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Tag Archives womentravel

Singapore: The Difference As A Student Vs Tourist

I’m sure you are all tired of hearing me tell the story of how I lived in Singapore. The beautiful city-state haha! Well, today is your lucky day because we are going to talk about the difference with being a student vs a tourist in another country. If you are new to the blog you need to know that I lived in Singapore for seven months and studied at the National University of Singapore.

I’ve only ever been both a tourist and a student in Singapore. I guess some people can argue that I could be considered a tourist in the UK, as I’ve lived as a student and could be a tourist in the UK, but I think it’s more fun in Singapore. Don’t you?

Before we get into the differences. I thought it would be wise to define the two for ease:

Tourist

Visting Singapore Gardens by the Bay

Usually, explore the local landmarks, sometimes if they are in the country long enough tourist can learn some keywords or phrases. Tourists can go as far as having a chat with the locals take some photos of the sights, try some local cuisines and end the trip with a fun souvenir. 

Student

student at nus

Students, on the other hand, live abroad, which gives them the chance to truly know and embrace a city. There is more time to discover the charming little streets with the best cafés and the ideal spots for authentic cuisine. You can end the stay with a life-changing experience that no one can take from you. 

There are benefits to both studying abroad and visiting a destination as a tourist. If you want to really get to know a city, a country or place. I would always suggest that it’s best to live and take in the culture, food and in this case sun.

Going back to Singapore as a tourist last year was quite an overwhelming experience for me. I had left Singapore six years ago a place I called home and was now returning as a tourist. The many memories that popped up while I sat in a taxi to my friend’s house, left me feeling quite sad. Memories of pretending to be a tourist in the first month. Living in Singapore going to the Singapore Zoo, clubbing and the Singapore flyer.

Above I defined the difference, but what was the difference for me?

Tourist vs. Student in Singapore

Visa Process

Student – you get a visa – mine was for six months. And trust me when I say it is hella of a long process! I arrived later at my uni/college than the other students. This required me to figure out how to do the visa myself! I didn’t know where I had to go and what I needed to bring with me. The staff were kind enough to allow me as they could see how frustrated and flustered I was.

One thing I do remember is not being able to locate my identity box. In Singapore, you are either African or British. You can’t be both Black British, like the UK. This was something that I was naive to believe was universal around the world.

If you want to ever see my student visa it I’m happy to send a picture to you (I still kept it after all these years).

Tourist – You get a stamped visa after completing a form (ask for one on the plane and have a pen). You are then with this stamp, able to stay up to 90 days as a tourist, on business or on a social visit. 

Language

Student – you may think that I learnt to speak Singaporean, but I’m afraid Singaporeans don’t speak Singaporean either. The country has a mixture of languages – Malay, Mandarin, Tamil, and English. As a student, I was able to speak English to all locals.

Tourist – As a tourist, I would even expect you to learn any of the languages. I was happy to of picked up on some words when I was a student (all of which I’ve forgotten).

Meeting People

Student – you will make lifelong friends. Honestly, I made such good friend that I’m still in contact with today. And get this. Last year I was fortunate enough to be at one of my international friend’s weddings and even better her bridesmaid. See the picture below – in due time I will be writing about my experience.

Dulang girls and Malaysian bridesmaid
friends in singapore

Tourist – I was able to meet up with friends, but with the length. Staying in Singapore as a tourist I knew I wasn’t about to make any life long friends.

Culture

Student – as a student, I was able to experience vast amounts of culture and more. I learnt about traditions, tasted the richness of food and more! My personal faves have to be chicken rice, chilli crab and stingray! My mouth waters as I write this!

chicken rice

Tourist – I guess I was at an advantage because I had already experienced living in Singapore as a student. However, as a tourist, there’s only so much you can try! I would suggest the meals I stated above – or you could subscribe and find out places to eat in Singapore.

