Why I love dating a girl who travels ?

This is JY
This is JY

Here is why I love dating a girl who travel !

Distance doesn’t affect her like with normal relationships

Sure you miss each other sometimes, but you are both used to long distances, being away from those you love and keeping yourself busy with your own goals and dreams. There are days I wish I could just fly across the world and surprise her on her doorstep. Really when you are away you appreciate each other a lot more, we like to cook together, talk, hike, read and watch movies. Skype time becomes a thing that you make space for in your day, like eating and going to work, it is given its own little slot in your 24 hour timetable.

You even begin to miss her stereotypical Asian habits like making sure the room is free from dust, watching everything on an ipad instead of a TV and this weird obsession with mushrooms, I mean she even eats them with roast beef! Am I wrong in my statement that this is an Asian thing? Or am I assuming about our deliciously tasty fungi friends and its just JYs preference? She can eat anything for breakfast as well, I mean I have seen her eat canned tomato soup and even chocolate cake!

She appreciates the little things in life

She appreciates things that some people can’t understand, like when she wakes up in the morning that cup of tea is all the more worth drinking, even though she leaves in the teabag which we English find revolting, I think it is because she remembers when she didn’t drink it for two months on the road, but it makes her so cute!  She would rather get up early and go on a long hike to take photos than go clubbing, or would rather open a cookery book and make something random for dinner than go out and spend lots on a meal. She would rather walk up that large hill and have a picnic than spend money on clothes and nail polish. Her idea of a lay in is to pick up a lonely planet and read it while talking about where we are going next, or flicking through her FB photo album trying to remember the names of half the people in them.

She has seen what is on the other side of the hill

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Some people live their lives in a routine that they are reluctant to change for many reasons, maybe they are happy? Maybe they are settled with a family? Maybe they can’t because of a criminal conviction or maybe don’t have the funds. But really whatever your excuse the simple fact remains, those who have never done it will never understand what I mean until they do.

You see before I went to parts unknown, I was happy working for long unsociable hours, hard work for little gain and a very small view of the world for what it is; a vast expanse that was created for us to fill, discovering new places and interacting with different cultures. Humans have always felt the need to explore, from Julius Caesar to Christopher Columbus, what drove them in search of something different? What was it that made them get up off their seat and say, I wonder what is out there, maybe I will go and find out.

You see I think you will all agree that most parents expect their children to excel in their studies, hours of scouring boring textbooks looking at numbers and words at the same time depriving these wonderful young people the chance to focus on different things. JY tasted the sweet fruit of freedom when we went traveling together, as I did before that, she finds it hard to go back to reality because she dreams of what mountain she will climb next, which hidden temple she will discover and what strange dish she will eat afterwards.

It is known as wanderlust, an incurable disease that is maybe the only illness in life you should try to contact. It makes you lose concentration when you are in the middle of something important, gives you strange periods of unhappiness when you least expect it, and has you pining to spend one more day on that tropical beach, or sitting on a hill watching the sunrise. She woke up one morning and discovered because she has climbed over the hill and she prefers what is on the other side, she realised there is no way she could ever be happy turning around and walking back..

Know that like a bird, she enjoys her freedom so don’t try to clip her wings

Guys if you decide to date a well-travelled, cultured girl, please don’t try to tie her down or lecture her on what she must or mustn’t do. I find a lot of guys I know will try to control the relationship by not actually listening to what their partner wants, if your girl wants to travel let her, yes it is hard to be separated from the person you love, but she is making herself a better person by doing it.

You have no power or right to try and suppress a backpacking urge, like a tidal wave it cant be resisted and if you try you’ll be overpowered by it. If JY wants to travel and I won’t be able to do it with her, I don’t want to not see her, but I know it is what will make her happy. So guys instead of trying to stop her leaving I would help her pack her case, or drive her to the airport. Myself and JY have found that the best way to cope with a long distance is try to keep the negativity down to the least minimum, like we have days where we disagree over silly things, either because we are tired or because JY with her robotically functioning A* Asian brain, gets mad because my Caucasian mind cannot remember every detail of the whole world.

Guys if you are in a relationship with a girl who likes her independence and freedom, nurture it don’t try to crush it because you will only end up driving your lover away. Just think, after a few months of being away from each other not only will you truly realise whether you want to be together, but also she will have lots of amazing stories to tell.

Let her love herself so that she can fully dedicate herself to loving you.

Remember you are what she wants to come back to, don’t make yourself the thing she is travelling to escape from.

She understands money only purchases the things that make you happy but it is not the source of happiness

You will get a richer cultural experience by getting out and discovering things yourself, rather than relying on money to give you the satisfaction that comes with backpacking freely and on a budget. Instead of paying 3000 SGD for two weeks staying in culture devoid hotels, taking the tourist buses or eating in the most expensive restaurants, pay 3000 SGD for an around the world ticket, and see lots of countries rather than a small amount of one or two, eat in the dirty hovel down the back street that is filled with locals smoking and socialising. See if you can sit with them maybe? In our experience its kinda funny to sit with people where you have to use body language and have only basic words to have a wonderful conversation.

Our money goes on air tickets to see each other. But our trips are always cheap, because we hunt places off the tourist trail. If you need inspiration try AirBnb as you can stay almost anywhere in the world, having your own privacy and the advantage of locals telling you the best places.

Where I am going with this for all you first time travellers out there, when you get there don’t head straight to the nearest noodle stand, or to the nearest KFC. Take time to ask local people where is the best place to eat or drink coffee, or the best place to see at night.

She makes it hard to be negative

She sees the positive to every situation and never panics when lost, she loves to be around people who have something to say, whereas it hurts to be around people who are motivated by things in life that can be taken away, such as a job or money. Her memories will always be there whatever happens and it is nice to just listen rather than talk, people talk to much and don’t listen enough. I love hearing her stories!

She loves trying new things

I love the fact when I make suggestions, she is always up for tagging along. She doesn’t make excuses why not to do something, she goes out of her way to convince me why we should. I love the fact she wants to look at flowers and take the dog for a walk, or discovering some random ass tavern in Austria where the locals are all friendly and anyone I know doesn’t know it exists. She loves to try new food like horse meat (in Italy), or Devonshire Pollack that I cooked for her on our trip to Beer. If there is a back street, in an obscure place that no one has heard of and with nobody in it, she always insists on going to look.

She’s not demanding 

She would rather cook for herself and have nights in with her bf all in aid of saving money for the next trip. She doesn’t want expensive clothes, or expensive overpriced holidays, even though she is a girl and she never says no to birthday and Christmas presents! Plus she’s Asian so she is not going to say no if someone offers her free stuff and she can always sniff out a bargain.

All I will say is that guys if you do find yourself dating a girl who travels be open minded, accept that she will be independent and most importantly accept the fact that she may at times love life more than she loves you. So you have two choices, let her live life or live it with her!

Stay tuned for our next post!

Cheers

Dale & JY

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Meeting rich Europeans in Rhodes Part1

Until now I still don’t know how we came about booking ourselves this trip to Greece. Santorini was definitely not on our list because it is too touristy for us. So, Dale sort of chose Rhodes because it is not a party island and we wanted a beach holiday.

