I have no idea where the time went. It feels as though it was just a few months ago, that I was wracking my brain for the perfect name for my blog. I guess I can chalk it up to ‘Time Flies When You’re Having Fun’. I’ve been through quite a lot during that time, and I’ve enjoyed sharing my life with you, my readers.
We’ve been on quite a few adventures together. Let’s take a quick look at what we’ve been through for the past 36 months:
We stuffed our faces and drank quite a few beers while traveling through Singapore, Vietnam, Cambodia & Malaysia.
We then flew to Europe and admired the stunning architecture which varied from city to city, and country to country:
After jaunting through Europe, we took a well deserved break… before sailing the Caribbean Sea on a 40 foot yacht!
Did some local travels in my home country of Antigua… (mostly beaches and more beaches..!):
Then I took you guys with me to Trinidad and Tobago for seven months while I studied abroad!
Soon, After I took a trip to Venezuela… My very first South American Country. I can’t wait to go back to the Continent!
I then returned to Europe where we visited Italy for a second time, a quick stop in London, before crossing the Atlantic to Canada and Miami. Which brings us to 2014, which saw us battling massive snow storms in New York and meeting my godson in Grenada for the very first time.
I am really happy to have connected with you guys, whether by your many comments (over 600!) or the countless ‘likes’ on my posts. The journey is far from over, so I hope you’ll stick around for the ride! Thanks, thanks, and many thanks!!!
The Berjaya Times Square is a mega shopping complex located in downtown Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. You could easily spend two entire days browsing through the stores in this mall (there are over a thousand stores in all). It is truly a shoppers paradise, but I didn’t visit the shopping plaza to max out my credit card. I was there for a whole different reason altogether.
The biggest indoor theme park in Asia is located at Berjaya Times Square and I couldn’t wait to see it for myself. The park was called Cosmo’s World and extended through three different levels of the mall. There was a wicked looking rollercoaster which almost touched the roof, and I was quite excited to give it a go! However, I actually needed to get inside, and there was a long line of people waiting to buy tickets at the gate.
The ticket was bought for 30 Malaysian Ringgit, and gave you a day pass for all the rides and activities inside of the park. On entering, we were instructed to store all bags and small items in the lockers provided for a small charge. The fee you pay depends on the size of locker needed.
There were many kinds of rides in the park, and I spent the entire afternoon riding every one. Security measures were constantly being taken, and the staff ensured that everyone was strapped in properly before the rides were started. I had on sandals, so I had to remove my shoes for a few of the rides, while those who wore sneakers didn’t have to bother. This was to prevent anyone’s shoes from falling off and injuring persons walking directly below.
The highlight of the park was the large and brightly coloured rollercoaster, which was named the Supersonic Odyssey. It was full of loops and turned us upside down a few times during the ride. It was very bizarre to be flipped over, only to see people sitting down and eating lunch at McDonalds two floors down below! The ride was so awesome, that I went twice in a row.
Apart from the thrill rides, there was a small area for children called the Fantasy Garden. The rides there were much slower and smaller, but large enough that parents could accompany their children.
If you became hungry or thirsty while in the theme park, and you’re reluctant to leave to get a bite to eat, there were several food stalls around. The price wasn’t the cheapest, but there was a pretty decent selection. The food options included hot dogs, popcorn and various sweet treats such as cotton candy.
I managed to spend an entire afternoon in Cosmo’s World. The best part of being in an indoor park, is the chance to have lots of fun without worrying about the weather. If you’re visiting Kuala Lumpur and the weather prevents you from touring the city, make a stop at Cosmo’s World. A great time is guaranteed.
This trip was everything that I dreamed it would be. And more. When I think back, I remember all the emotions I went through from the very moment the idea came to me, to the moment I boarded my first flight and left everything that I knew behind. Taking the leap was frightening, exciting and truly an adventure. The planning was time-consuming, stressful at times and annoying when things just weren’t adding up. Now, all of it was worth it in the end.
