Solo Travel – Meeting New People

Since I’ve been posting about Japan quite a lot, this post will focus more specifically on my first-hand experience of solo travel. This is the second part of my series giving my full and honest opinion on the idea of solo travel, hoping that it can help you to decide whether or not it’s right for you. You can read the first part here: Solo Travel – Deciding To Go It Alone.

Part 2: Meeting New People

[The featured image is of the Kamo river that I was walking along after parting ways with a newfound friend and before being introduced to another friend at a konbini in Kyoto.]

It felt weird leaving home, boarding a plane and heading off to an unknown country, all on my own.

An adventure it was and it’s something I’d definitely like to try going solo again perhaps in a more challenging country.

So, what’s it like to travel alone?

Continue reading “Solo Travel – Meeting New People”

Post-Travel Blues: Back To The 3-hour Commute

It’s already been now a month since I came back from Japan. Where did all that time go? I can remember almost everything so vividly during my 3-week trip and yet I cannot remember what I had for breakfast last weekend.

The past month has been hard adjusting back to, although 3-weeks in Japan is relatively short compared to other travellers going on 3-month, 6-month or even year-long trips.

I never thought post-travel blues was a real thing after coming back from my first proper trip to Vietnam and Cambodia in 2014. I did expect I’d feel the same way after Japan, but this is on a different scale.

[The featured image is of a Buddhist monk that I have encountered when exploring Tō-ji temple in Kyoto, Japan.]

Continue reading “Post-Travel Blues: Back To The 3-hour Commute”

Solo Travel Japan – Here I come!

I head out on my solo adventure to Japan tomorrow! There’s been so much excitement but also more nerves nearing the day of departure. There has, however, been a change that struck me earlier this week as I do not know what I’ll be coming back to when I arrive back home in early May.

To put a long story short, I’m being moved to a different project because of a significant reduction in work for the coming months. As a result, I’ve been given my 30-days notice earlier this week and I will have to be assigned to another project on my return from Japan. I am still working for the same company as an apprentice but there are a limited amount of available projects at my current work location which has led to me possibly being moved all around the country and not close to home. Staying at hotels during the week is not something I will want to do, so this has limited my available options. But this has made the process more stressful as I need to get this sorted and accept a project before I leave on Wednesday, otherwise, I do know what I am coming back to on my return.

I want to make sure that this situation does not affect my travels in Japan but it is difficult not to ignore. I’ll just do my best and enjoy the trip as much as I can.

Apart from that, I’ve been very busy, hence the late post, doing packing and further research on my destination. Tomorrow’s the big day so I will share my finalised itinerary and budget before I depart:

Continue reading “Solo Travel Japan – Here I come!”

Japan Packing List

So I promised a while back to post a list of what I’ll be taking on my travels to Japan. Although I wanted to choose the minimalist approach to travel packing from reading a bunch of blog posts about it, I want to understand for myself so I learn from my mistakes.

When I went to Vietnam and Cambodia, I took a 75L rucksack and 30L daysack with me and I thought that the size was perfect as I had space for souvenirs and team kit. I’d like to downscale this time and take a 66L rucksack and 18L daysack and fit the daysack in my rucksack when I’m going from one location to the next.

At first, I couldn’t believe that people can spend a month comfortably carrying everything in a 40L rucksack or less, but I now know that it very much possible. However, I do not think it is worth the investment just yet as I want to use what I own already without spending further money.

Without further ado, here’s what I’ll be taking to Japan:

Continue reading “Japan Packing List”

Japan: JR Pass and Data Sim Acquired!

As I’ve made more progress on my solo travel plans to Japan, here’s another update on what I have done:

Literally, 10 minutes ago, I have only gone ahead and bought my Japan Rail Pass (JR Pass)! I budgeted for a price of £400 GBP  for a 21-day JR Pass and I managed to get one for £399 from Japan Experience. Although I could have waited a bit longer for the GBP-JPY exchange rate to improve on XE Currency Converter, I have been getting quite stressed, having to keep an eye on the exchange rate all of the time, so since it is within my initial budget, I just counted to 5 and went ahead and bought it. And you know what? I feel very relieved now that my biggest expenses are now out of the way. More relieved than when I bought my airline tickets, in fact!

Continue reading “Japan: JR Pass and Data Sim Acquired!”

50 Days Until Japan!

Hi, everyone! Today marks 50 days until I head over to Japan. Most of the preparation has been done, however, I haven’t really done any preparation at all – and I’m not exaggerating. Since I booked my flights in the beginning of the year, I have figured out my itinerary, reserved my accommodation, bought a phrasebook, joined a travel forum and researched some travel tips and what to do in Japan. That’s pretty much it.

All that’s left to do is buy a 21-day Japan Rail Pass, sort out finances (I’ll make a post on how I will manage this in Japan), and research more as much as I can so I know exactly what to do  and where to go to get to my first destination when I reach Japan.
The first steps when I get into the country is going to be very difficult. This is because for some silly reason in an attempt to save time, I will be landing at Haneda Airport and will need to buy a data SIM card, exchange my JR voucher for the pass, obtain cash from an ATM, buy food, and take a bullet train to Nagoya to my hostel accommodation.

Note: I nearly confused Nagoya with Nagano! Nearly made this mistake when booking accommodation as it would have seriously affected my itinerary route…

Continue reading “50 Days Until Japan!”

Preparing for Japan – Have I done enough?

For the past couple of weeks, I haven’t put much thought on my solo travel plans for Japan this April. Perhaps that is a good thing as I can focus on the present moment and worry less about my upcoming plans.

Where will I go and stay?

I have confirmed my 3-week itinerary which I will show you guys below:

Continue reading “Preparing for Japan – Have I done enough?”

Solo Travel Japan – To Plan or be Spontaneous

After a week of booking my flights for a 3-week first-time solo travel trip to Japan this April (that was a mouthful!), I spent at least 30 minutes each night planning my budget and itinerary. I made a long list of tasks to do in my last post, which can be found here, and I will update you on my progress!

Itinerary Planning

The main topic of this post is to talk about the planning and spontaneous side to planning my trip to Japan. I must admit, as a first-time solo traveller, I am quite anxious when I think about going halfway around the world and planning what to see and do on my own. Contrary, I’m very excited and I’m all in for getting out of my comfort zone, meeting new people and finding adventure. The question is whether I plan the whole of my trip and stick to a structured itinerary by the day, be spontaneous on what I go and where I go and stay, or use a combination of both to ease my way and gain more experience in this sort of travel. I’ve decided that I’ll pick option 3 and add a touch of spontaneity in the middle of the trip.

Continue reading “Solo Travel Japan – To Plan or be Spontaneous”