Friday 14 July 2017

My Solo Backpacking Stories : Part 3 [Lessons + Advice]

To plan is important, but improvising is critical
Me of all people, is the ultimate planner.
I have to confess, I usually plan the itinerary and budget for travel at least 6 months in advance 🙈
[and happily so - there are so much excitement in planning (at least for me)]

What I learnt throughout my travel is the ability to work around the set plans. One can't be too rigid and it's important to be flexible in case things doesn't go your way.

Always be prepared with plan B or just go with the flow.

Sometimes the whole plan is cancelled because you missed your bus or you got pick pocketed etc
There are so many possibilities.
Make the best with whatever circumstances you have in hand. 

Don't be cheap, be frugal
I know budget is a big thing for traveler.
We always opt for the cheaper options but be smart about it.
It doesn't make sense for you to go on a 14-hour bus ride just to save RM100 [unless you wanted the experience].

I usually don't mind spending money on tours (when there's no free walking tours available) for the comfort, ease and knowledge.

Understandably, those location specific attractions may cost a bit more.
Do your calculation and see if it's worth it.

Eventually the trip will end and it's the special things you'll remember as the whole experience fade into your rear view.

To travel smart is to travel light
The problem is we always think we need more than we actually do [Life lesson there]
 I have to admit, the skill to pack light comes after a few failures. 

For me, a traditional luggage is always out of the picture. I can't imagine transiting between cities with the hassle of carrying heavy luggage around. It's just not practical. The bag itself is heavy! [unless you had those lightweight bags but still, nak kena tarik and all]

I always prefer to use backpack and my trusted CabinZero has been a loyal companion! 

There's nothing wrong with recycling your clothes on a trip. You can't expect me to have 14 outfits for my 2-week trip, right? I also learn to style my outfit differently so that it doesn't seem too obvious. Mix and match is the keyword here!

Other than that,I adopt the usual packing tips you can find all over internet;
make a packing list, with outfit plan
use packing cubes!
roll, not fold (the clothes)
comfort over style (at least for me)

The picture above shows my luggage for my 2-week getaway to Thailand. 

People are inherently kind
This is quite hard for me to understand at first because my mom had instilled in me that bad guys are everywhere, don't trust anyone. You'll get killed etc. [Always the dramatic one, my mom]

But as I travel more often, I soon realized that kindness is everywhere.
Just treat people like how you want to be treated.
Be nice.

The locals are always happy to give directions and offer help.

But do keep in mind that the risk for solo traveller are always higher. Just keep an eye on your surrounding.

Sama macam Malaysia.
Ada orang baik, ada orang jahat.
Biasanya, orang baik lagi ramai dari yang sebaliknya  😁

To travel alone is not that difficult
Pack your bags, and go. 😎
The difficult part is the beginning, I would say.

To obtain permission from your family, to actually plan the trip and to overcome your fear.
Once you've done all that, just go with an open mind.

Believe me, you'll learn a lot!
About the countries, the cultures and even things about yourself you never realize before.

Always, always try the local cuisine / street food
I can not stress this enough! 
To travel is to experience the culture.
And a big bulk of the culture is in the local cuisine.
I personally think, it is such a waste for one to travel and just stick to comfort food (unless you are on a tight budget). 

Always opt for street food to save money and have a taste of the most authentic local cuisine.
[Be caution though! Be on the lookout for clean and hygienic stalls]
The last thing you'll want is to fall sick on foreign land. 

Step out of your comfort zone
Try crazy things during your travel!
I decided to go bungee jumping at the spur of the moment. No regret there.

Fried grasshopper. Intrigued? Try them!

Stinky tofu? How bad is it? Try!!

Crazy rides in amusement park? Get on it!

You are never alone
One of the biggest misconception surrounding solo travelling is being alone / lonely. 
Believe me when I say, it's not true! You are starting the journey alone, yes.

But along the way, you'll get to know strangers that shares similar experience or even experienced backpackers who are eager to share their stories. 
You'll meet them at the hostel, cooking class, walking tour, restaurant etc

Most of the time, the locals are also more than willing to help / answer your questions! 

With experience, comes confidence
For the first few trips you took alone, you'll understandably have a lot of doubt. 
But those will slowly be replaced with confidence. 

Don't let the lack of confidence deter you from solo backpacking. 
That can be developed.

But still, be careful at all times. 
Be confident, don't be stupid 🙊

Life's short, do what makes you happy
In the early days, tonnes of thoughts went through my mind. 

Will my mom let me go alone? 
Will it be safe? 
What if I'm abducted or even worst, killed? 
Will the society be okay with a lady travelling alone? 

So much questions. 
Tapi sampai bila nak fikir apa orang kata?

You do it, you got the experience. Those who talks, got nada. 
Do what makes you happy.
At the end of the day, you'll cherish all those memories of travelling and you'll be glad for the decision you took to follow your heart. 

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