Wild at Heart: My First Solo Travel


It's probably normal for a lot of people to travel on their own once in a while, but for me, it was a huge undertaking that kind of required me to prepare myself. So, when I finally took the plunge, it felt like I was doing something wild -- at least, travel-wise!

It’s just me, myself, and I. Nah, I was one of the first to board the plane.

I’ve been travelling a lot with friends (as you probably can tell), but I never dared to wander off on my own, even for a weekend trip somewhere near Manila. It didn’t cross my mind before to try solo travel, most likely because travel culture in the Philippines is mostly about enjoying the sights and experiences with family, lovers, and friends.

By mid-2013, I began making plans and doing research for my birthday trip this year. The choices fell between Boracay here in the Philippines, Vietnam, and Bangkok in Thailand. I eventually decided to do a week-long Bangkok + Penang trip. Later, I wondered, “who would go with me on this trip?”

First stop for my solo trip: Batu Ferringhi beach!

A couple of months passed and it soon became clear to me that I may eventually need to go solo since the people I asked to go with me most likely couldn’t make it. The shy, not so street-smart part of me began to panic, but a curious voice inside me also said, “Well, why not?”

Of course, itching for an adventure, I pushed my shy, inexperienced self aside and listened to the seemingly brave spirit that stirred in me. Before 2013 ended, I made sure that my flights and hostels were booked, and a basic yet flexible travel itinerary was ready. Come the early days of 2014, I was so ready to go.

Since Penang is one of Asia’s food capitals, I stuffed myself full with all these delicious morsels I found everywhere. Chicken Rice will forever be a favorite, and Cheese Naan will always drive me crazy, but Char Koay Teow has also found a special spot in my heart (and tummy). Also, I spent the afternoon of my birthday gorging on cakes and sipping coffee in the then newly-opened Purrfect Cat Cafe. So, those are my birthday cake slices in the last photo.

The original plan did not push through, though. The protest situation in Bangkok made me decide to just spend the entire week in Penang. I may have had a wild idea to try solo travel in a foreign country, but I was still not bold enough to go somewhere where tension was brewing.

Travel selfies! Sorry, I couldn’t help it.

Looking back at that blissful, unforgettable week (which I still find myself daydreaming about every now and then), I have to say I wouldn’t have that trip any other way. I discovered so much about myself; it was indeed empowering, as many experienced travelers have said. It also made me fall for Penang’s charms the second time around.

Familiar sights that I found comfort in. Traveling solo can be both comforting and liberating.

Listening to those seemingly wild ideas sometimes leads to amazing things, don’t you think?

Check out my albums Penang, We Meet Again, == Penang Birthday Trip (for Indisposable Concept)==, Caffeinated Haunts: Purrfect Cat Cafe in Penang, Malaysia, and Camera Museum in Penang, Malaysia to see all my photos from this trip!

written by plasticpopsicle on 2014-03-03 in #lifestyle


  1. shind
    shind ·

    Glad you love Penang! I would be embarking on my own solo trip soon too. Btw, should you happen to be coming to KL for a solo trip next time can always give me a shout and I can always show you around. :)

  2. plasticpopsicle
    plasticpopsicle ·

    I really LOVE Penang, @shind! I still daydream about everything, especially all the delicious food I ate there! I spent a night in KL on the last leg of my solo trip but I did not go around the town since I got there late. So, I just relaxed the whole night until around noontime the next day, before my flight back to Manila. I haven't scoured KL much even if I've been there twice, so maybe I'll take your offer once I go back there! Where are you heading for your solo trip? Have lots of fun! :)

  3. shind
    shind ·

    Taiwan! Will be heading to Taiwan! Yes, definitely, just PM me in advance or something and I can bring you around. Followed you on twitter via tweet handle @shindgypsy
    Haha! Food there is cheap too, isn't it? ;)

  4. plasticpopsicle
    plasticpopsicle ·

    Awesome, I bet you'll have fun in Taiwan! Followed you everywhere else too, @shind! Do let me know how your trip goes! I'll also have a look at your Lomography albums, maybe you have some travel snaps with interesting stories that I can feature for the Tales from the Trip series!

  5. shind
    shind ·

    Yeay! Definitely! :)

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