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Please share some further information about your winning entry?

The image was taking in Larung Gar in Sêrtar County of Garzê Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Sichuan, China in April 2016. It is the largest religious settlement in the world and home to more than 40,000 monks and nuns. Monks and nuns reside in these little red and brown houses built around the monasteries.

Sadly, months after this photo was taken, the Chinese government have ordered for mass demolition of these houses so that the population of the monks and nuns are kept to no more than 1500 and 3500, respectively.

What has been your favourite trip so far?

One of my favorite trips was back in 2012. I have decided to see the Silk Road from East to West. I started in Hong Kong, made my way along the east coast of China to Beijing, made a side trip to North Korea, and then travel westward from inner Mongolia, Xinjiang to Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, made a little illegal crossing to Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Iran, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Armenia, Nagorno Karabakh to Turkey.

Larung Gar - image courtesy of Yvonne Lin
Larung Gar - image courtesy of Yvonne Lin

This trip took 9 months and while there are not a lot of information across this region, I’ve had the most fabulous time. I feeling like a curious toddler again, learning something new each day about the place, the history, food, architecture, culture, languages, religion and these are all intricately linked across the region. On top of that, I am meeting wonderful, friendly locals. Some days I am invited for tea more than 5 times a day and a number of times I have stayed in a stranger’s house who I have just had a great rapport during our bus ride. I enjoy waking up to an unknown exciting adventure daily.

What are you most looking forward to this trip?

I have been to Hong Kong and Macau before. I love the dynamics of the Hong Kong and I love the Cantonese cuisine. There’s always something going on, one’s always. Revisiting a place after a number of years still provide the exciting element, but with the previous understanding, one can often get some more in-depth perspective and changes.

Tell us about your love for photography.

I developed a passion for photography when I took 8 months off work for my first round-the-world trip in 2009. Being an optometrist, I guess the optics and interacting with people comes a little easier for me. I love interact and photographing people when I travel. Please check out my Instagram for more images @vonlin, Link opens in a new window operated by external parties and may not conform to the same accessibility policies as Cathay Pacific .

Why do you love travel so much/what does travel mean to you?
Travel is part of my life now. Other than doing the normal touristy sightseeing routines, I also like to get out of my comfort zone during my trips and try different things. I’ve got my scuba diving rescue license. I’ve trekked the Inca trail, Kilimanjaro, Annapurna circuit, Everest base camp, Kanchenjunga base camp, Chadar trek and the Camino de Santiago. I like to “experience” different lifestyle and cultures. It helps me really step in other people’s shoe and “see” things from different perspectives. I’ve had some humbling experiences that has certainly helped me to grow as a person in many aspects. So for me, traveling is often a self-reflect and self-discovery journey.

What does travelling well mean to you?

To embrace and enjoy new experiences. Find something positive in every situation.

Tell us something unique about yourself.

I consider myself as a true global citizen, I have been living out of a suitcase for the last 7 years. When I am not travelling overseas. I work as a relief optometrist to stores all over Australia that needs temporary relief either when the store is busy or the optometrist is on holiday or maternity leave. I rarely stay in a town/city for more than 2 weeks!! So I really cherish the odd few days a year I spend with my families and friends between works/travels but I also enjoy that I often bump into old and new friends (thanks to social media) in different corners of the world.

How many cities have you visited?

Not sure… I’ve traveled over 100 countries, so I am guessing 4-500 cities.

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