I love Singapore! (And I haven’t even been yet)

The journey to a destination doesn’t have to be the boring part. Apparently there are adventures between connecting flights and I’ve found a great one with Singapore Airlines.

It makes me sad that we often miss out on these, I for one have made this mistake and I’m trying to avoid doing this on future travels. I want to squeeze as much experience out of life and travelling 35 hours from London to Sydney is a heck of a long time to see nothing but in-flight movies and airport terminals.

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I’ve just got back from my mums, I went back to see my goddaughter and felt it would be a good time to take some of what I won’t be taking to Australia back to her place. That is probably 99% of all things I own. Judging by how messy my flat can get I assumed I had a lot of stuff that needs emptying before I leave. It turns out I don’t have too much stuff, I am just messy.

I’ve also learned that I have been stupidly paying more for my train journeys than I should have been. Instead of buying ‘off peak’ on the touchscreen ticket machines, I should have clicked ‘more options’ and purchased a specific time. This is my own fault, as my train journeys are roughly every couple of months it is something I haven’t thought about. Now that I need money more than ever, that extra couple of quid each way is welcomed.

Here I am waiting for the train yesterday. Drifting off topic a little, I have an ever growing fascination with castles. They never bore me, a constant reminder that the closest we can currently get to time travel is looking at what has been left for us. It seems from this view that the line runs right into the castle. Very platform 9 and three quarters, that. It doesn’t, the Victorians didn’t seem to care how close to the castle they got, clearly appreciating a carriage with a view.

Whilst all this was happening, I emailed Singapore Airlines as I was told that they offer hotel packages for travellers with long layovers. What did I have to loose? With the good customer service I was told to expect from this airline they emailed back pretty quickly, offering to book me in for their Ambassador Transit Hotel, paid for in 6 hour blocks. This didn’t really appeal to me, however they also offered to book me onto one of their Free Singapore Tours (FST), offered to those with long layovers. How cool is that? It can be found on their website, by clicking the link or heading for Plan Travel- Privileges- Free Singapore Tour.

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One of two tours can be picked. The Heritage Tour or the City Sights Tour. The Heritage Tour seems to be more of a tour of history and culture, taking us through areas of historical importance and the ethnic enclaves of Singapore. The City Sights Tour seems to be more of the modern sights, such as Marina Bay and the amazing Avatar-like Supertrees. I love the historical and cultural aspect of any place I go, however as each tour is 2.5 hours, I feel I will be able to digest the sights a little easier than the history. Also, the City Sights Tour is only offered to those with a six hour layover or more, the Heritage Tour is available to travellers with a 5.5 hour layover. As I will be there for a whopping 17 hours, I was lucky to be offered both. The City Sights Tour appeals to me a little more with this in mind, like a forbidden fruit. Sorry, 5.5 hour layover people!

Reading the descriptions it seems like they may cross paths, which wouldn’t be a bad thing. I struggle with choices of this nature. I have decided on the City Sights Tour and have been booked in. It seemed very quick and efficient, all I have to do now is experience it first hand. Afterall, I can always book the same airline back and choose the other tour!

For the time being, my blog will be focused on my travel planning. It helps keep me organised. After I arrive in Sydney, I will mix it up a little with my usual inputs on anything and everything. Whatever reason you decided to follow my blog will hopefully be justified with a post you can relate to. Of course, travel and photography will play a huge part.

Which of the tours would appeal to you? If you have ever been, I would love to read your stories and if there is anything I should look out for in particular.

Photo by Mike Enerio on Unsplash

 

 

First class for £30!

Yesterday was different. Not only did I find myself in a vegan restaurant eating a falafel and hummus wrap (it was delicious by the way) I almost spat it out when a naked bike ride cycled right by the window. Sadly for them it was a pretty cold day..

Cleansing my soul

At the minute my routine is:

Eat.

Blog.

Work.

Prepare for Australia.

Sleep.

Repeat.

Not that I would dare to complain, I wouldn’t have it any other way. It is not the lack of free time that I would change, it is the time spent doing things that I have to do that isn’t what I want to do. We wouldn’t spend our lives wanting as much free time as possible if our lives outside of that free time were spent doing what we enjoyed.

I’ve been considering how I will get to London in September, as the only travel I had booked up until last night was from London to Sydney. Flight would be the easiest, taking under an hour and would mean I didn’t have to spend time getting through the hectic traffic in London to the airport for my next flight. Trains would be a (still pretty convenient) three hour trip and it is much easier for me to get to Central Station than Newcastle Airport. Coach would be the cheapest by far from only £8, however I hate sitting on a coach for 8 hours knowing that it would take the same amount of time to get to New York City. Madness, huh?

This thinking process ended with one email. Virgin East Coast sent me an email warning me that their sale was ending at midnight. A sale I didn’t know was even on! £30 train tickets from Newcastle to London. Not only that…
FIRST CLASS!!

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My first ever view of London was this one, after stepping out from the Underground.
This may not be as much of a surprise to my readers outside of the U.K., depending on how cheap your rail travel is. Here it is in no way cheap. Looking at tickets today the prices range from £36 to £121, without the free upgrade. As I opened up the email at work I assumed the £30 fare was the cost of an upgrade with clever wording, however as the pages loaded it seemed like the real deal. 


