Tuesday, 23 December 2014

"The Top 5" - Best Things

Having read '“The TOP 5″ – Best & Worst Things About Solo' published on May 28, 2012 by Kellie Netherwood (read here), I'm inspired to write my own Top 5 Best..

My whole idea of travelling solo began when I was around 19.. Having gotten my first passport, I set out to explore Singapore.. But my breakthrough didn't actually come until 2010 - when AZ bought me a travel package for 1 to Krabi, and things just went out of control from there..

I discovered I enjoyed travelling alone - even when travelling with family or friends, I always seek opportunities to breakaway on my own and wander around (as I have done in Paris and Amsterdam, when there's opportunity of course)..

Like the writer of the article, many of us would have realised - that great friends don't necessary make great travel buddies..  Friends that I used to travel with have all now married and have kids of their own.. Besides, one person's idea of travelling may be different from another person's, and I am more or less quite tired of compromising.. I may want to spend the entire day relaxing and laying by the pool/beach with no fucks were given on one day and maybe out in the streets roaming around hunting for local offerings on another day.. I might spend the entire day in the theme park playing with roller coasters and rides and not care about how other people feel..

I can be selfish - hence, I have really come to a point that I don't care..

If it's a city destination I am heading to - I can see myself going to the markets, the malls, the gyms, the saunas, the gay scenes, drinking and enjoying the city sights and sounds like a local would.. If it's a beach destination, my idea is to get tanned and lay by the sea sipping juice and again, no fucks were given and do nothing much else but to eat, walk around, laze around..

Are you a solo traveller?  Maybe the points below will help you decide.

TOP FIVE:  Best things about solo travel
In the helicopter over Twelve Apostles
1. The Selfish Factor
Like I said, I am selfish.. I realised that life is short, really short and I want to make the most of my
life by going out and seeing the world.. I didn't want to compromise on my travel experiences.. Travelling solo allows me to stick to my budget as I won't be pressured into spending for something I don't thoroughly want/enjoy just to follow the crowd or because everyone else was doing it, even though I always end up blowing my budget, but it's always because I won't know when the next chance is going to be - or I may never get it the next chance at all ever again..

Such as in Australia, without thinking, I paid A$95 on my card and got on the helicopter ride over The Twelve Apostles - that itself was an experience I'm very glad I did..

How do you see and do everything you want when you are travelling without being pressured?  You travel solo!

Jumping into the swamp
2. A flexible itinerary
Some people feel suffocated by a travel itinerary while others need a very structured planned itinerary to a travel experience..

Me? Somewhere in the middle.. Travelling solo not only allows me the luxury of setting my own itinerary, it also lets me change it along the way if and when I feel like it.. I may want to sit longer at the cafe, or shop longer.. Or take a couple more photographs of quirky things..

Or maybe I decided to set my camera on timer mode and jumped into a swamp on one of the sea excursions I joined in Thailand because the local people said I should try jumping into the swamp... not knowing how deep it was, or what's in the swamp..


The water was fucking icy cold!!

Yes, that's what I jumped into..

Point is, whichever it is, I loved being with my own time without anyone yelling "let's go!" or "waaaiiittttt" more often that I want to hear...

How do you get to set your own pace and not be compelled to move on quicker or slow down because someone else want to do something else that's of no interests to you?  You travel solo!

3.  It’s a great way to meet people
Not only are you more likely to approach other people when you are on your own, you are more approachable yourself to other people.. People are easier and more open to talking to lone travellers sitting by themselves (it's proven and happens to everyone who travels alone!) than group of friends travelling together.. My experiences speak for themselves!

He survived the tsunami..
In Krabi, how I see travelling was forever changed when a local resident who was a bartender waiter at the local bar which I spent every evening drinking at, shared with me his stories about how he, and his community rebuilt their lives from scratch after the 2004 Asian Tsunami.. I never forget the kind of experience I get from travelling alone.

How do you meet people when you travel?  You travel solo!

4. Local interaction
An extension of the previous point, travelling solo makes it a lot easier to make local friends.. What do you call a group of 'travellers' armed with cameras clicking away and maps in their hands looking like lost fools?  Tourists!

I have often found locals more likely to treat me as a tourist when I am with other people - friends or even in a group.. I, however, get a very different reaction when travelling on my own and have had some unforgettable conversations with locals who have approached me simply to have a chat.. Remember the Thai guy who survived the tsunami? How did I know? I talked to him!

The people who worked at Brisbane City Hall

The yoga teacher in Melbourne

The wife of the Cape Otway Lighthouse's keeper..
She cooked the lunch that I had at the Lighthouse..

Rael, my tour guide and driver in Melbourne.. He got me right to the front of the Twelve Apostle's helicopter queue with just a phone call.. 

Random French boy who posed for me because I stopped and asked him what the protest was all about..
(turned out they were protesting against gay marriage!! LOL!!)

And then French boy gave me the flag and helped me with this picture of me...

Or that I find the traditional Dutch costume so pretty I asked these ladies to pose for me.. 

And these ladies too... Happily posing for me!

How do you increase local interaction when travelling?  You travel solo!

5. Self Discovery
It’s often said that the best way to get to know someone is by travelling with them and there is no better journey of self-discovery than the one you take as a solo traveller.. Not only do you have more time on your own to reflect and relax, you will also inevitably face situations that help you understand more about what makes you happy, what your strengths and weaknesses are and what (or who) irritates you.. Travelling solo not only increases self-awareness but it also creates the opportunity to change..

How do you create self discovery opportunities?  You travel solo!

One of the best sunset photos I captured..
I love this scene so much... it can bring tears to me..
Aonang Beach, Krabi, Thailand

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