Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Google +?

Everyday there seems to be another social networking site demanding our time and compromising our privacy. We are faced with the dilemma of where to invest our time to build up our social network: Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Google +, etc.

For the next couple of months I will be immersed in the original social networking...backpacking or in my case flashpacking.

Backpacking is a term associated with low-cost, independent international travel. Flashpacking is backpacking but with a bigger budget. Usually the flashpacking crowd are individuals who have backpacked in the past but now are a little older and have more disposable income. On the other hand, because they have a background in backpacking, they realize the benefits of budget travel, but also the little quirks associated with it too. Shared bathrooms with clogged shower drains, sleeping in bunk beds in a huge dormitory with twenty snorers, riding public transportation with a fellow backpacker who hasn’t showered in a week and with a local whose pet (i.e. rooster) attempts to poke your eye out at every opportunity.

Occasionally I will still engage in my backpacking roots by staying in a hostel and sleeping in a dormitory. It’s a great way to meet other travelers and to get up to date travel information. For the most part, I stay in guest houses with private rooms with a bathroom and hot shower. The only snoring is my own.

Flashpackers also happen to travel with laptops, iPods and fancy Canon cameras which perfectly describes me.

Traveling independently on a budget is a great way to network with fellow travelers and locals. Unlike Facebook, Twitter and Google + you don’t post photos from ten years ago when we were thirty pounds lighter and had less facial wrinkles. What you see is what you get. You talk, exchange travel stories and share where you’ve been and where you’re going. The best part is there’s no typing involved, thus giving your fingers a rest.

I started my trip a month ago in the beautiful city-state of Singapore. The moment I landed in their world class airport I fell in love with the city. What’s not to love? The diversity of cultures and religion, the amazing food, clean streets, low crime and they hang (that’s right hang) people who are involved in any drug related crimes. My type of city.

The moment I arrived at my hostel I met John from England. He had been in Singapore for over a week and offered to give me a quick tour of the city. We covered Little India, Burgis Market and the Clarke Quay. We had dinner at a great hawker stall and then headed out to the Marina Bay Sands Resort. Billion dollar views and the construction costs to match it.

This is a photograph of the ArtScience Museum (part of the Marina Bay Sands Resort) with the Singapore skyline in the background. I shot this handheld as I didn’t bring my normal Manfrotto tripod for space considerations (I did bring my table top Manfrotto tripod but I didn’t have a place to elevate it for this shot). A great introduction to a great city.

Stay tuned for more of my adventures in Southeast Asia.

Happy Travels!

Text and photo copyright by ©Sam Antonio Photography

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