I'm Cheryl Ang, born and raised in sunny island city-state Singapore, now based in Denmark. Though (or perhaps because) I grew up in a concrete jungle, I find myself gravitating towards all-things-nature pretty often. The first time I went hiking was in 2014, where I explored parts of Malaysia's Taman Negara, one of the oldest rainforests in the world. In 2016 during my bachelor student exchange to the US, I visited several national parks, falling deeply in love with the great outdoors and the challenge that comes along with adventuring through it. In 2018, an old friend surprised me with a hiking and camping trip through the Canadian rockies - and that absolutely solidified my passion for outdoor adventures. As a curious and kinesthetic learner, I realized I'm happiest when outdoors: exploring with my trusty camera in hand, capturing the many marvels of the natural world.
But, I felt alone.
Truth be told, I've struggled to find like-minded people who share the same passion for outdoor adventures, let alone hiking or camping, in Singapore. While I acknowledge that I'm beyond blessed to have opportunities to explore, all these are not without making the conscious choice to spend any free time, money or energy I have in this way. I'm a firm believer that: 1) There is so much of nature's majesty that you miss out on, unless you ventured out on your own two feet 2) There is so much craft to understand and nature to be humbled by, when you're out in the elements 3) There is so much you learn about yourself with each outdoor adventure!
It isn't difficult to make the connection that physical geography and climate steer many Singaporeans' behaviours - the island's highest natural peak is only 164m above sea level, and it is way too hot AND humid to go out camping on weekends anyway. Despite the ecological diversity in various parts of tropical Southeast Asia, I often receive similar lukewarm responses when talking to other SEA natives about the great outdoors. Alas, many attempts at trying to convince my family and friends to join me on hiking trips later, I grew a desire to start a community myself. Yes, you lovely reader - it's finally happening ◡̈
I hope you benefit the most from this space 🙂
As an ode to the hashtag from my exchange days, I decided to continue with this limitless label 'cheravels'. It was originally a mashup of my name and the idea of travelling the world, but today - after seeing how disconnected many in the region that I'm from are with the natural world - it focuses on consciously unravelling nature whilst learning about its incredible ecosystem to preserve it for future generations.
Cheravels features my photography & outdoor adventure inspiration, guides, and sometimes musings of life abroad. I'm far from being an expert, but I do aspire to dedicate this space to:
• Encourage Singaporeans and modern, city dwelling Southeast Asians to explore more of the great outdoors;
• Make it easier for all of us from different walks of life to venture out to hike and camp; and
• Stir interest to better care for mother earth
Just as Sir David Attenborough precisely puts it: “No one will protect what they don’t care about; and no one will care about what they have never experienced.”
Cheravels aims to inspire Singaporeans and modern, city dwelling Southeast Asians to leave the comfort of their air-conditioned homes and venture beyond man-made concrete jungles for a genuine connection with nature. Whether you are just starting to in your outdoor adventure journey, or resonate deeply with what I've mentioned, join this ever-developing community now