The Ultimate Travel Guide

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“The travel experience is a must-have/ top 10 things to do on your bucket list”.
“If you haven’t traveled, you’re missing out.”
“The best way to find yourself is through travelling.”
– Said everyone/the Internet

Itinerary : (tailor to your destination)
0800 – 0900 : Wake up. Be excited. Be filled with enthusiasm for the day ahead. There are so many sights to see, so many places to go, so many yous to find.

0900 – 1000 :  Have a hearty brunch the way the locals have at the breakfast shops – 早餐店s they call them (zao – can – dian).  Egg crepe and that cup of milk-tea. Savor every bite, let’s try not to rush.

1000 – 1020 : Get lost. Ask for directions. Which metro station do you alight at? It’s okay to be vulnerable while you’re travelling. Complain about the weather, make the most out of it anyway. This isn’t Singapore where 36°C means stay-home day. You don’t have all the time here. Every moment is precious. 

1020 – 1040 : Run for that train or bus. Let out a relieved sigh and give a sheepish smile to the passengers who stare at you. Share a smile or strike up conversation with the person beside you even though you’d usually be too shy. “Is this the right way to the interchange? Yes, I’m travelling from Singapore. What food would you recommend?” It’s okay if they think you’re strange with your over-the-top smile. You’re a foreigner, it’s your passport to be an oddity (for the right reasons).  

1040 – 1041 : “台北車站, Taipei Main Station, Tâi-pak Tshia-tsām, Toi11 Bed2 Ca24 Zam55″
It’s your stop. Smile and bid your new acquaintance farewell. “We’ll meet again!”even though you both know that’s unlikely. Still, that was 20 minutes well-spent. Alight, armed with your new knowledge of local haunts, and with a smile at how easily that conversation went and by how nice people can be.

1041 – 1100 : Continue grinning like a fool because it’s simply glorious to be in a new place. Take pictures. Try everything for the first time. Try everything excitedly, even if it’s not the first time.

1100 – 1200 : Lunch. Don’t settle for fast-food. Have a meal. People-watch. Have a conversation. Google or Trip-advisor for the next destination.

1200 – 1230 : Change your plans and reroute to have that extra 20minutes of conversation with the man at the tea stand. It’s okay, you’re not going to be late to the next destination anyway. Catch yourself smiling at the people who make eye-contact with you.

1230 – 1700 : Have your patience tested by the long queues at the National Palace Museum. Celebrate your experience anyway and take a picture to commemorate. Say thank-you to the service staff anyway and compliment them on their service. Wait in line patiently. Complain about the queues to your friends but never act on your impatience. “You’re in a different country, don’t be inconsiderate.”  Change destinations maybe if the queue isn’t working out for you.  Surprise yourself with your own patience and spontaneity.

1700 – 1800 : Journey back on the bus. Look out of the window. Enjoy your music. Realise that the sun is setting.
Take a picture.
Chase the sunset. Let yourself be in awe and overcome at how the sunset can be so pretty. Sunsets always seem prettier when you’re not looking from your backyard. 

1800 – 1900 : Have a meal at the local foodstands. Immerse yourself in the gastronomical experience of that plate of smelly tofu/臭豆腐 and oyster meesua. Let out a contented sigh at all you have done today. Give yourself a pat on the back for figuring out yet another day in a foreign country.

2000 – 2200 : Pick out a nice photo to upload to your Instagram and Facebook accounts. Ruminate over everything you’ve done today and be conflicted over the choices you have. You’ve done so much and had such an amazing day – how is one picture going to encapsulate and sum it all up?

Agonise over your caption.

Come up with a witty caption because there’s something funny in every experience.

Come up with a reflective caption because there’s something so overwhelming about travelling and so much to be grateful for.
(Useful vocabulary include : thankful, blessed, friendly, helpful, open-minded, kind, generous, liberating, overwhelming)

2100 – 2200 : Go to sleep with a smile. You’re exhausted but it’s been a great day. You think you’ve found yourself and lost yourself enough. Tomorrow will be just as good.

Days 2 – 5 : Repeat Day 1 but with different places. 

Day 5 (slight change!) :
2100 – 2200 : Go to sleep with a smile. You’re exhausted but it’s been a great day. Have your smile turn into a frown. It’s back to the grind on Monday. Fall asleep with your spirits deflated at the sobering prospect of heading home.

Itinerary End.

You’re lost again. 

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“The travel experience is a must-have/ top 10 things to do on your bucket list”.
“If you haven’t traveled, you’re missing out.”
“The best way to find yourself is through travelling.”

It isn’t the only way.

The places you go to definitely play a part. However, it isn’t so much about the places you go than it is about the attitude and standards you ascribe to yourself while travelling.

Travel everyday, everywhere, anywhere.
Travel to new places everyday with your travel attitude.

Why only let yourself be lost while in a different country?
Why only let yourself be found while in a different country?
Why only open your heart wider for a specific period of time?

It is when you are on different pastures that you realise how both pastures can give you beautiful things.
It is when you are on different pastures that you realise you’ve been looking at the wrong places and searching for the wrong things.
When we’re travelling, are we running away or running towards something?
Are we losing ourselves or finding who we are?
Why is it that we often think only travelling can afford us these answers?

The thrill of finding new places, meeting new people, asking for directions, of spontaneously changing plans. The leap of faith you take through that couch-surfing experience or simply by accepting the kindness of strangers you meet.

“It’s okay because I’m travelling.”

It’s funny how we have the tendency to let travel be too much of a reason for the limits we would stretch ourselves to, or put up with, with the simple refrain “Well, I’m travelling.”

Why should being in another country give us a reason to behave differently?
Why should it?

Don’t let yourself look back wistfully.
Don’t let yourself believe that you can only be in awe and overwhelmed with goodness only when you’re in  different space.
Don’t let yourself believe that the most spontaneous encounters and conversations can only be had overseas.
Don’t let yourself be found for only a split second.
Don’t lose yourself in those moments for only an instance. 

Do let yourself try to be impressed and amazed with everyday.
Do let yourself sneak in spontaneity even within your routine.
Do let yourself open your heart to the people around you.
Do let yourself be filled with pride for figuring out yet another day.
Do let yourself start the day off more optimistically.
Do let yourself be who you are, everywhere, anywhere.

Travel. 
Still enjoy fully the overseas or local trip you’ve planned and the liberation it brings you. 
Group travel, solo travel.
Travel with hotels, travel with a mission, travel with only a backpack. 
Travel, even after you’re back. 
Travel, even if you’ve never left home.
Travel, especially if you’re home. 

Travel. 

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#  This post stems from a position of privilege where I had the opportunity to travel. I do not seek to discount any travel experiences, rather it is a personal take-away. It also stems from the genuine desire to share my personal challenge for myself and for everyone to be a fellow traveler everyday, everywhere.
## The notions and concepts of “travel” peppered throughout can refer to either the ‘experience/attitude’ or ‘physical relocation of oneself’. Go figure.

. Mich

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4 Comments Add yours

  1. Paige says:

    perfect guide 🙂

    Like

    1. Mich says:

      ^^ Thanks for reading hehe and the kind compliment!

      Like

  2. viv says:

    loving this

    Like

    1. Mich says:

      Thanks! 🙂

      Like

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