Starting off with the statistics….
30 July 2013 – 10 August 2013 (10 days + 2 days of flying)
Total Leaves Taken Off Work:
York, Manchester, Liverpool, Bath, Brighton and London
Singapore to London (6,767 miles/ 10,890km)
Around United Kingdom (580 miles/ 934km)
Concluding the very first backpacking trip
It has been almost 3 weeks since I came back from my second solo travelling trip. I am suffering from post trip withdrawal symptoms. Furthest trip away from home till date, my first time exploring a new country and continent all by myself. From the way I jay-walked across the roads in UK, it was amazing that I actually made it back home in one piece.
The trip only lasted 10 days because I was not able to apply for more days off work. Bummer, I know. As much as I enjoyed myself I had work stuff at the back of my head which kinda irritates me knowing that I will need to work on 2014 planning when I return to work.
I came up with a plan B a week before the trip due to a missing communication but it was never executed because it was resolved in the end and everything went according to plan. Pretty hectic schedule moving from point to point. The longest time spent in a city was 2.5 days while the shortest was only a few hours. Hardly any luxury of time, right from the start, I know I had to be realistic and that I will not be able to see EVERYTHING in this trip. Met up with a couple of friends who are living there and the cousin who is there for a month for work related training. Seeing familiar faces brought some comfort to me. Dinners, history of Bricklane with club session in London as well as a trip to Brighton.
Realising the teenage dream.
Visited Liverpool’s Anfield and Manchester United home ground at Old Trafford. It was amazing I swear! I turn into a football fanatic, specifically a Liverpool and Manchester United fan when I was 14, Michael Owen and David Beckham got me interested in football. It seemed so unreachable back then when I said I wanted to step onto the two stadiums and experience first hand. Never would I have thought I would visit the two stadiums all by myself because I thought even if I do visit, it would be during a Europe honeymoon trip with a partner. Life is indeed unpredictable. Now, the only thing left to do is to watch a live match at Anfield (or at least any Liverpool or Manchester United match) and experience the atmosphere.
Threshold up another notch
I experienced my coldest shower (on the bright side, it is not winter!) and slept on the most uncomfortable bed ever. I was just suay* enough to bathe in a shower room with a spoiled heater and I had to position my spine right between 2 rows of springs so as not to get a backache the next morning. Do not be mistaken, I am not complaining. This is part and parcel of an experience as a budget traveller.
I was under the impression that cost of living in United Kingdom is higher than Australia but I was pleasantly surprise that it is in fact more affordable. The cost of living was higher years back but due to their economy, prices went down and the exchange rate became better. All in all including my air fare, it cost me slightly under SGD$3,000 for this trip. It could be lesser if I did not shop but hey, I am a woman! How can I resist good sale? 😉 Their restaurant prices are comparable to restaurant prices in Singapore and I also make good use of my student card. Cheap booze really helps too!
Here is a breakdown of my expenses.
Transportation: SGD$1484.40 (£742.20); 50%
Accommodation: SGD$311.12 (£155.56); 10%
Food: SGD$340.70 (£170.35); 11%
Shopping: SGD$602.35 (£301.17); 20%
Admission Fee: SGD$134.22 (£67.11); 5%
Travel Insurance: SGD$56.60 (£28.25); 2%
Communication: SGD$29.45 (£14.72); 1%
Miscellaneous: SGD$14.47 (£7.23); 0.5%
Total: SGD$2,973.19 (£1486.60); 100%
Typical Pam in action again because there was a night, I spent 10 minutes looking high and low in my hostel room for the room key while leaving my laptop unattended at the common area only to realise I had it inserted into the keyhole the whole time.
One thing I learnt from my first solo backpacking trip is that I should really watch the weight I am carrying. Ok, I am a pretentious backpacker because which backpacker goes on a shopping spree? I had a hard time getting to the airport from my hostel with all my belongings strapped onto me, it was extremely strenuous on my foot and back that I mentally wanted to throw in the towel and not make my way back to Singapore. Alright, I admit part of me just does not want the holiday to end. I was secretly happy that I do not have the luxury of time to help my friends make enquiries and purchase their stuff because I cannot imagine myself handling so many things. Just let me be selfish and enjoy my trip without worrying about what souvenirs to buy. I got sick of bread on my 4th day of the trip and I start to crave for Asian food. Microwave is my best modern day survival tool to satisfy the little crave on some days. I guess you can never take that typical Singaporean foodie out of me.
At least I came back to Singapore with a never before gratitude for our MRT trains. I used to complain A LOT about our transport system however London’s Tube made me see better lights of our MRT trains. Our trains are more affordable (transports are ridiculously expensive in UK), air-conditioned ( I know sometimes our trains’ air-conditions are barely existence but still…), it is twice as wide as the trains in London to sardine-pack more of us onto the same train and our inconsistent network covered in the underground so that we can
complain update on any train faults or sightings on social media because there are ZERO network in London’s Tube underground. According to my friends, their transport systems are not that reliable but I only experienced a couple of very minor delays so I am considered lucky?
I guess travelling makes one open their eyes to see the good and bad, to appreciate things that you have been taking for granted. Have you ever go home feeling more appreciative for what you had been taking for granted?
*suay (“s-way”): unlucky For more Singlish, please check out Singlish Dictionary.