It’s a common enough dream: Take time off from everyday life to travel the world, with nothing on one’s back except the bare essentials.
In 2011, one of Singapore’s best-known illusionists, “Magic Babe” Ning Cai, and TV producer/journalist Pamela Ho decided to do just that. That March, the two best friends went on a nine-month trip during which they ticked off several bucket-list items in one fell swoop.
The duo embarked on a road trip in the United States, and had sojourns in Paris, Amsterdam, Venice, Santorini, London, Morocco, the Sahara Desert, South Africa, Madagascar, Mauritius, India, Nepal, Tibet, Bhutan and Indonesia.
Their trip saw plenty of highs, figuratively and sometimes literally: Sky-diving in Hawaii, taking a patisserie course in Paris, riding camels in the Sahara, and paddling down a river in Madagascar.
Rather than using a chronological narrative, they shortlisted their most memorable moments; taking turns to share their perspectives on specific incidents. As the narration skips back and forth, it’s almost like being there between them as they bicker, getting an interesting insight into the two media personalities, especially Cai.
While most of us would know Cai by her “Magic Babe” persona — a leather-clad magician — this book shows her goofy and grumpy side. Whether it’s telling silly jokes, coolly turning down a ménage à trois in Santorini, or barfing up her lunch across the Moroccan desert, Cai’s recollections amusingly reveal that her intimidating public persona is but an illusion.
The book would have benefitted greatly from a heavier editorial hand, if only to make some of the excessively used exclamation marks disappear. Also, eliminating most of the superfluous details would have improved the book’s pacing and made some of the blow-by-blow accounts feel a little less protracted. Despite this, the authors’ lively enthusiasm shines through to keep the reader engaged.
Adventures of 2 Girls may just be what you need to kindle your wanderlust. As Cai writes, “I only hope what Pam and I are doing inspire others to realise they can do the same: Travel the world, live life and not just go through the motions.”