Travel Tuesday

Five Necessary Realisations Before You Travel

langkawi05Words & Photos: @oliverinstead • Location: Langkawi, Kedah, Malaysia

The first time I travelled out of Malaysia, I was headed to the United Kingdom with only half a carry-on suitcase of clothes, a towel, a tube of Pringles… not even real Pringles but the Malaysian knock-off called Mister Potato, and nothing else – practically no knowledge of the country, the continent, the climate or the culture apart from what I’d briefly glanced on the telly… I wasn’t even half terrified.

小弟第一次出国就是来大不列颠王国。当时候的奥利佛才刚满十九岁,护照都还是新新的,没盖过印章。身上带着半包衣服,一条毛巾和两罐洋芋片就离家了… 对欧洲这里的文化,语言,气候啥的除了在电视上看过的之外,知识只不过半桶水,不过我当时候其实一点都不怕。满心只充满兴奋和期望。


I’ve learnt many lessons along the way. These are from my utmost personal experiences that may (or may not) apply to most travellers and travels, be it long, short, near or far and I believe these realisations will make your travels even better.


1. Timezones will drive you nuts

langkawi01True story. The worst part is when I’ve just received some exciting news (e.g. exam results) but can’t just tell my mum because she’s in bed, probably snoring away like a lil’ piggy but I wouldn’t know… Guess why? Because I’m a million bloody miles away!

The sooner you realise there’s nothing you can about that the better so just deal with it.



langkawi04 langkawi03


2. You have freedom in everything

And I don’t just mean because you’re away from your nagging parents… maybe that too, but also you need to realise that you’re allowed to pick and choose what aspects of the native culture you want to adopt. The Brits are known to be drinkers, quite heavy ones too by my standards but I have yet to touch a drop since I moved here almost seven years ago. Remember to never feel pressurised into doing anything and always, always stay true to who you are and what you believe in.



3. It’s not always fun

langkawi08You’re in a foreign country. You may or may not speak the local lingo. You get lost. You just missed your flight. With your broken Burmese, you try to ask for direction to the nearest train station. You look downright stupid, and again, all the while you’ve just missed your flight.


langkawi07These are the risks you have to take if you want to travel. Solution? Lighten up and realise the fun in these things! They are the stories to tell when you get home, because when and where else are you going to be a completely clueless outsider and experience a totally different environment than that you’re used to?



4. The people you love will be distant

You meet new people, you make friends! Yaaay, that’s greeeat!! What’s not so great is the inevitable fact that you have to part. You can’t keep them with you all the time, which in turn I guess is great (??) because then you know who your true friends are. Remember, real friends don’t have to see each other all the time but when you do, it’ll feel like you’ve never separated. Realise that!

第四,你爱的人不会永远在你身旁。你在旅途中会和很多人插肩而过,或许还会交些朋友呢!好耶!可惜的是这些人是不能够永远一直陪伴着你… 不过我从中领悟到的是,我真正的朋友是不会因为我们相隔的距离而疏远的。真正的朋友就算是十年没见,当一见面的时候都还是会觉得昨晚刚刚才道别。


5. We’re all the same.

langkawi02Short and sweet, the last thing to realise is – underneath it all, we’re all the same. Have fun!!



What have you realised about travels, and just life in general? Let me know! 你在旅游时有体会过什么意识吗?记得要跟我分享哦!


Oliver ❤

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  • Reply
    Anna Nuttall
    May 10, 2016 at 10:13 am

    Hi Oliver, those photos look amazing – one day i will visit Malaysia.

  • Reply
    Helena Feofanov
    May 10, 2016 at 11:21 am

    I love your photos and I completely agree with all of your points. Great post ! X

  • Reply
    Vai Chin @Rambling Through Parenthood
    May 10, 2016 at 1:00 pm

    Well said! It is so easy to forget even the most obvious when travelling 🙂

  • Reply
    May 10, 2016 at 2:52 pm

    What amazing photos, you are so lucky to be living where you do. We don’t travel much at the moment but do plan to in the future, your points are very good and should be taken on board if planning to travel x

    • Reply
      May 11, 2016 at 9:32 am

      Sadly I don’t live in Malaysia anymore, but I do try to visit home as regularly as possible. 🙂

      Oliver x

  • Reply
    Chloe Wright
    May 10, 2016 at 3:08 pm

    Amazing photos and great advice for people travelling away from home! I’m coming to the end of my academic exchange from Manchester to Amsterdam (not as far as Malaysia to Manchester, though!) and I agree with every single one of your realisations!


    • Reply
      May 10, 2016 at 7:32 pm

      Regardless of the distance, it takes dedication and guts to leave home…! Good on you and best of luck with your exchange!

      Oliver x

  • Reply
    amy lyons
    May 10, 2016 at 5:27 pm

    your photography is absolutely stunning in this post! xx

  • Reply
    Ana De- Jesus
    May 10, 2016 at 11:06 pm

    What made you move to the UK seven years ago? Your right you don’t need to change who you are to fit in a different countries culture. Stay true to who you are!

    • Reply
      May 11, 2016 at 9:26 am

      Thanks for the comment, Ana. I came to the UK for education, I was in college for a year and uni for three years. I’m a big believer in education can get you places, I mean literally!

