provincial roads since our scooters were too small for the highways. Our route took us by many famous eateries, and we stopped often to eat and rest.

It was not an easy job to complete the trip. We had to face two big challenges. First, distance and time are big problems. We wanted to finish our journey in six days, but we had to ride more than 1000km. We rode only when it was light out, so there was not much time to ride each day and we had to ride fast.  Therefore, it was pretty dangerous sometimes, and that was the second challenge, safety. It was easy to get tired riding so long, so we needed to get enough sleep each night. With enough sleep, we could concentrate more easily. Moreover, we had to eat lots of delicious food to keep up our strength!

Although we did a lot of preparation before we started, I still had some big problems. My scooter broke down in Taitung. I was riding slowly on the mountain road because I was blocked by a bus. Then I decide to pass the bus. In order to pass the bus, I had to ride faster. Just as I passed the bus, my engine suddenly stopped. It was an extremely dangerous situation. Fortunately, I was still going fast enough to pull over to the roadside safely; otherwise, I would have been hit by the bus. I pushed my scooter down the road, worrying about whether I would be able to complete the trip. Luckily, I found a scooter repair shop. After fixing my scooter, we continued on our way.

There was one other problem waiting for me in Hualien. When I got up on Sunday morning, my scooter wouldn’t start. My friends continued the trip, but I had to stay one more night at the Youth Hotel because I couldn’t find a repair shop. I was not lonely there, however. I met some new friends. They were from Taiwan, China and Finland. They told me their stories and why they wanted to travel. We really had a good time.

The last challenge for me was to continue alone on my trip. I needed to study a map because there was no one to guide me. That night, I went to bed early. I woke up at 4:00 a.m. and said goodbye to the hotel. I rode crazily and fast. I checked my map and asked people many times for directions. I rode so fast that I didn’t have much time to appreciate the beautiful scenery. I got on the road in the darkness and rode until sunset. I definitely never want to have the experience of riding so fast and passing so many cars on such dangerous mountain roads again. Soon, I caught up with my friends in Keelung. I was glad that I would not be alone for the rest of the trip. Finally, we arrived back in Taichung and completed our trip.

Although I had many problems during the trip, I still enjoyed the whole trip. In the beginning, I didn’t hesitate; I just made up my mind to join the trip. Although there were some problems, I never gave up. It was important to think of solutions and try to solve my problems. I not only enjoyed the journey, but also learned an important lesson – just do it and never give up.

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