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?

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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 – Deciding To Go It Alone

Since I’ve been posting about Japan quite a lot, this post will focus more specifically on my first-hand experience of solo travel. I’ll split this mini-series into multiple parts, 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.

Part 1: Deciding to Go It Alone

Solo travel has been on my mind for some time after the events that occurred during my A-Level exams; being hospitalised has not only affected me physically but also mentally and socially since it was the end of college and most of my classmates were going to university. More people were coming out of my life than in. I never got the social opportunities in my apprenticeship as I would if I went to university. I wanted to do something about it and rejuvenate and restore myself.

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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:

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Adventures in Vietnam & Cambodia – Mistaken for a Local

This is an extract of my adventures in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, and Dalat, Vietnam, as part of a school expedition, back in the summer of 2014.

It was the Day 27 of the expedition and we leave Phnom Penh and head to Siem Reap. I got up reasonably early at the Okay Guesthouse and being the one to get prepared first in my room group, I made my way down to meet the other group of boys for breakfast. I sat down, had a conversation and ordered our breakfast from a menu that consisted of both Western and Cambodian-style dishes. I ordered a Monte Cristo: a French ham and cheese toastie that’s crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.

After taking my order to the Cambodian lady, we continued our conversation until I was politely interrupted by a German man that was also staying that the guesthouse. It was still early in the morning and most people in the seating area were still half-asleep. This is because as I was seated down with my group talking, the German man put his hand on my shoulder and asked: “Excuse me, can I order a cheeseburger?” in his strong German accent. Haven’t been able to interpret what he has said, I asked him to repeat the question and he did. On the other side of the table, the two guys in my group were laughing in the background, as I never figured out what the laughter was about only until I realised…

I was being mistaken for a Cambodian local, working at the guesthouse. 

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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…

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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?”

Climbing Welsh Mountains!

I did not know what I signed up for nor did I know what to expect. Back in November, I received a generic email sent to the county organisation that I am a part of about participating in a weekend of mountaineering in the heart of Snowdonia in the cold winter of January. “Who’d want to do that?” I asked myself as I was sat by my laptop in my hotel room during a business trip. And at that very moment, I thought “heck, why not? What do I have to lose?” and signed up for it. It’s a new experience and the weekend will only cost £50 for hostel accommodation and food. I never knew much about where I’ll be going, who else will I  be going with and what exactly I will be doing, but I wanted to be spontaneous and try something new. So I replied to the email, transferred the cost over, and confirmed my place for this trip.

“You know, sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage. Just literally twenty seconds of just embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, something great will come of it.” – Benjamin Mee, We Bought a Zoo

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