Travel is a way of life, and one thing I’ve learned in my years of travel is that there are so many different ways of travel, so no matter what your lifestyle, you can find a way to make travel a part of your life if that’s what you want. But one of the most unusual travellers I’ve met is a friend of mine who made it a point to travel to a brand new country every month in 2013, even while holding down a full-time job.
Yes it’s possible. Also yes her schedule looked a bit insane, we’ll talk more about it below.
(She’d rather remain anonymous, but we’ll just call my friend Luci for ease of reference… it’s a bit of an inside joke)
A new country every month for a year
Luci is a friend and a colleague who decided to set herself the goal of travelling somewhere foreign and new to her at least once every month in 2013, not counting the add-ons to places she’s been to. That means she’s set to visit 12 (or more) new places this year! Here’s where she’s been or has lined up in 2013 so far – you’ll see what I mean by ‘interesting travel pattern’!
- JAN – Tokyo (3D2N)
- FEB – Istanbul (3D2N)
- MAR – Perth (3D2N), Hong Kong (1D), Bali (2D1N)
- APR – Milan (3D2N), Bangkok (2D1N)
- MAY – Copenhagen (3D2N), Hong Kong (2D1N)
- JUN – Oslo (4D3N)
- JUL – Taipei (2D1N), Yokohama? (2D1N)
- AUG – London and Edinburgh
- SEP – Amsterdam/Vienna? Hongkong (2D1N)
- OCT – Melbourne to catch a Noel Coward Play
- NOV – San Francisco/Chicago?
- DEC – Still thinking about it, someplace quiet to spend the crossover from 2013 to 2014…
How awesome (or crazy depending on your own sanity) is this list? Jokingly she called herself the Transit Traveller, but the amount of time just spent flying is pretty amazing. Read on to hear more from Luci herself.
Tell me and my Occasional Traveller readers how you came to set yourself this unusual goal?
Luci: Two reasons: turning 40, time to be good to myself; and I needed that regular dosage of transient perspective to break the flat-line syndrome of everyday life as a result of a change in job scope change (Jac: I quoted her verbatim – that’s a fancy way of saying she got bored).
How do you find the time to visit all these places? That’s 8 cities in just 6 months so far!
Luci: I don’t need to spend a long time in a place to enjoy my trip or feel like I’ve maximized it. Two nights is usually enough to give me that initial feeling about the city and see the main sights. Also, I only have 18 days of leave (Jac: LIKE ME) so I can’t afford to spend too long in one location if I want to travel every month. Weekends and public holidays are helpful in managing leave days of course…
I try to plan about 2 months in advance for some of the more distant locations, but have been known to just take of on-spur-of-the-moment trips if it’s over the weekend.
How do you decide where to go?
Luci: Given that I only fly Singapore Airlines, it’s basically anywhere that they fly to. Choosing a location is not a precise science, it’s mostly random and based on whether a place ‘speaks’ to me. The only criteria is that for each month, one of the places should be somewhere I’ve never visited before, but I’m breaking this rule in Aug and Oct because I’m making these trips to catch performances…
What about the cost? It seems quite a lot of money is spent on flights alone! How do you manage that?
Luci: I rack up a lot of miles with my Krisflyer membership, especially with the long trips so redeeming those miles helps to fund some of the subsequent flights. I am extremely particular about cleanliness and customer service so I’m willing to pay more for top-notch hotels and amenities, but it helps that the trips are short as well. I don’t usually spend on shopping or eating on these trips, so I’m lower maintenance in those aspects.
In my daily life I generally don’t shop very much to begin with, I don’t collect a lot of things (Jac: I can attest to this, her house is really sparse) though I have a weakness for the occasional expensive shoe. On average perhaps half my monthly pay goes to travel.
What else is on the cards for 2013? Will you be keeping this up in 2014?
Luci: 2013 for me is about breadth – I’m looking to cover a large number of places, hence setting myself the goal of going to so many places that I have never been before. You can consider it research for 2014 where my travel objective will be depth, and I hope to spend more time in some of these places that I liked from my taster trips in 2013.
Besides this unusual trip pattern for 2013, I got Luci to share a little more about her travel tastes – she’s no stranger to very short trips, and has even accomplished day trips to places like Hong Kong and even Japan from Singapore.
- Country on your Bucket List: Morocco
- Country you never want to visit: China (and I quote: “My Rimowa and I can’t deal with crowds and loudness at the same time!” She really doesn’t like crowds and she has fancy luggage.)
- Country you’ve visited but will never go back to: South Korea, well maybe give me a few years to get over my bad experience there.
- Best trip to date: Taking the Transiberian Railway from Ulaanbaatar to Ulan Ude
- Most focused trip: A trip up to Tokyo from Singapore for the sole purpose of catching the release of my favourite author Haruki Murakami’s book turned film ‘Norwegian Wood’ despite not knowing a lick of Japanese, and walking the streets listed in the book for a full immersion. (Jac: she is a HUGE Murakami fan)
This turned out to be a pretty interesting interview for me because I’m personally exploring trying to slow down my travels and spend more time taking in a place – it just seems a pity to spend so little time in a new place! But to each her own – it did remind me that people travel in such varied ways and for lots of different reasons and ultimately there’s no wrong or right way to go about it, just what works best for yourself, bizarre as it may sound to the next person.
The great thing about starting The Occasional Traveller is that it’s given me so many opportunities to reach out and talk to people around me about travel, so if you know anyone or you yourself hold a full-time job and have an interesting story to tell about how you travel, leave a comment or drop me a note through the contact page. If you’re curious to find out more about Luci’s travelling style, drop a comment here as well and I promise I’ll get her to reply you =)