And here I am, £30 poorer but increasingly more organised, starting a tiring three day journey to Sydney with a smile, free beers and meals for the first leg of this epic journey. Thanks Virgin!

Have you ever been first class? Did you get a great deal, get it complimentary or simply like more luxurious travel?

This is a first for me, I will be sure to blog this experience on route to London come August 31st.

Destination: Sydney

Time: 00.00

Check online banking. Payday is finally here.

Time: 00.05

I head to the Australian government website and apply for the Working Holiday visa.

Time: 00.35

Online form completed, I eagerly await it being authorised and sent to my inbox.

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In fact, as I wake up this morning it seems to have already been granted. Can that really be the case so soon? Not that I am complaining, I remember how long it took to get my J1 Visa in the United States.

A bunch of forms printed, filled in and sent back, an arranged interview at the embassy down in London, train tickets purchased, a day in the embassy, security checks and all belongings taken away from me and finally, a stamp in the passport. Not that I am complaining here either. It was worth it in the end. This wasn’t so straight forward for a friend as he lost one page of his documents on route. He had to wait outside for us and come down another day. Immigration have no time for that.

Their visa was a little different. I had to work for one company for 12 months. With my Aussie visa I can work wherever the work is, as long as it is no longer than 6 months with any employer. Sounds like a good deal to fuel my years holiday. Of course if any company decides to sponsor me I can extend my stay. If I do farm work for three months I will be able to extend for another year. What I find exciting on this trip is that I have no idea where I will be heading in the next few years. Will I head back to Europe? What if I find that special someone and build a family in Australia? Being a single guy in his late twenties is a little strange like that.

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I feel everyone has some kind of advantage. If you are in a relationship, awesome. I assume the relationship is one in which both people have similar interests and can feed off each other in terms of inspiration and funds to travel. If you are single you have a free pass to do what you want , when you want with little impact to anyone. Take a week or a year out, it’s up to you. If you are reliant or have someone rely on you, blog about it, tell your story and build a following, your unique perspective of what it is like to travel will be picked up by curious ears I am sure.

This may be the last year I blog from the UK. Thankfully I have a couple of years left of my twenties to blog with as much content as I can, I will make the most of it.

It is amazing that we have the option to follow people as they travel and document their lives through blogs, vlogs and social media. I am sitting here reading about lives in lands that historical populations did not even know existed, wishing I was there as this summers day is so dark I need my standing light on despite being early afternoon. If that doesn’t motivate me to get up and go I don’t know what will.

I will see you all on the other side, I will be here until then if you want me.

First image: Liam Pozz– Unsplash

Second image: Josh Wip– Unsplash

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I appreciate anyone that is willing to read my ramblings of life, travel, religion and atheism. Last night I received my four hundredth follower, and for that I am very grateful. If I was to invite you all to a party in celebration it would take a couple of 757’s. Or enough people to fill 400 of our bright red British telephone boxes. It sounds great to say that 😉

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Photo Credit: Daryan Shamkhali at Unsplash
Hopefully when I fly on an A380 in September to Sydney via Singapore I can boast a following that would be enough to fill that, too. One can dream and no-one can stop that!

Cheers everyone,

Sam

 

Preparation

If I wasn’t flying to Sydney in September, I probably wouldn’t go to the gym as often. I wouldn’t blog as much. My work ethic wouldn’t be as high. For me to do these things even when I am not feeling it is because I have an end goal. I need something to look forward to no matter how big or small, so when I lose motivation or inspiration I remember that in the end it always pays off.

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A chess board upon a table in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. 
If I don’t make fun plans for the weekend, my mid-week motivation to eat healthy just isn’t there. It is important for me to give myself a reason to work hard and keep on top of anything. You may be the same. I now have a deadline, one that I enjoy aiming for. I want to lose a few pounds and gain a few in my wallet, blog every day and give myself enough content for a book that I am currently working on. Without the exciting prospect of travel, I would have a terrible time saving money or making time. How could I feel content staying in when my friends are at a bar or spending money on great food? Knowing I have something in the diary, that’s all I need. Don’t get me wrong I love to blog and keep fit, but my alone time isn’t something I want to avoid as much or feel like it should be something to avoid. I prefer to do these alone as my time can be focused purely on my own work.

I won’t give up after September but it will get the ball rolling. I am sure the ball will keep rolling with new stories to talk of, new opportunities to learn and new people to meet.

Many people I encounter daily don’t have such inspiration yet if they give themselves that date to work towards, there is an excuse to make tomorrow different and escape the pattern that takes the wind from our sails.

So long, procrastination!

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Impulse buying 

I’ve just purchased a one way flight to Sydney. It cost me £350 which is half the price of the dates around it, leaving London on September 1st. I have no idea what the above image is. It is in my camera roll and probably from a drunk whatsapp conversation. It looks good, what can I say. I also feel it goes well with the title of this post.

One great benefit of spending time in a hotel with a good amount of time to yourself is the ability to think with little or no intervention from others. I thought about what I wanted to do and I will make it happen. I have no images to capture so far without giving away my precious bank details or itinerary. Follow my blog long enough for September to arrive and I am sure I will have the relevant images to keep the travel blog enthusiast content.

So, Australia here I come. My reasons for venturing to this nation is the location. I haven’t visited this continent before. Will it live up to previous travels around Europe? North and South America? Asia? I’m sure it will. Every nation has its great aspects, and those aspects are what we chase when we are there.