Curiosity keeps leading us down new paths

An enriched life is one that embraces adventure and curiosity.

I was 41 days old when I travelled on a plane for the first time. Is that when the seed for my wanderlust was planted? You might say that.

Born in multicultural and multilingual Singapore, my upbringing not only shaped who I’m but also triggered my interest in cultural heritage from an early age.

My parents love travelling and took me with them on their journeys throughout all of Asia. It was not surprising that they both became expats. My father worked in the media industry in Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai. My mother studied fashion and worked as a tour guide in Tokyo. During my school holidays, I spent weeks with them and experienced everyday life in China and Japan.

This unique experience gave me a better understanding of the world and taught me to keep an open mind. I’ve never stopped being curious or trying out new things.

Off to the Netherlands

Having read many children’s books set around the world, I was intrigued by what it would be like to live in western culture. My wish came true when I immigrated to the Netherlands with my mother. What a switch – from the vibrant global city of Singapore to the small, rural town of Goes.

Fortunately, I hardly had any culture shock. Within a year, I spoke Dutch and savoured typical hearty Dutch food like haring, Dutch pea soup and stroopwafel. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know the Zeeland landscape and Dutch holidays such as Sinterklaas and Queen’s Day (now King’s Day). 

A backpack well-stocked with experiences

When it came time to choose a career path, I decided to work for multinational companies in the financial and energy industries. What better way to learn about other customs and traditions than from colleagues with different cultural backgrounds? I had so many fascinating conversations about cultural etiquette and differences – napping at work in Japan, no cappuccino after a meal in Italy and having business meetings in a sauna in Finland to name a few.

Growing up in both eastern and western cultures has provided me with valuable insights when it comes to bridging cultural gaps. After years of socialising with people from diverse backgrounds, making expatriates arriving in Rotterdam feel at ease comes naturally to me. In 2008, I was awarded a SMART Award from my previous employer Subsea 7 for creating a home away from home for my expat colleagues. Working across cultures for the past 20 years has been a truly enriching experience.

As an expat buddy and travel designer, I’m fortunate to be able to draw upon my experiences and the knowledge gained from them to help my clients. Working together, we’ll bring your relocation and travel plans into reality.

What makes me the perfect support?

So you’re going to become an expat and move to the Netherlands on your own, or you’re planning your dream holiday to America, Canada, Japan or Singapore. Being curious will lead you into unknown territory and provide a chance to explore something new, discover different possibilities and gain strength, experience and wisdom. How exciting!

At the same time, planning an international relocation or a trip can be a daunting and overwhelming task. If only you could focus solely on the pleasant parts of your plans and not let stress steal your joy. That’s where I come in.

As an expat and a traveller myself, I intimately understand your struggles. Because I’ve been in your shoes.

As a Cross Cultural Kid, I’ve experienced first-hand how important it’s to make a transition as smooth as possible.

When expats have difficulty adjusting to their host country, this directly impacts their well-being, productivity and engagement at work. Without proper support, it’ll be more taxing for a newly arrived expat to cope with daily challenges in a new environment whilst starting a new job at the same time.

Generally, extensive support is strongly needed during the initial phase of the relocation. However, questions continue to come up, or expat blues kick in before you’ve a local support system in place. As it will take at least half a year to feel settled in your new life, I can provide ongoing support to ensure that you transition from expat living to foreign local.

Ling has been instrumental in a smooth transition for me. Not only did she help with all of the technical aspects of residency permit, leasing signing, insurance etc. due to her strong connections and expertise in the process, but she was also intuitively helpful with the integration that is needed when moving to a new living space, city and life. I would not be nearly as comfortable or settled only days into my move without Ling. You'll not find a more perfect expat buddy!

Dana Lukens

Planning a road trip, especially to a region that’s completely new to you, takes a lot of time and effort. When you’ve 101 things to do, spending hours on travel research leaves you confused and exhausted. There is too much information and too many choices. Sure, creating a Pinterest board full of gorgeous travel photos is fun, but when you start trying to figure out the actual logistics, it hits you – travel planning is so much work!

I know that feeling all too well. Let me help you simplify the process to get the most out of your travel planning and maximise the value of your trip. As your destination specialist, I provide you with curated experiences to create the perfect adventure based on your interests. You’ll travel to places not only on your bucket list, but also to places you might not have even known about, and participate in activities that you never imagined you would enjoy.

Having me as your travel designer, you’ll feel confident and relaxed, knowing that I care as much about your trip as you do.

Ling really made the difference in developing a well-though-out plan that revolved around my interests. I had an amazing and hassle-free experience. If you’re looking for full-service trip planning with loads of personal attention, where every single aspect is curated perfectly, you need to work with Ling.

Petra Oudshoorn

Expat

When you want:

  • personal advice and guidance
  • to hit the ground running when you arrive in Rotterdam
  • to settle into your new life quickly
  • buddy support during your transition period

Traveller

When you want:

  • a curated travel plan that suits your needs and desires
  • to experience interesting activities and unique accommodations
  • to immerse yourself in the culture of your travel destination
  • to support local communities when travelling

Memorable moments

 

Each time I travel, I gain a fresh perspective on life. And that’s what I strive to create for my clients. I re-live those priceless, special memories each time I think about the trips I’ve taken. When I close my eyes, I can almost…

  • taste the delicious Fried Hokkien Prawn Mie from the food stall in Singapore.
  • smell the incense burning in the Senso-ji temple in Tokyo.
  • hear the roar of the Colorado River as it rushes alongside the Grand Canyon.
  • see the ever-impressive Canadian Rocky Mountains looming up ahead of me for the first time.
  • feel small and insignificant in the rugged volcanic landscape of Iceland.

Of the many callings in the world, the invitation to the adventure of an awakened and full life is the most exhilarating.

John O'Donohue

Everything starts with a spark!

For me, everything comes together in the work I do now. After a 20-year career as a project manager, I’m now living an even more purposeful life. I’ve found my ikigai – my reason for being.

International and intercultural experiences have shaped my life in so many meaningful ways. It’s my absolute pleasure to share them with you, along with my creativity, enthusiasm and knowledge. Whether it’s as your expat buddy, your travel designer, or both.

I’m ready to set you on the right track for an unforgettable experience. The question is, are you ready to join me?

Looking forward to speaking with you soon. 

Trees, the earth’s lungs


Travelling is an essential part of my life. The trips I’ve taken, have helped to shape me into the person I’m today. I’m a big supporter of sustainable tourism and nature conservation. A tree is a special gift. Trees ensure the possibility of life on Earth. And therefore, we should care for trees in return. To do our part in protecting our planet, I’ll donate one tree for each trip booked and for each expat guided by SparkLing One. By hiring me, you’re contributing to a better climate, more biodiversity and better living conditions for local people.

The Trees for All Foundation is a carbon offset provider based in the Netherlands. They plant new forests, restore existing forests and support sustainable forest projects. Interested to know more, please visit Trees for All.