Views of the World

Student – Looking back now, I felt like, I honestly was able to gain a new perspective of the world. I came home with fresh eyes to the world and was ready to explore more. I came back and felt out of places to my friends and family. Having experienced so much of a different life to them. Time had moved for me. I had seen and experienced a new and different world a new perspective and a new culture.

china town

Tourist – Hahaha! Of course, you can taste another side of the world as a tourist. However, I have to say that it’s never the same as living somewhere else!

Thank you for reading my experiences, I do hope you enjoyed them, and it encourages you to move abroad. Have you ever been both a tourist and student or lived in the same country. What was it like share your comments below.

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My Very First WitSummit In Riga, Latvia

I am still reliving the Witsummit conference that I attended last month. When I relaunched my blog this year, I knew I wanted to take it seriously. I had long hard conversations with Jenna of JennasWorldView about why I should relaunch my blog. She and others wouldn’t let me rest.

Always so grateful to the encouragement, because 6 months later I’m writing about my first travel conference. I had written down that I was keen to network by going to more events, stay consistent and invest on my platform. Read: Tips On How to Get Your Groove Back Into Regular Content

My Very First WitSummit In Riga, Latvia

This was my very first travel conference abroad, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I am mean what are you supposed to expect? At the event, there were influencers, bloggers and industry members all ready for a weekend to share information, network and more. The event was held in Riga at the Radisson Blue Latvija Conference and Spa Hotel. I, of course, stayed in a hostel! JOKING – I stayed in an Airbnb.  

wanderful

What is WitSummit? 

The Woman in Travel Summit (WITS) is an event for travel influences, creators, and industry. Running for six years, it brings together some of travel’s top talent to discuss future innovations, builds dynamic collaborations, and change to the travel industry worldwide. It does this all while supporting and empowering a diverse community. WITS is organised by Wanderful, a top network for women travellers with a reach of over 40k worldwide! Amazing right?!

I can tell you now that I was extremely excited about this event! On arrival, I couldn’t believe the various women I met and from all over the world. These women were all real nomads. It was great being in an environment where women shared a genuine love for travel and content creating! I felt like the conference had a real intimate nature.

Cost:

The event itself cost me around €149 (euros) – please note this ticket was purchased on a discounted rate. I believe the original price for the event was around €249Again note the ticket price is not included in your transport or accommodation – this was all done separately. If you would like to know the details please contact me. My flight was reasonable, at £65 pounds. I flew with the lovely cheap and cheerful Ryanair (ya’ll start paying me) booked via my absolute fave Skyscanner!

I arrived on a Thursday evening (quite late in the evening); surprised by how friendly Latvian people were to me. After everything that happened to me in Greece, I must admit my guard has been on real high alert! But I was really put at ease when I arrived. 

On my first day…

The first day was an early start for me! You should know I don’t do early mornings unless I am catching a flight! 

I had to wake up bright and early to do my make up and get my eyelashes on and meet the tour guide for my trip to Ķemeri National Park. This was a very memorable experience indeed, and you should read more about it. The day went quite quickly. After lunch, we were taken back to the hotel, where I was given the option to register early. Exhausted after such an eventful day, I decided to head back to my Airbnb and have a nap.  

The night finished off with a WitSummit evening welcome party! Impressed by this event is an understatement! It was absolutely amazing! A great way to see how everything was planned and organised.

We were picked up from the hotel via coach and taken to the venue for our party and dropped back. There was performances, food (you know you have won me over when you have food at an event), a DJ’s and a photo booth – check out the photos below:

I met some amazing women, some of which I had been following for a while.  Of course, I wanted to enjoy the night some more so went out to party with my new friends afterwards. We event went on to an Afro Pop party. I have no comments on how that party went but knew it was time for a girl to go home!   

On my second day… 

The second day was the opening day! This was the first official day of the WitSummit. I woke up bright and early to head over to my sessions. The first session I went to – Achieving Success on a Global Scale: Pitching Brands for Products, Payments, and Press Trips. It was about growing your blog and how to turn it into a business where you can create your own opportunities. These were the speakers for the session:  

Kirsty Leanne of Plus Size Travel Too 

Kirsty Leanne is a Plus Size Travel Blogger from the West Midlands, UK. With a successful travel blog and five years of experience behind her, Kirsty has become a spokesperson when it comes to pitching brands as a micro-influencer. 

