Ms Skinnyfat

A Food & Travel Blog from Singapore

Travel Review: A different kind of traveling

By Thursday, April 12, 2012 ,

The kinda traveling that i used to do was really tiring. To make the best of our trip, we often rush from sight to sight, try to squeeze in as many places of attraction and even set time limit for each spot. As time passed (and as we age), there is really no such need. Traveling is an experience that is meant to be enjoyed at a relaxing pace (that's why it's a holiday!). By slowing down your itinerary or cutting down useless touristy stuff, you get more breathing space and the flexibility in schedule allows for some spontaneity as well.

Here are some tips for a great holiday from this control freak who have since learnt to relax a lot.

1. Plan for free time and then be spontaneous. 
When S & i were in Seoul last year, we decided to skip the palaces and some sights (they look the same after the 2nd one anyway) and gave ourselves time off one morning. A random idea of picking up a cooking class struck us when we woke and with the help of the Internet and our concierge, we booked a cultural experience class and set off immediately. 
It turned out to be a fun way to kill time (We had no idea Seoul was that boring. Not into their fashion so i didn't shop much either). So began our Seoul Korean experience. We learned about the art of tea making and had fun donning the Korean Hanbok and camwhoring in the traditional Hanok. Next, we were taught how to prepare and cook some delicious kimchi pancakes, which of course led me to believe i'm a qualified Korean bride after the 'course'.
Don't i look like the perfect Korean wife? Or maybe Jap? Hurhur.
Bottom line is, chill. Take time off. Do nothing but sit at a cafe and read a book or magazine for at least 2 hours. While your time away. Learn to stop and smell the roses. You will feel much more refreshed after. 

2. When in Rome, do as Romans do.
Locals know where the best food are and they will let you in on their favorite hideouts because you aren't gonna be around for long to fight with them for space. All you need to do is ask. Sticking to what is recommended in the guidebooks will give you a very blah trip. Most of the time it's a tourist trap or over hyped. Disappointment has slapped me in the face one too many times. The road commonly travelled also guarantees replicable experiences. Identical photo albums with similar poses CHECK. You might as well Google map Street view it. Or just watch TLC from the comforts of your home.

So yea. Be adventurous. Live a little. Explore the back alleys. I once hit street food jackpot while checking out the old Shanghai residential area. Little eateries that operate out of backyards and occupying entire alleyways. There we sat, huddled on little plastic stools, among construction worker types, and had the most authentic Chinese home cooked meal in China. Just er.. don't question the origin of the food you eat. It also helps if you have a strong stomach for adventure. :)
Fresh spring rolls on the Saigon streets w my other skinnyfat half Z.
3. Luxe it folks.
What's traveling without some glam factor right? I'm not one to rough it out on holidays. That's for university kids my friend. If i can afford that little more comfort, why not? Backpacking is not my cuppa. Unless it's a mountaineering/trekking trip or else the only bag i'm carrying is one of my chic designer bags. I'm ok with either type of traveling as long as it's planned beforehand and expectations are set right from the start.

So S & i have agreed on at least 1 good meal in every city we visit. Michelin stars, noteworthy restaurants with great views and interesting gastronomic experiences are among those meals we search for.
1 Star Hibiscus in London
2 Star Ledbury in London
Great opportunity to dress up and go out on a date with the boy! I gotta wear all the clothes i buy somewhere right? I have far too many pretty dresses for all the occasions and events that i thought i would soon be attending (so i thought!) Occasion shopping is such a bad idea but we all fall into this trap over and over again. So this is what shopaholics do- you organize and you plan for events/meetings/parties so that you can parade your buys! :) 
Top of the world- Sirocco & Sky Bar, Bangkok. Ms. Selfridge, Miu Miu Matelasse Clutch
High Tea at the Peninsula Hong Kong. Casual H&M, Vintage Casio.
4. Work it off!
We usually let ourselves loose when it comes to calorie intake on trips. I don't face such a problem but the boy does. Most of the time he'd be lamenting the weight gain and then pushing the blame on me for his own greediness. Our strategy now is to work out on trips. Bring along a set of gym gear. If shoes are too bulky for you, skip them. Barefoot running is great work out. :) Or throw in an itsy bitsy bikini, they don't take up much space! Tanning is a form of exercise, just like sauna (if it makes you feel better. Haha. :P) 20 rounds of Sun Salutation under the hot sun is extremely awesome cardio too. 

For the more active, squeeze in some real sports. Snowboarding is almost a must during winter time. If water sports are more your thing, check out the waves if you are near the beach. Or dive under to spend an afternoon with the sharkies. Whatever you do, use some energy. If none of the above suits you, simply WALK IT OFF. Move that lazy bum. 
Looking pro on the board- Niseko, Hokkaido.
My 4 cents worth of fun traveling. Hope it helps. More on my travels soon. :)

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