On my YouTube Channel Lilly Out And About!
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Sur ma chaîne YouTube Lilly Out And About !
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AND HAPPY NEW YEAR 2019!!!
So we left Las Vegas with a somewhat sore feeling. After being forced to get a cab from the hotel to go to McCarran International Airport, when no other option was left to us, and waiting for several hours at the airport (where we felt more at ease than anywhere else in Vegas at that point), we eventually took off and escaped from the Nevada desert, happy as ever to leave the sounds of the slot machines behind us.
It was Monday the 23rd of July, and on that day I set foot in Los Angeles for the first time in my life.
We had almost 24 hours until our next plane, which would carry us in more than 10 hours, to Japan.
Things went smoothly, so we didn’t have to think about it. From the airport, we took the free shuttle to our hotel (what a change after Las Vegas!), checked in the huuuuge beautiful room we booked and we proceeded to chill out.
We didn’t even go out of the hotel to explore Los Angeles a bit, but honestly we weren’t in the mood to do so. Things are a little blurry but from what I can remember, we went to the hotel restaurant and ate very good food, and then I watched a movie my father had told me about on the flight that day, which I had wanted to see ever since it was released in 2004: ‘Flight Plan‘ with Jodie Foster, a thriller set on a plane which was interestingly written, but scared me about planes when I wasn’t even scared…
All I could think about was counting the hours separating me from leaving the US and FINALLY landing to Japan, and seeing it for myself, after so many years of wondering how it would be like.
For the record, I have been learning Japanese for almost 2 years now, and obviously learning about the culture as well, from many different sources (YouTube, books, TV shows, Netflix, documentaries, social media and so on). So I already knew a lot about Japan. In fact, in some ways even more than I knew about the US… That’s something I’ve already talked about, but what I knew from the US before our trip all came from 70s to 90s TV shows and movies. Nothing current.
I had the same level of excitement for Japan that I got for New York City, which is saying something because I had wanted to go to New York since before I could even have memories… I can’t even describe how happy I was.
That night I couldn’t sleep very well either, which was expected…
I knew well enough how much of a disorientation and culture shock we would feel when arriving in Japan, and what’s more, in Tokyo. I tried to explain it as much as I could to my father. I remember I told him about:
He listened alright. And as I talked about it, I tried my best to really think about it. But in the end, neither of us was truly prepared for what was coming.
Ever wondered where Sofia Coppola got her title from for her famous movie? Well I’ll just leave that quote here for you to think about…
“Poetry is what is lost in translation. It is also what is lost in interpretation.”
Until next time,
Hey Brianna, thank you for joining me on this adventure! Can you tell me a bit more about yourself and about your expatriation in Singapore? What was your motivation to go?
Well, I’ve always wanted to start my own business and I fell in love with a New Zealander working as an expat in Singapore. So I’ve expatriated myself to be with my loved one, and I wanted to experience something new!
What was the turning point for you?
When he asked me and I lost my job in the US. It gave me no excuse and I had nothing to lose.
How did it felt then?
How long have you been there?
It has been 2 years.
What made you choose this place in the world in particular, besides the fact that your boyfriend was living there?
Singapore is modern, there are lots of opportunities for traveling, and so many other expats who are new and in a similar position as me.
How many languages do you speak?
I speak two languages, Polish and English.
As an English speaker, you already knew the official language of Singapore (one of them actually). How did it help? Do you recommend learning it beforehand?
It helped with making friends, and just daily life in general. If you don’t speak English, you don’t particularly have to learn it beforehand.
Did you encounter any difficulties?
Yes, getting a job and finding a place were a difficult part, and also making friends: in fact I still struggle to make friends, and the ones I have are mostly other expats, not locals.
What do you think is the reason for that?
Singapore is not an easy place to blend in as an expat’: there are just too many different cultures with not a lot in common and people tend to stay to themselves.
I see what you mean. Having said that, what do you think was the most difficult part of your expatriation?
Keeping myself busy and dealing with loneliness.
Looking back on it now, what would you have done differently upon your arrival there?
Explore more instead of sitting at home feeling homesick.
And what would you have done differently during your preparation?
I would have spent more time saying goodbye to my family and favorite places.
On your day of arrival there, did you really feel lost? How so?
Yes. I thought, ‘what now?’
Where did you get the most/best information about the place of your expatriation?