Map of Rhodes! It is really not big at all you could drive from the North to South in a couple of hours time. Almost like Singapore.

We then went off to book a treehouse on Airbnb in this village called Malonas. I don’t think you can even find the road name where we stayed on Google. We flew with Aegean airlines and paid a ridiculous amount on air tickets. Clearly not a budget airline, however this is there is only a few airlines that fly to Rhodes. We had to transit at Athens airport which has the weirdest transit system ever. In order to transit, we had to get out of the airport then check in again.

I’m grateful to have a Singapore passport because it is so easy at customs. No questions were asked and no entry forms were filled. The officers just nodded and let me through. We were off to Rhodes. Rhodes airport is possibly the least fancy airport that I have ever been to. Just basic furniture and some really rusty chairs. Even a bottle of one litre mineral water cost us around €1 in the airport. The WIFI was barely working and we were so worried that we couldn’t contact our host.

Sleeping in the Airport!

We waited for at least 3 hours until our Greek host came to get us in the worlds most unsafe car. There were no seat belts and he drove at 90km/hr, it just reminds me of those really crazy drivers with scooters in Asia. Even though our host dressed humbly and drives the world most shitty car, we knew that he’s rich. He showed us his house, which does not include the 12 houses he is renting out and his yacht. His house looks like Tony Stark’s house in Iron man. He also runs a successful travel business in Rhodes.

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What’s even more shocking is when our host stopped a couple of times to talk to his mates. He would literally stop in the middle of the road for a couple of minutes to have conversations with someone else while we are in the car. It’s like he knows everyone in the Old town. The honking culture on Rhodes is not as bad as Italy. People there are generally calmer but they can be pretty loud when they talk. I think it’s a way to show that they are enthusiastic about the conversation. He dropped us in the Old town for us to explore for a couple of hours before his mother came to pick us up in the same car. Everything in the Old town is so touristy. There were so many tourists and everywhere is crazily packed.

Entering Old Town
Entering Old Town
Little streets in Old Town
Little streets in Old Town

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One thing that we like is the small and narrow streets of the old town where time to time a motorbike will take you by surprise. So, we walked around for hours under the sun looking at Asian tourists with their anti-sun gear on and Caucasians turning red. The easiest way to identify Asian tourists is their unique hats and umbrella and they are always in groups. Since we like to observe these Asian tourists, after years of traveling Dale came up with the conclusion that Asians like to travel in odd numbers especially the 2 woman and 1 man formation . He asked me why is it so and expected me to give him an answer because I’m Chinese!

If you are looking for Greek street food, I will recommend gyros which is pronounced as “euros”. It’s a kebab wrap with tzatziki sauce. Tzatziki is like the best Greek yoghurt dip. It goes well with everything. We had our first gyros in the Old town for just 4 euros in this small secluded corner of the street. The person who made it was actually a Chinese guy who spoke Greek, how weird is that?

One thing about touristy places is that you find very enthusiastic restaurant promoters. I do understand that they are trying to make a living but why charge us at a ridiculous price. In Rhodes, they love to use the family restaurant story to entice you into the restaurant and then charge you probably 30 euros for one main course. Being a super polite Englishman, Dale decided to follow that overly enthusiastic guy into the restaurant. So, we sat down and the menu was brought up to us. The prices on the menu were ridiculous. We ended up ordering only drinks since we just had gyros. Even the super sour orange juice was 6 euros! I think the lemons from Malonas where we were staying were even sweeter than that.

Touristy boat selling seashells and they are not cheap!
Touristy boat selling seashells and they are not cheap!

I would also like to share my toilet experience in Rhodes since Singaporeans love to evaluate the cleanliness of toilets wherever they go even in Singapore.Toilets there are also ridiculously expensive. They are about 0.50 euros to get in if you are in touristy areas unlike in Singapore where it is about 20 cents. In Rhodes, you cannot flush your used toilet paper due to poor plumbing. Even the flush in our house broke down a couple of days before we were leaving. So, everyone had to throw used toilet paper in the bin which being a super clean Singaporean myself I found hard to deal with. You get some really nice toilets though when you randomly go into the restaurant and ask if you can use theirs. I even sneaked into toilets in some restaurants. I realise I may just be the only person to go on a fantastic holiday with a very sexy boyfriend and blog about toilets!

Asian eyes selfie!
Asian eyes selfie!

So on our first day in Rhodes after we managed to survive the worlds most unsafe car journey, we eventually got picked up by our host’s Norwegian mum who took us from Kallithea to Malonas.  The journey was extremely awkward because all we wanted to do is to go back to the house to have a rest, but she was extremely enthusiastic and insisted on having a conversation the whole hour journey there. Maybe because we are an interracial couple and hence, she is asking so many questions. And half the time we couldn’t understand her because she speaks with such a thick Greek and Norwegian accent. The ride wasn’t free as well, we had to pay for petrol! I don’t think in our Chinese culture we have such thing called petrol money but the Europeans love to ask for petrol money. So be prepared to pay a little if you are getting a ride from someone. If not just hitchhike, it’s free!

When we reached Malonas we met up with another rich European, so stay tuned for the next post !

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Bella Italia – A road trip through Italy with a Singaporean girl

So I had been looking forward to traveling with JY for quite a while because we had been traveling separately before we met each other. I always wanted to have someone to share all the amazing culture, new faces and just the pure beauty of being free on the road in a foreign place. As many will know(and maybe some don’t yet) there are three things you must experience in life, love, good food and backpacking with someone you love.

We began our trip in Pisa, deciding we would limit our being touristy to the leaning tower, of which JY proving herself to be a true backpacker, deciding she would not pay 20 euros to climb the tower. So amusing herself around the grounds and the cathedral, while sticking out her camera behind taking photos and doing the peace sign. We went our separate ways for a while and when I came out of the tower I thought my beloved had been kidnapped, but being Asian she had headed to the local botanical garden instead. Apparently if you’ve got a student card, you get discounts at some of the tourist attractions. This applies almost everywhere in Europe! The botanical gardens only cost 2 euros! So after a long day in Pisa walking and window shopping, we decided to buy an aranchino al ragu. Which is mince meat in cheese and tomato sauce, wrapped in risotto rice, bread crumbed and deep fried in a triangle shape. It is traditionally a Sicilian street food, but Italians being Italians they will argue as to which region invented it. We brought it in the tiny side streets away from the tourist spots. All I will say is be on the lookout if your on a budget in Pisa as it is very touristy and I have seen ice cream going for 5 euros!

Cactus greenhouse
Cactus Greenhouse
Peace away from the crowd
Peace away from the crowd

Now we decided to couch surf as much as possible in Europe this trip as it was the high of the tourist season, meaning the prices were higher than usual. We arrived from the airport and were greeted by our host, a local man who lived in the Tuscan mountains with his daughter, with surprisingly good wifi so JY didn’t have those withdrawal symptoms. His house had fresh grapes growing outside, as well as tomatoes, zucchini (Italian courgette) and lots and lots of herbs.

