Boarding Pass – Jaclynn of The Occasional Traveller

Singapore native Jaclynn Seah is behind the blog and e-shop, The Occasional Traveller. Both were inspired by the fact that she isn’t traveling as much as she’d like, so these online worlds became a way to help facilitate vicarious travel when she is stuck behind her desk. (Unfortunately the ‘Anywhere Travel Guides‘ – I’ve posted about in the past and were most recently featured in Anthology magazine’s “going global” issue – are all sold out, but there are lots of other clever finds). In any case, happy to bring you a fresh perspective in today’s Boarding Pass! Thanks, Jac!

{Paris, France 2007 – Soaking my feet at Louvre fountains during a really hot summer.}

home town:
Singapore, the place that I call my home.
{Singapore Skyline – 56 stories up at the infinity pool of the Marina Bay Sands Hotel.}

where you live now:
Still Singapore. I hope to live overseas for awhile in future, but I can’t honestly can’t imagine another place as home…
{Hue Vietnam 2011 – I like patterns and details in buildings.}

last trip taken:
A whirlwind solo 8-day trip to Vietnam, where I covered Hanoi, Halong Bay, Hue and Hoi An… I was sleeping in a different place every night. I’m already wishing I could get away again! I’m covering my Vietnam trip on my blog, so look out for those posts.
{Halong Bay Vietnam 2011 – My favorite picture of the trip.}

next trip on deck:
A family road trip up to neighbouring Malaysia for some simple R&R. I’m considering a dive trip somewhere exotic like Raja Ampat next year, but nothing set in stone yet… so many places to consider!
{Seoul Korea 2011 – I love colourful roofs and architecture.}

one place you would go back to again and again:
I’ve been to Taiwan 3 times already, but it’s a country I’ve yet to tire of. I still have western and central parts to explore, but I would gladly revisit the rest of it again and again.

{Lyudao Taiwan 2007 – When everyone has a camera, it’s fun to see what everyone is taking at any one point.}

place you’d most likely recommend a friend go visit:

Taiwan, but not just Taipei like most people do. I recommend Taitung for its rural country beauty and the lovely friendly people, as well as Lyudao or Green Island off the coast of Taitung, which is a little island you can circle in an hour. Also, it has the most beautiful hot springs in the world right by the sea.

{Malaga, Spain}

preferred method of transportation:
I usually walk a lot when I travel in cities, it’s the best way to get to know a place. For longer distances, I like driving if it’s with a group of friends so we can stop whenever we feel like it, though after my Hanoi trip I’m now quite fond of being able to lie down and not having to think about anything in sleeper train rides.
{Seoul Korea 2004 – Odd shots like this train model set end up being some of my most lasting memories.}

place you’ve never been but dying to go:
So many places! Morocco, Portugal, Turkey, Croatia, anywhere in Scandinavia… these are just those I can list off the top of my head now.
{Chipiona, Spain 2007 – seagull footprints.}

place you’d never go back:
Every trip has a different story to tell, and the experience is more about the company you keep or the weather that day, so there’s no place I’d not want to go back to.

{Taiwan journal 2007}

most memorable trip in 2 sentences or less:
My 18-day graduation trip with my university friends around Taiwan was the longest trip I’ve taken to date, and a true test of friendship. Thankfully we survived it (mostly), and still talk about those experiences these days (which we will never, ever let each other live it down). Some of it is chronicled in my Taiwan Journals (half done!) , but you really had to be there… I always believe that if you manage to survive a trip with someone, you’ll be friends for life!

how do you prepare for a trip?
Extensive googling or getting recommendations from people who’ve been there before, especially when it comes to accommodation. When travelling with friends I’m usually quite happy to leave it up to them to decide, but now I’ve started travelling on my own, I try to get my accommodation and transport settled beforehand if possible, so I only worry about the itinerary on the trip. Everything else I panic about once I’ve checked in.