Pola Henderson of Jetting Around 

Pola Henderson is a travel writer, city explorer, and founder of the blog Jetting Around. She has been featured as a writer or travel expert on CNN, MasterCard, Expedia, NPR, WBEZ Chicago, and more. Travelling has been a part of her life since she was three.  

Although I was 5 mins late, I was extremely impressed by what I gained from the session. I learnt about how to pitch to brands and most importantly, how to have confidence in my own personal brand!  

The second session I went to was a called – Building Travel Campaigns that Reflect the Diversity of the World We Live In. An insightful talk about diversity and inclusion in the travelling world. These were the speakers for the session:   

Vivienne Dovi of Melanin Travel 

Vivienne Dovi is the founder of Melanin Travel, a platform creating events, guides and content for the African Diaspora. Combining her 20+ years of travel and passion for diversity, Vivienne turned her lived experiences into a bustling community of over 13,000 travellers. 

Martinique Lewis of Skyroom

Martinique Lewis is diversity in travel consultant, content creator, and Influencer Manager. Trusted amongst her peers as a “connector,” she is always connecting the dots to ensure the travel industry is mindful of diversity and not just as a “buzzword.”

witsummit

Cherrie Osborne of Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority 

Cherrie Osborne has become a familiar name in the tourism industry, not just in the United Kingdom, but across Europe and in the Caribbean. Her distinguished reputation, far and wide, has grown over the years 

Jamie-Lee Abtar of The Travel Marketer 

Jamie-Lee Abtar is a travel marketer, brand builder and creative innovator. A regular speaker on topical travel issues, Jamie-Lee has a history of helping travel brands to build strong, profitable relationships, conceptualising. 

After these sessions, we were served with lunch, another great way to speak and network with other women from around the world. 

Power Networking Sessions

WitSummit organised a Power Networking session, which allowed me to book meeting and speak to a few brands that work with travel content creators like myself. A very full, packed and engaging day. The night finished off with a lovely meal at Ludo and a trip to the opera house to watch the ballet. Read 11 Amazing Things You Must Do In Riga, Latvia

On my third day… 

The final day was the best! Again, it was another early start attending sessions and more networking! 

The first session was at 9 am in the morning! Called Instagram: Understanding Analytics and Using the Power of Stories to Grow Your Brand. Here I was about to learn how to grow my Instagram following! The speaker for this sessions was lovely. Still, I don’t personally feel that the course was for me. All the same, it was good to go along and again network with different women. The speaker for this was: 

Nour Brahimi 

witsummit

Nour Brahimi is a storyteller, the first Algerian travel YouTuber, and the first female Algerian travel vlogger. A 2019 nominee for Best Algerian YouTuber of the Year and Best Algerian Instagrammer of the Year, her goal is to break stereotypes with online video and to empower women.

The next session called: What’s Your Story? How to Bridge the Gap Between Narrative Storytelling and SEO.  Here I learnt the power of SEO. The speaker for this: 

Flora Baker of Flora the Explorer 

WItsummit speaker and audience
Flora Baker speaking on SEO

The blogger Flora Baker is a freelance travel writer whose work has appeared in National Geographic Traveller and Coastal Living. Over the last decade, she has worked with Bollywood celebrities in India and musicians in Iceland, built artificial limbs in Bolivia and constructed houses in Brazil. 

And the final session was closed with a keynote from Lola Akinmade Åkerström. She spoke about finding your true passion and challenged the audience to understand that travel is not their only passion. 

Lola Akinmade Åkerström 

Lola at Witsummit with MyBreakingViews

Lola Akinmade Åkerström explores culture through food, tradition, and lifestyle for high profile publications such as National Geographic Traveler, BBC, The Guardian, and Lonely Planet, amongst others. She has collaborated with many well-known.

