Thank you, Singapore!

I’ve had this post in my drafts for a while now, but I got a bit lazy fixing it and almost trashed it. Then I read this new post in one of the blogs I discovered over the weekend, and I realized that I shouldn’t just let this post fade into oblivion because I’m busy. This is a personal milestone, a check off the bucket list! This should be written down!

So here we go. :)

* * *

The first time I went to Singapore was in 2007, when my dad had a conference and the entire family tagged along. My only mission I had for going there: buy a MacBook. Because, well…I needed a new laptop, then, so that was all what I wanted to do. (I was very gadget-centric back then.)

I did see a few things back then: Sentosa, Ikea in Tampines, and I also got to visit the Arts House to meet some of the NaNoWriMo participants in Singapore. I also got to roam around in Chinatown for a bit, but that was because that’s where we bought our first dSLR for my brother. But there’s not a lot of things I remember after that, because there weren’t many sights to see or places to go within that short span of time that I stayed there. Heck, Universal Studios Singapore wasn’t even there yet.

A few months ago, I was chatting with a friend about how I was feeling restless, and how I wanted to go somewhere. I want to pack up and leave. Go on a trip. There were no immediate trips to look forward to, and I needed something new. Something different. Something, oh, I don’t know, brave? I told my friend that I want to go somewhere, and she said, “Go.

Pretty much everyone who I talked to about this told me to go, what’s stopping me, and it should be fun, yadda yadda yadda.

But I’m not that impulsive. And where could I possibly go? I’m not sure if I can afford it. Yadda, yadda, yadda.

Still, the idea of going somewhere on my own was very attractive. And I felt like I badly, really needed it. And I figured that if I want to go to New York City someday, I better start practicing now, right?

So I gathered the courage and asked some friends if I could crash at their place if I decide to book a ticket to Singapore. They said yes, and then I gathered more courage and booked a ticket. (Complete with trying to book my flight several times and finally taking a deep breath before clicking that button that confirms my flight.)

Ta-da! I’m going to Singapore!

* * *

My Singapore trip, in a nutshell:

  1. Midnight arrival, and enjoying the internet speed at the airport. (It’s fast, my friends. Very fast. :D)

    Hello, Changi!

  2. Reunion with one of my closest friends, and super chats on the way to my host home.
  3. Singapore Flyer (just outside), first brunch in Singapore, lots of zombie + Crystal Maze talk, Marina Bay Sands, Flower Dome, Cloud Forest, Duck Tour (Hello, Merly!)
    photo 2
  4. Marina Bay Sands light show and that giant, flushing…sink thing.
  5. Din Tai Fung (xiao long baos!) and quite possibly my most gluttonous dinner in Singapore. (Again, xiao long baos!)
  6. A reunion with some of my oldest and best friends at work, and staying up until 4 in the morning at Chijmes for drinks and life talk. (Hello Apple Cider and Hoegaarden!)
    photo 4
  7. Universal Studios Singapore! (Transformers! The Mummy’s Revenge! Sesame Street! New York Public Library!)
    photo 1
  8. Hershey’s World!
    photo 2
  9. Ben & Jerry’s Chubby Hubby and even more conversations to the wee hours of the morning while I charged my phone.
  10. Books Kinokuniya ♥
  11. Tim Ho Wan, wandering alone in Orchard, Bugis and Ikea. Roamed around alone almost the entire day, and felt that I actually lived in Singapore because I had to walk to my friend’s place to get my stuff, and I didn’t get lost. :D
  12. And then I couldn’t find a cab, but that was probably because I needed to see my friend get off near his stop so we can have a proper goodbye. And then kind cab drivers and long trips to get to the other house.
  13. Last Bugis trip to buy last minute gifts and even more wandering around, then a nice goodbye to my host home and a kiss from the little girl who lives there. :)
  14. Mini-meet-up at the airport and some more chats, learning that I forgot to get the receipt so I can claim my GST. Oops.

There were other things that I wished I’d done and have while I was there: more time, tried out street food, took more photos and maybe sat somewhere and just looked and read and observed people because I kept on walking everywhere (and no, it’s not a metaphor this time. I literally walked almost everywhere). But it was fun, and I enjoyed every minute I was there. So let me take this moment to say thank you to everyone who made my stay in Singapore awesome. You all know who you are: thank you for being my home for a weekend, thank you for your grace, your generosity and your hospitality and most of all, your friendship. :)

Now that I mentioned that…fine, this isn’t exactly traveling alone, because for the most part, I stayed with people I know, and I didn’t really talk to strangers randomly. But this is a start, right? And I really, and truly enjoyed that entire day where I was alone, and I had to figure out directions on my own because my phone’s unlimited 3G wasn’t working, so I spent a lot of time walking and just looking and just marveling at the fact that I am in a different country, (almost) alone, and practically no one knows me there.

What a liberating feeling. Like what I’ve been telling my friends when I arrived: this was exactly what I needed. I was exhausted when I got back, and I’m still paying for stuff from my trip, but it was worth every peso.

* * *

I think I understand it a little now. What people bitten by the travel bug feel. Especially people who travel alone. I know what I did was just a fragment of what others had done, but like I said, I feel like this is a start. I want to do it again. I want to go to a place I’ve never been to on my own, and maybe later, to a place where I don’t really know anyone. It’s exciting and terrifying all at the same time, and it’s something that I think everyone has to experience once. Twice. As many times as you can, while you still can.

So where to, next? :)

4 thoughts to “Thank you, Singapore!”

  1. Hi Tina! I’m glad my little article on traveling alone got you reminiscing and posting about your Singapore trip!

    I get what you mean: It’s hard to be completely solo in Singapore because so many Filipino friends are there! It was practically impossible for me to walk through a popular spot/mall/hangout and NOT see somebody from my university. Bizarre. Haha!

    I highly recommend Seoul or Osaka for your next trip! I’ve yet to try Hong Kong, but maybe next year :)

    1. Hi Arriane! Thank YOU for that post! I found Wanderrgirl over the weekend because of Isa, and then I saw all your posts about traveling on your own and I was inspired. :) It really is good for the soul!

      Oh and while I was in Singapore, my other college friends who worked there all wanted to meet up, even those who I haven’t talked to in years! It’s nice knowing that there’s another country where I know I have instant friends. :)

      A lot of friends have been going to Osaka lately, and now I’m curious about it. I’ll have to add that to my list, then. Thanks again for your comment, and I love what you’re doing with Wanderrgirl. Count me as a new reader! :)

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