Monday, May 5, 2008


Travelling has always been one of my favourite pastimes... From as far back as my younger days when my mom would bring us to Singapore on the train. There are many ways to travel... Those who look for the convenience can simply opt for tour packages whereas those of us who are more adventurous can travel on our own whether by renting a car or by backpacking.

I guess I'm fortunate to have been able to pretty much try a lot of different modes of travelling. Each has its own pros & cons but I'd have to say that regardless of whatever setbacks there may be, backpacking's pretty much my preferred mode of travel... I guess this goes all the way back to my first backpacking trip to Europe where I travelled to parts of Spain, Lisbon (Portugal) and also Helsinki (Finland). The main reason why I chose to backpack was the cost. I was hoping to save by making my own travel arrangements and as well, wanted to have a feel of staying at Youth Hostels... Considering the conversion rate to Euro, doesn't take a genius to figure out why... :-)

But anyway, I guess I liked the idea of wandering on my own. I have pretty much travelled on my own in the past in Vancouver & Toronto. Those were quite easy as all you needed was a tourist map from the nearest tourist information center. From then, just identify the places you wanted to see and just walk around on your own... Backpacking is also a practical means of travelling especially if you like wandering around instead of following a timetable. With tour packages, ask anyone who has gone on one and they would tell you the same thing... Waking up at 7 am... rushing through breakfast.. whizzing on a tour bus from one place to another... and worst of all.. tourist traps!!!

Back in Spain... I had first planned a rough itinerary that included places like Sevilla, Toledo, Granada, Barcelona and so on... But due to some unforeseen circumstances, overstayed at Sevilla... I eventually decided to forego Toledo and moved on instead to Granada. This flexibility, I really liked. I was then able to wander around Sevilla a little bit more and in the process was able to visit Italica, which was an ancient Roman town... This has always been a dream of mine... Short of planning a trip to Rome... I could also move around at my own pace as compared to going on a tour package.

Since then, I've backpacked to Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam... all of which are long stories of their own but I guess I really feel that everyone should backpack once in their life... Tell me your experience and why you like or don't like backpacking...

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