My boyfriend and meeting other expats giving me advice.
What advice would you give to anyone looking to come live as an expat’ in Singapore?
Go out and make friends.
Duly noted! Now, about the adjustments you needed to make during your expatriation: how about the food there?
Yes it needed adjusting. Most things were spicy and Asian food. Coming from the US, there aren’t too many options for western food.
Did you need an adjustment to the people? How so?
Yes. I wasn’t used to the big city rudeness and I have a hard time walking through large crowds of people.
Did you need an adjustment to the legislation?
No, not really.
Even though the Singaporean legislation is one of the most restrictive in the world?
I guess I found some laws quite strange and bizarre and sometimes I think the government is a bit too strict with ridiculous things such as the ban of chewing gum, not being fair about same sex marriage laws, etc. But none of the laws here have affected my daily living lifestyle so I don’t mind and I am respectful of the country’s legislation. Although I believe strongly in better rights for the lgbt community here.
Did you need an adjustment to the climate? How so?
Yes. It’s so humid and hot year round. I miss seasons.
Did you need an adjustment to clothing? How so?
It’s so hot and I only wear clothes that I can sweat in. I don’t put as much effort into fashion, hair, and makeup like I used to. The hot humidity makes it hard.
Did you need an adjustment to the customs?
A little bit.
I find the “singlish” slang to be very hard to understand. It’s english, but they throw in a bunch of other words and phrases that I don’t understand as a native English speaker. I’ve also had to deal with hatred just because I am an American. And getting used to the hawker street feed was hard for me at first. But now I love it!
I see. Did you also need an adjustment to the way of living? How so?
Yes. Things here are much more expensive and you spend most of your time indoors.
Did you need an adjustment to the work life? How so?
Yes. This is the first time I am full time working for myself.
Did you need an adjustment to anything else?
Yes, I had to get used to the time difference making it hard to sometimes call family and friends back home.
Your last word? 🙂
Singapore is a fun place to grow and enjoy life in the modern clean city but I wouldn’t stay here forever.
Well thank you so much Brianna! It has been a real pleasure interviewing you!
Brianna de Gaston is a very successful YouTuber and Instagram influencer. She creates great content about her expatriation in Singapore, but also about fashion, lifestyle and traveling! Check out her social media:
Brianna’s YouTube Channel: Brianna in Singapore
Brianna’s Vlogging YouTube Channel: Brianna and James
Brianna’s Instagram Account: @briannainsingapore
Brianna’s Twitter Account: @briannadeg
Brianna’s Blog: http://www.globalfashiongal.com/
Brianna’s Patreon Page: https://www.patreon.com/GlobalFashionGal
If you also want to be involved in my ‘One Goal: Expatriation!’ project and share your thoughts on your expatriation on my blog, please check this post.
*© Photos: Brianna, Brianna in Singapore.
For these reviews I’ve chosen 5 criteria (the MAPAR review :D), to which I can add bonus points if there are any:
Of course those are completely subjective, and I will of course express my free opinion on each of them. If you disagree with me or think I’ve left something out, please leave me a comment!
There are lots of maps, and very good quality ones! Depending on the version of the guide you get, you can also have a detachable folded map, the size of a tourist one (if you get what I mean) with top sights and venues on it!
I’ve given 5 stars for Lonely Planet ones because they were all I could ever wish for in a travel guide: coloured, big enough, some of them very detailed, and most of all, I didn’t have to buy any more!
All in all the advice throughout the guide was good, and dependent on any kind of reader. There are pieces of advice for everyone and anyone, from families with small kids, to young adults looking for fun and even for LGBTs in particular!
The downside was that sometimes, those were quite cliche, which discredited the whole thing. But when the advice was good, it was delightful to follow it!
I think this picture speaks for itself: the images in Lonely Planet® guides are amazing.
Very high quality, very beautiful and inspirational, a good size even in small versions of the guides, they are all you could look for in a travel guide to help you figure out how the destination looks like, feels like, and to inspire you even before you’ve arrived to your destinations.
Throughout our month of travelling, in 2 different continents and 3 different countries, we sometimes only depended on the Lonely Planet® guides I’d purchased. And while most of the time we didn’t have any problems, we did have some disappointments here and there: hours of restaurants, venues or stores that didn’t match the real ones, places closed down for good or replaced with other ones when we arrived in front of them…
This happened one too many time for me not to mention it, although it is to be expected with printed travel guides, sometimes having been written months or even years before you get them in your hands!
