Airlines And AirBnb


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“Apart of hunting an affordable airline, looking for a place to stay is one of the fun things to do before travel starts”

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Well, I’m not good enough on the first one. Looking for an affordable ticket needs patience but that’s not the reason why I always end paying “so-so” price.

Perhaps these are things involved:

  • First, I don’t have much money but love nice things. This means when I travel I’ll always try to be as comfortable as I could from picking good airlines till how I eat. I keep thinking that’s how I appreciate myself after work hard. Of course without breaking the bank (which bank to break? I don’t really have much saving cause I’m not really good to save money, but I’m trying right now lol)
  • Two, most of the time I have short preparation for vacation and this affects on when I have to buy my ticket. I’ll try to think about buying it six months in advance but again, if something unfortunately happens in between and I have to change/reschedule, I’m going to spend more isn’t it?
  • And the last one, perhaps my believe that “We could earn money again” is strong. Having time to travel when we are still healthy is an opportunity apart of the funds itself. Mostly, when I’m in front of my laptop looking for a flight I won’t take too long to pay. Of course, I have to be wise spending my money cause earning it is not as easy as flipping my palm

I’ll keep writing but I have to breathe a bit. I just remembered I never calculate how much I spent for my last trips to South Africa and Hong Kong. Thankfully I wrote everything on my iPhone so it’s easy to track. Ah hold on, I did mention my believe that I would earn more money again, huh? I hope so (read: calm down, you don’t need to worry this much Zis (finger crossed :P)). I think I have to add one more reason why I could never save money if I travel from here is no budget airlines. Most airfare from and to Africa continent isn’t that affordable. Nowadays, it’s much better than few years back when I used to pay “oh-my-God” amount of money for one-way ticket from Jakarta to Lagos.

Even though I had a slightly longer time to prepare my last trips but that didn’t really save me in terms of airfare. Since I traveled from Lagos and wanted spending a week in Cape Town and a week to see my best friend Andreas in Hong Kong then back to Lagos, I had to be ready with the bills. I had to pick three different airlines after I found that buying separate tickets was a bit cheaper than multi-city option. I did a good job by finding three flights with minimum transit duration to save my time. Except for 20 hours layover in Istanbul that I deliberately wanted strolling around Istanbul again for 12 hours. I flew with Turkish Airlines from Lagos – Istanbul – Cape Town, Emirates from Cape Town to Hong Kong with two hours transit in Dubai, and ended my travel from Hong Kong to Lagos with three hours transit in Abu Dhabi via Etihad. There were some cheaper options but looking at long transit didn’t impress me to save money. If I may count the transit countries, I was at five different countries on two weeks :P

Let’s move to where I stayed. If you are a reader of this blog you have read many times why I prefer hostel than hotel. If you just found and visited this blog, you might interested to read why, and why, and why I prefer hostel for my stay. Of course I have criterias on how my hostel would be. It must have a cool spot (you may say it must be instagramable, that’s the word huh?), good design (it’s a plus if it’s new hostel cause the facilities must be good!), good location, and of course value for money. I did pick hostel during my stay in Cape Town for 4 nights and for my last 2 nights I decided to try my first AirBnb.

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The hostel I stayed in Cape Town is quite popular for travelers and tourists. I recommend if you plan to visit Cape Town cause indeed the location is strategic, the facility isn’t bad at all, and the staffs are quite helpful. If you asked me did I meet with some travelers and became friends during my stay there the answer is no. I didn’t really meet with kind travelers who stayed at the same dorm room except an Italian guy who stayed beside my bed for two nights. He traveled to Cape Town from Durban for a quick jaunt in between of a project he’s doing. He speaks English well but we didn’t exchange contacts so it didn’t count. There was a cool Brazilian girl who travels quite often but she wasn’t seem friendly (maybe it was just to me but as far as I know Brazilian is friendly isn’t it?), two female siblings from Canada (we had a very short conversation but I didn’t know when they left), a Swiss man with only some hellos, and an old American man who is a bit picky having a conversation with (he talked more to the Italian guy I mentioned ;P). Summing up, I didn’t really look for new friends when I was there tbh so when the time for me to check out and moved to an apartment I was quite excited.

