This is me sitting down in my kitchen, one day after landing back in Singapore, one day after the end of my very first solo travel trip to Kyoto Japan. Had a sudden inspiration to start a travel blog and document my journey as I set out to explore the world, one country at a time, one continent at a time. Perhaps by doing so, I am also reminding myself of the happy times I enjoyed, to cheer me up on days where some form of encouragement is needed. Without further ado, let’s get on to how this whole idea of going solo started.
Mmmm I think it was sometime at the end of last year (2019) when my family and I were talking about travelling in general. My sister was bemoaning the fact that she’d be starting work life soon and won’t be able to go on holidays as easily as compared to being a student. Hearing that, I too suddenly realised that that would be me a couple of years down the road. Stuck in work from Mondays to Fridays, with only the weekends and public holidays for rest and a limited number of leave days…no thank you! I decided that I had to seize whatever opportunities I have left to travel more, to experience the different cultures, take in the different sights and smells, taste as many cuisines as my tongue could handle. With that thought, I randomly exclaimed to my parents “hey, I wanna go to Kyoto next year by myself after our annual family trip.”
Thankfully, I have very supportive and accommodating parents who loved travelling as well so I wasn’t expecting a no from them, and indeed they did not object. In fact, I think I owe my current wanderlust to my parents because they have brought us to many places since young and now travelling has become a significant part of my life. I suppose another reason as to why I wasn’t expecting them to oppose this idea is because I am already studying abroad, living by myself 3/4 of the year. Going overseas for holiday by myself is not much different.
After my parents agreed to my idea, I’d find myself scrolling through multiple websites and friends’ instagram stories, browsing for places to visit. I’d watch countless of youtube videos, search up food recommendations etc… The best thing was that I booked my hotel even before I formally asked my parents about this solo travel plan OOOPS. In my defence, the booking policy was one that allowed for free cancellation up till a day before the check in, so no harm done. As a wise man once said, ‘it’s better to ask for forgiveness than for permission.’ Smart man.
Since this was a few months before the departure date, there was a lull period of about 2 months where I did absolutely nothing for the trip. At that point of time, I was saddled with other tasks like returning back to Singapore after Uni ended, unpacking and then packing again for our annual family holiday. I didn’t plan anything whatsoever until I came back from the family trip and that was on new year’s eve. The next couple of days were spent battling a rather bad case of jet lag so it’s no surprise that nothing productive was done either. In fact, at that point of time, I was actually contemplating NOT to go for my solo trip after all because I felt a lil tired from all that packing and unpacking. COULD YOU BELIEVE it ?! Right now, as I am typing this, I am BAFFLED as to what my brain was thinking when I had that ridiculous thought. I’m so thankful I stuck to it in the end and went for my solo trip because it was such a magical experience.
I was set to depart on Friday 10 January (1:00AM flight) so on the Wednesday of that same week, I finally plonked my ass down and got to planning properly. I spent whatever time I had left to do up my itinerary (a very detailed, time based, day-to-day one), my to pack list, and even learning some basic conversational Japanese that every tourist should know (might get into why I think it’s important to learn the language of the country you are visiting in a separate post). Procrastinated a bit when it came to packing because I literally just unpacked days ago, so I ended up doing that only on Thursday aka airport day itself. But since I only had to reach the airport by 11PM everything worked out fine 🙂
From the airport onwards, everything went by in a blur. I spent 6 beautiful days in my favourite place out of the entire world. It was truly memorable – a perfect learning experience to grow more as a person and become a proper young lady.