So… I recently celebrated my birthday and just came back from my annual solo trip- this time, I went to Italy: Cinque Terre, Florence, and Milan. I want to create a different post than the usual- so I started with a list of random ideas and several questions received from my readers via emails/comments/FB and IG messages. This portion is actually inspired by two of my online idols – Saab Magalona (spellsaab.com-I’m a big fan of her honest and realistic posts), and Jackie Nourse (thebudgetmindedtraveler.com – I super love her travel podcast in Spotify).
Q. How many countries have you visited so far?
A. I just realized that I’m not aware of how many countries I visited so far, so let me try to count it here: (1)Cambodia, (2) Singapore, (3)South Korea (Seoul & Busan), (4)Taiwan, (5) Vietnam (Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh), (6) Malaysia, (7) Hongkong, (8) India (Pune, Mumbai, Agra), (9)Japan (Tokyo, Osaka, Nikko), (10)US(LA, Seattle), (11) Costa Rica, (12) Germany, (13) Czech Republic (Prague), (14) Switzerland (Zurich + Alps), (15) Belgium (Bruges, Ghent), (16) Italy (Rome, Verona, Florence,Milan), (17) Hungary (Budapest), (18) Vienna (Austria), (19) France (Paris), (20)Netherlands (Amsterdam), (21) Australia (Sydney), (22) Thailand (Bangkok), (23)Macau, (24) Spain (Barcelona), (25) Slovenia (Ljublana and Bled), (26) Denmark (Copenhagen), (27) Sweden (Malmo), (28) Norway (Stavanger). So, it’s 28 countries (without PH). In case I miss anything, I’ll update you.
Q. Is it ok to travel alone? Don’t you feel sad?
A. No, I don’t feel sad- I actually feel free, happy, and adventurous whenever I go solo. The best feeling is waking up in the morning with a free schedule for the whole day- do whatever you want, eat whatever smells nice, etc, on your own pace and time. It also gives me more chance to feel the country- spend some time sitting and watching the locals, talking to random people and having new friends. These things simply gives me the feeling of being a “traveler”.
Q. How do you manage to travel often (especially on the financial side)? Are you still able to allocate some savings?
A. I don’t really travel “often- often”. I make sure to have a nice trip once a month or every 2 months. Since I came here in Europe, traveling became more sustainable since you can go to a different country simply by taking a bus, train, or short plane ride. Of course, I travel in a budget but comfortable manner so I don’t spend as much as you think (roughly 200-300 euros per trip). For savings- I definitely have and even invest. I came from an average family, so I definitely understand the value of money 🙂
Q. What is your travel mantra?
A. Travel while you are young and able- and I also apply same logic with my family-especially parents. Traveling is an important aspect of my life so I make sure that I give enough priority for it. As for your parents- bring them to places while they are still young, strong, and can enjoy the experience since if they grow old it will be quite inconvenient already to do these adventures.As a traveler, I’m also after the simpler & more YOLO and local experience. While staying in nice hostels with spa and restaurant is nice, I’d rather sleep in a hostel to socialize and know different stories behind people. Besides, I usually sleep late and wake up early on my trips so a clean bed and bath should be sufficient.
Q.Aren’t you scared on your solo trips?
A. Of course I also feel scared at times- i.e. if there’s a drunk man I need to pass by in the station, if the bus has a late night departure and the station is shady, if the hostel’s toilet is dirty, etc. I guess you’ll have a never-ending list of worries for solo travel, but if you prepare enough, you can mitigate these worries. You can never eliminate it 100%, but you just need to accept whatever imperfections there will be in your trip- it’s part of the whole experience!
Q. What’s your favorite country so far?
A. This is actually a pretty easy question- of course, it’s Japan! This country has an amazing set of respectful people, delicious food, and super duper beautiful place! Plus, their culture is really interesting for me, and I’m quite biased since I’m a fan of anime since I was a kid. But, you SHOULD definitely visit Japan before you die! If you have questions, ask me, I’m proud to be a self proclaimed ambassador of Japan tourism!
Q. Do you also like to travel in groups?
A. To be honest, not much. I prefer to travel alone or with my fiance (Jon), and family (mom, dad, Lei). I love to meet and talk to people but staying with a group for several days makes me feel constrained. I guess I really want to be free, flexible, and do my own “thing” during my travels. Nonetheless, during my Scandinavia trip, I joined a tour group and it was amazing ( thanks Eurotrip Adventures ). On a side note, I usually don’t like to travel with my friends since you will tend to be with them the whole time (and that is making me emotionally tired). I’m more of a “Say hello and chit chat with a stranger type of person”. Complex hybrid of Intro-extrovert. I know it’s confusing.
I guess, this should be ok for now or else you might get bored. In case you want to ask me any questions under the sun, feel free to shoot me an email: email@example.com, and I will try to cover it in the next Ask Dane sessions! Before my birthday post ends, let me share a few of my travel pictures as well on my recent solo trip.