“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”
– St. Augustine
TRAVEL. I love it. Every chance I get, whether it is a day trip, a weekend trip, or an overseas adventure, I always have the urge to get out of my familiar, day-to-day bubble. It’s like getting a breath of fresh air. Experiencing new ways of life – how people interact with each other, and with you; picking up some words in another language; learning about a town or country’s past; meeting new people and hearing their stories; trying new (and sometimes questionable) food; the challenge of navigating a new city; waiting for 3 hours just to eat in a highly acclaimed restaurant (and it turning out to be as amazing as everyone said), or on the other hand, driving for hours to see something that turns out to be pretty unimpressive, but having lots of laughs with your friends on the way… So much excitement, and only a plane ride away! When you think about it, the world isn’t that big, after all.
I think one of the most exciting parts of a trip is planning it. I don’t like to plan every detail, but I always have a rough guide of what I want to do. I read up on travel guides (Lonely Planet books ^^), online forums and reviews, or get suggestions from friends who have been there, so I don’t waste my time seeing something I knew I wouldn’t like, or miss out on seeing something I wish I’d known about! If you let it, planning can take up a lot of your time. At the moment, I work six days a week, which has meant late nights sorting out details with my travel buddies, and wishing there were more hours in a day. >_< On my breaks, I have been sneaking in a few minutes researching, booking tours, messaging my friends, changing my plans… It will never be a finished plan, but I at least know when I’ll be flying in and out!
The (current) plan: I’m pretty sure this plan will change again before it’s time to board the plane, but ANY suggestions and comments are welcome :) :)
For my upcoming 3-week Indochina trip, I’ll be flying out of Japan and landing in Hanoi, Vietnam. I’ll spend a couple of nights there, exploring the Old Quarter, doing a food tour/cooking class, checking out the markets, and possibly visiting a museum. Then, I’ll head north to the village of Sapa for a few days of trekking in the mountains and meeting the hill tribes. I’m taking a chance with Sapa, since it’ll be the rainy season, and trekking + heavy rain = some sort of disaster. But the stunning scenery is something I don’t think I can miss! After coming back to Hanoi, I’ll be joined by my first travel buddy, and we’ll visit the famous Halong Bay, staying on a ‘junk’ cruise overnight. From there, we’ll head south to visit the old trading port of Hoi An and stay with a friend near Ho Chi Minh City, before flying across to Cambodia. For the final week, Siem Reap will be our base. Another travel buddy will join us to explore the ancient temples of Angkor Wat. If we can fit it in, I want to do an overnight trip to the old-colonial town of Battambang. The last night/day will be back in Hanoi (if I’m not too exhausted, I will squeeze in a few more things) before flying back to Tokyo.
Travelling means something different to everyone. What’s the best part of travelling for you? What have been your travel highlights??