Asian Adventure: 30+ hours of Travel

Hey Hey Hey!  I’m back from nearly three weeks travelling South East Asia.  It was a fantastic trip filled with good food, lots of dancing, new friends and shopping galore!

Y’all know I was anxious about doing such a BIG trip travel solo … PLUS, I was determined to fly without checking any luggage what-so-ever there.

IMG_6721Well, on the eve of my departure it turns out that my travel backpack ended up being larger than the allowable carry-on dimensions as per airport regulations.

Knowing that it isn’t easy finding larger clothes in the cities I’d be visiting … with all my many connections, the possibility of losing my luggage filled with PLUS SIZE clothing was terrifying.

And so last min, I transferred all my items into my trusty roller-bag and mini-backpack instead!

I was determined to get myself to the airport WITHOUT my winter coat.

So I dressed in the following layers for the 30+ hour journey to get to my first destination of my Adventure – Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

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Pearson Travel Outfit: Black zip from Reitmans; Fox scarf from Suzy Sheer; Printed pants from Forever21+; Batman Tee from Ardene; Black sneaks from Payless

The long flights there (with layovers of waiting in-between) weren’t so terrible.  It was all pretty low stress until I arrived in Frankfurt Airport – my longest layover and last leg of my journey there.  So I decided to treat myself to German schnitzel and beer, and was approached by two Indian pilots (one more handsome than the other) who asked if they could join me. Seems mama still gots it even after 20+ hours of travel grime – must be those sexy compression socks, makes pilots crazy friendly 😉

Did you know that there’s now a new 15-hour flight direct from Toronto to New Delhi, India?  True story.

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Moi … 20+ hours of straight travel and those sexy compression socks Pilots can’t get enough of 😉

After I drank my beer and said farewell to my new pilot friends, I made my way to get my boarding pass and was given misdirections by TWO different Lufthansa desk clerks one telling me my gate was Z-something …. only to get there and be sent back where I began. Grrrrr   And then was issued a Stand By ticket …dun dun dun.

Luckily the third desk clerk I spoke to managed to secure me a proper seat with my ORIGINAL booking.  **phew**

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After 20-hours of continuous travel…the last thing you want to see on your airline ticket is the dreaded words: STANDBY~ akkk!

FLYING HOME

The journey home was pretty smooth……just ridiculously long.  (That’s what you get when you fly across the globe on points friends.)

I woke up at 4:45am to take a 10min cab ride to the KL Airport Express Train (35min ride) to catch my morning connection from KL to Bangkok.  Once I arrived there, I had a little over an hour to make my way through Bangkok customs and find my gate for my next connection to Beijing.

Cutting it super tight, right?  I finally arrived at my departure gate to see that FINAL CALL all-red flashing sign — maybe the most terrifying feeling when you know you have yet another connect to make.  This was the first time I flew Thai Airways and I have to say their airplane food was delicious!

The last leg of my journey in Beijing (who’s airport was completely nuts – zero signs written in English  + No one lines up for anything!  Just a mass of people mashing their bodies and luggage into each other until they get to a clerk at a desk – nuts!!!!)  An elderly gentleman – a professor in Hong Kong on his way to his father’s funeral in Hamilton, Ontario, struck up a conversation with me.  Seems I look most approachable and friendly in the last hours of lengthy travel days. Sigh…

Confucius says: “Man going through airport turnstile sideways is going to Bangkok.”🎊

Kuala Lampur. Bangkok. Beijing. Toronto. 4 countries, 30+ hours of time-travelling travel.  It was the LONGEST Friday ever!!!

Ditching the giant travel backpack for a roller-bag was definitely the right decision!  With all the swing dancing nights and visits to multiple airports to get to the various destinations we had planned, having a roller-bag totally saved my back!

Funny story… just as I arrived to the doorstep of my gf’s place in KL, I was praising how great my lil’ roller-bag has been these past 3-years it’s been with me…and just as those words utter on my lips – the handle broke!  Leaving me to have to pull this mofo bag by the straps for the remainder of the trip. LOL!

Not to fear, I bought myself a lovely new roller-carryon for my return home (and checked my broken bag on my flight home…since I ended up buying a ton of things from all three cities – Kuala Lampur – Boracay – Hoi An).

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Isn’t she a beauty? Looking forward to taking her on many more adventures in the near future 😉

I’m still working on my recap blogposts for each city I visited.  So stay tuned for those in the upcoming weeks friends.