For seven months, I basically killed my social life. Saving for a RTW trip in less than a year was no easy task, and I think I gave the cartoon character Scrooge a run for his money. I stayed home constantly, I barely ate out at restaurants and it sucked having to tell my friends ‘No’ to offers of a night on the town. Going out then was equal to spending the money which I would need for plane tickets, accommodation and a subway ride on my big trip. It was really hard. Hard like diamonds. However, it was necessary and I stuck to it. After all the hard work, I finally met my savings goal and a dream was turned into a reality.
This trip underwent over 6 months of back-breaking research. I say back-breaking, because of the hundreds of hours spent hunched over my Macbook Pro searching for information online, or just simply browsing through the countless numbers of travel blogs scattered all over the World Wide Web. Everything from finding out what exactly hostels were, to visa requirements and the cost of taxis in each country I would be visiting was typed into my beloved Google. Thankfully, everything worked out. Even some of my random search entries proved to be of help. Like I said in a previous post, I wasn’t planning on visiting Innsbruck, Austria but when all the trains from Italy to Switzerland were sold out, I knew from my research that Innsbruck could be a great stop on the way over and the idea worked out great! I had countless spreadsheet documents with all budget figures, from accommodation costs per day, to my splurge fund which included the entrance fee to the Angkor Temples and my trip to the Swiss Alps. Being organized and prepared helps!
The destinations which I visited were all pretty great. Each of them offered something different, something memorable. Sometimes, it’s what I did there that made the visit awesome, while in other countries, it was the interesting people who I met that made the trip special. In Cambodia, the people were the best part of the country. From my Angkor Complex tuk tuk driver who shared lunch with me, and stories about his family, to a random local on the bus from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh who talked with me for over 3 hours made me fall in love with the country. I would be in a tuk tuk at a traffic light in Phnom Penh, and everyone would just be smiling and waving at me. I was made to understand that this was due to the fact that I was a young black woman, something that they apparently weren’t used to seeing, and a little girl actually called me Michelle Obama! I can’t count the number of smiles I received during my short stay.
The food in Italy was awesome. I loved everything from the pastas to the delicious gelato! The highlight of Slovenia was the view at the top of the Old Bell Tower, after huffing and puffing up the hundreds of stairs, and nothing compared to the beauty of the Swiss Alps. I loved my bike trip from Santa Monica Pier to Venice Beach in Los Angeles. Speaking of Venice, the floating city of Venice in Italy was absolutely spectacular, and I will never forget being lost in the many alleys in the cold Fall weather. Singapore and Malaysia were a brilliant contrast after the countries of Vietnam and Cambodia with their modern architecture and fashionable locals. You get the point!
Top 3 countries in no particular order: Cambodia, Switzerland, Italy.
Countries covered: 10 (USA, Singapore, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Austria, Switzerland)
Cities visited: 14
Cheapest destination: Vietnam
Most expensive destination: Switzerland
Cheapest accommodation: Saigon Backpackers in Vietnam: $7
Most expensive accommodation: La Quinta Inns & Suites in Los Angeles, USA: $104
Cheapest activity: Sightseer Bus tour in Innsbruck, Austria: $4
Most expensive activity: Day at Mount Titlis, Switzerland: $150
Types of transportation used: 6 (plane, bus, metro, taxi, boat, tuk tuk, motodop, bicycle)
Number of flights taken: 11
Number of buses taken: 20
Number of metro trips: 9
Number of taxis: 3
Number of boats: 1
Number of tuk tuks taken: 8
Number of motodop rides: 1
Number of bicycle rides: 1
Cheapest meal: $1.50
Most expensive meal: $21
Flights almost missed: 2
Cash spent on laundry: $3
Visa costs: $20 Cambodia, $50 Vietnam + $25 visa online fee = $95
Cost of Mediterranean cruise: $598
Total cost of flights: $1350 (Two award flights: Antigua to LA and Switzerland to Antigua)
Top Photo From Each Country
Planning this RTW trip took a lot of effort, sleepless nights and many sacrifices, but it’s one of the most rewarding experiences of my entire life. This doesn’t have to be a once in a lifetime experience, but it will forever hold a special place in my heart. The world is a beautiful place, and we are all global citizens. Get out there and see this world for yourself! Happy Travels!