Compared to other guides, let me tell you the Lonely Planet® ones are a delight to read! They’ve got colours, bullet points, logos, sections, big titles, boxed texts, highlights, and most of all, their normal paragraphs are a good size to read! You would think it is a given, but apparently not from what I’ve seen…
Therefore this is definitely a good point for Lonely Planet®.
Even if the guides I’d chosen weren’t that big, they had a lot of content! Enough to have special pages and sections all throughout the book.
On the left: This Top Itineraries double page gives you advice on full-day itineraries you can follow as if you were with a professional travel guide all day long! I’ve tested some of them myself, and they were pretty good to allow you spending good days with plenty of things to see and do!
On the right: This section is by far one of my favorites! It allows you to really get an idea of how your destination and its inhabitants are like. There’s information on the place nowadays, its history, customs, architecture and even language!
What a delight when the travel guide you’re reading has a funny tone or inspire you to visit everything in the destination you’ve chosen? Well Lonely Planet guides combine those two characteristics!
Not only are they very inspirational, but their writers are sometimes particularly funny! I’ve found myself laughing quite a number of times while reading them, and it made it all the more enjoyable 🙂
- Advice Quality
- Special pages
Well to say that I would need to review each edition of travel guides out there. But from what I can tell, they really were good travel companions through my whole month of travelling, and I’ve managed to read them cover to cover and still wanting more! I will for sure buy more Lonely Planet® guides for my next travels.
Lilly, aka The French Hat
Lonely Planet guides on which I based this article:
You see, I have social anxiety, always had, and it’s pretty bad, enough to be a real pain in my life. It manifests itself even more during holidays, because my confidence always reaches a low point.
So when I had to leave home for the World Tour I did this summer 2018 – which I talk to you about here – with my parents and then only my dad, I knew I would have to be stronger than usual, at least to survive on long-haul flights.
To give you a bit of a context, before that, I had never been on a long-haul flight. Now I shall say I’ve become an expert, as I’ve successfully survived through 7 (out of 9 flights in total) in only 1 month.
Our first flight from Paris to New York was more than 8 hours long, which at the time seemed to go on forever. For me it rhymed with hell on earth (well actually hell in the air): 8 hours, stuck in a confined area, 10,000 feet up, in a uncomfortable seat, without any space nor air to breathe properly, surrounded by strangers mostly nervous and uncomfortable too… To be honest, it does sound like the beginning of a horror movie.
And of course, my anxiety levels were up to the roof for this first flight. But I managed to find things to keep me calm throughout all the 9 flights, and here are 5 of my most efficient tips, real tips that actually helped me survive this month of travel!
This is by far my most efficient tip. If you suffer from social anxiety like me, you would need to bring:
I cannot stress enough the ‘as usual‘ part as this is what makes this tip so efficient: you need to trick your brain into thinking you’re home, or in a place you know, in order to tackle anxiety and make the hours go faster and more smoothly.
Of course I know most of the stuff I’ve listed is provided by most companies, but trust me when I say you’re better off with your own, and not only because some companies actually re-use the same stuff already used by other passengers, sometimes without even washing it, presenting it to you in a closed plastic bag. Yes. And the same goes with the seats, the armrests, and headrests, which hardly get washed. But I’ll talk about hygiene in another tip: for now the point is to bring your own, washed, clean, stuff.
Pillow-tip: Also, if you’re wondering how to bring your own pillow without being too encumbered at the airport, just bring a folded pillowcase with you, which you can then load with clothes (thereby reducing the weight of your luggage at the same time). But really you can make it out of anything: my own pillow was made of my big Sostrene Grene black linen tote bag, filled with the stuff I wanted to have with me on the plane, wrapped up in my hoodie, which I then closed by tying the loops together!
The number 1 tip some people give is to choose your seat carefully. I’d say okay, but following which criteria? There’s as much criteria as there are people, and I would say the best place on a plane really much depends on yourself, and your preferences!
If you really want to get the best seats, go over to Seat Guru* after you’ve paid your plane tickets: this website allows you to know which seats are the best ones on your specific plane. Then go over to your registration site online, and simply book those magic seats!