View from our room
View from our room

Now for those of you who do not know of couch surfing, it is the number one way of travelling while saving on accommodation, because its totally free! All it requires is a willing host with references and some open mindedness. The gentleman we stayed with was a very nice man who made us dinner when we arrived, he was a vegan and so we enjoyed some very different types of Tuscan food, such as stale bread and olive oil, mouldy anchovies and a very nice sesame seed dressed salad. He gave us a Tuscan version of soy sauce which JY being super Asian loved. He even had lots of different types of tea, which being a subject of her majesty I was quite contented with. The view from his house was amazing, nestled right in the mountains, totally silent and fantastically beautiful. Fresh fruit on the trees, of which JY picked some plums and got scolded by an Italian Dragon lady! Yes, she picked everything edible on the trees, we found these little wild plums of cherry-size that are possibly the sweetest things that I have ever had.

Hike down to catch the bus
Hike down to catch the bus

To wake up and see this every morning, The only thing that got me was everything is slightly out of sync, such as the shops don’t open until 10am, which means if you go out you have to go later, because coming back the last bus was at 6pm. The natural fauna and hiking was spectacular, with lots of 18th century mills and villas to look at. We got back quite late one night and ended up walking up a scary mountain and really not really knowing where we were going. I will admit on several occasions I complained to JY to put the phone away( being Asian) she needed to check her emails, but I have never been so glad of a GPS! I thoroughly believe we would still be there now, lost in the mountains eating plums. We did get to see amazing fireflies on our way home though, and obviously stopping to steal fruit and take pictures, I was so proud of JY for the hike as it must’ve been 3 miles up a really steep hill. Not bad for someone allergic to exercise and not so well endowed in the height department.

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We were supposed to be flower picking instead we went hiking up the mountain
We were supposed to be flower picking instead we went hiking up the mountain

One of the quirkiest experiences was that the guy we stayed with had a love of wild flowers, making his own medicines as well using them for food, he even invited his hippie chick girlfriend along. Even her clothes were made of natural materials! After staying here, we decided to move on which we were quite sad about to be honest. One thing we found with Europe is it cant be rushed, I have to say there were places that deserved more time and this was one of them. If you are an adventurous sort and decide like us to venture out of the city(which is totally worth it) then be prepared to hitch hike, walk a lot and speak some Italian. The area is so worth it, so worth escaping the city which in our view was nothing special, expensive, noisy and looks a lot like every other Italian city.

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Cobbled walls and olive tree leaves

 

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The old cobble walls and beautiful olive groves of the Tuscan countryside are really like something out of a story book, I could’ve just walked for hours looking and taking photos. When we got tired we just hitch hiked, I really felt safe and we ended up getting lifts up and down the mountain on three separate occasions with the same lady. One night we decided to go for dinner, the options were limited and we got recommended a place about 3 miles from where we lived at the bottom of the hill! And as hungry as we were decided that we had to sample the locals favourite trattoria (restaurant). When we got there it was closed, it felt like walking in the desert after a few days with no water, then realising that the flowing waterfall was a mirage. We settled for what was not only an insult to the Italian way of cooking, but was over priced and tiny. The highlight of the night was a British couple on holiday, having no idea of the language, obviously out of their depth and 30 miles from any tourist facilities! When the waiter brought their meal the lady asked for ketchup, while me and JY were asking for olive oil, salt and balsamic in Italian. It was so funny because it reminded me of the English TV series an Idiot abroad with Karl Pilkington. Guys if your going to travel into the unknown please don’t expect everyone to speak English or Chinese, go with the flow and appreciate all that you see and taste around you. Which means don’t try to order dim sum in Chinese to the Italian waiter, or ask for HP sauce with your pollo al dragoncello.

Stay tune for our next post !

cheers

JY& Dale

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University and Traveling

Half a semester is almost gone and I am on my study break this week. I thought I should share something about traveling and studying in National University of Singapore.

1. You can never get the names of people 

Everyday you are bound to meet people in your course but you don’t know their names. It is always awkward but here is a solution to it let’s just make it simple and call each other “Mate”. This is what we do when we meet so many people and cannot remember every single name. Sometimes, when we just cannot remember the person’s name we ended up giving the person a nickname. I think we are the oddest couple because we are still having conversations about people who we met a year ago.

In Singapore, when you meet someone in school and somehow they don’t remember your name, instead of blaming it to their failing memory they love to use the reason that they cannot remember names of other languages but only English. Funny thing is that they are usually the Chinese who cannot remember Chinese names.

2. You meet talented people 

In school, you meet people with the most amazing resumes and talents. Some are owners of a certain company while some with perfect CAP/GPA and are interning in one of the big MNCs. They are kind of daunting and makes you a little inferior. I don’t know if I want to be like them. They are inspiring but they are certainly not motivating me a way that makes me feel positive. However, when you meet a traveler it is slightly different. They tell you stories that make you want to do what they had done and experience what they had experienced. It is no longer something that you dread even though you want it so much.

Ultimately it is not about the money or any other superficial reasons why they are doing this because you really cannot gain anything other than experiences when you travel. Traveling is different because it is an escape from all this pretense and to be really who you are. When you are traveling, no one really care about how good your scores are or what job you have. You just meet people who might become your best mate for life or simply acquaintances.

3. Party People 

As we approach the legal drinking age 18, we all love the feeling of getting high. I cannot deny that I had once spent loads of money on drinking. As if partying scene in Singapore was not good enough that I had to spend my first trip after A levels to Europe getting drunk almost every single day with people I barely knew. Until now I am still regretting that the sum of money that could last me a year for traveling is gone within a month of drinking and partying. It was not until I met Dale that I realized that there are so much more than just partying. Traveling should not be like this. It is really mind-boggling to think that 2 years back then I was hanging out with people who are relentless when it comes to spending hundreds even thousand over dollars on alcohol. Now, I am just too tight to even buy myself a 20 dollar drink because there are just so many things out there to do that tells me that I cannot spend that kind of money.

The amount of stress that university students get make getting drunk a channel to relax and get high. I do not advocate channeling stress to binge drinking because imagine the money you can save from all the drinking and use it for something better. Not to mention that alcohol is not cheap here in Singapore. I am glad I am over the binge drinking and excessive partying phase but I would like to think that I am not a boring person who cannot enjoy a drink or two.

4. Obviously drinking too much coffee people 

I try not to drink coffee just in case I become one of the addicts but it is difficult when I only sleep for 6 hours everyday and had to wake up at 6.30am everyday. Coffee is definitely a life-saver for someone who is accustomed to sleeping for 8 hours. It is not surprising that many university students’ life consist of grabbing a cup of coffee every morning. I always dread the queue in the morning for my coffee. I think this is part of a city goer life which is to constantly dose ourselves with high. The same thing happens when Dale and I travel because sometimes we have to wake up at ridiculous hours to catch the plane or train. The worst coffee I had was Greek coffee in Greece which tasted like Chinese herbal medicine.

5. Photographers

I am not a professional photographer but somehow I admire those who studies photography because they can work as a freelance travel photographer and travel the world. Nevertheless, I think everyone especially Asians love to take photos when they travel or even when they are in school.

