As I lay comfortably on my family’s living room couch enjoying my time alone, I think back to my travels to and from Singapore. On May 22nd I caught a plane from Newark to Tokyo then from Tokyo to Singapore. When I arrived on my own in Singapore at around 12:30am I had to find a way from the airport to my hostel. I walked around looking for a bathroom first, which by the end of the trip will be my most well known habit because of how much water I needed to stay hydrated. The bathrooms were pristine and large enough that I could fit both my bags of luggage in the stall with me. Pretty quickly I was able to exchange some American dollars into Singaporean dollars and find an airport shuttle to drive me to the hostel.
The driver’s name was Kenny, and he had a very thick Singaporean accent. Even though he was definitely speaking English, I struggled to understand some of what he was saying to me. What I did understand is that he was very nice, had a happy attitude, and was born and raised in Singapore and was proud of it! I made it to my hostel safely and checked in without a problem.
Traveling alone in Singapore I felt very safe. As a young American woman, there aren’t many places I can travel to and say the same thing with such confidence. I spent four days exploring Singapore alone, having the freedom and privilege to do whatever I wanted whenever I wanted to do it. My favorite place was Chinatown, I went there on two separate occasions. It’s the first place I got the most delicious ice cream for $1.20 Singaporean and where I found peace at the Buddha tooth relic temple. Also while I was traveling alone I was able to meet new people. I met a Singaporean girl, really she was 25, who apparently talked to me because my face said “help me“. Whatever the reason, we were able to meet up and hang out. We went to a museum that she got into for free because she is a Singaporean citizen, walked around the colonial part of the city, got ice cream by the helix bridge, and walked all around Marina Bay. It was really nice to be able to hang out with a local and realize just how similar we are!
After these four days, I was ready to meet up with the group. Despite the freedom traveling alone allowed, I was a little lonely. Still, I am grateful and glad that I could spend some time traveling alone. If I hadn’t gone early, I might have felt like I didn’t have any time to myself to explore or talk to locals.
On the way out of Singapore I caught a taxi around 3am. After about 32 hours of travel on land, in airplane and airport, I arrived in Pittsburgh. I had no trouble until we arrived in Pittsburgh and it was lightening so we had to wait to pull into our gate (I was happy to be in Pittsburgh and that type of weather was just Pittsburgh weather, so I smiled and waited for the storm to pass). So far, this had been my biggest travel delay (actually, second longest compared to the traffic driving into Kuala Lumpur). During my few days in Pittsburgh, I broke down in a car, and on a separate occasion was rear-ended. Then when I was taking a bus from Pittsburgh to Scranton, it broke down because of a faulty line. This delayed me about 4 hours. I think I must have used up all of my travel luck on the planes. What distressed me the most is that I believe in public transportation. And being in Singapore and traveling so smoothly the entire time made a stark contrast with the troubles I’ve had in Pennsylvania. I’m glad to be home, I just wish some things were more efficient like they are in Singapore.