April 9, 2017 Leave a comment

I left the US on June 1st and arrived in Singapore June 2nd. The surreal feeling of me leaving everything I knew didn’t really hit me up until I sold my car. The feeling that I wouldn’t see my friends anymore didn’t hit me until I jumped on the plane while I pondered what the future held for me. 

I arrived in the Singapore International Airport saw the actor who played the “Mountain” in the show Game of Thrones walk right past me. Singapore overall was good. It is a great starting point for your journey because of how modern the country is. You can ease the transition of being in a foreign place by finding all the comforts of familiarity. They have an amazing public transportation system that takes you everywhere in the country. They offer unlimited rides on their buses or trains for three days for 20SGD. 

Singapore is the food Mecca. There are hawker stalls everywhere in the city that offer all types of dishes that will satisfy your appetite. Most if not all dishes are very budget friendly as well. You can go to malls, train stations and street corners to find these hawker stalls. Each area has a unique dish or flavor. My favorite dish from Singapore and still the best thing I have had on this trip was a dish called Katong Laksa

Oh man looking at this picture gives me so many good memories. I had never ever heard of this dish until one of the staff at the hostel suggested this restaurant 328 Katong Laksa. I am so glad she did. The dish is a delicious spicy coconut curry with noodles and seafood. I was completely confused when they only handed you soup spoon but no chop sticks for the noodles. The noodles are cut just long enough where chop sticks are unnecessary. The spice and the coconut mix very well together with the vegetables and protein. They also serve a delicious lime juice that helps you cool down. 

All the places you want to go see through this country can be found on the all mighty Instagram. The one lesson I took away from Singapore is hostel dynamics. Hostels are amazing not only for the budget friendly prices they offer to stay in a country or a city. It is also a hub to meet other like minded travelers who want to meet other people. I learned the initial part of meeting people is the difficult part. Although people are open to the idea of meeting others you often have to step up to the plate. If you want to meet others on your travel you have put yourself out there. Get out of your comfort zone there is always a conversation waiting to be had, an experience to be shared or a travel tip to be told. 

A few other experiences I have from Singapore was the sudden realization that the area I stayed in was a red light district. I walked back to my hostel three nights before I realized what was going on outside. I wondered why these young girls who were dressed fairly nice were attached to the hip to old casually dressed guys. Then suddenly the combination of all these “Karoake Bars”, hotels and sleazy guys made sense. 😳😳 I also almost lost my phone within a week into my travels. While being busy with my newly found friends playing cards in transit to Malaysia. I left my phone in the bus 😱. I was fortunate enough to have some locals who lent me their phone allowing me to call the bus company to grab the phone. A few days later and a round trip back via bus from Kuala Lumpur I got my phone back. 

Well that ends my Singapore experience. Malaysia will be next.

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April 7, 2017 Leave a comment

Most people start their blogs at the beginning of their travels. I am not most people. As my travels are winding down and I am not moving around so much anymore here in Melbourne. I decided to express myself on the interwebs. I will rehash all the experiences from the beginning until now both from memory and from my personal journal. 

I’ll begin with why? Why did I travel? Why did I leave the comfort of my job, house, my car and my friends for the unknown? It has always been something that I have always wanted to do. I have always wanted to explore and see the world. It only took until I was 29 to finally man up and do it. Why did I wait so long? It wasn’t because of finances, school, job or a girlfriend. I waited until now because I was waiting for a group of friends to go travel with. I had never visited countries on my own and never imagined myself doing it. I just got tired of waiting for my friends to have time to go. I realized why put aside my own personal happiness until my friends had time. Why the hell would I do that! After I had this epiphany I trained myself to go to events, festivals, bars and parties by myself if it was something I wanted to do. We all dread going places by ourselves because we will feel lonely. Eventually that fear went away. 

How did I travel? Once I decided to travel I began saving up. I am very thankful for the job I had while I was in the US. I worked as a dealer and eventually managed some shifts as well at a local poker club in Portland. It was a great job. I worked with alot of great people and the guests we had were amazing. I worked my tail off for about a year and a half at that job picking up as many shifts I could as possible. I also played poker during my free time and ran really hot for a few months before I left. In total I left the US with 17,000$ USD. This is after I bought my travel bag, vaccinations, medicine, travel insurance and my one way ticket to Singapore. (I was so nervous when I purchased my ticket to Singapore. I couldn’t believe I actually had done it.)

17,000$ USD isn’t that much especially when you find other bloggers who travel. I know one guy @nasdaily (Instagram) who was from New York and saved up 40,000$ and is still traveling the world. The amount I saved through some research I had found would be enough for Asia. I never really realized how inexpensive living in Asia is compared to the US. As of today I have been gone nearly 10 months I still haven’t clocked in for a job yet. I’m not quite sure if that is something to proud of or not but it is a fact. I had budgeted my daily expenses to be about 30$ roughly a day. This amount includes accommodation, food, bus, water, entrance fees, alcohol. I didn’t spend buying any items to remind me of a city or a place other than a few shirts. I didn’t board a plane until I left Vietnam for Japan. I rode a bus or a train to arrive at my next destination from Singapore – Malaysia – Thailand- Cambodia and Vietnam. In Vietnam I purchased a scooter in Ho Chi Minh City, found some friends and we ended up driving 2000km until we reached Hanoi in the north.  I lugged around my 35 L Gregory bag and had my day pack strapped in front of me. I carried just enough cash on me and was fortunate enough to have banked with Schwab. Schwab Bank refunds all ATM fees back to my checking account so I never ever had to worry about losing 3-5$. (I highly recommend opening up a Schwab account)

How did I stretch my funds so far? It’s just that budget friendly in Asia. Accommodation that you can search for on sites like hostel world were anything from 5-7$ a night. Most if not all of these hostels provided free breakfast as well. Unlike Australia where I was playing 20-25$ a night free unlimited WiFi is included at all the hostels. I didn’t and haven’t stayed at one luxury hotel during my trip. I was in it for the long run and staying at a five star hotel would cost me two days traveling. Food was inexpensive as well. I mainly ate as the locals did and that was either a dingy pop up shop or a food cart. Every once in a while I would grab some Western food that was available but that was about five times the price you would pay for local food. Transportation information from city to city or country to country could be found via your hostel or the internet. I either booked online or found a transportation company nearby the hostel who helped travelers. Cost was dependent but very budget friendly. Water was probably the biggest cost on my journey. You don’t realize how much free clean water is as a blessing once you have to constantly buy bottles of water everyday. I met a friend in Vietnam who brought a high quality filter that saved him heaps on the journey. Water isn’t expensive they are anywhere from a 1-1.50$ for a 2 liter but it’s the daily amount that adds up. I would recommend buying a filter if you are planning on doing a long term trip through Asia. 

I believe that covers the what, how, when and where for this blog and my travels. I recommend if you have a burning desire to see and explore the world. Do it. Solo or in a group. Whatever way possible I encourage you to do it. Singapore will be the first country I reflect on in my next blog. Thanks for reading. Comment any questions about traveling Asia if you have any. 🤗

🤙🏼 – Ji

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