When I got my first bonus from the company, I already knew what I had to do with it. I paid the first two months’ of the rent of the apartment I was moving in to. I didn’t plan on it, but it sort of just happened. I knew I wanted to move out of my sister’s house and get a place of my own in the capital, but I didn’t know that I would actually do it. 2014 was a lot of “didn’t know I’d actually do it”.
Moving in with my good friend was also one of those things. We became fast friends, and realize that we could make great housemates. And we are. One night in April, we were having one of our conversations about the future and the present.
“I need a holiday. Work is crazy.”
“Me, too! I’m going away for two weeks for my birthday with him, you know!”
“Really? And you’re not going to tell me where, right?”
“Nope! You should do that, by the way.”
“Travelling on my birthday? Yea, that’s a good idea. I wanted to do that for the longest time, honestly. And on my own! I’ve just never had the money and the time to do it. I have to do something for my 27th, though. My birthday’s on the 27th!”
“Well, do it then! And you’ll have plenty of time to plan and save up! Okay, let’s do this! You have to go somewhere for your birthday!”
“Especially with that raise I had late last year…I could definitely save up! Oh, but where would I go?”
“Never mind that for now. You have to decide by July, though, ‘because that’s MY birthday month. It’ll be like your present to me.”
“Haha! Okay, set. I’m going on my own, right?”
“Yep! Your first solo trip somewhere for your 27th birthday on the 27th. Great number.”
And so, the seed was planted in my head. For the next following months, I planned to go somewhere nearby because it would probably be safer to do so on my own and within my budget. So, I decided on Kota Kinabalu, Sabah; close, sort of familiar, and it’s got wonderful beaches. I started to look at TripAdvisor for places of interest, hotels to stay in, and restaurants/cafes/pubs to go to. Over time, I felt as if I was only planning for the sake of it. My heart wasn’t into it. I was excited, but not too much. I wasn’t looking forward to it.
July came, and my housemate asked if I’ve bought the flight ticket. I told her my worries, and that I’ll let her know my answer when she gets back from her holiday, which was early August. I knew I had to decide soon, as it was only few months to January.
“Well, if you don’t want to go to KK, then maybe you could go somewhere else. Maybe Malaysia is not where you want to go.”
“No, not really. My friend told me that there’s going to be a travel fair this September. I think I will look into that.”
The answer came sooner than anticipated. I received another raise few days after.
Since I left England for good in 2011, I felt empty. And when I visited in summer 2012 for my graduation, I knew that I have to return at least once in a while. After resigning from my previous job, I was unemployed for 6 months. I was down, but never really discouraged; always trusting God to lead me. But I was missing England, terribly. I vowed to myself that I have to visit it as soon as I get myself together.
With the raises I was getting, I saw that my savings was building up, and I could afford an expensive birthday trip. It was only logical to choose England as my travel destination. When I told my housemate of the decision, she agreed that that was definitely a good choice especially when I’ve been talking to her about how much I’ve missed England.
So, that was that. People have asked me why I have chosen England as the first place to travel to solo.
“Why the UK? You’ve been there. So, what else is there to see?”
“England’s too expensive for shopping!”
“There must be a defining moment when a light bulb switched on.”
I lived in the UK for four years. In those four years, I’ve only been to London, Nottingham, and most of the towns in Kent. I’ve always wanted to go to Scotland, but I didn’t. Sheffield, Bristol, Bath, Southampton, Somerset, Lake District, etc. And, to be honest, I’m not a very big shopper. I’m also going for the experience – sights to see, good food to eat. I can’t say if there was a defining moment. I just *knew* I had to go back to the UK, even just for a holiday.
Heck, I had to go back because I owed it to myself. I’ve spent so much on other people that I forgot to spend on myself. I came to the realization that the person I was most neglecting was me. As I was travelling solo for the first time and for my 27th birthday on the 27th of January, England seemed like a good choice. It would be familiar, awesome, and worth the trip.
And it was. Didn’t know I’d actually do it! :)
Chase your dreams!