Generally, I think that most Singaporean students like to take photos of their food. I still don’t understand why but I can get the point that because the food that you are paying is expensive therefore you have to take a photo of it. Hence, why my mates are relentless when it comes to food photography. When it comes to school work, the number of photos of answers and notes in a student’s phone is insane. I often find myself deleting these photos once the semester is over for more space. The same thing happens when I am traveling because I find myself having too many photos of tickets, itinerary and screenshots of information in my phone.

Lastly, it’s selfies. I think Asians are really crazy when it comes to selfies and social media. I thought the selfie stick is a brilliant invention even though I don’t have one myself. Obviously, in an Asian university you will get people who love to take selfies. Once, I was entertaining myself during one of my Statistic lecture by looking at the girl in front of me taking selfies throughout the whole lecture. It was really amusing to see how one can have that many facial expression. Sadly, I cannot be part of the selfie taking with her.

Asian selfie stick!

I haven’t seen any of this yet when I was in Europe but there are many using the Gopro stick. I doubt I have seen any travelers using it. The travelers are usually the one with the big professional DSLR which ours was unfortunately broken when we were in Genoa, Italy.

I hope you enjoy this post and good luck everyone out there having exams !

Cheers

JY & Dale

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Kent in Royal Tunbridge Well

Kent
Kent

On that Friday last May, we were packing our stuff and planning our route really last minute as we prepare to drive to Royal Tunbridge Well for our Airbnb stay. As usual it was chaos in the house as we prepare to go for this impromptu trip. The route was fairly simple according to Google map but we took 5 hours to get there and Google estimated 2 hours. This shows how bad navigators we are.

Route we took to go to Kent. Clearly, it is pretty near London and the airport.
The route that we took to go to Kent. Clearly, it is pretty near London and the airport.

I was obviously the one with the map and Dale had to just follow my cue. One thing about driving in England is that there are a lot of one way roads so if you are on the wrong lane then you are potentially looking at driving for awhile till you can reverse back and start over again. Initially, we were pretty confident in getting there in at most 3 hours.

However, Dale got slightly distracted by the different little English houses and playing tourist in his own country. Being really adventurous we thought that we could deviate from our originally planned route and look at the other villages first like Pulborough. I wonder how many people can pronounce these villages name accurately.

So, we only realized that we were driving on the wrong road until we saw that we were in Lewes. We had to drive back up towards Royal Tunbridge Well. Driving in UK countryside is not easy, the signs are sometimes blocked and there are so many roundabouts. Even though they are English, I swear I saw misspelled road signs.

By the time we reached Royal Tunbridge Well, it is already dark outside. Finding the house was not easy as well because again the signs are messing around with us. The sexy British accent GPRS is not helping at all and we had to call our host for help. This is why Airbnb is awesome because we can be a pain in the ass out hosts and make sure that they are constantly pestered by us.

We drove up and down the hill looking for the house. Finally we reached, the couple came out to greet us. Usually, greetings lead to conversations and when the English people starts talking it can last for ages. Even though it is already 10pm, the English people had to make conversation to make sure that they are not being rude. This is why they are so polite.

Then, the host gave us a card and a bottle of wine. My initial thoughts about this is how weird is it to give a card to your guest. And only after dating Dale I realize that giving cards is a British pastime. They give cards for almost every occasions. Funny thing is British people likes to sign off with their pet’s name as well and that includes Dale’s family.

The host also gave us a map for trekking when we asked for one. Throughout our travels, we probably had taken many maps from our hosts and forgot to returned it particularly one from this angry Russian lady. This is another reason why you should do Airbnb because it allows you to meet so many people and get free maps. Moreover, you will have someone to explain to you the best places to go to for food and hikes. Be assure that if your host is British, you will be looking at spending an hour listening on where best to go.

Worst yet, Dale is so inquisitive like that Asian kid who has so many questions to ask, we always end up talking with our hosts for hours. At least all of them were very patient and were entertained by his questions. I have to say that I got a boyfriend who asks a lot of questions till the point where even museum guides are unable to answer his questions.

Bothering our hosts did not stop the next day when we had to borrow a couple of hiking stuff from our host. So, we were off with our map and started walking into the forest. I absolutely love doing walks like this because you can never imagine what you will see and encounter.

We started from Cinderwood Woods and obviously got really lost in the end even though we followed the trekking map. However, we saw many cool stuff while getting lost like those hungry-looking pigs and an amazing view on top of the hill. And obviously, there is no phone reception in the woods so we had to keep walking till we find a way out of the woods.

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In Cinderwood woods

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Got to the top of the hill and nothing is better than getting lost

You know you are lost when these are not footpaths anymore. In UK, footpaths are marked so that people like us do not deviate from track but we did. Once again this prove that we got some awesome map-reading skills that obviously work not only on the road but footpaths as well.

Apple trees
Apple trees
Pigs that kill
Pigs that kill

I didn’t know that pigs are really vicious until Dale told me about farmers had to steal piglets from the sty so that they do not get eaten by their mother. Once you get knock down by a pig, you are potentially going to be killed by it.

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Pigs for your entertainment pleasure
Got lost selfie
Got lost selfie
Cinderwoods
Nothing better than getting lost

We even found ourselves near a place where there are potentially snakes. This is why Dale always carry a first aid kit with him. Initially, I thought that Dale is being paranoid for taking the first aid kit whenever we are out. Until we started traveling and I started to develop several medical conditions that I never thought I would, I begun to realize how important a first aid kit is. So, always invest in one when you are out and about. Thankfully, Dale is like the western version of Doraemon and has like all kinds of cream and medicine.

In the end, we got off at Chestnut lane and found a pub in Matfield that sells really cheap lunch for less than 10 pounds. Lunch in the garden is not a bad idea after a long day of walking. Most pubs in the countryside have gardens where you can sit out and enjoy lunch.

This is why I love these hikes because I love the banter that we have and the scenery. Also, why traveling to find the cheapest buy and doing tourist stuffs do not appeal to me anymore. We love the nature and after visiting so many cities we have to say that we enjoyed our time most when we are out in the nature where there is no tourists but only the locals.

"You shall not pass until you have read everything on our blog! "
“You shall not pass until you have read everything on our blog! “

Look forward to more posts on England and English food.

Cheers

JY & Dale

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A Caucasian in Asia- Navigating Laos with Laos people part 1

Stepping off the bus after a 16 hour round trip from Bangkok, into a tin shack used for passport control and coughing up five US dollars to make sure the transaction went smoothly, half asleep from an uncomfortable journey and having sat next to a psychopath the whole way. These were my first footsteps off the tourist trail in SE Asia, a land where farmers depend on cattle for their lively hood, yet let them drink from fast flowing rivers. Where they sleep more than lions throughout the day and carry pallets of bricks on their mopeds.

My first stop was Vientiane, a small strangely quiet capital, more of a town than a city if I am honest. Full of beautiful temples, amazing places to eat and beautiful stupas (burial mounds). On arrival I expecting an overwhelming stampede of motorbikes to overrun me as in Thailand. I don’t think I have ever been to a place that’s so far from the hustle and bustle of Thailand, and so dirty as to make Singapore look laminated, yet the people are friendlier than Thailand and a lot poorer than in Singapore. There certainly were no fish balls, at which I wasn’t disappointed, but they do have some really wonderful dishes made with the simplest ingredients. I began to miss the comfort of Singapore and the larger social circles of Thailand, but after realising that it only took a day to complete nearly everything in Vientiane, I decided to head into the wild.

