If you’ve missed the first seven installments in My First Overseas Trip you can find them here. Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, and Part 7.
Travelling overseas for the first time is a lot like starting at a new school. It’s exciting, you see new things, make a friend or two and with a bit of luck don’t get lost. Now there are some downsides as you learn nobody seems to understand you or want to help you. People look at you with a funny smirk on their face and at some point your lunch money is going to be stolen.
Ask me to sum up my trip and I’d say “It was an eye opening experience and how soon can I do it again”. The experience of combining my first trip overseas with both Christmas and New Years was something I’d also do again in a heartbeat. There is no awkward family moments (sorry family) and your not stuck 2 days before New Years trying to decide what to do.
I often found myself comparing everything I saw to back home. The big standout point for me was the transport systems. Comparing Melbourne Airport to both Singapore and Hong Kong’s would be an insult to the later. Trains run to the airports; I walked out of Hong Kong Airport I think it was and literally meters away was a train to the city, waiting for me. Oh and don’t get me started on how easy an octopus card is to use.
Melbourne Airport has a shuttle bus, yep you have to catch a bus all the way to the city. No trains or fancy teleport systems just a bus that’s no doubt running late. Melbourne is also the airport that made me wait the longest for my bags yet is tiny compared to the others.
There was literally hundreds of other things I noticed/learnt. Here is just a few of them:
- Having a tag on your luggage to identify it is a good idea (sorry Asian lady)
- Middle seat’s on a plane are a cruel invention, there should just be aisle and window seats
- Having a computer with me would have made some things so much easier
- ATM’s are everywhere why did I need to take so much cash
- Just because I had a big suitcase, I didn’t need to fill it full of clothes I would never wear
- Your in a different country skip McDonald’s and get into the local cuisine OMG drool…
- Bargaining at the markets is fun, have a laugh and enjoy it
- Leave your ego/judging eyes/attitude on the plane. I’m looking at you horrible tourists I ran into again and again
Travel was once a distant dream for me. Something I always wanted to do but never followed through on, always repeating the one day clause of a dreamer. Would I have taken this trip without the safety net of a travel companion… probably not. Do I wish I had manned up so to speak and travelled solo for that first time, yes and no. Ask me after I’ve been in Europe a month doing the solo thing.
That was my trip, the match to the fire that now drives me to pursue a life involving travel. I look forward to re-visiting Hong Kong and Singapore. To walk those streets again and wander down memory lane.
I’ll leave you with this final thought as it seems fitting. Never forget your first trip, the nerve’s, the panic of getting lost that first time or the hours you might have spent with your head in the toilet after eating some suspect food. They were your first’s and while you will no doubt repeat them again and again, nothing can replicate those emotions and feelings. Those memories will keep you an honest traveller, a good traveller.
Hey Lillian thx for the comment. I guess I should have been more specific and said don’t eat at McDonald’s every day.
I agree comparing the menu to your back home counterpart is always fun, damn comparing all food overseas is something I seek out. I wandered a supermarket for an hour in Hong Kong just looking at all the weird and wonderful stuff you could buy.
I’ll stop by McDonald’s for some free wifi in Europe but given the cost of it will be seeking out the small cafe’s and market stalls to fill my stomach I think. Anything to make my dollar go further.
Congrats on the completion of a great series, Chris. Based on how you wrote it, it feels like we were joining along as it happened rather than looking back at the past. Looking forward to joining the fun as you get back out on the road!
.-= Joel´s last blog ..7 Ways My Trip Already Kicks Ass =-.
Thanks Joel that’s really nice of you to say. It was fun to relive everything I did. It was hard to pick the right parts to include and what part to leave out. I’m glad you enjoyed it.
I cannot stand McDs but for some reason in other countries I really want to know what’s on the menu.
.-= ayngelina´s last blog ..My Trio of Travel Secrets =-.
lol Ayngelina I agree. McDonalds is like eating cardboard. Once I head overseas though I’ll be hitting them up for a hot chocolate so I can leech their free wifi for as much as I can get.
Travelling is always exciting to me, regardless of it being domestic or overseas. But I’d have to differ slightly on not going to McDonald’s. I always like to stop by the fast food places to see what local food they have decided to adopt. For instance, in Bangkok I saw KFC selling mango sticky rice. Interesting right? But I don’t necessarily eat the fast food as they may be much more expensive….
I’d have to agree with your list and Lilian makes a good point. It’s ok to sneak a peak at what their version of ‘such and such’ fast food place looks like. Although, for actual eating grab something off a street vendor to really get a feel for what the locals eat.
.-= Cornelius Aesop´s last blog ..New Brew Tuesday: Sapporo =-.
I had the best meals from some of the small food courts. Just point at the picture you wanted and hope its tasty. I think it was 70/30 for good vs bad food 🙂