Lessons STILL not learned from the road.

Travelling makes you realise a lot of things about yourself. It puts you in touch with who you are and over time you will realise some things that you are good at, some improvements you have made, and some things that you just stubbornly can’t master.

As I’m nearing my last travel in Asia (for a while at least), I reflect and realise that I’m hopeless at these few things – no matter how much practice I have got, I still behave like I’m a novice.

Booking accommodation early

Trust me, things like airbnb.com, hostelbookers, agoda, booking.com have made life easy for everyone. But it is just ingrained in me that I have to leave things to the last minute because I’m too lazy to check locations for accommodations, read every single review etc, so much so that all the good places are always snatched up by the time I decide to move my lazy fingers and type those websites in. Thank goodness that we are spoilt with choices, I still manage to end up with some decent places whenever I travel.

Sense of direction

I can get lost anywhere I almost think it’s a talent. I have been lost on countless streets of every country I’ve visited, in the malls or buildings in general, bathrooms (I kid you not), hotels, etc. I honestly don’t know I have survived this long living in general, let alone travelling.

And something closely related to this…

Reading maps

I tend to abuse all paper maps that I get hold of, turning and turning while I am stuck at crossroads until the criss-crossing lines start to make sense.

With the advent of Google Maps, one would think that things have improved for me. But no. I still turn my phone around and curse at it whenever the map rotates along with it.

Bringing a pen

Pens are almost always essential in every travel. You would need them to fill in those immigration forms, pen your thoughts down in a travel journal or just for taking general notes on the go. But despite telling myself sternly countless times to bring a pen for my next trip, I still don’t, and will only realise it when it’s too late, like when I’m already in the taxi on the way to the airport or worse, on the plane a few thousands feet up in the air when they start distributing the immigration forms.

Although if this pen is magical, I would have so much more motivation to carry it around with me.
Although if bringing this pen means that I can find my prince charming right away, I will have it with me ALL THE TIME.

Not to leave packing to the very last minute

I can come up with a million and one excuses to not pack early when there are so many more actual reasons to start packing as soon as possible. As a result, I always forget to bring important things, like the said pens, sunglasses, towels, electric plug adaptors, toothbrushes or even a whole envelope of cash (aka my money for the entire trip).

Packing light

I have this uncanny ability to overpack and yet still leave things behind. My handbag always feels heavy, my suitcase full even though I have repeatedly told myself not to bring too many things. But the other voice in my head will always reign, the one who tells me “what IF you get too sweaty and you don’t have spare t-shirts?” or “what IF you decide to be healthy and jog in the morning and not have your running shoes with you?” or “what IF you can’t find any accessories to match your shoes?”. So I will be bringing all these unnecessary things and leave things like my cash behind. Typical.

Getting holiday permission from my manager

Don’t get me wrong. I have been lucky to be working under two awesome managers for the past four years and they have always been excited about my travels. But for some reason, my hands will go all clammy and I still find it extremely difficult to ‘break the news’ about my holiday plans. My latest opening line to my manager for my upcoming trip was: “Will you kill me if I say I need to ask for days off?”, which understandably left my manager completely perplexed and he replied the only reasonable thing anyone in his position could think of: “Have I ever killed you before?”.

As I’m approaching my trip this weekend, let’s see how many of these mistakes I will commit again.

P.S. As I’m writing this, I conveniently forgot that I would be needing a visa to travel to Taiwan. Thank goodness Indonesian nationality with a valid Schengen visa is exempted from this visa requirement. Of all the things that slipped my mind this time it’s the visa application, and you would think that I should really be an expert at this especially after having applied for THESE many visas.

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