In the meantime, feel free to follow my INSTAGRAM and catchup with a few snaps I took while I was on my Asian Adventure… as they happened.  xo

Asian Adventure includes:

Boracay, Philippines – White Sand Beach – click here for blogpost

Hội An, Vietnam – VLX

Hội An, Vietnam – The Ancient City

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Food, Fun and Fashion

KL Boracay HoiAn

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Asia: 22 days – 3 countries

In an effort to keep my 2015 promise to myself to Shop Less, and Travel More … I’ve taken the bulk of March off work to explore South-East Asia.

In my last post, I reviewed the 5 essential things to know before you go ….the importance of planning BEFORE a big trip.  I’m happy to report that I’ve been able to book all my flights, determine a budget for the overall trip, topped up my travel insurance, and have made an appointment for all necessary vaccinations with a travel clinic for early next week (giving me plenty of time to begin any early doses of meds, if required).  I’m feeling pretty accomplished friends. 🙂

Now, the big question remains … WHERE the heck am I going?

The Huffington Post recently put out an article entitled: The Top 50 Cities To See In Your Lifetime.  I’m sad to report that I’ve only been to 8 out of these 50 cities so far. Buuuuuut…come March 2015, I’ll be able to check off #26 from this list!

DESTINATION #1:  Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

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Kuala Lumpur

This is the capital and most populous city in Malaysia. The main religion there is Islam, with significant Buddhist, Hindu and Christian minorities.  With tropical super-summer-heat weather from March through to July.  I’ve gotta keep both of these elements in mind when coming up with outfit choices.

Sadly, there won’t be any major festivals being celebrated while I’m there.  This is the first destination of this trip as I’m meeting a gf of mine who currently lives there.  Once I’ve recovered from the 29-hour flight there (yup…29-hours of solo travel – two stopovers – ew!  That’s what you get when you book big travel on points friends.)  After taking a few days to adjust to the time difference, she and I will head off together to ………….

DESTINATION #2: Boracay, Philippines

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Boracay Island

This is a small and most famous island in the Philippines –  known for its beautiful beaches, and pricey resorts, with a major party scene.  Woot! Woot!   We’ve decided to book a more modest hotel for the bulk of our stay here, but do a two-day splurge-o at a fancy spot before we depart.

Thinking I might even don my very first bikini on this beach …let’s see if my online order arrives on time…and if my body confidence is at an all time high by then.  The main religion here is Roman Catholic, so I’ll fit right in – catholic guilt and all 😉

DESTINATION #3: Hội An, Vietnam

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Hội An

Our last trip will be to this historic Old City in Vietnam, with a unique mix of Japanese, Vietnamese, and European influences.  Turns out, there’s a community of swing dancers out here and they are hosting a dancing weekend while I’m there!!!

VLX – Vietnam Lindy Exchange, is a fun weekend of Swing dance exchange hosted by Saigon Swing Cats annually since 2009 in different towns in Vietnam. (Mui Ne, Hoi An, Nha Trang, Saigon).  

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2015 VLX – Swing Dancers Nationality

Apparently for the first time in the history of the VLX, this year, the Vietnamese represent less than 10% of the dancers.   We have signed ourselves up for the full weekend – which means we don’t have to do much research for hotels – yay!    I’m also determined to find a fab tailor to make me some custom threads too while we’re in Vietnam, I just hope there’s enough time.

There you have it folks – high level overview of where and what I’m planning on doing in South-East Asia.  Weeeeeee!  Writing this post has been super helpful – It’s really REAL now and I’m getting excited.

Full Disclosure: I’m freaking out!!!

This will be the first time I’m flying completely solo — I’m a nervous flyer in general, and these multiple connections I’ve gotta do alone is making me very anxious.  Plus, don’t the airplanes of Malaysia have a recent history of disappearing all together!?!?!? 😮

A tourist inadvertently destroying the place he is visiting

Packing right is going to be incredibly important.  With all my many flights and connections, I’ve decided NOT to check any luggage.  Which means, I’ve gotta come up with 22 days worth of outfits that are cultural respectful, yet summertime comfortable that fits into 1 piece of carry-on only … yikes!

That’s gonna be challenging.  Stay tuned for my next post where I’ll cover just that friends.  Dun dun dunnnnnnn…

What are the MUST pack vs. Nice-to-pack items that YOU’D recommend I take along with me for this upcoming adventure friends? Would love your packing tips and thoughts and tricks — leave them in the comments below.

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