So I meet the driver outside a beautiful French style patisserie, a very nice Laos local called Sid, who tells me that ” in Laos we like to drive the people, as it give you better view of Laos” . He tells me he used to ” Live in the temple being the monk” apologising for his broken English. The man turned out to be one of the most amazing individuals I have ever met. The hostel was in a jungle, so after an hours scary drive through dusty roads and rainforest we finally arrive at the River Eco  lodge. Perched right on the fast flowing Nam Ngam river, the view was as good as I have ever seen, total silence. I step out of the jeep and this guy introduces himself to me, claiming to be the hostel owner. Now as nice a man as he was I can only describe him as a an expat who had obviously not lived in a western country for a while, nor had access to a television or any sort of western media, because he not only wore clothes that would not of looked out of place in Jurassic park, but was eating some sort of insect and had a Laos lady on his arm with a little baby. The phrase one has gone native comes to mind maybe?

While I was there I had a chance to experience a Laos banquet for the festival of renewal, or new life. It coincides with the water festival and is usually celebrated when somebody gets a new job or a baby is born. I donated a bottle of beer, oddly enough called Beer Laos, then everyone kneels and holds a piece of ribbon of white ribbon. The local monk then begins to chant, and everyone prays to Buddha for a new beginning. Then water is splashed onto the person in who’s honour the ceremony is performed, and everybody shouts sabidee pi mi Laos!

Now as I am sure some readers will appreciate, when a white guy takes a walk in the south east Asian countryside people tend to notice. I decided to take a walk on the other side of the river one day, crossing on a car ferry made of wood, water barrels driven by a bro in rowing boat with an engine. I walked for maybe 2 hours before I saw a guy arrive on a scooter, he stopped, gave me a hug shouted I am from Vietnam!! I am from Vietnam!! He offered me a lift to the next village so naturally I couldn’t refuse, the amount of questions he asked was crazy.” Where you from? You have family? Where you stay? Ohhh you come to Laos for holidays?!” I walked for ages, beautiful rice fields and lots of huts on stilts for the farmers to sleep in during the hot summer. Walking through the fields shouting to locals Sabidee Pi mie Laos!!! (happy new year).

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Dinner with the Laos people
I was fortunate enough to be invited to a Laos banquet one night; steamed fish in salt and spices, which is sometimes wrapped in banana leaf, pickled cabbage, different salads, and a wonderful version of the Vietnamese noodle soup called pho. It is bone broth with vegetables, noodles and the worlds hottest chilli sauce called wow wow. A beautiful fish sauce called padaek, which you use to dip the food into. There was also a speciality called Laap, which is basically chopped meat of fish with coriander and spices, which I personally didn’t enjoy, or the more famous spicy Papaya salad(som tam) but that really is just because spicy food is not my thing.

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I found the people of Laos don’t have a fear of water, I asked Sid one day about the Laos people and their relationship with water, seeing as they are Buddhist’s, to which he replied ” the water give life to Laos people” . I politely asked him, so how come you guys let your cows stand so close to the water? Like what will happen if it falls in, how do you rescue it? The deadly serious reply came back ” The cow cannot swim so he drown” pretty funny considering they depend on cattle for their livelihood. They never seemed to bothered about letting their cows graze by waterfalls and their babies play next to the waters edge. They also like to go kayaking with an oar with one paddle, which to my detriment I was to find out when myself and a Canadian oil barons daughter called Candice decided to go kayaking.

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Cow in Laos
Stay tuned for more posts on Laos from a Caucasians perspective part 2.

Much love

Dale and JY

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Love over a beer in Beer !

Following from my previous post, I’m going to write about a few places where you can go when you are in England. I’m not going to rave about Trafalgar or London Bridge. I feel that everyone should see the other side of England. Beware that the place I’m going to recommend might lead to wifi / 3G withdrawal syndrome!

I have experienced both winter and summer in England and I love both seasons. Summer time is really a good time to go around and about. And the English love it because it’s the time when the sun comes out, even though it still rains at times. I would say the best time to visit is summer because during the winter sunset really early and you will find yourself going home at 3pm. In addition, it rained a lot last year so we were prepared to spend most of our time indoor doing stuff like beating Dale’s mum at scrabble.

When we actually got down to do a little planning on where to go, it somehow involves everyone even the neighbours. Everyone will share bits and pieces of their opinions and that include the neighbours. They will try to tell you everything that you need to know, so everyone is somehow involved in that particular trip. Then when we return from any of our trips, everyone always wants to listen all about it. Almost like writing a reflection, and that also gives me an idea of how close everyone is, they share almost everything with each other.

Last year, we got to drive down all the way to this place called Beer in Devon. It is a small village with very steep hills. They have a couple of lovely hiking spots around the area and it’s near the sea. That area is so rural that I could only get GPRS on my phone and there is no Wifi at the house that we were staying. It’s like a No Internet apocalypse.

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We were staying in one of the house and rent was about 400SGD for a week for the entire house.

So after my never ending moaning about having no Internet, Dale went up to ask our neighbours for their wifi password. They were an energetic young couple and every night we could hear them making boom boom. Clearly it is one of the most popular indoor activities performed during the winter in Europe. No wonder there are so many babies born 9 months after winter.

And of course we did a lot of hiking. One of the walks was just next to our apartment, I absolutely love it because there were tons of sheep at the top. So being super Asian, I thought it was wise to chase after the sheep and pet it a little. And then Dale warned me not to because if the sheep jump off the cliffs and die, I’ll have to pay at least 100 pounds for one sheep. However, how can one resist these fluffy little things?

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Our hike up to see the sheep

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The sheep says ‘Hi!’

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Initially I was not used to the hikes, so Dale had a special way of motivating me which was to do the Asian shuffle with me. This term “Asian shuffle” came about when he realised how slow I was, I could only justify doing this because I did not have proper walking boots to grip the very slippery slopes.

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Attempting Asian Shuffle with my hat and glasses.

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On our way up, we tried to take a selfie and probably were the only people there trying to take one. Sometimes it’s just so awkward to take a photo with Dale because that will again reassure the English stereotype of an Asian taking photos. So even when Dale asked to take a photo I simply couldn’t do it because it was so embarrassing. Well, the typical stereotype of what the English think of an Asian when coming to photography is they often have their tripod stand with them and their butt sticking out. Personally I’m not offended because I have seen it in Bath and thought it was really funny. The evidence is everywhere, hence the stereotype that Dale often mimics when he sees an Asian taking photo.

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As you can see how amazing we are in taking selfie that probably took a second.

I have the weirdest boyfriend ever, we’ve got this thing going that whenever we travel which is to spot the Asian. There are times when I didn’t see a single Asian for weeks unless I’m in the city. And when we see one, Dale gets even more excited than me.

