Sorry for the long hiatus. A lot has happened since I came back from my trip in 2015. I have started working as a teacher (love it) and I am officially engaged! Best thing ever to happen to myself to be honest. There have been some challenges too, but this blog is my happy place. A place of healing and therapy. A place of hope for the young, and sweet reminiscing for the old. So let's fill it with some warm and positive words 😊
As you can see by the title, this post is dedicated to women, however, it can be used as a general rule of thumb. I will also include tips specifically for Muslim women too.
1. Always have someone you can call at your point of destination 📞
During my "Euro trip" in the winter of 2015, I only visited countries where I had a friend or relative whom I knew staying there. With the exception of Prague, because it was the country where I was going to study, I had my former lecturer in Berlin, my senior from university (plus her husband) in Frankfurt, my university friend in Bursa, my cousin and her family in London, my brother in Kent, and finally my aunt in Vienna. Come to think of it, I actually got in touch with some Malaysian medic students in Prague through my sisters before I went to study. So I had them to help out a bit while I was there.
Having someone at your country of destination will not only keep you safer, but also give you a sense of structure in your traveling. When you have someone to meet, you organise your journey better instead of just 'winging it' and finding yourself wandering aimlessly at an airport. Also, you will obviously get a ton of tips in terms of transport, money, communication etc. since your family or friend has plenty of experience.
2. Get an honest, reliable source on the culture of the country you are travelling to 💭
Reading online can be helpful, but it is nothing compared to listening to your own friends' or family's experiences. Talk to them before you book your tickets, and trust your gut instinct about this place as you are listening to these experiences. If you feel like it would be too intimidating or challenging, skip it. Do not compromise your safety or security just to 'live in the moment' or to 'take a chance'. If you are dedicated to travelling that much, trust me your opportunity to visit this place will come in another time in the future.
3. Have a travel buddy 👭
Alright, this is subjective, so I need to explain my own situation first before I move on to the reasons for this tip.
I was on my own for most of my travels, and to be honest, I felt lonely most of the time. Being quite the reserved person that I am, I thought I would enjoy traveling alone more, especially with the freedom of time and movement. Unfortunately, after all was said and done, I did wish that I had someone with me throughout my travels. It's not to say I did not enjoy my trip. I saw some of the most amazing places I have ever seen in my life, and I did have a family or friend accompany me for short periods of time during my stay. But that said, if there was one thing I could change, I would have someone accompany me throughout my entire journey.
Having someone with you is great because:
1) You have someone to bounce off thoughts, opinions and even worries with. Instead of arguing with yourself when you face a problem, you have someone else to help make the decision, or even take the wheel themselves. It's waay more convenient (ironic since I always thought it would be more of a hassle traveling with someone else).
2) You always have someone to watch your back. Look, you don't have the eyes, ears, energy or capacity to be on guard and protected 24/7. Doesn't matter your age or gender, there are always people with bad intentions around you, waiting to pounce on any opportunity they can get. When I was in Vienna, I was conned twice. Once by a 'beggar' and another by a lady pretending to sell roses (they approach you lovingly, call you a princess and hand you a flower, then suddenly ask for 5 euros for the whole show. Lol what). And that wasn't the worst that happened. I always wondered if things would have been different if I had someone with me. So remember to find a good travel buddy, or someone you know especially during your arrival or departure, to and from your destination.
(Personally, I am looking forward to traveling with my future husband. He's way more seasoned than I am - not to mention way more organised haha. I love the guy 💓💓)
I hope this can be a source of inspiration for those young, eager travelers out there. Traveling is an amazing experience, but some things can make it less amazing. Be well-prepared and careful, then hopefully you will have that amazing experience you dreamed of 💛
Part two coming soon!