{Paris, France 2007 – Eiffel Tower Detail.}

how do you record your travels when you’re traveling?
I keep written journals for my longer trips, usually written at the end of the day before I sleep. I sketch occasionally when inspired or I have the time, and collect a lot of ephemera like tickets and brochures. Lately I’ve been experimenting making my own travel journals because I can never find the right type of journals to hold all the junk I collect! Everyone journals differently, so I’m hoping to figure out a really flexible type of page structure for the journals that will go up in my shop (soon!) that everyone can customize to their liking.

My 2011 resolution was to finish up the Anywhere Travel Guide cards, though sadly I have to report, I’m only about 20% through… well there’s always next year!
{Seoul Korea 2011 – The goal for 2011 was to finish the cards, which sadly isn’t going to happen.}

what is your favorite thing to photograph in a new place?
I always try to get a good sky picture, whether it’s a sunrise/sunset, or just really vibrantly blue skies with fluffy white clouds. I love it when I manage to get a ‘postcard shot’, which then goes up as my screensaver and makes for a great memory and inspiration.
{Lyudao Taiwan 2007 – Documenting the sunrise while soaking in hot saltwater springs by the sea. [Click to enlarge].}

on an average, how many pictures to you take on a trip?
500 – 1000? More usually when there are sights to see, less if I do more shopping than sight-seeing =)
{Moalboal Cebu Philippines 2009 – Incredibly blue seas.}

{Sipadan Sabah Msia 2008 – I love the sun and sea but not the sand.}

{Redang 2010 – Diving}

{Christchurch, NZ 2006 – a tiny and most picturesque church.}

{Perth, Australia 2010 – Busselton Jetty in the backgroud, it was closed when we were there.}

what’s in your “designer travel kit” ?
I’ll carry my trip journal and my favourite blue-black ink pen. I used to carry around a pencil case full of markers but it got a bit cumbersome, so I just stick with one pen nowadays. I’ll usually bring a camera, a simple point-and-shoot digicam, though it died on the Vietnam trip and I ended up taking most of my pix on my iphone (phew for that at least!).
{Taiwan Journal 2007 – this is an illustration of a snake encounter in Yang Ming Shan.}

what do you do after a trip? how long after a trip does this happen?
Right now I usually spend the post-trip period doing some serious blogging, because I lose steam really quickly, I try and get it all out as fast as I can after the trip, or I’ll get distracted by the next one! I finished quite a lot of my Seoul blogs from my July trip, but have now been sidetracked by my new Vietnam blogs.

My trip journals are just for reference and fond memories after the trip, though I usually spend some time with glue and tape to finally stick down all the stuff I picked up during my trip. I saw a tip online about carrying around a mini-stapler, and I think that’s a fab idea I’m going to take up. Otherwise, I just end up bundling together all the brochures and bits and bobs that can’t get scrapbooked.

I’ve thought about blogging during my trip so I can get posts out faster… but I think that just takes away precious travelling time, so I’d rather focus my energy on actual experiences and leave the blogging to the end.

{Magnet Wall – collected from everyone in the family.}

favorite souvenir/thing to bring back?
My mum started a tradition where we buy a magnet for every place that we visit, so that’s one thing I definitely always come back with, wherever I go. I love looking at it occasionally and just remembering where, when and how we ended up with that particular magnet. Otherwise I’m usually quite fond of souvenirs I can wear because there’s just no space in my room to display stuff – earrings are a favourite.
{A souvenir I still wear today}

what inspired The Occasional Traveller?
The idea came about mostly because I don’t get to travel as much as I want to. I really wish I could call myself the Frequent Traveller, but I have a full time job to pay for the travel bills, which is a little ironic because it means I have less time to travel instead. Hence I’m merely an Occasional Traveller, but I hope that my little website will be able to inspire myself and others like me to remember to take that time off and just take an occasional trip!
{Hoi An, Vietnam}
{Tags I made for pop up TOTshops – what words inspire you to travel.}


Boarding Pass is a weekly column exploring the creative ways people travel.


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