Hello there, thanks for being curious to find out more about me.
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If you’re trying to find my name or a picture of me, I’m sorry to disappoint you as I prefer to remain “somewhat” anonymous (or at least I feel so). It has been 10 years since I first started travel blogging and I am still not comfortable with showing my face on my blog. My face does show up occasionally in group photos but most of the time, it will just be my lovely travel friends that are willing to pose for me. My traveling bears (Duffy, Paddington & Captain Rila) and my hand (sometimes with fancy manicure art) will appear more frequently.
I started blogging since I was 13 (back in the Diaryland/Blogspot days) but the entries back then were more about random musings of school life and song lyrics. Travel blogging only started after I returned from my USA Work & Travel Program back in 2010. It was a 3 months adventure (my longest overseas stint to date) and there were many lovely memories to reminisce about.
As time goes by, I discovered that I really enjoy travel planning. Years ago, I frequent the library to read travel guide books as these books were too expensive to be bought. I do it all the time, whether I had plans to travel or not. Today, everything can be found online and even the maps in these guide books may be outdated. Now, google controls more than half of my online life..
So.. People often ask me what is the motivation behind all my writing; and my answer to them is.. If people like me didn’t exist, will you be able to find the information you need for your own Free & Easy trip? It is kind of like a pay-it-forward mentality. I blog useful information to thank the community which fed me with the useful information which I needed while planning for my own trip. It’s such a simple yet important reason but it is also the only way that keeps this information bank growing strong!
In case you’re wondering.. nope blogging does not pay well at all. In fact, for the first two years of converting my free site to a .com, the amount I ‘earn’ from Google Ads is not even enough to pay my yearly domain and hosting fees. It took me a while to grow my fanbase and after a few viral articles here and there, I was on track to break-even from August 2017 – which was the third year of owning a dot com.
Another sad truth I learned along the way was that while it is easy to be a blogger (well anyone can do it and it’s free) but it is not easy to be a full-time blogger. I really respect the many individuals that are able to make their passion their career and (for now) the wanderlust dream will still be a dream for me.
I still do not have the courage to quit my full-time job and backpack around the world. I need a full-time job to finance my travel desires and having the freedom of choice to not opt for the cheapest option all the time. At the end of the day, the travel that I enjoy should be the kind of relaxation/healing and I don’t think that roughing out on a shoestring budget for every single trip is enjoyable. When I was younger, I did aim to scrimp and save every single cent by camping overnight at airports, staying in hostels or eating kebabs every meal but now that I am older with a somewhat stable income, I try to strike the balance between budget and comfortable experience. I guess growing older made me derive more satisfaction from staying in a $200/night ryokan as compared to staying in a $30/night hostel. Maybe one day, these thoughts might reverse again. Who knows?
A: When I was young, I was very skeptical of everything and I was very cautious of not using my real name in any of my game usernames, email addresses etc. I like stars, still do, and most of my older usernames have the word “star” or “moon” in it. The username ‘honeystars’ came to my head randomly when I was 15. And if you’re wondering.. Yes, the name was inspired after my childhood breakfast cereal and the word ‘honeymoon’. So for people who don’t know about the cereal brand, I’ll tell them that it was a ‘nick’ inspired from ‘honeymoon’. The ‘fly’ was added on to showcase the ‘travel’ element in my blog.
A: To be honest, I don’t really have one single favourite country as I am quite a fickle minded person and it might be a different answer each time.
For now, I really like Japan (been there 3 times in 15 months) and I would love to visit it again in the near future, as long as the yen remains affordable. Japan has a unique set of traditional values and popular culture. Each time I visit, there’s something new for me to explore and learn about. Often, I spend a long time thinking about how the dynamics work in such a country of diverse interest and varying productivity depending on the industry. The onsen culture, the perception of host/hostess clubs, the suicide forest, the many unspoken rules and the diverse variety of “popular music” (Baby Metal still puzzles me), there’s something new each time. More importantly, I love Japanese food. From the OTORO in Endo Sushi to the Akita Beef that I’ve yet to try, everything tastes awesome.
3 to 4 years ago, this country would have been South Korea as I had many awesome memories and friends in that country. 5 to 6 years ago, it would have been Taiwan as I was a pretty big fan of their dramas back then. New Zealand looks and feels pretty awesome but I can’t declare it as a favourite, not until I’m there to assess it myself 😉
A: Alright there’s this one classic story which will probably remain as my most embarrassing overseas moment.