Other than hiking, we drove from one village to another. Now we will take more than the estimated time to reach the place because the English GPS never works and my map reading skill is clearly fantastic. Imagine the stress level I had when I was in the car, I have to uphold my Asian stereotype of not making mistake and being Miss Perfect. If ever you are lost somewhere in England, just ask some random stranger for directions. Then you will pretend that you sort of understand him but clearly you don’t unless he’s in the car with you. Dale is definitely one of the people who will nod and show that he understands what you are speaking but clearly he just understood maybe 10% of it. So he always end up asking me which way despite we already asked the person seconds ago.

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Village Hopping

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One piece of advice is always plan your route before you get out and always check on Google map for a good route to the place first. Fuel is as expensive as Singapore at about 2.6SGD for a litre. We spent a total of about 200SGD on petrol alone for driving around for a week.

Since we are near the coast, we went to a lot of beaches. From the previous post about Tasmania, I think everyone should know that my boyfriend has a weird obsession with beaches. So literally we went from one beach to another. And oddly, the beaches look different. There are the ones with stones, fine sands and red rocks. Sadly we could not pick mussels from the rocks because the currents were too strong but there will be mussels to pick during summer.

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One of the must-do things in England is going to a pub. Get yourself a pint of beer or cider. Personally, I love Kopparberg, there is also Stowford press, Thatchers and Magners. The drinking culture in England is so important that they allow children from age 15 to have a pint with their meal. How cool is that!

Also get a pub lunch for 20SGD. In England, the prices on the menu are already taxed so you roughly know how much you have to pay. Unlike in Singapore where you will get a 15-30% tax base on the bill and only after the meal you will then realise how expansive it is to eat out. I would recommend not getting fish and chip from the pubs because it is cheaper from the chips shop. Try some other English food like their roast dinner or steak and ale pie. I love roast dinner, they are like different cuts of meat from beef to pork accompanied with roast potatoes and Yorkshire pudding. Don’t be fooled by the word “pudding”, it is not a sweet. Yorkshire pudding is just a pudding that’s made from a salty batter and it taste like pastry with lots of air in it. Almost like salty crispy soufflé.

Hope everyone is inspired to immerse in the English culture and travel out of London. More about where to go in England coming up. Also possibly a food post of all the amazing food that we had.

Cheers

JY & Dale

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Singapore- Its Food, Drink and all its wonderful attractions from a Caucasian perspective

So here I am again, back in relative calm after three months of SE Asia, my backpack smelling of sweat and my 2 SGD vest top hanging by one strap. Yeh you guessed it I am back in Singapore, clean streets and traffic all in perfect lanes. Heading towards Boon Keng to have my first night sleep in a sane place for three months. Trying to remember the MRT directions and drooling at the site of hawker food as I try to navigate my way out of the Boon Keng labyrinth. Its so quiet sometimes I fear I have gone deaf, looking forward to eating food which I know has been refrigerated and the person behind the counter will partially understand what I say, well in theory anyway.

Lovely Boon Kengimage

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I’ve arrived at the Moni gallery hostel, what makes it a gallery I will never know but that’s the name. The guy behind the counter recognises me straight away and promptly shakes off his shock of my unexpected return to say in his broken English ” Oh mista no room for you as many people stay, very sorry”. I sigh politely and return to my Lavender street pilgrimage. Slowly making my way through a throng of people oblivious on their Iphones, how anybody never bumps into each other is a skill that obviously takes years to master.  The idea that I don’t have to wear a money pouch anymore was a relief, I wonder what the Singapore police do all day, I swear if someone got robbed here no one would believe it.

I finally arrive at the Green Kiwi Backpackers hostel, owned funny enough by a Kiwi and if he had been green I’d have called a doctor. He will in the weeks to come, as well as an awesome inspirational Christian lady called Nesty, and her sidekick Carol, kept up my spirits by preparing the most awesome breakfast every morning. Also after you have been away a long time, you are made to feel good about yourself by people beginning to know your name, and began to greet each other by saying YO YO YO, and as you can imagine, I quickly became known as the YO YO YO guy. Quite frankly their peanut butter on toast was what kept me going for the three weeks I was about to spend with the room mates from hell. Peanut butter to me is what Maggi noodles are to all you Singaporean students out there, a life saver and unimaginable that you’d go away a long time without them. The feeling of that first peanut butter for 3 months was almost orgasmic.

So I checked into my room at 3pm, I felt like vampire bats enjoy the sun more than the occupants, who’s acquaintance I was about to unfortunately have. It will forever be known as the bat cave, honestly you have never seen such a bad reaction when I opened the curtains and windows, grumbling about this and that. I felt like I was in Gollum’s cave, all I lacked was a hobbit, a ring and a tall bearded man with a large hat for the situation to become more familiar.

The Green Kiwi hostel itself is without a shadow of a doubt, the best hostel in Singapore, good service, clean and amazing facilities. I would highly recommend staying here and Green Kiwi crew if your reading this thank you for the AMAZING experience you gave me.

imageWaking up to this every morning was awesome mmmm peanut butter and melon.

Some people who travel to Singapore, complain about how expensive it is, but it depends on how you want to go about things. The orange juice in a restaurant might cost 8 SGD but the hawker food courts are as cheap as anywhere I have ever eaten. You can get a decent size meal for 4 SGD, and sometimes rubbing shoulders with a sweaty person next to you can be quite fun, it gave me a chance to have a cheeky peek at what they were eating for next time.

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I still remember the first date I took JY on, we went out to the Kopitam food court and she made me eat fish balls, ground up fish paste in a weak noodle broth? Not really my cup of tea if I am honest, but you have to at least try these things. If anybody had ever suggested to me that I would meet the love of my life over a bowl of fish balls, while being laughed at because of my clearly amazing skills with chopsticks, it would’ve seemed absurd.

My favourite hawker centre has got to be the food court at Boon Keng train station, amazing food and awesome atmosphere. The fruit shake lady used to give me double size drinks as I was such a loyal customer, maybe she just charged me double and I never knew? Who knows, who cares I suppose. One of my favourite memories  of Singapore hawker centres is what I would call the tea lady. The person who cleans the plates up behind everybody, sometimes stacked 12/15 high!

There are some awesome movie theatres in Singapore, where I had my first introduction to the idea of the couples seat and a Chinese movie which I still never quite understand even now. We watched quite a few but make sure you take a jumper, It is 30c outside, but minus 2 inside. One time we watched a movie and began to contemplate leaving early as it got so cold. There are quite a few awesome things to do in Singapore, although I found it not particularly backpacker friendly due to its city climate. Like most backpackers will tell you, always head to the free stuff first, but there is a decisive lack of free stuff in Singapore. It could do with more places to sit and read a book or a nice lake to jump in and swim on a hot day. Although I did find there were a few places worth mentioning, such as the botanical gardens and walking around Chinatown looking at the very different cuts of meat on offer, such as ducks neck and fried chicken livers on a stick. Then there is little India full of wonderful street food and clothing shops to browse in. I Found I was spending money everyday in Singapore even though I tried my hardest not to. So be prepared for a potentially expensive stop over if you are passing through.

The MRT as a whole can be quite expensive so make sure you get yourself a rail card from your local MRT station.

