Travel Singapore: Appreciating the Simplicities of Traveling

August 27, 2015

Sitting down and planning my text about Singapore, I immediately started going through the most extraordinary places I saw, and the most different and notable things that happened to me. But I didn’t really know what to write about. I’m certainly not the first person to visit the country, so what made my trip special? What made it worth writing and reading about?

Travel Singapore: Appreciating the Simplicities of Traveling.

I could exaggerate and write about how I went running in the humid tropical forests of southeast Asia, when I actually only climbed the stairs in Mount Faber Park, before sitting down, sweating and longing for air-conditioning. But that didn’t feel right. So I started pondering. What actually happened? People do wonderful travels, with impressive excursions, and rare trips, often. What was my trip like? I had a great time, but I want to talk about the core of my experience, and what that was made up of. Why my trip was memorable.

I soon realized that traveling isn’t just about the remarkable sightings, it’s just as much about the things you taste, the things you hear, the people you speak to, and the feelings you evoke, when you are there. After a few weeks, one finds her routines, and as you get comfortable, the adventurous feeling fades bit by bit.

The things you remember the most about a journey aren’t those picturesque Instagram photos that attracted likes, it’s the smells, the sounds, and the thoughts that blew through your mind.

Sometimes I got stressed; I hadn’t done as much as I had planned, and sometimes I got frustrated; shouldn’t I be actively searching for more one-of-a-kind experiences? But I eventually understood that the experience doesn’t lie in the cool pictures you have in your phone, it’s rather a mix of all memories that you brought home with you.

I saw some pretty cool things during my three weeks in Singapore, and indeed I have some nice photos saved. But, when I look back, the things I treasure most aren’t those moments. There were so many other elements that made an important mark on this journey. It was the small, seemingly unnoticeable things that I remember the most from my trip to Singapore.

So I decided to list my best moments of three weeks in Singapore, those moments that made me feel free, happy, and ecstatic:

  • The view from the airplane as it starts its inflight over the city, and being able to see the island and the country. The cabin lights being turned off, to see the glowing place clearer. Feeling an immense excitement as your adventure is beginning.
  • Adrenaline pumping through my veins as I walked through Changi even after a 12-hour flight, knowing the metropolis lies ahead of me as an unopened present with endless possibilities and freedom.
  • The sweet taste of kaya-toast, hot with lots of butter.
  • Henderson Waves, between Telok Blangah Hill Park and Mount Faber Park 70 metres up in the air. Climbing the stairs in 35 Celsius degree heat breaking all records of sweating, and finally reaching the breathtaking view on top. Green luscious bushes, fresh air, blue skies. Feeling more alive than ever.
  • Standing in the warm night, looking at the lights of the central business district in the dark. Facing the majestic skyscrapers and feeling so small, yet so important.
  • The view from the Singapore flyer in the morning at the earliest opening hours during the weekdays. Clear weather, just you and the city. Seeing the contrast between the concrete jungle on one side, and the tropical jungle on the other.
  • Late night shopping in Bugis. Wandering around for hours among people, fruit, candy, and cheap fashion, discovering something new everywhere.
  • People-watching at Orchard Road on a Sunday afternoon. Snacking on an ice cream sandwich or some sweet pastry.
  • When your body follows the movements of the MRT, and finally learning the little jerk it does right before stopping, and being able to match it without losing balance.
  • The speaker voice telling you in multiple languages to mind the platform gap, and after hearing it about a thousand times, almost being able to repeat it yourself in perfect Mandarin or Tamil.
  • The local friendliness: “Where are you from?” “” “Ah! Study here?” “Yes.” “Ohhh… welcome to Singapore! Smiles
  • Watching the evening lightshow at Gardens by the Bay. Dazzling lights, good music, and amazing trees of leaf and steel swiftly changing colors in the dark.
  • Realizing the importance of AC when the cool dry air swipes over your oily face as you enter a building from the humid outside.
  • Walking around Chinatown at night, and seeing all the lanterns, decorations, and lights brightly glowing in the antique neighborhood.
  • The sounds of Little India as they had celebrations; listening to the music, the talk, the laughter. A mood of cheerfulness lying over the area.

My favorite moments and memories from Singapore aren’t just the amazing views, but every little thing I experienced. It’s the details that make the picture, and when thinking back, the things you remember the most about a journey aren’t those picturesque Instagram photos that attracted likes, it’s the smells, the sounds, and the thoughts that blew through your mind.

My tip is to pay attention to, and cherish, the small things. The things you would normally just wave off as uninteresting or irrelevant. It can be a great cup of coffee at a small café, or the sound of some birds in your favorite park. But regardless of how big or small it is, if it’s important enough to make you enjoy it, then appreciate it.


Have you traveled to Singapore? We want to hear about your experience. Email [email protected] for details. Photo by Unsplash. 

About Sabina Olsson

Sabina is a 17-year-old Swedish bilingual high school student, just starting to live her own adventure. She has basically spent her childhood on an airplane, seeing the world with her parents, of whom she inherited her hungering wanderlust from. From petting koalas in Australia, to eating albondigas in Alicante, Spain, to celebrating her mothers 50th birthday in Hawaii, she has been spoiled with travels. As of now Sabina is in her senior year of high school, doing the international IB Diploma, editing the school magazine, and planning her future. Passions of hers include writing, snacking, daydreaming, and of course, traveling the world.

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