If I picked hotel last year when I was in Cappadocia as a treat for myself, I did it too in Cape Town. Though my travel style was completely slow but I thought about a distinct experience I’d love to try by staying in an apartment. When I browsed in AirBnb few days before I flew, I had crush on some beautiful houses in Cape Town but unfortunately the date didn’t match.

It was a pleasant experience for my first AirBnb. It’s a nice room, comfortable bed (ah I always love thick clean white blanket!), very clean bathroom and kitchen, and full entertainment on the screen. Even though I only communicated with the host via mail (he reminded me few times to save water since Cape Town is experiencing a serious water drainage but never answer my questions, haha), it was a good place to stay. I pretended as if I would be there for a longer stay cause the room is really cozy. I thought about “Today I don’t feel like doing anything” on my last two last days in Cape Town, didn’t want to leave the apartment and watching movies on Netflix instead, cooking some meals (I thought to shop some ingredients but ended with ‘ready-to-enjoy’ meals and some fruits) but later became lazy cause hello, “I cook almost everyday in my own apartment in Lagos to save my pocket-money and I’m on vacation right now”.

Here are some photographs of the apartment which do not do justice how cozy it was.

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I would share how my stay in Hong Kong was (didn’t really take picture of the hostel) with some interesting stories on separate post, promise. When Andreas told me he had a great time and experience trying couchsurfing on his last trip in South Korea, I think I’d like to try that for my future trip.

Wait, did I mention doing some breakfast scenes at the apartment was a nice thing to do?

All You Have To Do Is…



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“There was a memory I could vividly remember years back when I was in the middle school”

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My classroom was kind of an old Dutch building that has a high ceiling and tall wooden doors painted in ivory. I remember where I sat, the first chair right after the door. I was the first student who knew if there was a teacher came in. As a ‘kid’, I was like anyone else in the class who would be very happy when our teacher didn’t come to teach us. Every time it happened, I would do my favorite thing: staring to the front yard and enjoying an afternoon breeze while my mind wasn’t even there. Thinking how many hours left till I could pack my bag and went home.

I literally sat on the bench just me and myself on my first year. I found it hard to blend to where those cool kids were. To blend where those mischievous were. I found it hard to blend myself to 39 different characters in the class. Meaning for almost two semesters during my first year I had no best friend and no gang, of course. It was quite tough finding friends who would accept me to be in their team. I was still super introvert if that’s the word for somebody who speaks very less, doesn’t have a communication skill, feeling way more comfortable being alone than standing in front of the class.

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“I remember one of my very good friends Atre used to say: human learns. We are all learning something in this life. By learning we are all growing”

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So do I.

I used to be a very introvert when speaking to someone new was like a nightmare. When what I could do just being resentful to myself every time my Dad said, “Go outside and find friends!”. I swear, he was kind of worry with me if I had no friends. But I kinda felt fine to be honest. The only time I felt bad when you know, if there was homework as a team in Physic class for instance, I started feeling like a left-over plastic bag no one had interest to pick it up. Time flies and I finally found the new transformation on how I open myself.

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“Traveling is where I learn to be more open to people…in which has changed me into “I’m not an -too- introvert like before”

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I was heading to Ginza when I was texting Hiromi with, “Let’s catch-up, I’m here!”. If you just visited this blog, fyi I met Hiromi on my last day in Tokyo on my first visit two years ago. I was literally waiting for Andreas Knogler to wake up at the reception and I saw Hiromi with a man from Afghanistan, an architect lives in Berlin who had Hiromi as his travel guide. Started with a very short acquaintance and exchanged contacts, we’ve been communicating ever since.

