2020- "A chance to be still", I said to myself. I had been wanting this for some time and up until this year, it had been difficult to make it happen. Why you may ask? Because outside travel is essential to survival inside. Living in a city like Shanghai has its upsides, but there are also many hard factors that we have to “deal” with, so quick escapes to neighboring countries usually act as quick fixes to our woes. But this year- post COVID-19, life, has, like many, hardly allowed us to venture out.
On January 23rd, 2020, I excitedly boarded a flight with my friend, as we were about to embark on a 'girls trip' from Shanghai to the Philippines. A few weeks before that, the Taal Volcano had erupted in a town south of Manila, and the Manila airport shut down for safety precautions. We were a bit anxious about flying into that airport, but a few days before our flight, something more concerning happened. The announcement of the Coronavirus outbreak in China.
Somewhere in Indonesia, is a place called Sumba.
Called the forgotten island by some.
…And a Frenchman ;)
But, let's skip to the talk about the trip to France itself!
As a child growing up in Trinidad, I'd always get excited whenever we went to a beach that had a small cove or that involved a small hike and adventure in getting there.
My sisters, friends, and I were always in desperate search of adventure by the water, and my time in the Algarve region of Portugal reminded me of that never-ending and somewhat unfulfilled quest during my childhood. Filled with coves, caves, hikes, and surprises around every corner, I felt a great sense of accomplishment for my younger self as I explored the South of Portugal.
How do you know where to go?
Maybe it starts with a recommendation from a friend, or a post you see on Instagram. A cheap flight that you randomly found online, a long layover or a crazy close your eyes, spin the globe and go where your finger lands? Whichever way it may be, I’m sure that somewhere soon after you’d Google.
“You know the saying, if you can make it in New York, you can make it anywhere? Well, there’s a saying in Berlin, if you can’t make it here, you can’t make it anywhere.” – My Berliner roommate.
*So I guess I can’t make it anywhere…
HELLO, from the settled side!
You know, the life I said I’d try out this year?
Thus far, settled life has included the usual, discovering more about myself, acing adulting, and enjoying life even more. I have also been thinking less about life after “Hai” and focusing more on spending quality time in this vibrant city - even taking fewer and shorter trips out of Shanghai.
Traveling is awesome!
Going places, meeting new people, trying new foods, swimming in oceans and hiking to mountaintops. Viewing cities from skyscrapers, drinking wine street side, and checking out street style are all experiences that can make traveling somewhat of an addiction.
But sometimes, the actual journey to get there isn’t as glamorous. The long flights and layovers, smelly buses, taxis and the taxi driver that rips you off or drops you off at the wrong hotel, leaving you stranded and confused.
Ferries that bring on seasickness, tuk-tuks in hot dusty weather, the middle seat, looking for your hotel and hauling heavy bags along the street hungry, tired, and in desperate need of a shower!!
“Go with the flow, but in style.”
It’s my motto, in life and in travel, and creating a brand like BagLady Basics has made this seamlessly possible. It’s also the mentality I had when my friend Ayesha invited me to meet up with her in Prague.
She’d extended the invitation at the end of summer, as I was still in Berlin (on my “Little Shepherd Girl” shit), and I figured, why not. I’d been keen on visiting this superbly beautiful city for some time, and it was only a cheap bus ride away!