My first ever taste of travel was probably the craziest if I’m honest. I had decided – despite only ever taking 2 internal NZ flights in my life – to pack up my life and move to the UK. On my own. Only knowing one person on the other side of the world. At twenty years old. So, so many things could have gone wrong.
To temper things slightly, I booked a week layover in Singapore between the long haul flights crossing the planet.
I arrived after a 12 hour flight into Changi airport at 3am, not knowing a soul, never having experienced jet lag or been confronted with security guards wearing scary guns strapped across their chests. (I wasn’t confronted by them I hasten to add!)
I didn’t own a smart phone – so checking in with my worries parents was by text message on one of those amazing Nokia phones (one that still works today, and I suspect is hardy enough to survive the apocalypse.)
Having decided that getting into a taxi in a strange company in the middle of the night was too crazily adventurous for even my blood, I booked into an airport hotel and languorously (it’s possible in your twenties) stretched out the kinks of my economy cricked back.
Waking up the next morning, and trying to open a window only to realise just where I was, I raced through getting dressed to head out into a tropical island city I had only ever dreamed about.
Armed only with my carry on, having trusted my most precious stuff in all the world to customs officials, I meandered through passport control to, well, nothing.
As far as the eye could see there was no massive red suitcase anywhere. Freaking out slightly and grabbing the nearest friendly looking airport official, she smiled at my predicament and goes “oh no, don’t worry, it will be with lost and found. Just go over there…”
After a touch of gesticulating, I was thankfully reunited with my worldly goods, and strode out into the Singaporean humidity. Making friends with my cab driver (I ended up partying with him and his friends at a club that night) and discovering that one of my (many, many) cousins was living in the island – and amazingly running into him on Orchard Road, I learned that some times truth is stranger than fiction…
10 years on I visited as a 48 hour stopover, and the city has undergone a complete metamorphosis.
Some things though have never changed…
What is your travel story?