Travel

Singaporean visits all Seven Wonders of the World in 16 days

Lucaz Lee at Chichen-Itza, a sacred site in Mexico that was one of the greatest Mayan centres of the Yucatán peninsula. Lee, 27, spent 16 days travelling to the Seven Wonders of the World. Photo: Lucaz Lee
Lee at the Colosseum in Rome. Photo: Lucaz Lee
Lee pictured in the Lost City of Petra in Jordan, where he also floated on the Dead Sea. Photo: Lucaz Lee
Lucaz Lee was afraid of travelling alone, but fulfilled his dream of seeing the world — in just 16 days
Published: 4:00 AM, April 6, 2017
Updated: 1:56 PM, April 8, 2017

SINGAPORE — Last year, Lucaz Lee, 28, set himself a goal — to see the Seven Wonders of the World in just 16 days. His other mission was to conquer his fear of travelling alone.

“I wanted to face my fears in the most dramatic way,” he told TODAY. The entrepreneur has made just one solo trip in his life — to Taiwan four years ago for a few days, which he described as “scary” as he is “directionally challenged” and absent-minded. He decided then that he would go on a longer, more extensive trip, and see if he could hack it.

Lee had wanted to see the Seven Wonders of the World ever since he was a child. “My mother always talked about ... the Seven Wonders. My sister and I (grew up with) this idea that there were all these beautiful places out there,” said Lee, who runs a network marketing company.

Inspired by the vision of a life in which he could see the world, Lee began saving at age 23, taking up three jobs as a furniture retail assistant, a credit card machine technician, and a surveyor. He worked Mondays through to Sundays, he said, making S$2,300 a month. In 2012, he managed to strike out with his own business, making travel a priority at the time, bringing his parents on trips and going on jaunts with friends.

The idea to travel to all Seven Wonders, however, stayed with him. In September last year, Lee — who is so crazy about travel that he is now also a representative for multi-level marketing travel company World Ventures — embarked on his 16-day adventure. The whirlwind trip began in Beijing to view the Great Wall of China. He then travelled to Rome to see the Colosseum; to Jordan to visit the city of Petra; and to Mexico, where he visited the Chichen Itza with its stepped pyramids and temples.

There was only one point in time when he thought he would miss seeing one of the Wonders — when a flight from Rio de Janeiro to Peru (destination: Machu Picchu) was delayed. This was a connection he could not miss.

“I had to make 10 overseas calls to get a ticket for one of the trains into Machu Picchu,” he said. “I was always being told it was full. There was a brief moment when I thought I would have to give up on Machu Picchu but I kept calling, and I managed to squeeze into a slot.”

Thankfully, his flight got him to Peru on time, and he slipped into that train seat a little sweatier and stressed for the experience.

He did lose his way, his backpack, and his sanity, he says, on the tour, which cost him S$10,000. But he emerged from it knowing he had the skills to deal with the unexpected, including language barriers.

While waiting for his train out of Machu Picchu, Lee sat in a cafe, managing to communicate with a local who only spoke Spanish. “We chatted for one and a half hours, using Google Translate to get around the language barrier,” said Lee. “We were laughing the whole time. I learnt about his culture, about Peru, about his life. It expanded my mind.”

Lee has this to say about travel: “If you’ve been wanting to go somewhere that you’ve been dreaming about — just go. Take the plunge. You will find that you are somebody who ‘does’ rather than waits.” Sonia Yeo