Prompt #11: Tell us about a time you did something, something you knew you probably shouldn’t do, while traveling.
In SPM examinations in Malaysia (kind of an exam in between O- and A-Levels), non-Muslim students have to sit for a subject called “Moral Education” (Pendidikan Moral).
It doesn’t actually test how moral you are but how good you are at memorizing exact phrases. I’m telling you this because I scored a “C5” for this subject. (A1 is the best anyone can score and F9 is “Fail”.)
Based on my results, you might judge me as being an immoral person: someone who steals candy from babies and stick “Kick Me” signs on old ladies.
Well, I like to believe that I’m a moral person and that I’m moral at home and overseas.
But in an extroverted world, I feel ashamed to admit that in real life. When I tell people that I prefer to be alone when travelling, they usually give me strange looks.
Once, someone asked, “What do you do to have fun? How do you share the moment that you were having?”
Luckily, smartphones and social networks take care of this part about sharing the fun.
Once in a while, I would make one or two friends on the road. These people usually end up being more than just the regular hi-bye friends that you add on Facebook and promptly forget.
It’s important to travel the way you are comfortable with. While I was in Peru, I forgot how awkward being in a homestay is. When I switched to a private room in the hostel, I was the happiest person on that part of the world.
Don’t let other people discourage you from travelling the way you want.
Prompt #2: When, where, what, and with who is the story of your travel origin?
I used to hate travelling when I was a kid. I didn’t like that I couldn’t sleep in my bed. I didn’t like having to meet strange new adults whom my mother seem to know.
I rarely went for any sleepovers while I grew up so I ended up terribly homesick in the first year in university. Almost every evening, I would secretly cry in my room.
It was a tough time. Then I decided to end it. Enough was enough. Crying is a tiring business and I really need to stop.
So I did. I stopped crying for home and decided to enjoy life.
My very first solo trip was when I was on student exchange in the second half of my second year at university. I was studying in the south of China in Xiamen, Fujian. I really wanted to visit Shanghai so I made it a goal.
I did my research and memorized Shanghai’s map. I booked one night’s stay in a hostel and stayed with a friend for the other nights.
Since I was still a beginning solo traveller so I signed up for a local tour around east China, covering Nanjing, Suzhou and Hangzhou. I had the chance to walk around alone during our free time. I discovered that walking around alone in a new city is very pleasant.
In Shanghai, my friend had school so I visited the sights on my own. One of them was the Dream of Red Mansion theme park. The park was built for filming and left for tourists to visit.
I wasn’t as familiar of the story as I would like but I recognized some of the crude models of the characters from the novel.
I was also during this period that I discovered ways to take selfies when travelling alone.
I think they expect some profound answer that links back to the creation of the universe. Unfortunately, I didn’t have that sort of answer for them.
I usually reply, “I discovered that we are the same all over the world.” Then the person who asked the question would give me a weird look which said, “You spent 130 days travelling and that’s all you have?”
The more places I go, the more I realize that we are the same. Every human being faces the same sort of problems no matter where they are.
Are you stressed about making a living? Well, the people in South America do too.
Tomorrow, I’m heading to a travel event, called SG Travel Cafe, where independent travel enthusiasts in Singapore gather to listen to other indie travellers’ tales. I’m thinking about volunteering to present in one of the next few sessions.
Just before I leave you to your end of the week work, tell me which are your favorite travel blogs because I want to follow more people.
If the comment section is giving you a hard time, you can send your favorites using this form too.
I started my newsletter list in January 2013. (Check out the very first edition here.)
As a birthday wish, could you sign up for the newsletter, please? You’ll receive future updates from me sporadically.
I started posting on Instagram in April in Sri Lanka.
Top posts in my second-year
Last year, I did a recap of the Top 5 posts at YQtravelling during its first year. This time I’m extending the list to Top 10 because too many old posts are still in the top 5.
No 10: Tips to maximize your trip to Genting (February 2013)
I spent a great weekend at Genting Highlands last year and did a post to help save time and money when visiting the resort. Unfortunately, a few months afterwards, the outdoor theme park was closed and they are now building a new foreign-branded theme park.
