I rather own little & see the world than own the world, but see little of it
What began as short getaways to spend time together, quickly turned to be an obsession of some sorts as me and my then girlfriend slowly but surely started to cover the globe a country at a time. We decided to start a Travel Blog as we go along, to log our adventures and share our travel tips. But even after we broke up, I realized that that didn’t make me love traveling any less and I decided to continue on my quest to experience this world alone.
But NO, for the record, I am not professional nor am I a full time traveler. Born and bred in one of the most expensive cities in the world, being a full time traveler comes almost impossible to any of us. I’m just one Singaporean soul who dared to follow my wanderlust dream and left everything on the line at that.
I started this travel blog in 2015 and in the 18 months prior to that, from Oct 2013~March 2015 alone, I’ve been to 9 countries, 20 cities, excluding some countries which I revisited such as Japan, just cause it’s probably one of the nicest country in the world.
When I started traveling, I would pen down the things I spent hours and hours to research on, such as places to go, things to eat, hotel/hostels to stay etc and plan out a proper itinerary. I would then use the itinerary to assure my parents that I wasn’t running away from home and that I would be coming back, so they wouldn’t try to rent out my room or something.
But I soon found myself constantly having to text and update my parents as I go along that there has been a change of plans and that I wasn’t going where I thought I was just cause shit always happens (i.e the place is close for renovation, the bus doesn’t run on these days, the places are too far from each other and the travel time would take too long etc) and things are somehow not as easy as some people make it out to be on the Internet.
My passion drives me to travel and my love for the world makes me want to share the beauty that comes with it. And if that sounds like something you’re interested in, read my adventures at our Singapore Travel Blog and subscribe to our mailing list so we’ll be able to share with you all that I’ve learnt and seen in my misadventures. Alternatively, join us as a Food or travel writer and share with us your experience cause we would love to hear about your travels too. Lastly, don’t forget to check out our cheapest travel deals section where we have put together the best deals we’ve used and found throughout our travels.
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The Story of Livelaughtravel.net’s Singapore Travel Blog
Who are you?
A: I’m Alvin
What do you love most about traveling?
A: People, culture, cities, buildings, nature! I love exploring and getting lost, cause you never know what you would stumble upon when you get lost. Some of the most beautiful places I’ve been to were places I coincidentally chanced upon when i got lost trying to find my way to another
What is the worst mistake a traveler can make?
A: Following a tour guide/guided tour. For the first part of my life when I traveled with my parents, we were always following tour groups that brought us around. It was only much later when I grew older and start traveling on my own did I realize how much did I actually miss out just by following guided tours. As the old saying goes, “a traveler see what he sees, a tourist see what he has come to see”, and that can’t be more true for me. Instead of having tour guides that bring you to the common places of interest and earn commission off you, find your way there yourself, take the public transport, fall in love with the culture of the country cause you don’t really get to see a country and/or experience its true culture just by following a scheduled tour.
What is the hardest part about traveling?
A: Too much food and too little time to workout, I’m always gaining a few pounds when I’m abroad. It’s hard to keep in shape sometimes with all that international food tasting.
Cliché as it might be, leaving the country is also often the hardest part about traveling. I’m currently not a full time traveler and I have gaps of intervals between my travels, which only makes the whole thing suck even more.
How old were you when you first started to travel?
A: When I was 2 plus to Hap Chai but I honestly cant remember much from that trip!
Top Travel Tip
A: Protect yourself by separating your cash instead of keeping them in a centralized location. Know the location of the Singapore Embassy of each country and always get the hotel name card in case you can’t find your way back.
It is also important to know how much does transportation cost and if you are not following a tour, you would have to plan your route prior to getting there. Certain country’s subway system are a little more complicated than the others. A train station in Japan for example may have two trains coming to the same exact platform but heads to different area.
A: Canada and Japan. Amazing food, rich culture and despite the language barrier, Japanese are one of the most approachable people around
Whats your worst traveling experience?
A: I’ve had bad experience with service staff and air crew in China, but none was as bad as getting scammed in Bangkok. Me and my then girlfriend were suppose to take the train and board the ferry which would cost us 10baht each to Wat Arun temple. I had it all planned out but my morning tailoring session lasted longer than i expected and we ended up having to take a cab. “Wat Arun”, i told him. He said ok and everything seemed fine till he turned into some alley and asked us to alight. We followed him and soon found ourselves surrounded by Thais. Just as I thought we were gonna get mugged, he sat us down and offered to take us to Wat Arun for 2,200 baht. Exorbitant prices considering it was suppose to be just 10baht. We negotiated it down to 1,500baht but when we arrived at the temple, they required us to pay 100baht more for “docking” fee. That ruined my day as i thought back of how i paid 2290baht more for what i researched to be 10baht. My only saving grace was that at the very least, we didn’t get mugged that day.