Hiromi thought I was joking after I sent an iPhone picture of Ginza Station. That was a quite surprise in my opinion. Even though I wasn’t really sure to meet her again last summer, I let the universe lead the way as always. It was a pleasant thing I felt when Hiromi sent a message where and when we could meet.

The next day I left my hostel, earpieces on my ears and started my morning by walking to a train station. I googled some places before I met Hiromi in the evening at Roppongi Station and I received a message from my childhood best friend: “How’s your day there? Have you met a new friend?” 

His message pinched me like, “Yeah, this is my third day in Tokyo and I haven’t made a new friend yet”

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“Surprises always spark when we travel”

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The day I met Hiromi led me to some new friendships

Hiromi was very kind treating me at Roppongi Hills for dinner. She told me we could enjoy Tokyo from above at Observation Room after all. I did enjoy every second staring at how pretty Tokyo at night till I got a bit distracted by two guys beside me which later I knew his name is Earvin and another one is Eric. Earvin is Canadian with Philippines roots, while Eric is from California. Eric was capturing Earvin with Tokyo Tower as a background before I started a light conversation. We spent sometimes to talk about Japan, and how Earvin and Eric met in the wrong train when they were heading to somewhere days before they visited Roppongi together.

That’s one of exciting parts of traveling when you just meet random traveler and become friends, right?

I must admit I did one of the cheesiest things before we all hugged and wished we could meet again in Japan someday (maybe Olympic 2020? :), I don’t mind another place on earth!). It was oh, recording a farewell video of us. It was actually fun having a short meeting with Hiromi, Earvin and Eric that day although you know, I wished we had longer time to talk about things cause somehow farewell is still hard to do :) (I must thank to myself for the cheesiness cause at least I still have our few selfies too).

When I was in the train with Earvin back to my hostel, I realized two things: that kind of moment will always be one of my reasons to travel more, and hey, universe had answered a question my best friend asked above? I told you :)


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Oh, hello Luís!

I came back to the hostel a bit late and went straight to my room. I almost entered but stopped my steps when someone asked if I had a rough day by looking at how tired I was. We had a short conversation on how our days were after acquainted ourselves. His name is Luís Dorelli, a very friendly guy from Brazil currently lives and works in Google London. Luís was the one I mostly spent my days in Tokyo with.

Even Luís seems so busy right now till we didn’t really have a chance to communicate like before, but I had two favorite moments I’ll always remember when we were in Tokyo. One, we went outside looking for light food after the rain. We both were tired but his idea walking under drizzle in the evening with transparent umbrellas was a good one. I always love the ambiance after the rain, especially in Tokyo where those neon lights makes the scene more memorable. Although in the end we couldn’t find any place nearby but having random conversation, some photo captured at Sensō-ji, and ended by buying snacks at 24hours supermarket was fun.

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Second moment was when we finally ended our trip at Haneda. We left on the same day, so heading to the airport together was a good idea. We took the same train, had a dinner at one restaurant in the airport before passing immigration, shopping time (he got sake while I was fine with whiskey, oh I mean some Tokyo Bananas), and ended with a bear hug. It was actually an impressive farewell I’ll keep in mind. Again, I must thank to myself for another cheesiness in the end of our trip (yes, I recorded an iPhone video with Luís before he flew back to London).

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I hope you still remember how fun the time we had with some fellow travelers at the pantry till midnight, Luís. Perhaps some pictures below will remind you, of course Chang is here :)

(P.S. I had to rip my shame by posting a photo with my face for memory purpose)

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Wait, I’ll say hi cause they’re leaving

Before I went out with Luís after the rain, I saw two guys were ready to leave with their backpacks at the lobby. The guys I saw few times early morning days before. They also stayed at the same room where me and Luís were but had no chance to talk even a single word. They both were so busy, too busy with their days in Japan till I had no courage to start a conversation. I just saw one of them was taking his things from the locker which placed few inches in front of my bed. Few times I saw him, few times I also kept silent till that evening I finally said few words right before I entered the lift.