It was during August 2010, when we were in Taiwan for a stopover after our 3 month long Work & Travel USA Program. On our last night in Taiwan, I googled the taxi rate from Xi Men Ding to Taoyuan Airport and kept that exact amount of Taiwan Dollars. After which, we pooled all our remaining money and I only had enough to buy bread from the convenience store for dinner. It was late at night and we went around looking for places which accepted overseas credit card, but there wasn’t any. There were no moneychangers in sight and I was not willing to do an overseas ATM cash withdrawal ($20 surcharge) since it was our last day. I couldn’t even buy the little twin stars notebook I set my eyes on because the shop didn’t accept credit card. (Looking back on my Fb, I had a status update which said “600NT for 30 hours”)
Anyway, the next day, I went out to the main road to flag for a taxi early in the morning. After agreeing on the price (which I googled online the day before), the taxi drove into the hotel pick up area. The driver came out of the taxi and saw our luggage (3 of us) and said he had to charge 100NT more as he didn’t know that there was gonna be that many luggage. At that point in time, we had absolutely no more taiwan dollars left as we spend the remaining for dinner at the convenience store the night before. I told the driver in a pitiful manner that we had no more cash on hand and we were running late for our flight as we took longer than expected to get ready. The driver was about to reject us and drive away but I pleaded him that we can pay him in SGD and USD for the balance. He kind of scoffed at us but later on obligingly fitted the luggage into the car. In the car (approximately 1 hour ride to airport), he asked if we were relocating and was in disbelief when we told him it was merely 3 months of travel in USA.. Anyway, at the end of the ride, he did not accept our foreign currency as top up. I tried so hard to keep up the conversation with him in the car.. I guess that helped!
A: When I was younger (perhaps 16 or younger), I will imagine that my grown up/retirement life can be spent managing a farmland overseas in Australia or New Zealand. I hope that it can be a strawberry plantation because it will be small and easy to manage but now that I’ve gotten older, the thought of living in the countryside with limited connection of internet and civilization is slowing fading into a forgotten dream of mine. I do hope that one day, I will have the courage to.. go on a sabbatical leave/quit my job to spend a few months in such an environment where my only worry for the day would be on my crops and harvest. I do know the options available but… it’s really easier said than done. One day.
A: I used to play with this thought every time I feel unhappy with my day job and feel like quitting on impulse. Over the years, I have thought of many travel related ideas and solutions but most of these end at the “thinking” stage and few months/sometime later, I will see my idea in the market – by someone else. To be honest, I lack the self-discipline to remain focus on any particular idea and before I start doing anything, I have a new idea in my head. www.itravelnblog.com is one of this failed ideas which is left ‘abandoned’.. (Update: I terminated the domain.) To be honest, becoming your own boss requires a hell lot of discipline which I have yet to master. Maybe one day my job frustrations will drive me to it. Till then, all these will remain as “what-ifs” in my life. After all, I’m still.. pretty young 😉
If you are looking into creating a travel start-up and you’re in need of a partner, do contact me and we might just be able to work on something together 🙂
A: I prefer to remain anonymous/unseen as I dread being “recognized” in public when I have no idea who the other party is. My memory is very bad with faces. If someone changes a hairstyle or, grew older or start to put on heavy makeup over the years, there might be a high possibility that I cannot recognize the person anymore. There was 1 single scenario where someone said hi to me in public (Pasir Ris MacDonalds) and walked away. I spent the entire night trying to recall if I knew that person or not as I know my memory is bad but for all you know, perhaps the person recognized me wrongly.. Anyway, to reduce the chances of me feeling awkward and confused in public places, I prefer keeping my personal life and face private as it is definitely not something that I enjoy. I know it sounds kind of weird since I’m trying to be a blogger but it was a long thought consideration that I had. If you look at the more successful bloggers, all, if not most of them feature faces but.. nope that’s not my cup of tea.
Just wanted to let you know that i was in Québec a fews weeks ago and decided to visit
the spot where they shot Goblin.
Too bad i forgot to bring a camera to shot some video to show people the actual location they where at in Québec.
When i saw the Chateau Champlain in the opening sequence i was like: What? hey this is in Québec?! Since its 3 hour drive from where i live:)
And if i had the chance to ask the actor, would really ask them how they liked our province 🙂
Anyway, awsome they you gave the actual adress location:)
Hey, thanks for leaving a comment! Yep, they visited your country to film this super popular and viral drama~
I even have readers chancing upon the actual filming too!
