This time last year I was preparing for my first foray into Asia. You can check out my posts on the Philippines and Japan part 1, 2, and 3 if you’re interested. I loved both of these places so much that I’m going back again later this month. This time I’ll be traveling to a new part of the Philippines instead of staying in the Clark/Angeles City area. I’ll be there for two weeks. Then I’m heading back to Japan for a week but spending most of my time in Kyoto with a short trip to Nara.
I’ll be traveling with a friend which will create a different dynamic than last time. We’ll likely stick close in the Philippines as we’re spending time with mutual friends. But I’m hoping she’ll branch out on her own once we reach Japan. On the plus side we’ve rented separate accommodations so I can get the quiet I need each day.
Here’s a short list of things I need to remember for this trip. Hopefully it can be helpful to others as well.
1. Seek quiet
Schedule in quiet time throughout the day. For me it’s in the morning and evening. I also keep a pretty early bed time so I’m feeling my best in the morning. I search for parks, gardens, and temples to explore if I need a break. I also leave open places in my schedule. This allows me to head back to my room if I need to. Or to randomly explore if the desire arises.
I love people watching. To soak in and absorb the unique sounds, scents, chatter, colors, and culture. You can learn so much by observing, picking up local customs simply by watching. And while I love taking photographs. I always make sure to put the camera down and just enjoy the experience.
3. Unwind and reflect
At the end of each day I pull out my travel journal and write for a while. By writing out my thoughts, feelings, and experiences, I can process them. It helps me wrap up and package the day’s events so I can look forward to what tomorrow brings.
4. Come prepared
I bring a few things to make my life easier. This includes a good book, headphones, an eye mask, and a portable battery charger. If you have any food allergies/sensitivities make sure you research safe things/places to eat. Also look up things to do, tours, local customs, etc. I find being mentally prepared ahead of time helps reduce the amount of stress I feel once I’m there.
5. Prioritize your needs
Getting the quiet time you need is super important. But so is taking care of yourself physically. Stay hydrated and get enough to eat. I bring lots of snacks because it’s not always easy to find gluten-free options. Ensure you get enough sleep so you can enjoy your trip and avoid getting sick. Check in with yourself throughout the day to assess how you’re feeling and make adjustments as necessary.
6. Accept your nature
Plan your itinerary based on your energy. I want adventure but I also need solitude. Choose a few awesome things to do. Then play the rest by ear. Or choose an attraction then explore the area. Wander along alleyways and check out what’s around that next corner. You never know what you may find. And don’t feel guilty if you can’t do everything.
7. Embrace the uncomfortable
Accept you’re in a new and different place. Revel in it, enjoy the differences. Take in the unique smells, tastes, and let the experience flow over and around you. It’s okay to feel out of place. Stepping out of your comfort zone can be terrifying but the rewards are incredible. One way I like to do this is by staying in a hostel (in a private room). I can get the quiet I need. But I can venture into the social spaces when I want to connect with others.
While I’m away I’ll be sharing travel quotes with photos from my trip last year. If there’s anything you’re interested in seeing from the trip (videos, introvert-friendly attractions, suggestions, etc) let me know.
Hope you have a great weekend!