New York Itinerary planning has begun

Last week I borrowed a couple of travel books for both Morocco and New York. Last weekend however, I had some time to go through those books, especially the New York one and started taking down some notes and places of interested that I must visit on my upcoming vacation to New York.

Things are looking pretty exciting the more I read about New York. I have covered reading the basics on must see locations in Lower Manhattan, Lower East Side, Chinatown, Little Italy, SoHo and Tribeca. I stopped at Greenwich Village. Perhaps this coming weekend, I’ll spend one entire day just covering all the different districts and neighbourhoods New York City has to offer, all the way to Harlem.

I have 10 days, with my parents and aunts in tow for this trip. They aren’t exactly superwalkers given their age, so when planning for this trip, I need to be mindful of that. But they doesn’t mean I couldn’t encourage them to do a little exercise to increase some stamina for this trip, so that they can brave the outdoors and do a whole lot of walking while we are there in the days leading up to the trip.

The trip is still 3 months away, so I have plenty of times to plan the itinerary.

At the very least, coming up the top destinations and locations to visit New York City is a good starting point. I can always add little details like what to eat, and where to shop later as the date approaches.

I am still eyeing that Coach briefcase by the way.

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London bound!

Our trip to Morocco (three of my colleagues and good friends, including myself) is starting to take shape. We have started to enquirer about desert tours and started finding cheap tickets to Morocco. Past couple of weeks, we have been trying to find out what is the cheapest (but not necessarily the slowest or most inconvenient) way to reach Morocco by air.

There aren’t any direct flights from Singapore to Morocco. There are connecting flights served by Etihad, Turkish Airlines, Emirates, British Airways, but most of them were quite pricey, although they can be convenient.

So today we managed to snag a great deal (what I think is a great deal) which coincided with Singles Day. 11.11 Sale is everywhere and Malaysia Airlines was one of those airlines offering air tickets with an additional 11% on certain routes. Singapore to London was one of them. Previously, we were eying their flights as it was the cheapest for London bound flights. It was around S$900 all in return flight from Singapore to London. Now with the 11.11 Sale, it was offering tickets for S$795. That is super cheap. So cheap, that I immediately coordinated with all of my colleagues to get the tickets before 11.11 sale is over. It’s not a direct flight, but one of the fastest. Singapore to KL, with a short stopover, and then on to London direct from KL. And all for S$795!!

Now that we have our outbound and inbound flights settle, we still need to book the tickets from London to Morocco and back before heading back to Singapore.

This is my second major holiday after booking my NYC trip in March 2019!

Getting pretty excited over this trip!

November 7. Thesis submission. The end.

November 7. The date of my thesis submission. November 8, the final assignment due. November 16. Presentation. Then, the end. The end of my 2-year journey as a postgraduate Masters student. It’s been a harrowing journey. Working and studying at the same is a huge challenge. A challenge that I have overcome. A challenge that I took head on from day 1, when I decided to sign up for the course. After November 16. I will officially graduate. So surreal, to have a Masters degree. I would never have expected to go so far in my education. I have been working for five years and I decided to go back school on my third. What was I thinking back then? Now, looking back, all the friends I have made, the knowledge I have gained and the skills I have acquired, it was all worth it.

After November, I deserve a break. Big time. I am going all out travelling. And I can’t wait.

First holiday of 2019! More to come!​

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Going to New York in 2019 wasn’t exactly planned. But when a credit card promotion offers an all-in return ticket on a non-stop flight from Singapore to New York City on a premium economy seat, you cannot walk away from such a deal. SGD1425 for a premium economy ticket, on the world’s longest flight, non-stop from Singapore to New York. LETS GOOOOOO!

 

 

Heading to Sydney without an itinerary.

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Now this is going to be interesting. My upcoming trip to Sydney will be my first solo trip without an itinerary. Yeap, that’s right. I did not plan anything for my upcoming trip. The only thing that I planned was my flight, my accommodations, and one outdoor activity that I decided to book in advance just in case of limited slot availability. I seriously do not know how my trip will turn out. It can visualise my trip as going in either directions; either it’s going to be fucking awesome, or it could be the most boring trip I have ever made as a solo traveller in my entire life. We shall see.

So why did I not have a plan? Partly the reason is that I am so busy with work and school that I just do not have the time to sit down and really draft a proper itinerary. Another reason could be that after I book my flights, I am starting to get cold feet on this trip. I am suddenly not in the mood anymore. Strangely, I’m not exactly looking forward to this trip. Yes I am busy, and I feel burned out sometimes, and I know that this trip is exactly what I need to get myself refreshed before facing the onslaught of work and school. But so far, my ‘busyness’ had dampened the mood somewhat. Just a little more than 2 weeks before my trip and the thought of vacation hasn’t reached to the top of my mind yet. Usually, by this time, my vacation is the only thing I can think of right now. My mind would be so distracted that I wouldn’t be able to focus on work or just about anything else other than the trip itself. This has never happened before. For the first time, I am not feeling excited about my holiday and it’s kinda worrying. I love to travel. Somehow that love has died for some reason.

Pains me to ditch my camera for my upcoming trip

Early on while planning my trip to Vancouver, I made a firm decision to ditch my Olympus camera and all the lenses that I own. I wanted to pack light. I am doing a number of hikes around Vancouver, some of which are pretty challenging. So it is a no-brainer that lugging your entire camera gear while hiking in those magnificent but challenging trails will be unfeasible.

Everything was fine and dandy when I recently volunteered to cover a 3-day conference as a photographer. I gladly accepted it, since firstly, I have never covered such an event as a photographer before. Secondly, it has been quite a while since I used my camera that extensively. I must admit though, my interest in photography has waned a little bit ever since I got the camera a couple of years ago.

As I completed covering the event, I uploaded all the photos I shot to Lightroom and started reviewing them one by one. I had to select the best to submit to the organiser of the event. At the same time, my annual account subscription for Smugmug was due, and it started prompting me via email to renew my account or risk having all the photos I have taken and showcased on the website deleted. Begrudgingly, I renewed, despite the fact that the website has become inactive for quite a while and I rarely uploaded new photos to showcase my works nowadays. As I renewed my account and checked the website that everything was running the way it was, I looked back at some of the photos I took and I was suddenly hit by a pang of nostalgia. It made me realise the true purpose of why I took up photography. And the true purpose was that I just love to travel, and what better way to chronicle my adventures through pictures.

All of a sudden, my interest in photography was reignited. As I reviewed the photos that I took during the conference, it also made me realise something else; those photos look pretty good. Not award-winning, but pretty good considering the camera and lenses that I have. I made me realise also that I have some pretty good camera gear and those were meant to last. I spent a significant amount of money buying those gear years ago and now it’s been largely unused.

So now that my interest in photography have been rekindled, I am facing a dilemma. To bring or not to bring my camera? The answer is pretty straightforward actually. I simply cannot bring my gear, since I have firmly made my decision to pack light. On a practical side of things, it would simply be too cumbersome to bring my camera along for the hike. Now that makes me sad. I have to rely on my iphone 7 Plus, now that it is the only device that could take photos. And the trails that I am hiking in Vancouver will no doubt offer exquisite views of the surrounding landscape, views that I will be unable capture in all its glory. That makes me really sad. The iphone 7 plus camera would no doubt take good photos, but it will be a little trickier and I will always have that nagging feeling that somehow I will miss something along the way.