Have any of you tried travelling alone?
When it comes to travelling solo (especially for first-timers), a lot of nagging thoughts will come to mind. ‘Is it safe to travel alone without anyone by your side?’. ‘What if there is a crisis in the country you are in?’, some thoughts that may appear in your bubbles of thoughts.
Tripfez had a chat with an old-timer (a young man, actually) when it comes to travelling.
Worry not because Firdaus ‘Keropok Lekor” has something to share! So let’s read on and let’s hear what he has to say.
T: Hi, Firdaus! Tell me about yourself briefly.
F: I’m Firdaus, 27 years old, working as a travel consultant at a travel agency company. I’m also a tour guide and I’ve travelled since my university years. I studied Diploma in Tourism Management and Bachelor of Tourism Management at UUM Sintok, Kedah. I’ve travelled to more than 30 countries around the world. I spend most of the free time with my family, cycling, swimming and diving at islands. Occasionally, I get invitations to be a speaker at universities/colleges and share my experience with the students.
T: Do you have some tips on travelling? And what have you learnt from the experiences?
F: To be honest my preferred travelling style is DIY (Do It Yourself). It gives me the freedom to plan and make my own arrangement as I have been travelling ever since I was a toddler. I have a group of friends who are avid travellers and we will participate in travel talks and seminars to keep up with the latest travel trends. We would focus on starter pack on backpacking, the targeted place or destinations, overall budget, booking, and we usually will cover more than 30 countries in South East Asia.
In 2016, I was featured in a local travelogue that is meant to inspire and is useful for backpackers. My writing was published in “Travel Solo di China”, “Sesat di China”’, focusing on languages, the places etc in China. My advice to those who want to travel or newbies is to plan a trip somewhere near or locally first. If you do not have enough money, you can do a part-time job(s) during the weekend and save up so that you can travel to the desired destination! Plus, each (famous) traveller has their own techniques that are different from others. You can make them as an inspiration!
Travelling solo has taught me to be independent and patient. It is a journey to know myself as I’m continuously learning new skills and polishing my problem-solving skills whenever I face difficulty in life. Hence, it is also taught me to make wise decisions and solutions and subsequently, being a good Muslim!
T: What are the differences in travelling in your own country (hot weather) and other countries (cold weather)?
F: or an example, when I was travelling to India when I need to go to the toilet I preferred and it is advisable to go for big hotels because some places do not have a proper toilet. First and foremost, you need to go to the receptionist, just pay for a few rupees and you can use their toilet.
Apart from that, when you are travelling you need to bring along your medicine, pills. Planning is a must, at least 2 or 3 months before you go travelling abroad. The most crucial part is to read the review of the tourist, the conditions of the places, the hostel (if you are a backpacker).
T: What are the factors that attracted you the most when you chose that place to travel?
F: Personally, I love history and cultures! I enjoy visiting temples for its mystical vibes, being in nature, and exploring the city. One of the most exotic countries I’ve been to is Japan because of their culture and punctuality!
T: In your opinion, what are the differences between Asian and western countries?
F: Based on my experience, sadly, there are westerners who still believe that they are superior to Asians. Even though countries like China, Hong Kong and Singapore are considered as modern and well-developing countries in the Asia region, many of them assume that all Asian countries are backwards.
T: Which culture that made an impact or touched you and you think we can apply or adapt it to Malaysian culture?
F: It’s high time that Malaysians should follow fellow neighbouring countries such as Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan’s footsteps when it comes to their public transportation’s systems. They are far more organised, and their departure and arrival time are PUNCTUAL.
T: In your opinion, does tourism bring harm to the earth? Share your thoughts.
F: Of course it will if we do not something to prevent it from happening. Perhaps we cannot fully prevent it but we can reduce the chances of harming our animals’ kingdom and nature. We need strict(er) policies, but then again, without enforcement, there will be no changes. The good news is beyond our control when the tourist attractions of the countries involving animal torture and circus.
As a tour guide, I always advise the group I lead that these attractions usually will torture the elephants in order for them to do the show and elephant rides. I would encourage the tourists to just take photos, instead of riding them, although it is beyond my control if they decided not to follow my advice.
T: What do you see in the future of tourism?
F: The tourism industry will thrive further in the future and there will be more income as this industry still has higher demands. It includes hotel industry, transportation industry, advertising industry that will ensure the marketing strategy succeeded etc. Unfortunately, the tourism industry is a sensitive industry because there are a few factors that will cause loss to the industry. For examples, earthquakes, war, riot, epidemics and so on.
T: Countries or places that you want or plan to go in the future?
F: Firstly, I would like to go to Pakistan because of its wonderful nature, the authentic food, currency and hospitality. Hence, the unique architecture!
Secondly, Egypt. I would love to visit the pyramids and want to know more about the history of those places.
Thirdly, Tehran. I would like to try to backpack there. Even though there are some issues on the religion but it will be going to be interesting!
Thank you so much for sharing your experience, Firdaus. Welcome to our travel community, #tripfezroamers!