My heart said, “Come on, few words do not cost you anything”

I was stoked I did it. It might be only 10 minutes but it was one of the warmest and friendliest conversations I’ve ever had.

I could see how magical “hi” to open a conversation and ended with a beautiful one. That was what I found when I finally spoke with Santiago and Omar before they were leaving to Kyoto. This “hi” may not work to everybody (I mean, a stranger we meet) but just remember, when your heart says to do so, just do it. It could be something which will mark in your heart and mind.

I didn’t take time to ask their details so we could keep in touch after. Santiago and Omar were the kindest Colombian I’ve ever met. It was just totally different with what I thought from few days I saw Santiago in the room. Our short conversation that day continues till today, and somehow I think that is more important when we could still keep in touch and remember each other. Oh, don’t blame me if I recorded an iPhone video too with a kind wish I could see them again sooner than later either in Bogotá or somewhere else on earth (from now on, we should FaceTime-ing more often, Santiago!).


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That’s why they both look stunning

I’ll never forget how my conversation with a very kind human, Meryl started. We met few times at the bathroom and there, our random conversations begun. Before I even realized Meryl and Nikki had only three days with very short time to visit places in Tokyo, I ended feeling beyond grateful cause Meryl started with an idea to take picture together before they left. I woke up late that morning and felt very tired but having some photographs with both of them made my day.

If I visit Philippines someday I would definitely let Meryl and Nikki know cause I’m sure we will have a very good time sharing our travel stories. Meryl and Nikki travel the world cause both are flight attendants (how cool, huh?)


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Oh, that was the highlight of my trip!

I actually woke up around 7am. That was a very short from the time I slept around 2am. Even though I was still felt exhausted but I had to wake up to bag few things to my suitcase. After I packed, I went straight to the pantry on the 7th floor. The pantry was empty, I sat on the wooden chair with that ‘feeling’ when you realize you should make your last day unforgettable one. I took my time by staring at the glass doors gazing at some buildings on the gloomy morning. Of course I played a song with earpieces from my iPhone to complete the whole scene. It is just a simple way to create some memories in my brain. Then I was ready for a very simple breakfast. White bread filled with chocolate paste and strawberry jam, pineapple juice, two slices of banana and pistachio (see, I remember every details!). I ate very slowly although I ran out of time.

The day I met Renata was the highlight of my trip. It was just genuinely, beautifully, happened like that. I even remember every single scene the morning I met with one of, le pardon if this sounds so exaggerated but honestly, she is one of the amazing human beings I ever met in my life.

It was just begun with a simply sentence I said to her, “hey, your breakfast is so healthy” and the rest was like we knew each other for years. I felt connected with Renata in so many ways. I might only have two hours but universe had done something I’ll forever grateful for letting me know Renata and created a real friendship. I remember, after we recorded an iPhone video, it felt hard for me to say goodbye to her, wishing we should have met like days before and spent time together in Tokyo. But again, universe will always have ways to surprise us and the thing makes me even more grateful is we both still communicating till today. For me, that’s the point for our friendship :)

I’m probably missing Renata right now but my believe to see her again sooner than later is strong.

Sure, I’ll let universe decides where it will be :)

You Are Stunning, Cappadocia

 


The fact that I just realized today is April already, it makes me remember, I spent my April last year in one of stunning places I’ve ever been…


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I could tell that traveling is addictive in a good way, of course. I’m writing this in my room on Sunday, plus Easter holiday tomorrow, with my body’s here. But my mind is somewhere else. I’m literally thinking to travel to somewhere new. To somewhere I have never been to. I have some ideas where I’d like to spend my casual leave this year but I won’t tell for now :) (as I wish I didn’t need to think about budget TBH!).