      Oliver •

  • Reply
    Helen @ Fuss Free Living
    May 11, 2016 at 8:17 am

    Beautiful photos. I adore travelling and have only got homesick once on a press trip to Canada, when on a bus trip to Niagara with a load of other Brits. My top tip when out of Europe is to take a mobile wifi so you at least have data – there is nearly always friend on Facebook awake.

    • Reply
      May 11, 2016 at 9:06 am

      That’s a great tip! I have always wanted to do that but would you bring one from home or get home when you’re at the destination?

      Oliver x

  • Reply
    Kara Guppy
    May 11, 2016 at 9:10 am

    Stunning photographs. I don;t think I have ever been far enough away for long enough to be homesick

  • Reply
    Fi Ni Neachtain
    May 11, 2016 at 10:13 am

    Those photographs are beautiful, really fills me with a sense of wanderlust. I’ve never traveled outside of Europe so I haven’t had to deal with time zones or missing loved too much as of yet.

  • Reply
    May 11, 2016 at 10:23 am

    This is a lovely post…I feel dreadful that I haven’t seen more of the world.

    I do however have a friend about to set off and travel the world so I’ll send them to this post!

    • Reply
      May 11, 2016 at 12:04 pm

      Thanks Charlie for the comment! Yes, share the post with them and I hope they have a great time!

      Oliver x

  • Reply
    Paighton Millington - The Lazy Baker
    May 11, 2016 at 12:00 pm

    Great advice for people travelling away from home, I’ve never done it myself, so I can’t imagine what it must be like.
    Also, fantastic photos, absolutely beautiful!

  • Reply
    Cassandra Mayers
    May 11, 2016 at 2:11 pm

    I haven’t traveled much. But I can imagine if I did it for a long period of time all the above would become apparent to me

  • Reply
    Jodie Marie
    May 11, 2016 at 6:06 pm

    Having travelled quite a lot and lived abroad several times, I could totally relate to these. Luckily I’ve never been far enough away that my family are sleeping while I’m awake!

  • Reply
    Sarah Bailey
    May 11, 2016 at 6:32 pm

    Beautiful photographs you have such an eye. I have to admit I’ve not travelled much, it is something I would have loved to have done, had my life allowed it however. x

    • Reply
      May 11, 2016 at 10:15 pm

      Thanks. I enjoy taking pictures and it’s good to hear that people are appreciating my photography.

      Oliver x

  • Reply
    May 11, 2016 at 7:58 pm

    I often wish I had travelled more, especially when I see photos as beautiful as these!

  • Reply
    May 11, 2016 at 8:45 pm

    Stunning photos, I wish I had travelled more. I went to India for a few months but I now think I was too young to fully appreciate it and as I was on my own being on my guard all the time was tiring x

    • Reply
      May 11, 2016 at 10:12 pm

      You should be on your guard at all times when you travel, I know it sounds cynical but plenty of people target on tourists, so we have to be extra careful but at the same time not let the danger put you off travelling… which is hard to do. :/

      Oliver x

  • Reply
    May 12, 2016 at 5:22 am

    Great tips and stunning images. Thanks for sharing this.

  • Reply
    Amy Hunt
    May 12, 2016 at 9:44 am

    I’m glad you put “not always fun” on your list. I plan to have all the fun in the world on my holiday but with illness and crazy weather it’s not always the case! Fingers crossed It’ll be a good one this year!

    • Reply
      May 12, 2016 at 12:50 pm

      Yeah, it’s true. It’s only when you realise certain things will most likely go wrong during your travels, that you won’t get too upset when they do. I hope you have a fantastic time nonetheless!

      Oliver x

  • Reply
    May 13, 2016 at 4:04 pm

    No. 1 is my nightmare, especially in traveling in Indonesia which has three time zones and normally just one hour apart. That single hour can easily ruin the flight schedules. No 4, on the other hand, is a sad truth but ofcourse, knowing to love yourself first thru travels will make you to learn to love them more.

    • Reply
      May 13, 2016 at 6:56 pm

      Omg Myanmar had this 1/2 hour time difference that really bugged me… I never knew that was even a thing. I thought timezones worked by hour? Not by 1/2 hour!

      Oliver x

  • Reply
    May 13, 2016 at 7:23 pm

    I love how you used the word “bloody”, I use it all the time at home! How very northern :’) This post is so true! Timezones in particular, just when you have something to say to a family member or friend, you realise they are probably already in bed and won’t be able to answer at all! Thank god for today’s technology so you can get in contact when you want to (even if they don’t reply straight away)!

  • Reply
    May 16, 2016 at 10:35 am

    This was fantastically written and so very bloody true. Can I also add your photos are just amazing too!

  • Reply
    May 17, 2016 at 6:52 am

    Wonderful photos Oliver, I’d love to visit Malaysia some time. I definitely agree with these points after spending a lot of time travelling round the US and Europe. Thank god for the addition of clocks from around the world into the iPhone clock app eh?! You need never worry about waking someone up again 😉

  • Reply
    Rhian Westbury
    May 27, 2016 at 10:28 am

    Such a great post and it’s good that you haven’t given into pressures and differences in culture here. x

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