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The biggest danger I would say is not following Singapore’s incredibly strict sanitation laws and customs, and treating this very hygiene conscious place like a European subway station. Sandwich bits falling all over the place, McDonald’s milkshake leaking everywhere while trying to see the latest you tube clips on your iPhone . Other than this there is there really is no danger for you first time travellers, so don’t feel the need to rush or panic, as I found it to be one of the easiest places I have ever had to get around. One important point to mention is that if you are a SE Asia virgin and are worried about entry tickets, before I first arrived I was like oh should I get a return just in case everybody sees I’m a white guy, instantly assumes I am an alien or drug runner with lots of cash, then they all jump me when I get off the plane?? Never believe what the media have to say about places, and try not to scare yourself looking at government foreign office websites. If your that worried, then before hand get yourself a 10 SGD Air Asia ticket to Malaysia to cover yourself just in case. My first impression of this wonderful place was also not helped by the taxi driver taking me from the airport telling me that he thinks Malaysia will cut off the water supply soon and how he wouldn’t go there due to high levels of motor cycle robbery! Don’t believe everything you hear folks.

There are plenty of wonderful things to do in Singapore, but it takes a bit of exploration. I found little things make a big difference, like eating Japanese style Green Tea Ice cream on Clark Quay, or getting amazing flavoured tea in Tiong Bahru shopping mall from a place called Gong Cha which shouldn’t cost more than 6 SGD. It depends whether you are a backpacker looking for culture and something different, or a tourist with a large wallet looking to soak up the sun and search out the sights. If you are the first one I would say you need two days maximum to see everything worth seeing in Singapore. If you are the second and planning on staying longer in an apartment there are many amazing market places worth walking around, with many wonderful bakeries and hidden gems not on the tourist map, such as the store affectionately dubbed the “aunties” store. I found this to be the cheapest place for general groceries if you are staying in an apartment. it is located almost everywhere in the neighborhood and just around the corner there just might be a wonderful bakery called with an amazing fish shop next door, you can marvel at all the different types of Koi carp(not to eat I hope). Tiong Bahru is the place to go if your staying long term, you can get anything you want!

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I was lucky enough to stay in an apartment over public holiday, so we got to watch the fireworks, while eating an Italian meal I cooked for JY and myself. All the ingredients were brought from Tiong Bahru market place, from a Chinese guy who assumed I could speak Chinese. Now I have attempted to learn since I met JY, but all my efforts have floundered as the Chinese seem to think the fact I have a strong English accent while massacring their wonderful language is hilarious. I learned how to say woh yow fung pi(‘I want to fart’) and da bien(defecating)  if that’s counts as progress? JY’s friends don’t understand a word I say, so if you have a strong English accent be prepared to speak slowly and politely.

Even though we were staying in a condo, it still felt like a hostel as we would be woken up by the owner and his many different girlfriends well um eh hem you know, every morning. The walls weren’t soundproof shall we say, although I think they enjoyed an audience because they seemed to get louder over the course of time.

One of the best places to visit in Singapore is Boat Quay, where myself and JY went for her birthday in a wonderful place called Salvatore’s, the meal cost us around 25 SGD each. Now the restaurant was Italian, the people eating in it were Chinese and English, the manager was Malay and the waiters were Indian. It is probably the most multicultural Italian meal I have ever eaten, simply because in this wonderful part of the world, people eat all the food at the same time and share amongst themselves, in the interests of being social. Well the restaurant being Italian you’d think that the waiters would understand that we eat one course at a time, they never quite got the hang of it, and we ended up eating our pudding of tiramisu with our garlic bread. I can’t say it was the nicest flavour combination, the waiter obviously couldn’t see that us two love birds were trying to have a romantic meal together, so after the fourth time of butting in on us to pour water I was tempted to invite him to sit down and share our pasta, dinner for three anyone?

It depends whether you are a backpacker looking for culture and something different, or a tourist with a large wallet looking to soak up the sun and search out the sights. If you are the first one I would say you need two days maximum to see everything worth seeing in Singapore. If you are planning on staying longer in an apartment there are many amazing market places worth walking around, with many wonderful bakeries and hidden gems not on the tourist map, such as the store affectionately dubbed the “aunties” store(convenient stores). I found this to be the cheapest place for general groceries if you are staying in an apartment. it is located in almost every neighborhood and just around the corner there might be a wonderful bakery with an amazing hawker centre next door, you can marvel at all the different types of Koi carp(not to eat I hope). I found Singapore to be like a good party, two nights is enough and after that it feels time to move on.

Cheers

Dale

England – A Singaporean’s perspective

I can never forget how excited I was when the plane was approaching London Heathrow last year. It’s like the person beside me who was trying to have a conversation didn’t matter anymore. Even my bags were packed and all already to go when the doors of the plane open. And then the long dreaded queue at the custom. Always remember to get the boarding card in the plane because it’s absolutely chaotic at the customs. And very often people had to queue again to get their boarding card.

The nerve wrecking moment is when the custom officer starts to ask questions. Especially when you are a solo traveller and look relatively young. The questions range from “What do you do in school?” to “How much do you earn a month?”. This summer I was even asked to tell them why was I in England last year and what was I doing. Tickled my brain a little when they asked about the dates. But my point is that getting through customs in London is tedious and I have seen people been rejected entry.

Singaporeans generally gets 6 months in EU VISA free which means that you have to buy return air tickets to show that you are leaving within 6 months and  the custom officer always demand a return ticket. After about 45 minutes at the custom, finally I’m getting out to see the man of my life.

There are many modes of transportation in England. However, I’ll suggest getting rental car. There’s trains and National Express buses that will bring you to different parts of England but nothing better than driving along countryside of England. Personally, I won’t even stay for a night in London city.

Caught these random cows in the middle of the road. 

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My travels changed completely after I met Dale. Cities that is manifested with people and shopping doesn’t entice me anymore. Getting drunk in clubs and party as well just became overrated. I work doubly hard on tuition and spent as little as I could to save money on my next flight and travel. A flight to London cost about 1200SGD(600Pounds) didn’t take me long to save.

However, this lifestyle adjustment is difficult. I had to cope with working and studying. Especially in National University of Singapore where everyone is competitive and I have to find spare time to give tuition. Another difficult bit was I realize I couldn’t do anymore shopping hauls which I frequently did before I met Dale. For food, I try not to dine out as much as possible and the time I probably dine out is when I meet my friends. And again I only manage to meet them after the exams which is usually a few days before I leave.

So for a month Englnd approximately you will need about 800SGD (400pounds) even lesser if you don’t dine out. A week of grocery for the 2 of us is 100SGD so it’s about 50SGD each. And if you want to treat yourself always eat at the right place, a lunch meal that has 3 course meal will cost you about 20SGD. So get those Singaporean instincts out and hunt for the cheapest and best food in England. 

We had a 20 SGD 3 course meal opposite Exeter church. And I’m sure there are many places like this in England. 

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Usually after a big lunch I won’t take dinner, I rather snack. You will never believe the different types of snack you can find in the superstores like Sainsbury or ASDA there. And they are so much cheaper than the ones in Singapore. One of my favorite sweets is wine gums. They are so good.