What is the one thing you’ve learnt from traveling so much?
A: My biggest lesson has always come from visiting 3rd world countries such as Cambodia or Vietnam. I learn to be appreciative of what I have however little that may be, for there are people around the world going through worst. I hear of locals complaining about packed trains when I’ve seen families of 7 stacking on one scooter in Vietnam & kids below the age of 6 having to go hungry on the street just because no one offered them any food that day. Complacency gets to the best of us and I’m no exception. It is through visiting such countries that we are constantly reminded of how lucky we actually are.
I’ve also learnt that when it doubt, do not be afraid. Most Asians are generally quite reserved when it comes to seeking help from others. But what Ive realized through all my travels is that humans are really kinder than how we often perceive them to be. Most people are more than willing to give you a helping hand if you would just ask.
Any advice for aspiring travelers?
A: Just do it. How many times have you seen someone post statuses such as “in need of a holiday” yet does nothing about it. Its like going to the gym sort of, be it just a weekend trip or a ferry trip to an island nearby, u just have to get yourself to do it and you’ll be thankful you did after. You are not getting any younger so don’t wait till you’re older, its really now or never.
What do you do when you’re not traveling?
A: Work my ass off and so I can save enough for my next destination.
How do you fund for your travels?
A: I work my ass off. I currently run a few businesses which im glad have seen a little bit of success. But at the end of the day, it’s really about a lifestyle choice, some people choose to buy big expensive cars and have luxurious meals, I choose to travel.
When at home, it is a conscious choice to manage my finances and resist the urge to splurge in local restaurants. I constantly find myself asking why would i want to have Japanese food in Singapore when dining in Singapore is so costly, when I could use the same amount of money and have the ‘Authentic’ cuisine in Japan itself. Aside from that, I try to plan ahead and spot for cheap airfares. I never fancied staying in hotels as well as I rather stay in hostels and experience the culture first hand. I have stayed in hostels without heaters during winter and walked for miles to save on my bus fares.
As the old saying goes “Traveling is only as expensive as your need for comfort” and that can’t be more true when it comes to traveling.
Why did you start this travel blog?
A: As much as each country will always hold a piece of me, memories fade over time and jotting it down is the only way to make it eternal. Besides, I spend so much time researching on the country and still get lost or run into unexpected stuff sometimes. I thought to jot them down onto this Singapore Travel blog with what I learnt and know so travelers who are also searching do not have to make the same mistakes I did and/or is able to paint a better mental image of what the place is like even before they reach the country.
A: I don’t have a dream destination per say, but my dream has always been for my businesses to take off and have enough passive income/savings so I can take a year or two off and just travel full time. It is so much cheaper to fly from say Singapore to Japan to Korea then from Singapore to Japan to Singapore to Korea and back to Singapore.
Aside from that, I’ve also always wanted to try the Rickshaw Run in India as well!
Aside from the basics (passport, USD$, credit card), what are three other travel essentials that are a must-bring things for you on your trip?
A: First aid kit with basic medications(very important), an action camera(Gopro), a good book and a good camera.
Is traveling in a group different from traveling individually?
A: Yes definitely. When I traveled with my then girl friend, naturally i have to be more alert and protective, but in exchange I get better solo travel pictures and travel videos taken. I feel choosing the person you travel with is also very important. You don’t want to be traveling with museum go-ers when you’re a theme park seeker and vice versa. You don’t want to be compromising your trip for your travel buddy. Do what you love/want to do, go where you want to go, after all you never know when you would be coming back to that country again.
Place to retire?
A: New Zealand, I haven’t been there yet to be honest, but its definitely on my list. Japan or Australia are also part of my consideration.
Most Beautiful place?
A: From my travels thus far, Canada and Boracay tops the list
A: It took alot of falling, and tumbling, but Snowboarding has been my favourite travel activity when I visit snowy countries.
Travel pet peeve?
A: Crying babies on a plane and Dirty/wet socks or socks that arent warm enough. I’ll need to have clean & fresh socks everyday!
A: To cover more of the bucket list
Whats on the bucket list?