I had several places in mind, those fun and interesting trips i've been to (camping in the northern part of the Philippines, breakfast with view of the Celebes Sea at the south, Cotabato where i saw the most number of armed marines i've never seen in my entire life, eating ostrich burger in an ostrich farm grill, among many others), but i still consider my Phuket trip few years back the most unforgettable (and most challenging). Listing down why:
1. It's the first time to go on my own.
2. It involves a lot of planning: learning the language, reading local map, clothes to wear, etc.
3. Before the trip, i had to file lost passport and get a new one. It was a headache due to citizenship issues. I had to bring a whole bunch of documents (school records from middle school to college, professional cv) to prove that i grew up in the Philippines. I came back three times, had to go through different lanes, and got interrogated about my whereabouts for the past ten years before i finally got my passport. We don't have a criminal record in the family. My last name just spelled illegal alien to them.
4. I sketched some interesting things to document every stop i made by land and by sea. Unfortunately, i lost the drawing journal somewhere in Bangkok.
5. I didn't have much money. I was worried about survival. What if i have to dine out? What if i want to go to the night market and buy gifts?
6. I attended a business conference and i was really worried about holding on my own. Everyone in the meeting room were CEOs, executives, managers, and i was just a twenty year old. Very awkward.
7. Work didn't cover half of the week's stay. I had plenty of time going around. Of course, i didn't play golf with the CEOs but i went to visit temples, animal houses, night markets and many places i could fit in the remaining days of the week.
8. I went island hopping and snorkeling, had a speed boat leg injury (huge bruise souvenir), and saw baby sharks. Elephants everywhere. Elephants hanging out like they're your best buddies.
9. Getting stuck in a van that played local Thai music with Thais happily singing along with it. I have never felt so out of place. :)
10. I almost missed the plane from Phuket to Bangkok because i was too sleepy. The flight from Bangkok to Manila was an hour delayed so i napped and almost missed the boarding time again. The cons of travelling alone.
As the plane landed back to NAIA, i was carrying additional weight of confidence in my luggage. After surviving the solo trip, i think i can go to Iceland, Africa or Egypt hahah (i seriously want to visit Egypt) and can still come back home alive. I plan to start with Ladispoli if the timing and funds permit it this year or early next.