Hello everybody, it’s YQ writing from Singapore. Yes, I am back in the land I am most familiar with. Yes, I’m more familiar with Singapore than my hometown Kota Kinabalu.
It’s been more than a week since I came back and I am now in full job hunting mode. I’ll update you guys on my job search if I have any happy news. Oh, if you know anyone in Singapore hiring writers, do drop me a mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For long distances, planes are your best bet but the ticket prices can be quite expensive if you do not do a lot of planning. I usually buy my air tickets for budget airlines about 6 months in advance when there is a sale. I try not to buy full price tickets because it’s not worth the money.
Pros of planes for weekend travel:
Comfortable (compared to 6 hours of bus or train)
Not affected by traffic jam
Cons of planes for weekend travel:
Expensive ticket price [Solution: Buy tickets only during promo periods, do not buy luggage for budget flights.]
Terrible arrival/departure timings [Solution: Check other airlines or skip the destination]
If you have good train connections to the places you want to visit, taking the train might be a good option. I love taking night trains because I save on the cost of a night’s accommodation.
Pros of trains for weekend travel:
Relatively cheap prices (at least in Malaysia)
Not affected by traffic jams on the road
Trains with bunks==better sleep
Cons of trains for weekend travel:
Limited tickets for weekend travel [Solution: Buy your tickets in advance]
I put night bus instead of I figure that you will need night buses for long distance travels.
Pros of buses for weekend travel:
Cons of night buses for weekend travel:
Bad sleep [Solution: Even I cannot solve this. I just suck it up]
Affected by traffic jams [I was once 5 hours late because of a massive jam. Lesson learned: Take the train ]
My mom and I had a mini road trip to the most northern part of Borneo island [LINK: Kudat Marina]. I would choose trains and buses over driving for a weekend trip because it’s more tiring. But if the place you are going to doesn’t have good
Pros of driving for weekend travel:
You have a car to drive around
Cons of driving for weekend travel:
Driving is quite tiring, especially for long hours
If you’re planning an island getaway for the weekend, taking a boat is probably your only choice so I won’t go into the pros and cons.
I haven’t been on any island trips for the weekend but the planning process should be the same: pick a nearby place and a good package so you don’t spend too much money.
Welcome to part 2 of the Weekend Traveller series, a fortnightly segment where I share tips and strategies for travelling during the weekend so you can travel more without using your work leave.
Last week, I talked about the pros and cons of weekend travelling. Today, we’ll be looking at how to choose a destination for your weekend travel so you save on travel time and cost.
Back when I still had a job during which I took quite a lot of weekend travel, the destinations that I chose were based on the challenges that I gave myself and the availability of cheap air tickets from AirAsia (Bangkok, Jakarta and Kuching are a few examples).
Unless you have similar self-imposed travel challenges, you’ll most likely choose the destination based on places you actually want to visit. (I’ll admit that there are some Malaysian states which I’d rather not go at all.)
Main factor for choosing a weekend travel destination
To choose a weekend travel destination, you must keep in mind the how much time you will be able to spend there which really means the time of arrival and departure. To enjoy a place, I’d say you need a minimum of 24 hours of visiting time.
So when you are making travel plans, you have to see that the transportation timing is right. It’s better to travel 13 hours on a night bus on Friday and reach on a Saturday morning than it is to take a 1-hour plane ride that reaches the destination at 4pm on a Saturday.
What you can do now is list down a few locations that you want to go for a weekend trip. Next you should do your research on what transportation there are for you to get there. (Coincidentally, transportation choices is our next discussion topic.)
Good weekend travel destinations from Singapore
Since I was based in Singapore when I started my travelling craze, I’ll list down a few places you can consider visiting for your weekend travel:
Every capital city on the peninsula of Malaysia (That’s 11 of them!)
Sadly, my hometown Kota Kinabalu does not make a good weekend travel destination from Singapore because of the bad AirAsia flight timing. Boo hoo.