For Spring Break ’12 I went to visit my cousin that lives in Singapore. I’d been to SE Asia about eight years earlier, but this was my first time in Singa. It’s a huge, overwhelming city, with mountains of concrete and glass, and heat that hits like a freight train.
I spent the mornings while my cousin was at work wandering the city, just exploring and trying to eat in as many places as I could, because the food—holy Betsy, the food!—is amazing. By the time the afternoon rolled around, I was usually rolling myself up the sidewalk, having eaten my weight in chili crab and chicken & rice, and sweating to high heaven in the 100o heat and 90% humidity. I’d waddle back up to my cousin’s apartment, turn the air con on full blast, and crack open a book.
After a couple of days, I decided I need to get out of the concrete jungle and get out into the real jungle, so I booked a cheapo ticket to Borneo (Malaysia), explored around the city of Kuching, and went out hiking in Bako National Park.
I’ve traveled a lot in the past few years, and I’ve lived abroad, but this was the first trip where I’d actually gone somewhere alone, stayed somewhere alone, eaten alone, explored alone, and experienced a new place alone. I’m glad I got to the Bornean rain forest before it’s gone, but it was a trip that reminded me how much good travel depends on good people—no matter how many good books you bring along.