Reflecting Year 2021 (Photography and Travel)

Today is Friday 31st December 2021, the last day for the Year 2021. A lot of things had happened during the year, here I am, reflecting Year 2021 (Photography and Travel), writing down my inner deep thoughts, feelings and emotions on a very turbulent, difficult, tough and testing year for me.



Running any business, no matter whether it’s a small, medium or big business, it’s just very tough, very difficult and very stressful. Throw in a global pandemic situation that further transformed into an economic crisis, the magnitude increased exponentially. No educational textbooks can really teach you everything about running and operating a business, let alone a photography business. 

Photography by Ryan Cheng

While I didn’t exactly started off properly in my photography business a few years back due to some unforeseen circumstances, when this global pandemic wave hit us in 2020, this was a major setback. I didn’t know exactly know what steps to take, it took me a while to navigate, adapt and change my photography services portfolio. 

In a harsh and brutal analysis, switching photography genres and services can be playing catch up with fellow photographers in those particular fields. Considering the ongoing and near future impacts of this global pandemic situation, I have switched my photography genres services as well as adding digital marketing/social media marketing into a digital agency setup. Therefore, I established TGH Digital Studio earlier in the year and I am working to expand on this in Year 2022. 


Although I didn’t put more time into my personal/leisure photography as I would love to, I was glad to rediscover the art and wonder of nature therapy/forest therapy, a.k.a. Shinrin-Yoku (森林浴) – forest bathing. Entering into the world of nature, green spaces and the great outdoors was my haven for refuge during this particular period whereby I was in a rut, in a really bad emotional and mental health well-being. 

A big thank you from the bottom of my heart to my photography outdoors explorer friends that trekked together with me exploring forest bathing and offering me priceless and unwavering support and encouragement during my downtime. 

Photography by Isaac Ong


Exploring my own backyard / Domestic 

The good and bad thing about us being unable to travel overseas, is that we explore our own backyard. For me, even though I have been regularly going out to explore my own backyard, it feels good and refreshing to re-explore my own backyard again, documenting and updating my collections.   

The bad thing to me is, everyone is now a hiker, cyclist, nature lover or heritage and conservation advocate probably because they can’t travel out of Singapore for their regular holidays. While they probably have good intentions, their actions and ethics prove/shown otherwise. 


At the start of 2021, I was cautiously optimistic that I would be able to travel out again around Q3 or Q4 2021. However, I got myself thrown into a spiral downwards into a rut due to various situations happening in mid 2021. The travel situation in the earlier part of the year wasn’t that optimistic as well. 

As time progressed into Q3 2021, there were vaccinated travel lane (VTL) arrangements between Singapore and a list of countries, opening up the possibilities for people to travel out. However, there were still many uncertainties with this ongoing global pandemic situation. The emergence of the new variant Omicron has put international travel back to a slowdown again.

As a co-host of Travel Talk on Twitter (TTOT) community chat on Twitter taking place every Tuesday 9:30am GMT and 9:30pm GMT, I learned a lot more about the international travel and tourism situations from fellow travel and tourism friends and networks. 

I was reminded on this life lesson, “Travel can be a privilege”, a constant reminder to myself. During this global pandemic crisis, this quote is even more prevalent, revealing the widening gap between the rich and the rest.

There are still many travel uncertainties, rules, restrictions and lockdowns can change at the snap of the finger by the respective authorities of the country. I also have a tight financial situation due to my photography business being affected by this pandemic. 

When can we really truly restart tourism again? I would share my thoughts and views in another article in January 2022, an update to my earlier articles “When can we Restart Tourism?” and “World Tourism Day 2021”. 


Last but not least

Year 2021 had been a very turbulent year of many ups and downs, disappointments and heartaches from unnecessary expectations. There were many life and business lessons handed out to me, priceless and painful.

Do visit my TGH Technology and Business Portal/Blog too! I have also published a reflection, thoughts and views article in my technology, business and personal segments.

Signing off Year 2021 with a beautiful sunset to say goodbye to Year 2021, good riddance to bad rubbish. It’s been a very painful time, very difficult and tough, mentally, emotionally and financially for me personally. I will learn, remember and apply the good and bad lessons from this year. I will also make sure that I will never let myself fall as low as what happened to me in 2021. 


Year 2022 is starting soon, a new year, a fresh and brand new start in an ongoing global pandemic situation. I would share more about my plans and directions in the Year 2022 for my photography and travel segments inside my upcoming Theme and Goals for Year 2022 article. 

To all those who had pulled me up when I was down at the bottom, as well as those who supported and encouraged me throughout this very difficult Year 2021, I sincerely thank you from the bottom of my heart, no amount of words can show my utmost appreciation towards what you all had done for me. 

Photography by Isaac Ong

It’s time to say Goodbye Year 2021 and Welcome Year 2022.

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