In 2005, I was sent to Kerala on an overseas assignment for SilkAir’s inflight magazine.

It would be the first of many commissioned travel assignments. But that was my first trip to Mother India. I was paralysed by fear and inadequacy. After all, I’d been a freelance writer for just over two years and still a relative rookie in the industry.

But my editor Vera Lye – a classmate from school – saw something in me that I did not see in myself. She believed I could do it. And because I really did want to dip a tentative toe into a this new genre, I said Yes to the overseas assignment.

I found myself in Kochi at the peak of the Southwest monsoon. Because I was told I wouldn’t see anything, I was determined to experience everything. Undeterred by the rains, I sought out the beauty of the backwaters swollen with floodwaters, the old-world charm of Fort Cochin in a windbreaker, and even rolled up my sleeves to help haul in a catch at the Chinese fishing nets.

These were the first words I ever wrote for a paid travel story…

Opening paras of "Kochi: A Meeting of Worlds" by Pamela Ho for SilkAir's inflight magazine, 2005.

Opening paras of “Kochi: A Meeting of Worlds” by Pamela Ho for SilkAir’s inflight magazine, 2005.

… and my first taste of how I could actually combine my twin loves of travel and writing, and make money from it. ✈

Falling in love is often unexpected and unplanned. And just like falling in love with someone, I fell head over heels in love with travel writing.

And this was the genesis of it all – the start of a lifelong love affair.