Maybe one day you can visit the locations in Korea too =p
Hi, it is really interesting to know you through this blog, as a person. Coincidentally, I have also done work and travel USA, back in 2004 (Haha, so that kind of tell my age. ) and I also transferred at Taiwan because we flew EVA Air.
I like the very frank and straightforward way you writings are. And I guess you are a fellow Singaporean.
For your dream of managing a strawberry plantation, I can assure you that it is very tiring and require a lot of physical work. A family relative operates one, so I have been there picking strawberries. As that was always a rosy dream for me.
For New Zealand, I was there in 2008 for my honeymoon. My husband and I rented a camper and we drove around from Christchurch, up south all the way to the tip of the south island, then go down to around Queenstown area, then go south back to Christchurch. I also visited the Mount Cook and the Glacier. It remains one of the best travel experience I had. And it would be super cool if there is a blog about “Lord of the ring” filming locations.
If you ever travel to Europe, it will be really interesting to meet up. I now relocated to Netherlands.
Thanks for reading my lengthy ‘About Me’ section. I always wonder if anyone reads it since I’m pretty longwinded in my writing. Yep you are right – I am Singaporean! Work & Travel do bring back good memories for me and I’m glad I did it, instead of doing the usual internship which everyone prioritise now. I wanted to try farming jobs for the Australia Work & Travel programme which started this year but.. things happened and I’m still in a full time job. Maybe sometime I’ll do a career break and try out farming. I would love to visit NZ some day but.. I’m still struggling to find a confident driver (or perhaps build up the confidence in my own driving) and a group of friends to travel with. I’m pretty sure there are blogs around about Lord of the Rings! Anyway, I’m glad that you’re crazy with filming locations as well. Sometimes, my friends feel that my interest is ridiculous but I don’t know why I feel super satisfied when I get to visit the actual place! Anyway, I don’t have plans to visit Europe right now but if I do visit Netherlands, I’ll remember to contact you =)
Hi! I was reading your Filming Sites guide for Goblin fans and I didn’t miss the part where you mentioned you visited Krabi and got the exact room where SHINee Onew stayed in. I just want to ask if you’re a Shawol since 1) I am too, 2) Your blog theme says so, 3) You mentioned Onew!
This is my first time visiting your blog and maybe this isn’t the last time. Your Goblin Filming Site entry is so helpful, as I will be visiting Korea on November. 🙂 Thank you for your hard work!
Thanks for leaving a comment! I’m glad that you’re pretty alert in sieving out the clues and yes your suspicions are right. I guess the colours that I used is pretty much a giveaway. I’m glad that you enjoyed my post on Goblin’s filming site and I hope that you will be successful in locating the places in November. Have a great trip and do come back to share your adventures with me =)
great blog! keep up the awesome trips and posts 🙂
Thanks for your kind comment!
Just started reading your blog a few minutes ago as I will be travelling to Japan in June for the very first time.
Already finding really helpful tips from you and absolutely delighted on stumbling upon your blog!
Thanks for leaving a comment! Glad that you found the information useful and do come back and share about more tips about the trip 🙂
Amazing blog Honeystars. Enjoy reading your travel adventures! I just started travel blogging 2 years back too. Tiring, but a fulfilling journey. Can’t wait to read more of your travels.
Hi Nicole! Thanks for your comment. Yep, I agree that blogging is not easy especially when you have a day job. It definitely takes up a lot of your free time. Glad that you persevered for 2 years. Your website looks great =)
Just dropping by to inform that we have moved to a new domain @ https://discoverbooktravel.com.
Your listing @ Our Singapore Best Travel Blogs has also been moved to https://discoverbooktravel.com/singapore-best-travel-blogs/
Thank you for your continued support! 🙂
Discover . Book . Travel
Hi, I just discovered your blog thanks to your post about Legend of the Blue Sea filming locations. You’re doing a great job! It’s a wonderful blog 🙂
I’d love to receive your profile to know more about you.
Keep up the good work!
Do you happen to know SHINee? It’s the first time I’m in your blog and the aqua blue x diamond theme caught my eye. 😊
Hi there, yes you are absolutely right. the colours and diamond were inspired from them =p
Good info, hopefully, can visit them one day. Like the book store very much.