This is Jerelyn — the next best thing to do after she quit her job? Book an Anywhr trip - for 11 days, on a solo luxury getaway. As usual, we're omitting the details of Destination X. However, as you might imagine, with an 11 day, luxury booking at our disposal, we were thrilled. Off she went to a destination that in her own words, was 'beyond her wildest imagination'. Expecting to go somewhere in Asia, she (and her curious friends and worried parents) would never have guessed her surprise European island destination! And we wouldn't blame them, for this island away from its more touristy mainland is pretty much locals-only.
The Sun, sea and stars — Jerelyn’s preferences when she booked her surprise trip with us. And she got all these and beyond, spending her days wandering around quaint streets, admiring a sky full of stars, and having a picnic by the best sunsets. Jerelyn’s Destination X? Just over 74,000 through its airport.
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As our conversation with Jerelyn got underway, we found out she had discovered us via a friend's recommendation and booked her surprise trip all within the same day. Only to do a bit more research on Anywhr after, such as scrolling through our IG feed and assuming we only do Asia trips (which we don't - the longer the trip, the further you can go!). And as I write this, I can hear the dismissive "pfffts" of those harbouring reservations against millennial mentality. Packing up and 'Yolo-soloing' (you saw it here first) isn't without its trials, but it sure as hell isn't as terrifying as the overly-concerned make it out to be.
The Unexpected Surprises
Being as good a sport as she could be, our traveller didn't wait to open her Anywhr Envelope at the day of her slated departure. We're sure you'll do better next time and wait till arriving at the airport, Jerelyn.
“My friends told me that you guys only send people to Asia,” said Jerelyn. But this only made the surprise better, and Jerelyn admitted she did worry a little once she made the booking without much hesitation.
With a single notch in her solo-travelling belt from a trip to super-safe Japan, it's normal to have worries about 'Destination X'. But it wasn't long before the kick-ass nature of her destinations tipped the scale of worry and excitement in the latter's favour. And we can safely say so with her exclamation of this being the 'Best Trip Everrrrr 😍'.
The Most Interesting Interaction
Then there was Super-Friendly-Local, a name we gave a nameless character in Jerelyn’s colourful getaway, brought up when we asked “who was the most interesting person you met?”. Striking up a conversation with Jerelyn on a ferry, our traveller didn’t have much of a choice but to bear with it. From her accounts, we gathered that Super-Friendly-Local was/is a pretty harmless and kind fellow who was just overly happy to see a foreigner explore his little island.
Overcoming Super-Friendly-Local’s trial of uncomfortable encounters and conversations, Jerelyn was rewarded with a free tour at one of the islands, as the chummy stranger turned out to have some connections with the local guides that would otherwise costed her a fortune.
The Priceless Joys
You don’t have to accommodate to anyone else’s needs when you travel solo, and you’re forced to be more present — independence.
Dining alone in the foreign land, a waiter strikes up a conversation with our traveller eagerly recommend his ‘must try’ dishes (that might never been tried) and recommendations for Destination X.
Accepting an invitation to meet the her new friend for a drink the following day, Jerelyn managed to check a Mission off her personalised Anywhr Travelogue, a local alcoholic spirit that was much stronger than she had anticipated, leaving her at the mercy… and open! To a four hour long conversation (monologue) with her new friend.
Jerelyn had requested for a destination with the Sun, stars and sea, and Anywhr probably gave her more than she could have ever dreamed of. So much that she went through more than a bottle of sunblock.
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What do you wish you could bring home with you?
An open-air cinema set against the backdrop of a UNESCO World Heritage Site, star-gazing from her accommodation, cruising the streets on an ATV (with her indicator blinking unknowingly the whole day), local homestays that felt like a dream, taking in the panoramic view at the same cafe every morning… and the Super-Friendly-Local? This highlight reel of experiences, things and people met goes on for quite a bit, but it was the picture perfect scenery that had captured the heart of our intrepid traveller.
While the nature of travelling solo gives you the opportunity to experience a destination in a completely different way, there are admittedly, moments where you are reminded that a companion or two isn’t so bad — as Jerelyn said “When you find these great spots with breathtaking views, you can’t help but wish that you had someone to share it with.”.
She's already excited for her next Anywhr trip, but we guess it must be some time later once that new job settles in.
Wherever the destination, near or far, experiences, discoveries and friends are waiting to cross your path. All it takes is to “go with an open mind and an open heart” ― Jerelyn