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. :)
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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!
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My Singapore trip, in a nutshell:
- Midnight arrival, and enjoying the internet speed at the airport. (It’s fast, my friends. Very fast. :D)
- Reunion with one of my closest friends, and super chats on the way to my host home.
- 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!)
- Marina Bay Sands light show and that giant, flushing…sink thing.
- Din Tai Fung (xiao long baos!) and quite possibly my most gluttonous dinner in Singapore. (Again, xiao long baos!)
- 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!)
- Universal Studios Singapore! (Transformers! The Mummy’s Revenge! Sesame Street! New York Public Library!)
- Hershey’s World!
- Ben & Jerry’s Chubby Hubby and even more conversations to the wee hours of the morning while I charged my phone.
- Books Kinokuniya ♥
- 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
- 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.
- 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. :)
- 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.
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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? :)