I know you’re probably thinking ‘Well, you’ve entitled this ‘Do not stress over your seat’ but you’ve actually been saying the opposite!‘ and I would say you’re perfectly right, but here’s my conclusion (and my real tip):
All of what I’ve just said before doesn’t matter, because whatever seat you get on the plane, it will be uncomfortable, and there isn’t one seat or row that can be called ‘the best’. Why? Because the definition of good entirely depends on your preferences, which may even vary from one flight to another!
For example, if you know you’ll be tired on the plane because it is a night flight, then make sure you get a seat where you won’t be disturbed for the whole duration of the flight. But if your flight starts on early afternoon, make sure you get an aisle seat to be able to stretch your legs and go to the bathroom as you like!
Also, if you know your plane is going to be huge (Boeing 747 or Airbus A380) do not worry about anything I’ve said before, because those planes are so comfortable and spacious that you won’t even realize you’re on an aircraft.
So the best place you can get depends entirely on you! Just be aware of all the possibilities you have and you’ll be fine!
A 10-hour flight is long, very long. Especially if you anxiously wait for food.
Usually you get 3 meals in a 10-hour flight. I don’t know the rule for sure but the company usually respects normal hours to eat.
For example, even if you cross on another time zone, flight attendants will bring you food when it lunch/dinner time in the place you’ve left. Same goes with breakfast and a small snack in the middle of the afternoon.
You could be thinking that’s more than enough to stay fulfilled, but it actually isn’t: even for me the portions were too small. To give you a bit of a background, I’m french, therefore not used to big portions as in America for example, and I don’t eat that much anyway. But the portions were so small I always had to purchase food at the airport, after the security check, to bring on the plane with me!
The same goes with water: you usually get 4 or 5 drinks during a 10-hour flight, and you can ask a glass of water each time, but this cannot be enough under any circumstances. You need to double the amount of water you would normally drink: so for every 8 hours, you should drink up to 2 L of water to stay hydrated! This is due to the air-recycling inside the cabin, which is creating an extremely dry environment (see more details below).
Water tips: bring your bottle with you. I would suggest bringing a 1,5 L bottle. To pass the security check, present it empty: the security won’t say anything to you even if you see signs everywhere telling you to get rid of your bottles! What they don’t want are fluids, because you can have explosives in them. So if you have an empty bottle, that doesn’t interest them! Then, you can refill your bottle in any bathroom, or with any source you find, especially for that purpose!
On the plane, you can actually ask the flight attendants to refill your bottle for you when they pass between seats offering drinks! Not a lot of people know this, so there actually always is enough water for everyone because they have extra.
This is a small but efficient tip.
Go to the bathroom right before boarding the plane, right after take-off, and more generally, don’t wait to go: at the second you start to get cramps, because if you wait, you’re likely to get stuck for a long time in a queue that never seems to end..
People usually tend to go all at once an hour or two after take-off, and the line can go on forever! Imagine all 300 passengers or more all sharing 4 or 6 bathrooms at the same time?! And usually, the toilet paper is lacking after 2 hours in the air. So make sure you go before all that frenzy!
Who said spending long hours on airplanes should equal to landing in a poor physical condition? In fact, if you follow the basic recommendations, not one spot is likely to appear on your face, nor your nose is going to be runny or your throat sore. It all depends on how much effort you put in your well-being during the flight.
Firstly, be prepared, and bring your skincare and eye-care stuff: as long as you respect the size requirements for liquids, you can bring whatever you need/want:
whatever will help your skin stay hydrated and your eyes not feel sore and be red. Because of course, the biggest enemy inside the plane cabin is dehydration.
Why is it that the inside of an aircraft cabin is so dry? It is due to the cabin pressurization, which is a process in which conditioned air is pumped into the cabin of an aircraft or spacecraft, in order to create a safe and comfortable environment for passengers and crew flying at high altitudes. For aircraft, this air is usually bled off from the gas turbine engines at the compressor stage.
Be careful though as the pressure will make your creams literally escape from their container as soon as you open them!
Secondly, drink the water you’ve taken with you! Nothing replaces water to be really hydrated, so drink as much as you can, even if it means you’ll go to the bathroom a lot: the choice is yours to make.
I hope those tips were useful to you, please make sure to like this article or leave me a comment if you’ve learned something or if you know you’ll be using one of my tips on your next flight! I’d be delighted to hear from you 🙂
Take care and have a good one,
Lilly, aka The French Hat