Holiday Snapshots – Singapore

My gift to Sebastian for his birthday this year was a five day trip to Singapore. Despite enduring two of the worst flights of my life, the holiday as a whole was extremely enjoyable. Highlights for me were the Gardens by The Bay and the River Safari, and Sebastian’s highlight was the tour of the Battlebox. We had both been to Singapore before, but not for many years so it was really nice to see how the city has developed since then. Singapore is such a tourist-friendly city and there is so much to do, so much so that we actually ran out of time to do all of the things we had planned. I thought five days would be more than enough, but as it turns out I was wrong so I think next time we’ll go for a full week. To be honest, I would go back just to see the otters and capybaras at the River Safari again. But I’m cool like that.

Holiday Snapshots

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We had a really wonderful time on our recent holiday interstate and I thought I’d share some snapshots from our travels with you all. We flew over to Adelaide on a Fridayn evening and drove straight to Goolwa to spend the weekend at a beach house with some of Sebastian’s friends. On the Monday morning, Sebastian and I drove to Warrnambool for the evening which was to be our halfway point before we made our way along the Great Ocean Road to Melbourne. On the Tuesday we drove up the coast, and it was a truly magical experience. The views were breathtaking. I had been there as a child when my parents and I drove across the country but to be honest I have no memory of the view (probably because I would’ve had my head stuck in a Babysitters Club Book the whole time). We made our way to Melbourne where we spent two evenings and one full day before driving back to Adelaide on the Thursday. We spent the rest of our time in Adelaide catching up with friends and celebrating Sebastian’s birthday, and then we headed home on the Sunday evening. I want to go back!

How I Handle Travel Anxiety

I am terrified of flying. In fact, typing those words just gave me butterflies because I am traveling interstate later today, and the pre-flight anxiety is already kicking in. This is something that has been an issue for me my whole life. The first time I ever went on a plane I was BY MYSELF, which as it turns out can be surprisingly less anxiety-ridden than flying with company. I think it’s because I can just escape into my own mind and not feel like I am burdening someone else with my anxiety. I also travelled from New York back to Perth flying solo, and I will always remember something very simple my dad said to me before that flight – ‘courage is being afraid to do something, and doing it anyway‘. I try to remember this every time I step onto a plane. I think a lot of people don’t understand travel anxiety, so they brush it off as being a trivial little quirk that people have, but if you have it you know that it is awful. You can be the most rational person on the planet and realise that flying is safer than driving, but still be crippled with fear and anxiety throughout the entirety of a flight. The only thing that gets me through it is knowing I either have a fun holiday on the other side of the flight, or I am heading home to my family and friends (and Pep). There are a few other things that have helped me with my anxiety throughout the years, and I thought I’d share them with you. If you also suffer from travel anxiety and have any tips or tricks of your own, please let me know!

1. Be organized. As the underlying travel anxiety is already there, making an effort to remove all other sources of anxiety (ie: disorganization and running late) helps keep all other stress to a minimum before the flight. I always write a packing list prior to loading up my suitcase, check into our flight ahead of time (making sure I have a window seat and that we are definitely sitting together – this reduces my anxiety a lot), and make sure we know exactly what time to leave the house to get to the airport with time to spare before the flight.

2. Establish routines. This goes hand in hand with the above point that reducing all other stress will help manage The Big One. We always get to the airport with time to spare prior to the flight, and that way we are able to sit down for 20 minutes or so before having to board. I take this opportunity to have a drink (I find champagne the most effective), go to the bathroom, and get everything in order before boarding. I am in the habit of either picking an album or making a playlist that is my travel anthem for that particular holiday. Something soothing is usually best. For my last trip it was Troye Sivan’s ‘Blue Neighbourhood‘ – now when I hear any of the songs from that album I am transported back to that holiday. I also like to have an in-flight routine, because there is nothing worse than (what feels like) an endless stretch of time sitting on a plane without any purpose and plenty of free mental space to stress out.

