The Day I showed up at a hotel without a booking was Liberating. Who woulda thunk!
After visiting 46 countries in the world, meeting plenty of people who just stroll up to hotels and hostels without a booking… I am finally brave enough to follow their footsteps. I mean considering I only had a return flight for this current 6-month journey with no set itinerary and not know where I’ll be the next day… I sound like a late bloomer.
My first visit to Turkey was in 2010, at that point I was part of a tour group. The tour focused on the Western side of Turkey. During that time, most of my meals was taken cared of by the tour company. I didn’t get to choose the restaurant or budget. There was menus in Turkish and English. The tour company looked after the logistics of hotels and transportation. I just followed the leader and took lots of photos.
This time in 2014, I spent 2 months (cumulatively) in Turkey. I traveled alone, met fellow travelers along the way, some we simply connected in the hostel others we toured the location together. One travel friend met up with me in 5 different cities within Turkey, it was quite the experience of separation and reunion over the span of 2 weeks.
While on the road – alone – it can be challenging. Everyone is a stranger. And if your parents or guardians told you to not talk to stranger when you were a kid growing up and you want to keep following that adage – you’d be inadvertently on a silent retreat.
Sooner or later, you will HAVE to talk to a stranger… for directions, for help, to check into your new accommodation.
Then if you’re on a budget and staying in dorm rooms, there comes another level of interaction with strangers. No you’re not sharing a bed with them but you are paying to share a confined space with them. Your personal space is a little smaller. All your current personal belongings on display.
Personally I have never had the need to share a room with a complete stranger until I started my solo travels. Yes I was fortunate – I did not share a room with my brothers or cousins when we traveled. I tend to trust people by default – some times I trusted too much.
Some hostels, pensions or whatever they are called in your destination provide a locker for all or part of your belongings. Some do not.
Question: What happens when one of your roommate is intentionally waiting for the opportunity to steal from you? Continue reading
In the past 10 days, I’ve spent countless hours on the various types of SBB train in Switzerland. Traveling from villages to cities to the top of the Swiss Alps. Switzerland has many different train routes.
To date, I’ve only traveled on the train once in Canada. Though I’ve traveled on trains in India, Turkey, Japan, Vietnam, Peru, Tibet, Western Europe and Central Europe. Train travel can be time efficient though a bit more costly. In Switzerland there’s no long distance buses, so unless I rent a car and share it with a few people – it’s not cost effective as a solo traveler.
However, I must say I’m quite impressed by the various types of trains used on the various routes in Switzerland. Some trains are noticeably purpose driven in their design while others purely serves the purpose to commute passengers from point A to point B. Continue reading
My first time in Europe was back in 2002, I pre-purchased a EUrail pass and traveled to multiple countries in Western Europe. That was the thing to do with a backpack. Pick the number of travel days within a limited time span and a number of countries and you are set to explore the continent. Though expensive, it made traveling between countries and within each country scenic, fast and efficient. EUrail also has a historical significance as that was the method in which millions of travelers moved from one location to anther for decades in Europe.
In 2006, I visited 5 different countries (England, Ireland, France, Italy and Germany). The 4 of us flew with Ryanair within the European continent. I still remember the flight between Milan to Paris was only 1 euro plus applicable taxes which cost us less than $25 CAD in total. However, we failed to consider the additional costs required to commute between the city center and the smaller airports that Ryanair used. Though I think it was still much cheaper than traveling on the train and took us less time.
12 years later, in 2014, I’ve discovered bus travel in Europe as a new method to save money and see the landscape! After arriving in Hamburg, Germany my friend spoke of her 15€ bus ride between Hamburg and Berlin. When I moved into a hostel, my dorm mate took a 11-hours bus ride from Gothenburg, Sweden to Hamburg.
Hamburg ZOB – main bus station
Today I live in a society where the use of labels has become prolific. Every minute of every day, each action each person is given a label and grouped together. Individualism is frowned upon. Some people are detered from pushing the envelope.
Travel – local or abroad – is also known as many other words. Escape. Vacation. Break. Holiday. Journey. Pilgrimage. Tour.
After 25 days of bus and ferry travel in Greece; solo and with new friends – I’ve gathered a few more observations to share with you.
Curiosity keeps me alert and asking questions. I’d like to talk candidly about them here. This conversation started on this other post. If you already have read it, welcome back!