The questions Lola asked were incredibly insightful because it forced me to ask myself some hard questions – like why do I love to travel? And what really is my true passion? I am still figuring that out, but I hope to get there soon. 

Lola giving her presentation

Beth Santos Wanderful / Women in Travel Summit 

Beth is the Founder and CEO of Wanderful and creator of the Women in Travel Summit.

On my final day… 

I stayed an extra day to see more of Riga. Another early start (I think by now you can tell that I am not big on my early mornings lol). We took a taxi to the most colourful church I have ever seen in my life. I would say it’s actually an excellent location for Instagram photos! Check out mine below: 

We then bought some croissants and headed back to the hotel for our walking tour in Riga! I, of course, took lots of pictures and learnt a lot about the history of Latvia. I would suggest to anyone in Riga to take a walking tour. 

Final thoughts of WitSummit 

witsummit timetable

I am delighted to of attended the European WitSummit! It was good, to network, and be in an environment of likeminded people! I think I will be definitely considering going to the next one in Gdansk! You can buy your tickets now!

Thank you for taking the time to have a read of my first travel conference abroad with WitSummit! Have you ever been to a travel conference which ones?

pintrest

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Bali, Indonesia: My Experience, an Itinerary of What I did Part 2

Carrying on from my post Indonesia Bali & Travelling Solo where I touched on how you could travel solo to Bali. I was only in Bali for 4 days, and felt like I managed to get quite a lot done! Hopefully I can break down a few things that I was able to do which you too might want to incorporate into your trip to Bali. The Rainy season (Jan to April and October to November).  

I didn’t apply for a Visa with a British Passport. However, I would suggest doing some research and confirming what visa (if you need one) you should get. Get your head around the current visa situation there are three main visa types for visitors: 

Visa Free  

Citizens of most countries can receive a 30-day visa for free upon arrival. The visa cannot be extended.  If you have obtained one of the coveted 60-day visas in advance, be sure the immigration official at the airport gives you a 60-day tourist card.  

Visa in Advance  

Visitors can apply for a visa before they arrive in Indonesia. Typically, this is a visitor’s visa, which is valid for 30 or 60 days. Details vary by country; contact your nearest Indonesian embassy or consulate to determine processing fees and times.

Please note: that this is the only way to obtain a 60-day visitor visa, even if you qualify for Visa on Arrival (VOA).  

Visa on Arrival  

Citizens of most countries can apply for a 30-day visa. A visa like this can be collected upon arrival. The cost is 528,000Rp, payable by cash (no coins) or credit card; currencies are accepted in amounts equivalent to the fee in Rp. VOA renewals for 30 days are possible.  

Things to do  

  1. Massages with Flower Bath 
  2. Breakfast in the pool 
  3. Try some coffee at the famous coffee plantation 

Place to visit   

  1. Pura Lempuyang Temple 
  2. Tirta Gangga  
  3. Tukad Cepung Waterfall 
  4. Tegalalang Rice Terraces  
  5. Swing in the Jungle 
  6. Monkey Forest  
  7. Ubud Palace  

Restaurants  

  1. Potato Head Beach Club 
  2. KYND 
  3. Bali Bola 

Hope you enjoyed the list of things you need to do and the pictures. If you would like to see more then follow me on Instagram.

Have you ever been to Bali? What did you do while you was there?

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What I Learnt on my Solo Travel to Vegas

If I were to say to you that I travelled from Los Angeles to Vegas on my lonesome by bus, would you believe me? Being the traveller that I am, I’m used to taking solo flights across country by myself with the small exception of someone always waiting for me on the other side. This year, I decided that I was going to attend Coachella with some friends who live America, who would then have to go back to their respective homes after the weekend festivities – unfortunately for my dear friends, Americans don’t get the best annual leave entitlements.

One thing I knew for sure though, after an 11-hour flight, a weekend just wouldn’t be enough for me and I wasn’t about to go home that quickly. I decided to stick around and travel solo to Vegas.

