Southeast Asia is a fantastic place to travel. You have everything, from the quiet Halong Bay in Vietnam to the beaches in Indonesia or the modern fast pace city of Singapore.
Today we are very lucky to 2 friends, Sarah and Britta, from Austria. They just returned from a massive 5-months Southeast Asia trip. Started off as acquaintances, they are now travel-for-life buddies! In this interview, they will share about the planning required for such a long massive trip. This interview is altered to suit the flow of content.
Background of Sarah and Britta
2 Austrian girls take on the world of Southeast Asia! Sometimes, they are known as Sarah and Britta, other times Blondie and Curlie. They travel the world, go on adventures and don’t give a damn about what other people think! 2 girls of different personality, somehow they became the perfect travel buddy!
Sarah and Britta will be sharing more stories on Trevellers! Stay tuned for their amazing stories to come.
Why do you call yourselves Blondie and Curlie?
We gave ourselves those nicknames since our hair used to attract a lot of attention in remote areas in Asia. Sarah alias Blondie and Britta who is Curly. We call ourselves “pixeltheglobe.”
How did you girls turn into travel buddies?
Southeast Asia is the region we travelled together. We met in high school but more like acquaintances than close friends. In a really boring lesson, we talked and discovered that we shared a goal of travelling the world!
After some discussions, this became a reality. We bought one-way tickets, backpacks and gathered some bravery. We have very different personalities and different ways of living. Yet, we became travel buddies for a lifetime. Though we not always travelling together, we know that we can count on each other if we have a crazy idea and want to go to a country no one else would.
That’s fantastic! Of the travel stories so far, what is that one favourite story?
Oh, it is hard to have the ONE travel story since there are just too many great moments!
One of them was definitely in Singapore, where we joined a free kick scooter tour with our hostel. This story is important to us because Singapore was the first stop of our adventure. We were afraid. We felt insecure and didn’t know how to talk to people or organize anything.
The tour ended up being a very fast race through the city and if you were too slow you had to return home alone. Still, it was an amazing experience. All people were staring at us and we were dripping with perspiration. But the speed pumped so much adrenaline in your blood that you hardly noticed.
Cruising through the Gardens by the Bay at night and watching the sunset from a rooftop while snacking… It was just perfect. In the end, the guide told the whole group that on Sundays (it was a Sunday), the sky bar at Marina Sands Bay was accessible for free and without a dress code! As soon as we were back, the whole group ran to the showers, changed, and all together we went up there and enjoyed that amazing view.
The great thing was how unexpected everything went. With a simple tour, a hostel full of strangers turned into friends. We got to see a place we really wanted to but we initially skipped because of the price. Everything was completely unexpected. This just showed us how it is to be connected with others through the travel spirit and took away our fear.
Price is definitely an issue when it comes to travel. I had to cancel a few things because it was expensive. How do you fund a massive trip like this?
How we are able to afford our travels is kind of a difficult question. We decided that we wanted to travel for a long time, experience different cultures and discover new places together. We were in high school then, only about to graduate. You know the deal with students and money!
The money we spent was saved pocket money, some money we got from relatives and also savings from summer jobs we did. We are both thrifty people and have been saving up for quite some time. During our travels, we were also cautious with our spending. We had a list of things we wanted to do and found a budget version for the activities.
Last but not least I have to say that we didn’t party often (twice in 5 months). Alcohol is expensive! Even in Southeast Asia, when you drink on a regular base. You have to see what works best for you.
You must read: 10 Places To Get Free Alcohol in Singapore
How about the itinerary? How did you plan such a big travel trip like this?
We had a rough plan of our route, considering the rainy and dry season. And for the rest, we planned as we travelled.
Our first stop was Singapore. Then we thought about where to go next. After Singapore, we travelled to Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) and thought about our next travel destination.
From time to time we added travel destinations to our list which just weren’t possible. For example, we thought about going to China after Myanmar. We really wanted to do it but after some research, we needed to apply for a visa in advance.
Long story short, Sarah is more of a planner than Britta. But we are both spontaneous people if that makes sense, so everything works out fine!
That’s awesome! What are the top 3 things you MUST have when you travel?
A good backpack is the most important thing.
- Too big, you end up overpacking or it’s heavy to carry.
- Too small, you will regret it if you want to buy something.
- Not comfortable, you will hate yourself while carrying it.
Your backpack can be your enemy or your best friend! Choose it wisely.
Another travel essential is a smartphone. In our opinion you need a device for taking pictures otherwise you will end up with stories that no one believes because they sound so crazy! Either it’s a camera or a phone you want to keep your memories somewhere, they are so precious. And another thing why a smartphone comes in handy is because of the useful apps on it (from time to time apps like maps.me saved us) as well as staying in touch with your loved ones!
And last but not least: the right spirit. In general, you should be chilled about stuff. Things will go wrong. There will be challenges. But hey, you can overcome them, so don’t panic and enjoy your time!
One last thing, what is one single tip you have about travel that changed your life?
The best advice we can give you is: Travel how YOU want! Don’t listen to somebody claiming to have the RIGHT way of travelling.
- You enjoy touristy areas more? DO IT! Don’t listen to the people saying that it’s not travelling if you are not off the beaten track.
- You have a higher budget and don’t mind that price quoted? TOTALLY FINE! There are travellers trying to have a “Who got it cheapest” contest.
Travel however you like and wherever you want, as long as you respect the people and the culture around you it is fine!
Follow Pixeltheglobe on Instagram and stay tunned as they share their stories on Trevellers!