As I finished my piece on Estée Lauder earlier, decided to document my travel experiences mainly done during my time as a student. Where I go, what I see, Who I talk to and some thoughts adding onto everything there to add a personal touch on the pieces which I am going to write down the road.
I have experienced all day trip, backpack and free-and-easy style of travelings as a student.
For now, I will categorized them under the Travel and Day Trip Series just so you know. Will improvise my little platform here as time goes by and I welcome your suggestions if there is any.
Maybe I should start by sharing why I decided to be a backpacker and a free and easy traveler instead of joining my fellow course mates and travel with travel agencies. That was the common question thrown to me as backpacking can be quite dangerous for a young girl and even more worrying I was only in my early 20s.
I remembered I was in the library flipping through a magazine waiting for my next lecture class. There was this one article on a doctor’s journey of backpacking somewhere and thought to myself if I will ever be graced with such kind of experience? Back then, backpacking is quite a foreign concept for the typical Asian and it is not something people around me or my circle of friends will do. In fact, there is none that I have heard of. Mostly the regular path would be to graduate – to get a good job – to own a mortgage, a car and a medical card the least – to take care of our parents – to settle down and on and on. We have our own set of future plans and what the next things to do in order to get where we want to be for the next 2,5,10 years.
I never really gave much thought on that article afterwards other than thinking the experience was so out of reach and so hard to fit in to the whole future plans that I have for myself. Maybe when am older and all my children have all grow up, then only I will see the world together with my life partner?
Nonetheless I always know such an experience would be a bonus one to me if I have that under my belt. I could share these stories to my future grandchildren comes my olden days. Continuation from that library affair, I have chanced upon some blogs on how others did it and the more I read, the more I was intrigued with the lifestyle.
For an example, Expat Edna.
Here is an introduction of her.
“I like to say things and eat stuff: The adventures of an American writer who moved overseas at 18 to work her way (literally) around the world. Over the past 10+ years I’ve lived in Paris, Italy, Singapore, China (twice), and New Zealand, working in media and establishing my dream career in the Olympics while traveling to 15-20 countries a year. I blog about building a life around travel, my home base of Paris, and alllll the things I eat and drink along the way. You can usually find me with a camera in one hand and a pint in the other.”
The thought of incorporating professional work, purposeful travel trips, personal development and building a life starts to sprout at the back of my mind.
2 to 3 years after, who knows I would have the opportunity to realize this dream of mine, with lesser cost and earlier than I thought it could be?
As a student who was on an international student visa, that would mean I was entitled to student price for things like the transportation. Commutes in the Europe can be pretty expensive and monthly rail passes can cost up to 14% of an average British wage. In one of my French language class I took back in my home country, my lecture told us to take advantage of our student visa and to visit France as it would be much much cheaper should we visit the country without it. I remembered that advise of her and so made up my mind, to do it while I was still a student and happy that the cost of realizing this experience can be kept lower than the usual cost that it might incurred.
I gravitate more towards the idea of backpacking for the following reasons:
- I want to visit the non-touristy places and not just the tourist spots for photos so I can see how the locals live on a day-to-day basis.
- I want to know how the locals would treat the foreigners at a non-touristy places.
- I want to take my time mingle and talk to the locals and not rushing for my next must see tourist spots.
- This might be a one of a lifetime kind of opportunity for me before entering the workforce.
- I want to keep my traveling budget as low as possible and to get the most out from the trip.
- I want to practise my French language.
- I want to have some time and space reserve for some good quirky moments.
- I want to make the most of my 20s.
Some classmates expressed their concerns on my safety, but never have I led my thoughts went towards that direction. Instead I looked forward and am excited for what the journey has in store for me. That mix feeling of both excitement and stepping into the unknown will serve as my armour for whatever that might possibly happen! I believe the experience will bring in or will evoke something else, something more in me; in a positive way. This is an opportunity to link all the books that I have read, the movies that I have watched, the musics that I have listened to or the things I have learned back in school and to understand all the countries, the cultures and everything else that come with travel to a new country better by not only via reading, watching and hearing; but this time by being physically there. It will also be a time to put all the skills imparted from my teachers during my scouting years and from my coaches at my wilderness explorer training into good use.
Soon after the news on me wanting to embark on a solo travel spread, a course mate came to me and expressed her interest in joining me. She was a course mate of mine from another class. I didn’t know her that well on a personal level but say okay nonetheless. Firstly, this trips I am going to undertake is not the safest trip for others. I did not want to promote it among my course mates because it wasn’t the safest way of traveling. Secondly, I did not want my close friends to feel pressure for having to join me. So when this course mate of mine came to approach me, I was delighted to have her because doing it duo, instead of solo wasn’t such a bad idea (I really thought I would have to jump on this journey, solo style). Furthermore having someone else on board made the goal seems more achievable and less intimidating.
I would definitely encourage my children to travel as much as they could when they are still at that stage of life – when everything is still fresh, new, exciting and full of life before being bogged down by commitments and the big things in life. Those experiences and exposures are invaluable.
Places/Countries I have visited as a students:
- San Sebastian
Places I went to for day trips in the UK:
As the years go by, I have relocated to some places and countries for work and did some business travels in between and yet did very minimal personal travels as I have my priorities placed on some other areas of my life.
A year before, I have decided to return back to my home country and for the time being, I am still here.
Reaching to the end of my post and am listening to Mashmakhan – As the years go by.
Ẇaves of Style ღ