My First Solo Trip (Part 2)

Few days before the travel fair, my friend, the travel agent, texted me:

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I couldn’t believe I was going towards this thing I was doing for myself. It always felt like it was just at the back of my head. And to have seen it being executed was just…yeah.

When my friend was processing my debit card for the ticket at the fair, I remember looking around at the other keen travelers, and I wondered what their choices of destination would be. Everyone seemed engrossed with their travel agents and the flashing signboards with the prices of tickets to various capital cities. Most of them were families, some were couples, and the odd few, like myself, were solo. All parting with their money for a temporary escape. Well, it’s true for my part, anyway.

Upon purchasing my air tickets, I looked at my budget to accommodate all subsequent spending for this trip. I had to remember that I was doing this on my own so I was adamant that I wouldn’t borrow any money from anyone for it. I’ve never spent this much amount of money at one time. Initially, it was tempting to get a credit card, but now I’m glad I didn’t ’cause it turned out that I didn’t need one!

As you can see, I’ve chosen to go for 10 days (as 21st would be all-day travel). It seems like a long time, but it’s not enough! I would’ve chosen a month if I had my way. Ha. So for the 10 days, I wanted to go to a lot of places. I think I’ve re-done my itinerary at least 5 times to try and include all the places I wanted to visit. I also wanted the trip to be around my birthday; it is after all my birthday trip! :)

I started to subscribe to various travel sites including airbnb, bownty, voyage privy, secret escapes. I’d look at all the great deals, and browse upon many, many pages of wonderful places to stay at. I looked for inspiration as to which towns/cities to visit, what activities to do…I couldn’t wait.

I know it might not seem much to most people. Solo trip to some means going on an unknown path, a totally foreign country, and all that. But this is my version of a solo trip. It would be my first adventure on my own. I even took these tips I found at this site for female solo travelers, which I found was pleasant to read as a beginner! The blogger’s tip on what to pack was especially useful as well!

Asked a couple of people of where I should go when in England, but none that stuck as a sure thing. So while looking at all the options for my accommodation as well my modes of transportation, I listened to Dexter Britain‘s music. Fitting, isn’t it? It is also so inspirational, and makes you want to get up and go do things. So I chose the places that would suit the way DB’s music make me feel;

  • 21st – Arrive at Heathrow, take Heathrow Connect to London Paddington (£10.10), London Paddington to King’s Cross to York (Grand Central ticket £40.40 return)
  • 25th – York to King’s Cross – a night in London at a friend’s in Greenford
  • 26th – London Paddington to Bath Spa (First Great Western ticket £30 return)
  • 27th – Daytrip to Bristol (this was not in the plans, initially)
  • 28th – Bath Spa to London Victoria to Canterbury (National Express £12 return)
  • 29th – Canterbury to London Victoria

Will let you know in the next post of why I chose these places! Also, I will include all the hotels/b&bs (cost, location, etc.) I stayed in during my trip. I had so much fun planning, honestly. I will also be writing about the list I had of the people I wanted to see…and the list I ended up having. Life is never really a sure thing; it’s fascinating :)

Till next time, my lovelies.

Chase your dreams!

x

My First Solo Trip (Part 1)

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!

/E

Happy New Year!

January

Most people don’t like January because of the hole they’ve burnt in their pocket over the holidays. The hangover (from holidays or alcohol) stays through to the first week, and, in the middle of the month, they’re too broke to do much of anything. So, they stay home, and think about the year that’s passed, and what resolutions they can make, like saving money, for instance.

I like January. Yes, it’s a new month, and all. But it’s also my birthday month. Yay. And the fact that it comes and goes so quickly every year is kinda odd to go through. Some people like the month of January because that’s when they feel they can start over again, or improve their current life. People are motivated. They’re keen. And just as quickly as the month comes and goes, their motivation does, too. Well, for most people.

It’s a love-hate relationship with the month of January, I guess.

I know positive changes can be done any time of the year, but I think the fact that January is the first month of the year, the changes are planned to start on that month. Plus, it gives a nice hashtag #1outof12 (I just made that up – I know there is a similar hashtag, but unfortunately, I’m not up to date on that). You know what I mean.

So, anyway, I’ve sought inspiration from a Quora post about a week ago, and I’ve read similar posts before (like a Cyanide and Happiness comic strip). And I thought, why the heck not. One of the things to do is to write a book. I play Sims, and I always tell my Sim to write a book. So, no reason why I can’t write a book, really. Haha. No matter how shitty it may be – at least write one.

I’m also gonna read more books! I’ve bought so many last year that I think I’ve only read 3 or 4 books total.

I have something else to look forward to this month, which I will get to in the next post. That’s right; I’m doing segregated posts now for certain topics. I’ve upped a level in my blogging style. Ha. Ha. Ha.

2015, ladies and gents. 10 (edited: apparently, I can’t count :P) 20 years to go to Brunei’s Vision 2035. You still in?

/E

Sociology of Work

I wish I went deeper to understand this topic when I was in university. It is so useful to understand society and groups and behavior at work, especially if you work a lot with people! If you’re a Sociology student, do read more about the topic and you will understand it more when you’re actually working! You could also use all those research and put them to the test. The benefit to you is that you understand people’s behavior better and that knowledge is just so powerful!

A lot of people asked me what I did in uni and what I’m doing now for a career, and they get confused, “Sociology? What are you doing here?” Here being in an oil and gas or a construction industry. And I always have no proper (or witty!) answer to give them. What they don’t know is that I’ve learnt to understand people’s behavior, effectively, where I could anticipate their reactions towards a situation. It could just be my awesome upbringing by my parents, but I also believe that all those books I’ve read, all those essays I’ve written, have also contributed. I empathize with people I work with more. In that way, we could compromise and work things out together that could benefit both sides whenever there’s a conflict of some sort!

In my final year of my first degree, I wrote an essay on work transforming us into particular embodied beings. This was one of the essays that I enjoyed writing in my final year. Hochschild (1983) said that as the world’s work sectors are becoming more service-based and they place more emphasis on that, there is a requirement for individuals to become an “emotion worker”. What this means is that we are acting to perform a job properly. We hear this a lot that we have to be professional. From Hochschild’s understanding, this would mean acting because we are behaving in a certain way in order to perform our jobs according to what is expected of us.

Isn’t that so interesting? Haha. Being an emotion worker has two ways of doing it, and what I understand from those ways is that we are fighting against what we are expected to do and what our own self is trying to achieve. The individual versus the company we work for/with. I was just watching a TED podcast last night on individual association and group association…or solidarity. God, I wish I was still in university! Things make so much more sense now that I’m working and have aged a bit. Haha

Anyway, my point of posting this evening was to share about my current work experience. But I digressed, and I think I enjoyed writing this way. Hmm.

What I’ve learned about this life so far is that we could only trust ourselves and God. It’s become so confusing and frustrating to balance between trusting yourself and others that, in the end, people are just looking out for themselves because you’re the only person you could hurt when you’ve lied to yourself. And there’d be less guilt in that. And perhaps you’d forgive yourself easier.

How this post took different turns, I don’t know :P may you always be chasing your dreams, my lovelies.

/E

Attempting to answer – what is the meaning of life

Life is never easy for anyone. You want to leave a mark on the world but you feel so small and insignificant. You don’t realize how big you actually are and how important the things you do. Think of the ripple effect. Think of all the people in your life who are in any way affected by you. You can change lives (you most likely already do). You can have an impact on the world (everyone can). You just have to set your goals and make a plan. And remember that everything you do matters and that even the little things can make a huge difference.

Lee Garibaldi

Chase your dreams, my lovelies.

/E