Category Archives: Travel

The Joy of Traveling Alone

My Sunday morning is lousy. ‘Weather-wise, it’s such a lovely day’, but the noise and the house aura suck : someone has ruined Sunday morning. At times like this morning, I find myself dreaming about my traveling days, especially those days when I travel alone.

The joy of traveling alone begins the second I decide when to do the trip. The destination was determined way before this – usually triggered by reading some travel articles. I don’t have to think about the availability of my travel companion, if he/she can get a time off from his/her office. I don’t have to think about whether it’s a high season, low season, rainy season, dry season at destination and if my travel companion can afford to go there or no, or if he/she is OK to monsoon or if he/she can endure the heat.

I always like experiencing 2 travel style in one period. The first few days/weeks I do some serious splurge. The higher floor the bar is located (hence the fatter the cocktail bill), is the better. The fewer rooms the boutique hotel has, the better it is. Then I move to a cheaper (yet still safe) scene : all-girl dorm room.
I can’t do this kind of traveling when having a travel companion : They usually want to stay at normal room at an international chain hotel. What’s the fun of doing that?

I wake up very early in the morning when I travel : usually before sunrise, even after all those alcohols consumed the night before (read : a few hours before). I call it a duty call. It’s a shame if I can’t take sunrise photo from where I’m at. The morning light is the best soft light and I don’t care if I have to wake up at 4 AM to get it.
Imagine if a travel companion comes back to the hotel with me at 2:30 AM in a not sober state and they will hear noises of me getting ready for the door at 4? Isn’t it a disturbing picture for you?

I like to take a nap in the afternoon when I travel. I need my energy to go out drinking at night and waking up early in the morning for the sunrise. I don’t do tourist activity after lunch time, they’re all packed with tourists in colorful shirts and dresses. I can’t take a good photo with them around. I visit those places in the morning after my sunrise photo shoot – when the places are still abandoned by tourists and abandoned by my travel companion.

During my days of traveling alone, I seldom have meal alone. You see, there are a lot of websites and apps of finding a fellow solo travelers. I’ve tried for doing the bar-hopping for the nights, all ended well (sometimes too well). Of course when I’m staying at the dorm, there’s always a fellow solo woman traveler who’s up for dinner downstairs or go to swanky bar.

 The almost down-side of traveling alone is not having someone to take a photo of me. I’m not into doing selfie when I travel, mind you. But this issue is always solved by smiling to someone who has a DSLR camera (I always bump into professional photographers at 4-8 AM) and ask them to take a photo of me.

The bad thing of traveling alone for me is when I miss having a debate with someone, an argument bantering – if you must say. When that happens, I top up my SIM card and call overseas. The arguments and the noises that once make my Sunday morning lousy are somehow bearable when I’m away from home, traveling alone. 


Posted by on February 9, 2014 in Travel


Tags: ,

Decisions, Decisions…

Ajahn Brahm (You can Google him up if you want, he’s a cool Theravada monk from Perth, Australia) once said in one of his teaching sessions that there’s no such things as bad decisions or wrong decisions. A Buddhist (or at least people who believe in reincarnation like yours truly) can be born again, so you can get your decision right in your next life. That is simple, why worry about making bad decisions. Later in that very session, he said something similar to this, “A decision is never wrong when it’s made out of a well mind”.

I was editing my photos on my second to last night in Bangkok in a dorm shared with 4 other females (one of them was an Australian which I had dinner with). I was somewhat frustrated to the quality of the Floating Market photos that I took earlier that day. And bang, suddenly that very Ajahn Brahm’s teaching about how to make a decision appeared in my mind, right down to his Australian/British accents

Bridge 045 editted.

The Bangkok trip was planned 35 hours before the ETD. Despite what my girlfriends and fiance told me (not to go), I walked down to the ATM to pay my plane ticket (expensive despite using the budget airline mind you), paid the daily tour packages with my paypal, and told my fiance and girlfriends to go some place else and mind anyone’s business but mine. (Oh usually as a very-well-planned-traveler-it-annoys-my-fiance-and-my-family-so-much I book ticket and hotels way ahead of the travel date and I have a not-so-firm itinerary so I can wander around the village/the city I’m in)

Was I in my well mind? No. I was not. I was mad and I was upset and I had not slept for days and all I could think of was whether or not I had a photo assignment, I had to travel. Then Bangkok came to mind. Why Bangkok, you asked? No idea. I had no idea why I decided to fly to Bangkok (but maybe the cheap living cost there was the main idea).

Before flying to Bangkok there were lots of yelling to friends and fiance (see above). I told them I wanted an adventure hence the back-packing with a very heavy Nikon camera and 2 lenses. Out of his worry, the fiance booked me a room in a 4-star hotel. That also produced another series of screaming (especially from HIS SIDE after buying the room for 3 nights for me and knowing that I stayed in Bangkok for way more than 3 nights). One of the girlfriends offered to accompany me in Bangkok several days after my arrival, but I didn’t want to have any of that.

I flew to Bangkok, alone. Traveling with little cash and a debit card (I didn’t want to shop I just wanted to take photos anyways, right?) and a pledge not to spend more than USD 12 per day for meal. I promised those 3 people that I would keep in touch, so I had no choice but spending almost 500 THB for phone and Blackberry Service.

I didn’t say it’s not fun. It’s totally the opposite of not fun. The trip had 91% fun and 9% un-coolness (and thank God, I got a photo assignment once I was there). But that very night in my hostel room when suddenly Ajahn Bhram’s voice appeared in my head, I knew the decision of traveling to Bangkok was not a good decision. It was an impulsive decision that has led me to an adventure (just like what I had expected before), but not a safe one.

Next time (at least later when I’m born again), I’ll make better adventures and better decisions.


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,