From then on, I knew I was going to have to do some travelling alone….

Now don’t get it twisted, I can admit that I may have been slightly dramatic about it at first, I had so many thoughts rushing through my head like, “isn’t it weird to travel by yourself?” or “what good is travelling if its not a shared experience?” let me not forget my personal fave, “who’s going to take my pictures?”which actually didn’t turn out to be too bad, who would’ve known the world had so many budding photographers, believe me when I say they did better than some of my closest friends (I know my friends won’t take offence LOOL)

There is something truly special about traveling alone, I feel like I had enough me time to think through a lot of things, things that would be beneficial to myself, and others around me. It was a refreshing experience and I would like to share the seven things I learnt whilst travelling solo.

When you’re travelling with friends, you tend to spend too much time on entertaining each other rather than socialising and meeting new people. 

Travelling solo brought new confidence within me as I had to encourage myself to speak with the locals, I found that people tend to be more open and friendly when you tell them you’re from abroad and travelling by yourself, they would suggest cool and funky places I should visit during my time there.

Disclaimer – I wouldn’t suggest telling everybody that you are travelling by yourself, remember stranger danger, and not everybody is your friend. Use your discretion wisely.

5 Reason to Travel Solo

Do what you want to do, when you want to do it

Sometimes with friends, you aren’t able to do everything you would like to, as you would also have to take into consideration their wants and needs, which could prove to be difficult to coordinate in a short space of time. There seems to be an endless amount of planning (boring!) then you have those with the ‘assigned/ unassigned’ roles, you have your leaders, your followers, and the unbothered’s who just go with the flow. Travelling alone made me be all of those at once. It was amazing, when I wanted to go home, I went home; I went wherever I wanted to, whenever I wanted to, it was just GREAT!!

It’s empowering

When you travel alone, you can’t rely on someone else to read the map or carefully organise your day, you must do it all.  And it’s easy. you will find out very quickly at every step, that you can rise to the occasion. You have no choice. By making your own plans and caring for yourself, you’ll find you come away stronger, more confident and self-reliant.

Alone time is good for your soul 

Alone time is so therapeutic, naturally, I am an introvert and so is my boyfriend. We have always agreed that this sometimes can be a negative trait. At home, I’m a very distant person, that sometimes it can feel like it’s you against the world. However, when you are alone in another country, you can have time to really connect with yourself away from the bullshit reality that we live day in and day out. It forces you to search your soul. Then come back home with dreams you never knew you even had, its like a deeper spiritual feeling.

New friends are not that hard to come by

Being in America with a British accent really worked to my advantage. It can sometimes be intimidating speaking with new people but if you never try, how will you know where your conversation could lead you. On my way to the Grand Canyon from Las Vegas, I met a lovely lady and her mother who took me under their wing for the day. We had such a great time and I don’t regret plucking up the courage to speak with them. I have now met someone who I am very much likely to carry on speaking to for years to come.

Thank God for Social Media

My friends always knew where I was, we made sure to have quick check-ins. Despite being in different countries I knew that if my friends didn’t see an update on social media for more than 48 hours they would begin to worry; a definite plus was that I was in an English-speaking country so no language barriers, and being Daddy’s girl. My dad who also lives in the states was always checking up on me, making sure I wasn’t getting up to no good.

You were born in this world alone, you will die alone, so what’s stopping you from exploring the wonders of this world alone

It may sound a bit harsh but I mean this in the nicest way possible, I feel like people need to remember that you cannot rely on anybody but God and yourself. One of my realisations whilst travelling solo was that I was going to be fine by myself, and guess what I was, I met some beautiful people that I would now consider lifetime friends.

So GO ahead, take the leap, It’s time do real things by yourself, for yourself; If you have a place you’ve wanted to go. Don’t know anyone to go with, look no further, just do it, by yourself and travel solo.

What about yourself, would you ever travel solo, where?

Leave a comment in the description box, and let me know about your experience.

Also Read: How Did I Travel To 15 Countries In 7 Months??

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