3. Treat yourself. It can be helpful to look at the time spent on the plane as “me time” (if you’re traveling with kids this is somewhat impossible). I have a few podcasts that I love, so I try to save up any new episodes that they release in the week before my flight so I have those to look forward to listening to on the plane. I do the same with television episodes, and any books that I am excited to read. For my flight this afternoon I have a new episode of Welcome To Deadcast to listen to, and a new episode of Hotel Hell to watch – I feel like having little things to look forward to on the flight can make it somewhat more bearable.

4. Meditate or medicate. Now that you’re allowed to use small technology during take off and landing, it’s possible to listen to something soothing during these stressful times during the flight. Unfortunately for me, taking off and landing aren’t my stress trigger points – it’s the time spent up in the air that gives me the most anxiety. However, I do like to listen to short mediations throughout the flight and highly recommend the ‘Meditation Oasis‘ podcast for this purpose. My flight anxiety is at the stage where I now also medicate during flights, so it’s worth speaking to your doctor if you find it’s becoming a bit too much for you to handle. They may have some options available.

5. Let go. This is the hardest one of all because it’s basically fighting all of your natural instincts and forcing yourself to live with the anxiety. It also relies on you having some sort of trust in a higher power or the universe in general. If my anxiety starts creeping back in mid-flight I try to tell myself to just ‘let go’, because at that point everything is completely out of my control. Perhaps that is where this anxiety stems from, as a self-confessed control freak? Who can say.

Fremantle “Ghostly” Tour

For our anniversary last year, I bought two tickets for Sebastian and I to go on a “ghostly tour” of Fremantle. We decided to wait until the cold weather rolled around to book an evening to go on the tour, because it seemed like more of a dead-of-winter sort of activity. The tour begins in Fremantle near the town hall where you board an old tram car and settle in for the ride. I was surprised at how full the tram was, it was nearly packed to the brim with only a handful of seats left by the time everyone had boarded. To be honest I really didn’t think it would be such a popular event, but there was a great turn out and it seemed like people of all ages had come along for the fun.

We headed down to Cicerellos to pick up dinner (a generous serving of delicious fish and chips), that we then ate in the tram as we slowly made our way through Fremantle. We were advised that the stops vary from tour to tour, depending on the requirements of sites like the Fremantle Art Centre that often holds events on a Friday night. On our tour night we visited the Fremantle Cemetary, the Arts Centre, and finished it off with a walking tour of Fremantle Prison. My favourite part of the night was definitely the prison, I hadn’t been there since high school and it’s such a fascinating (and spooky) place.

The tour guides did a really great job of making it interesting and interactive, and although we didn’t see any ghosts in the flesh there was still a spooky enough vibe to make it a creepy night. I’d recommend the tour to anyone looking for something different to do on a Friday night in Perth. I bought out tickets from Red Balloon and it cost $170 for 2 people with dinner and a drink included on the night.

May 2016: Goal #3

My friends and I get together every few months as a group for something we call ‘Pot Luck Dinner Club’. One couple (or pair of friends) hosts the dinner, and they get to pick the theme of the food that everyone is to bring. We’ve also started dressing up to suit the theme, which has made things a lot more interesting. This month’s Pot Luck Dinner Club was “Medieval”. Everyone’s costumes were amazing, and hosts Lauren and Joel went above and beyond with decorating for the theme. Lauren researched and printed out everyone’s family crest to hang on the wall, and Joel built some wooden shackles (which ended up being the cause of many laughs throughout the evening).

The food was just as excellent – roast pork, beef stew, homemade loaves of bread (passed around and torn apart at the table), meat and cheese platters, roast pumpkin and brussel sprouts, with poached pears and an apple and rhubarb pie for dessert. So that’s one of my goals crossed off for the month! And it looks like we’ll be hosting the next dinner party, so you’ll probably see something similar pop up in my monthly goals in July. Any ideas for a theme?