Friday, 27 January 2017

20 Things I Learnt From My First Solo Trip

travel, quotes

1. Solo travel is fun - all that time to yourself to do what you want to do, when you want to do it - but it can also be lonely at times, especially when you realise how much you miss conversation. Sometimes I'd be babbling to shopkeepers because I was tired of being quiet. During my 8-night London stay, I got so used to having company around that when my brother ditched me on our last night to go out with someone else, I felt a little upset to be honest.

2. Speaking of my brother, I discovered he's a great dancer. I had no idea!

3. I need to pack more Codral cold & flu tablets next time because at some point during my travels I always end up with a cold...and lose my voice at the same time.

4. I've gotta get better at taking selfies. I either take a tripod with me next time or I succumb to the dreaded selfie stick. The former is a more palatable option if you ask me!

5. You know those hotel room bottles of shampoo, conditioner & shower gel? They make excellent substitutes for washing detergent & shaving cream. #travelhacks

Singapore, orchids, Gardens by the Bay, flowers
More orchids from the Flower Dome @ Singapore's Gardens by the Bay
6. My sense of direction is rather shocking at times. Case in point: my entire time in Amsterdam. From taking an hour to find my hotel when it should've been a 5-10 minute walk from Centraal station, to walking around the same streets trying to find somewhere I wanted to go, I realised just how much I needed a local SIM card (or free wi-fi) to access Google Maps!

7. Apologies to any Dutchies reading this; but IMO, Berliners/Germans are friendlier than Amsterdammers/the Dutch. Funny, I thought it'd be the other way around...

8. ...speaking of friendly people, San Franciscans & Hawaiians are also like that....or at least the ones I encountered were friendly.

9. No matter where I went on my trip, there was always something to remind me of home, whether it be the Australian garden at the Flower Dome inside Singapore's Gardens by the Bay, or hearing this song in an Amsterdam shop, or eating Aussie fillet steak at KaDeWe in Berlin. In one way, this was comforting, but in another it felt like I hadn't left home!

10. I'm more resourceful & resilient than I ever believed I was. All those times I was lost in a foreign city, I had faith that I would work things out (even if my emotional state was rocky at the time). When the shoulder strap on my carry-on bag broke whilst at Kuala Lumpur airport (prior to my overnight flight to Amsterdam), I simply tied the broken end around a fixture point & moved on as if nothing had happened. I guess what I'm trying to say is that travelling solo will test you on those qualities & you can choose to either sink or swim.

Berlin Wall, Berlin
Berlin Wall Memorial, Berlin
11. Both Amsterdam & Berlin are/were full of hot dudes. 😍 #thethirstwasreal

12. Although it pays to research your destination/s & gather as many tips as possible, sometimes winging it turns out to be a great option. Either that or disregard a whole bunch of recommendations that don't appeal to you. I did this by & large in both Amsterdam & Berlin.

13. Always expect the unexpected & don't spin yourself into an emotional shit spiral if such situations arise. Case in point: my ugly emotional meltdown checking in at Gatwick Airport for my flight to NYC (I didn't realise I needed documental proof that I was cruising home from Hawaii) & my brother telling me over & over to calm down, which FYI DOESN'T WORK BRO. (The situation was thankfully resolved in the end with a very early-morning wake-up call to my parents back home.)

14. Don't plan anything for the first day you arrive as you never know if or when a delay might strike. This happened to me on my flight to San Francisco from NYC, but thankfully my flight was arriving late afternoon so it didn't really matter. (Aside for the fact that I was STARVING by the time I got my hotel!)

15. Airplane food isn't always bad. The 2 hot meals I had onboard Singapore Airlines & Norwegian were both quite tasty actually.

London, London landmarks
16. Always pack a little sewing kit in case of ripping the only pair of jeans you bought with you in the inner thigh area. Or that beloved Decjuba navy mosaic maxi dress of yours (as featured here) splitting yet again in the boobage area....

17. Accidentally eating tiny chillies = major burning in your mouth that lingers....and lingers....and lingers...

18. I can travel with a capsule wardrobe! I won't lie, it wasn't always easy (by the time I got on the cruise, I was well & truly bored with all my casual summer options); but in saying that I proved to myself that I don't need to pack 5000 items of clothing when a smaller amount will suffice. Now if only I could apply the same rules to my toiletries bag...

19. I don't want to eat another croissant for at least 5 years.

20. I also don't want to hear this 2016 hit, nor this 80's classic ever again. 

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