(The picture above is of the Cheondogyo Central Temple in Seoul, South Korea.)
Hi all – we received a comment from someone we didn’t know asking a lot of good questions. So here is a response post. Enjoy!
Hello Jen and Kiki!! U have no idea how grateful i am to have found this place. I love how honest and real your stories are and it inspires me so much to get out and travel! A little background on myself, I’m a 26, female art director from Singapore. Been working for 3 years non stop since graduation in an ad agency and i’m falling apart. (typing this in front of my desk at 10pm btw) I’ve made up my mind to quit my job and quit my life in march to take a long trip across south east asia. my current job doesn’t pay much so i’m taking everything of $5000SGD in my bank ($2k extra for when i come back and emergency) and just see how long this amount can last me. I’ll be travelling with my girlfriend of 4 years. We plan to start in thailand, then to cambodia, vietnam, indonesia and finally ending our trip with a month stay in bali. (we love the sea, we love to surf and we absolutely love bali!) What i really want to ask is, as an art director/designer, how do i find work while travelling? (i really dont mind earning some extra cash to stretch our travels) How do u girls deal with people in lesser develop countries about your relationships? do u guys go all out or is it better to stay in the closet? when we were in bali, we normally just tell people we are sisters to avoid any u know, questions. and lastly, i worry so much about coming home after the trip, not being able to get a job etc etc and its killing me. How do u guys deal with that? Much love, Clay.
Hi Clay- We’re glad you found us! You and your girlfriend totally should get out and travel! Hopefully some of our tips/feedback can help you out! We thought that we would answer your questions here in a post, as this information might help someone else out! Not to mention that you are one of our first comments from someone that we don’t actually know in real life. Exciting! Let’s get started.
Jen and I saved for a long time before we decided to jump and do this trip. We were engaged for 2 years. So we paid off our engagement rings and all of our wedding. Wow. Weddings are expensive! But they are wonderful as well. We saved a lot. I think that with $5000 SGD, you could travel for a while. I’m not sure what your girlfriend may have in savings. But 2k extra for when you come back is good as well.
We got by on around $50USD a day for both Jen & I in Vietnam and Cambodia. (We spent about 2 months time wise in both) Also I don’t know what kind of visas you may need, but factor that in. For us, Vietnam was $65USD, and Cambodia $20USD. You can get a nice room for around $20 that will include A/C, internet, sometimes breakfast. And then just budget what you eat and drink. Beer is super cheap in both countries, so you can drink up! Happy hour in Kampot, Cambodia was around $.50 USD – $.75USD per beer, more around $.75 per beer in Phnom Penh. Still cheap! Hotels in Thailand we did around $30 a day. We didn’t really tighten things up in our budget until Vietnam. But really there is not much difference in how the hotel room is. I feel as if you are just giving up the flourishes. Bali we’ve been staying around $20-$25USD. A little more expensive here, but not too bad.
For me, I have been working while we have been traveling. Not too much, but enough to keep some money coming in. I’ve been working as a Freelance Art Director/Graphic Designer since 2008. I have a long standing relationship (since 2010) with Visual.ly. They are a great group of people to work with and have helped me step up into the Creative Director role, as well as designing. If you have done any infographics, check them out.
As far as us being out in public in these countries, we’ve kept it to ourselves. Just saying that we are friends. We usually book a double/queen/king bed. They ask if we are ok with having that bed instead of two twins, and we just say something along the lines of,”Oh yes, that will be ok,” in a tone that it really doesn’t matter. Ironically enough we have had people ask us if we are sisters. For people who do not know us and are reading this, Jen is about 6-7 inches taller than me. We usually have a laugh about that. But yes, we follow the “we’re friends” road. I personally just don’t like giving people too much information. I don’t know how well they are at accepting, so we just don’t bring it up. Unless, it is a Westerner/Australian/New Zealander. They usually are pretty liberal. The only place that I really felt at home was at a gay club in Ho Chi Minh City called Republic. I usually feel that way in any gay bar. It’s something of a breath of fresh air that you get. I can’t really explain it, but I am sure some of you know what I am talking about.
If you are worried about finding a job when you come back, perhaps save up a bit more? Work on your portfolio? Have it refreshed and ready to go for when you come back. Most likely if you are like me, I’ll be ready to redo my portfolio again when I come back. Never happy! I’ve been taking this time traveling to strengthen some areas in my own work. And working on projects that are things I’ve wanted to do for a while. For example, I’ve been working on getting better at hand lettering/custom typography. If anything you need to relax. Enjoy your girlfriend. And most importantly…EXPLORE!