As often as I think about where is my next destination, I also think about how I should gather my will to start something for my own house. It is too bad I neglect it for two years doing nothing. The last time I went (yes, last year when I had my annual leave in Indonesia) I forgot the exact location of the house, ridiculous I know. But it was true. I was literally wondering “where is my house” till I laughed stupidly when I saw a lot of vines growing on the floor. From the rusted gate, thru the door, till the unfinished part at the backyard. Sigh, pathetic. But here’s also the truth…

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“There are a lot of travel bugs flying around me right now”


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While I’m still looking at some places for my vacation, I’ll take you back to where I spent one of beautiful days I had last year in a stunning Cappadocia.

 

 

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Ok, fine. You just saw what I had for my breakfast in Cappadocia. It looks good right? The truth is, yes, it was! le pardon if it makes you hungry.

It was a bless having an opportunity to experience the famous balloon ride there and came back for an hour before my tour started. I still remember how peaceful it was having the breakfast that morning. When the sunshine was bright but the weather was cool, endless Turkish almond I fell in love with (true, the almond is amazingly milky!), fresh fruits, also that fluffy cutie popped in the picture :)

I only had an hour before the shuttle bus picked me for a whole day tour called Green Tour. It was part of the tour package I paid included the balloon ride (I’ll attach the link of the travel agent in case you guys need it :)). I had to rush preparing myself cause I knew that day would be an exciting long day.

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“You know I prefer to be a BTS person but when standing in front of that stunning landscape I gave my camera to one of the tour members and said “Would you mind?” ~ cause yes, for memory purpose. Perhaps if I didn’t follow my spirit I won’t have a single picture of myself in Cappadocia :)”


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Before I continue with the story, I’ll take you to take a short tour to some stunning landscapes…

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If you read what I wrote up there, I must say one of the things “Ok, travel first” instead of “Buy the furniture for your dream living room” is photograph. I admit that photography is my happiness. Before I even started writing this post I looked again on those pictures I took when I travelled, always, and will always make me happy. This might sounds like an excuse not to do something for my house but buddy, there is a magical feeling every time I look at those photographs” 


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I deliberately joined the tour cause I knew I can’t drive, meaning it would be easier for me to explore another side of Goreme by tour (even though I’m not a tour person tbh!). Perhaps if I could, I would drive around and stopped at some points anyhow I liked. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t regret anything joining the tour cause I was glad could see interesting places like what you’ve seen above. The tour itself started by 9am to 5pm and costs 40 euros/person. It includes Derinkuyu Underground City (you’ll love it if you are into history), Selime Monastery, Ihlara Valley, Pigeon Valley, and ends at Goreme Onyx where you could see onyx demonstration (and pick some if you want to spend money :)). The tour itself was a bit tight, so you might need to fuel yourself properly before it starts.

Honestly speaking you’ll be mesmerized by the fact how people lived in 8 levels of underground city then. It was amazing knowing the history from the English-speaking guide, tho it might be a bit boring if you are not into history. Again, if you have a plan to visit Cappadocia and have a very short time to explore but want to experience something else, the Green Tour isn’t bad at all. Yes, hiking on some points might be a bit tiring, but having a quick-lunch at place with beautiful surrounding and ended the trip at Pigeon Valley was worth to try.

When I finally arrived at my hotel that day, I didn’t want to waste my time in my room. I opened my window, the sky was gorgeous, some sunset hues were on the sky, and call prayer was echoed. I had no reason not to be grateful before I ended my day two in a stunning place called Cappadocia. Now, let these photographs do the talk :)

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I’m glad right now looking at picture above when we were stopped for five minutes and most of us decided sat on the road for memory purpose. Mine was taken by one of the tour members, she’s Chinese and traveled alone (oops, with her friend (read: a selfie stick) :)). 

When I shared my chocolate to her in the bus, she said “I loved to be up there on the balloon ride, I think I’ll do it one more time tomorrow” :) 


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Below is one of my favorite photographs I took that day…


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