For 3 years of constant traveling, this never happened to me before

I was already touring Europe in the summer of 2013, I’ve been in and out of European countries, crossing borders without any hassle or being questioned. But it happened to me in the day I was flying on December 31st 2013 from Bangkok to Paris, with a very short transit in Delhi, India. It never occurred to me before that such transit could be so terrifying. The flight to Paris CDG was already delayed for about 1/2 hour, and the security measurement at Delhi Airport was the worst that I’ve been through. It was a madhouse, according to JF. We were standing in line for ridiculous body and luggage check while on a very short transit, competing not just with the passengers bound for Paris, but also 3 or 4 more international flights around same time of departure on that day. After such hassle for over 45 minutes, I was in big relief, thinking that we are ready to board the plane. The walk to the boarding hall was very long. Then I saw another security check at the end of the travelator (the horizontal escalator) to the boarding hall and I said “Here we go again.” They went through my passport then I realized that I am in trouble when they called the lady, some sort of an airport security manager. They were questioning about my face on my passport, I simply looked different because I was wearing headscarf in the photo. They asked me to take out any physical evidence to show that I am the person in the photo in my passport. I took out my expired driving license (no longer driving in Malaysia), my Uni I.D, my My-Kad (Malaysian I.D) and a photo of me and JF from last summer trip. They were being ridiculous when they said “Your driving license is expired. This is not you.” How could one travels with other’s this many I.Ds anyways? For that , I was denied boarding. I was mad, sad and disappointed. I too, like other passengers on that flight, were dreaming of being in Paris for New Year’s day. I felt like I was being harassed. I started swearing upon my religion and God’s name that I am the person in the picture and that I am the bearer of the passport, and the passport is valid for another 1 1/2 year. When I shout “God Almighty, I am Muslim!” They gave back all my I.Ds and my passport, putting their hands down, and gave up harassing me. It was clear they have some sort of prejudice, almost bigots, because they understand very little about a young Muslim woman from a developing country who just wants to travel. That was the day when I felt, even with so much freedom of travel, you must expect the unexpected. Obstacles in traveling are inevitable. It took more than courage. You need not to panic or cause panic, but at the same time, staying rational without having to break down is difficult.

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From my Instagram account: The day I boarded the plane, apparently, some travelers must board with hassles.

The view from my seat window of a Dreamliner flight to Paris from Delhi, so much for a dream

The view from my seat window of a Dreamliner flight to Paris from Delhi, so much for a dream.

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Traveling and its downsides

Quoting my favorite traveler’s blog, Nomadic Matt : “When I meet people and tell them about what I do or how long I have been traveling, their response is usually something like, “Wow! That is so awesome! You’re so lucky! I wish I could do something like that!…Finally, you get tired. Really tired. Of traveling. Of everything. After a while, everything becomes just another “one of.” That 100th church, 100th waterfall, 40th hostel, 800th bus ride, 600th bar… it’s not the same after a while. It loses its charm and luster. Travel becomes unexciting. Ask any traveler – at some point, they hit that point where they are sick of traveling. They just need a few days or weeks to recharge their batteries.”

This is from my personal experience:

Traveling is great, but I learned from my trip with JF that if you don’t want to get tired of traveling, do it slowly. Don’t go out and see 100 temples in one day, then go to another 100 cathedrals the next day. I still have to plan what I am going to do on the trips but not flooding a day with so many things to do. Some travelers tend to have this “race” on their schedule, thinking that they have to compete in “Who Went to 30 countries in One Month First”.

You want to be able to do things you want to do, to see things you want to see. If you do it slowly, you will be able to see everything. Trust me, traveling needs so much patience, flexibility and independence although I agree that you don’t have to be rich to travel well. Long term traveling also needs plans, if not, a draft of what you are going to do. Unless you are in a tour group, which usually, you just have to pay, sit down and relax. I am not sure if I can count that as being a traveler. I wrote once on my Facebook status — “Tourists see things they want to see, travelers see everything.” For 3 years of constant traveling, I am living with this.

I struggled on my first trip outside South East Asia which was to Europe, spending summer of 2013 in Turkey, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Germany and Holland. I am a bit lucky I got supports from my boyfriend, but still, I struggled, BIG time. We fought on the way, we fought about where to eat, simply because there are too many choices but very different individual taste. We fought about should we walk or take the train, and is it worth it to purchase weekly train passes for that you have to also decide if you should stay that long in one city. I never knew that traveling could be so hard. You have to separate expenses, you have to sacrifice something you are dying to do (in my case, sacrificing Gondola ride in Venice because it was TOO expensive) and have a backup plan, in case you have utter heartbreak when you get to your dream place, only to know that you cannot afford this and that (I found a very nice cave in Postojna, Slovenia, got there after long train ride, only to know that the place is a big tourist trap). This might not be applicable to travelers or tourists with thick pockets, they might not need advice anyways.

ImageVenice: The gondola ride I dreamed about all my life, that I have to sacrifice, MYR 320 for 1/2 hour is not worth it.

Sometimes, in some cases or base on my experience (my winter trip, skiiing in Azuga, in the middle of nowhere in the Transylvanian Carpathians of Romania) the most depressing thing is there is not much information online about places you plan to go, and for this you just have to “gamble”, be there and see how it is going to be, while on the way you will think about yourself as being irresponsible and lack of a planner. But I compensated for everything that I sacrificed in my past trips with JF (example above) by planning and executing the most amazing ski trip in Romania, despite very little information can be gathered from online forums about this particular place.

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Azuga: Nice, but really in the middle of nowhere with very little information, even about how much the snow is falling.

Being constantly on the run could be sweetest escape, especially if you had been dreaming of doing so for long time. But you have to be mentally prepared, that should be on top of your bucket list.

A recap for year 2011 and 2012

I started traveling around my neighborhood of beautiful South East Asia in year 2011. It was a week trip in wonderful, hot, summery April with my former partner and at that time I just got my first passport, just for my supposed-to-be first trip ever outside Malaysia, which was to Indonesia, with my family. I ended up going to Thailand first and it was great nonetheless

the border gate; northern West Malaysia, Bukit Kayu Hitam and Southern Thailand, Sadao

the border gate; northern West Malaysia, Bukit Kayu Hitam and Southern Thailand, Sadao. I took a gruesome 17 hours bus ride from south to north.

I went to the 2004 tsunami town in Thailand, Ko Lanta

I went to the 2004 tsunami town in Thailand, Ko Lanta

distracted, psyched and all smile on my first tuk-tuk ride in Krabi, Thailand

my first time riding the moped and...

my first time riding the moped and…
...I crashed my moped. …I crashed my moped.

bugs are delicious in Krabi

famous Mr Blowfish in fishing village near Krabi.

my very own secluded beach in Ao Poh, Ko Phi Phi

this basic but beautiful bungalow facing the secluded beach in Ao Poh was my pad in Ko Phi Phi, costed me a good 800 baht.

this basic but beautiful bungalow facing the secluded beach in Ao Poh was my pad in Ko Phi Phi, costed me a good 800 baht.

the first part of island in Ko Phi Phi that got the first tsunami wave back in 2004, I am talking about this pier.