Say you spent about 200SGD on food so the rest of the money will go to accommodation and transport. It’s not cheap to do stuff in England even outside of London. And personally I don’t think it’s advisable to do stuff everyday when you are travelling. It wears you down. Allocate some days where you can chill and spend no money.

Find a hostel,airbnb or couchsurf. So you might have someone to hang out with during days when you are doing nothing. I think couch surfing is pretty safe in England and there is no language barrier. Hence, it will be pretty cool to stay with an English family and experience their madness like I did.

Fortunately for me because I was staying with Dale, I got to experience how the Brits live. From their slangs to food, I think I pretty much experience it all. I also realize that they won’t that different from me. They enjoy curry and rice, finding the cheapest store to get their grocery and watching the telly.

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English weather 

They are also obsess with talking about the weather. Everything revolves around the weather. Beware that it always rains and ruin your day but again nothing like the English weather. I still remember my first Skype with Dale’s parents when he just got back to UK. They asked me “How’s the weather in Singapore?”, at that moment I couldn’t find any words to describe the weather here. Never had anyone asked me about the weather or will I check the weather after I wake up. If there’s any interview for weather reporter, I bet every British will excel it. It’s like they carry a pocket vocabulary book of words to describe the weather. Like hammering down, muggy and the list goes on.

On top of that, they got a series of slangs that they often use. I’ll not dwell into that but you will get what I mean when you are engage in a conversation with the English. It does my head in but it’s funny at the same time. I can still remember the first few messages that Dale sent me and because he’s English I expected it to be of perfect punctuation and spelling. No it wasn’t perfect at all. I swear there was absolutely no punctuation in that 100 words message he sent. That was the most tedious message that I ever read because there’s so many way to interpret that message without the punctuation. Well, it took me months to correct his habit of not putting punctuations.

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Bath Train Station which costs us 40SGD for return from Botely train station and total journey duration was about 2 hours plus.  Be sure to be there early to find your platforms because they are very confusing albeit everything is in English. 

Transport wise is expensive in England. There will not be any train rides that cost you 1-2SGD. And unlike Singapore mrt, it’s much more quieter and hardly breaks down. Another bonus is that you get to enjoy the view. Once you get out of London city, the view from the train rides are amazing. You will be able to see fields and greenery. Be prepared to spunk out 20-100SGD in train tickets. Even regional buses cost about 12SGD for a return trip. Again it depends on location. Personally I don’t like to pre-plan my travels so usually I’ll have to spend a lot of time searching on the net to go to the place that I want to go. Worth it though. There are a lot of bus or train ticket websites out there and different websites offer different prices. So be sure to search all before you buy your tickets.

Getting a rental car is another viable option. Be sure to read the term and condition and get all the insurance that they offer. Don’t wait till they send u a 600 pound bill when you get back to Singapore! CDW(Collision Damage Wavier) is the most common one. I’ll suggest getting it from rentalcar.com because after using it to rent a car in Austria we realize that rentalcar will deal with ur damages with the rental company that u rented from. And remember your air miles to fly to London could be use for rental car discount! If you got your own GPS at home bring it if not they will charge you for using the GPS and they charge per day.

With transport and accommodation settled, you are ready for your adventure. Stay tune for the next post, Where about to go in England?. It will not be on places like London city or StoneHenge. Even Dale has never been to StoneHenge. I’ll cover places that actual English people go to like National Parks where animals roam around freely and it’s free. 

Cheers
JY

Tasmania

Tasmania quite frankly for travellers is a backpacker paradise because if you have a car, which is quite cheap from Hobart airport and I recommend Budget, then you can immerse yourself into a wild, uninhabited landscape, full of deserted beaches, mountains, beautiful fields and weird and wonderful plant life.

Hobart is a large, clean town more than a capital city, with good food in fairly priced restaurants, cool museums and the most amazing backpackers hostel called The Pickled Frog.

The owners are travellers themselves, which makes them happy, hip going people who like to socialise and understand just what you need after you’ve been out on the road. They had coffee and tea ready on arrival, which was just what was needed after a 7 hour flight with a change and then 1 hour drive. They know the best places to visit, organise awesome tours and have an amazing open fire. Where the hostel is so small people bump into each other, and has the best communal kitchen with awesome facilities and the rooms are spacious and clean. There is an amazing restaurant in downtown Hobart called Salvete. Which serves a very deceiving lasagne, you look at it and think you’ve been ripped off, but actually its so pressed its enough for a meal for two. I guessed after it had 10 layers!

There are many wonderful churches in Hobart, and if you walk down to the Rotunda area you can see the law courts, a nineteenth century graveyard, a beautiful park, the most amazing colonial buildings and a music piazza. It is definitely worth a day out if you have the time, probably the only populated area worth seeing as the beauty of Tasmania lies not in its culture, buts its nature.

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Port Arthur is definitely worth a day out, quite cheap in wintertime and is full of history. It was the first British penal colony, when people were punished with transportation to a far away place instead of a long prison sentence. Some of the crimes committed by the inhabitants included anything from sheep stealing to a 5 year old boy who stole a postage stamp. The boat trip is included in the ticket price and takes you out to the tiny islands just off the coast, such as dead mans island where any victims of disease were buried to prevent contagion. Most of the fort ruins are still intact, as well as living quarters of the prisoners and guards, there are a lot of restored houses as to reflect that a lot of prisoners actually became law abiding citizens. There was even an early Irish political prisoner imprisoned here; William Smith O’Brien.

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Bruney Island is located on the southern tip of Tasmania, an hour away across the sea on a car ferry. It is cheap and well worth the money, if you go in winter there is a lot of fog, which makes the island quite scary if your travelling alone. You can catch the car ferry for less than 20 dollars return, which by Australian standards is pretty cheap when you think it will cost you $13 AUS for a beer in Sydney! The island has a feeling of being at the end of the world, on the southern tip of the island you can see lots of beautiful birds and seals if your really lucky, lounging around on the rocks doing what seals do best. There is also a small museum on the island about Captain Cook with a monument to the discovery which is worth visiting.

If you have a car and want to get away from the touristy places along the southern and east Australian coasts then Tasmania is definitely a place worth visiting. The Forests are indescribably quiet, and the views are spectacular, you can drive for miles without seeing a soul. Maybe pass the afternoon reading a book and watch your worries go out with the tide? Be careful in the sea though as it is supposed to be shark infested! That’s what they used to the tell prisoners anyway, to shake off any thoughts they might of had about escaping. Its very hard to name places specifically in Tasmania which to visit because most of the priceless memories I have are of trees, beaches and scenery. There is so much wildlife to see if your lucky, snakes mammals and of course and make sure you go to the Tasmanian devil refuge near Cradle mountain if you aren’t lucky enough to see a wild one. Cradle mountain at sunset is worth camping out just to see, as the sun sets the colour of the silhouette on the mountain changes.

Stay tuned for more posts! I hope this write up has inspired you to look at Tazzy (as its affectionately named) as a viable travelling destination.

Cheers,

Dale

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PS: I got a bf who loves to take photos of the beach. (JY )