When it comes to getting into the festive spirit, there are few things that beat a good Christmas market :) Before heading home to Hong Kong for the Holidays, I made it my mission to go to one of the Christmas markets in London since it has been an annual tradition of mine since living in the UK for the past 6 years <3
We decided to hit up the Christmas market in Southbank this year. It might not be the most glamorous and amazing Christmas market in the UK, but it is in the city centre, easy to reach, and it does the job to say the least :D
The first thing I noticed when I arrived was the delicious smell coming from all the food stalls. I was starving at that point and was automatically lured to the duck burgers right at the front of the market.
And so we went for a cheddar cheese duck burger! 5 minutes and 10 bites later, it was all gone and have disappeared straight into our stomachs :P
We continued walking until we reached the Southbank Centre by the Thames, which was lit up with a thousand fairy lights <3
And we found more food (of course)! The market was packed given its size. We went for a German hotdog while trying to find some empty spaces to eat among the crowd. ♡
We then headed back to the other end of the market in search for some mulled wine and hot chocolate, passing by some carol singers along the way <3
With that came the end of our short and sweet Christmas market visit :) The view of the Thames was also pretty spectacular and Christmas was in the air! ♡
On that note, have a wonderful Christmas everyone! ♡ I hope you get to spend this special time of the year with all your loved ones and indulge in plenty of food hehe <3
IT IS OFFICIALLY NEARLYYYY CHRISTMAS! <3 I am done with exams (YESSSS times a million times haha) and am currently back in Hong Kong reunited with my friends and family over here :D As much as I love the Holidays, buying gifts during the busy Christmas period can be a little stressful and so I thought it would be helpful for me to show you guys what I ended up getting my family and friends this Christmas - and hopefully give those of you who are still getting presents for your loved ones some last minute gift ideas :D
Andddd... I'm back! ♡ I have been gone for wayyy too long this time (insert sobbing emoji) and I blame it on law school and general adulthood haha. Since my last post, I have found myself being thrown into a world of hecticness with never-ending law exams, interviews, more exams, assignments, more interviews again...
I have to say, having Christmas exams and being glued to my desk studying at home every single day RIGHT before Christmas is killing all my festive vibes. I had my first 3-hour core exam paper today and cannot wait for all my exams to be over already! Meanwhile, instead of catching up with my travel diaries on here, I thought it will be much nicer to just catch up on life in general since I have been gone for a while <3
A month ago, I went to Vienna for a 4-day getaway during my reading week and it was amazing :D I am dying to upload my Vienna travel diary, and so will try to upload my Copenhagen and Sweden adventures from the Summer ASAP before I upload my Vienna one <3 I will be flying back home to Hong Kong next week which I am extremely excited about since I haven't been home since the start of August, and am definitely getting a little homesick ♡
On the topic of traveling, I thought I would share something really interesting with all of you :) I have always wanted to talk about this on my blog but haven't really had the chance to - and it's about the fear of flying. I know a lot of people probably have a fear of flying or are nervous flyers in some way or another. This might sound pretty strange since I am an international student who loves to travel and have to get on 12-hour flights every 3-4 months, but I did have a fear of flying which started about 3 years ago and I have overcame it since!
I have always been a nervous flyer and am especially terrified of one thing - horrible turbulence. I hated roller coasters since I was a kid and cannot stand that sinking feeling you get in your stomach when you drop from mid-air, and so have not gotten on a roller coaster probably since the age of 12. I HATE it. It makes me feel like I am about to have a massive heart attack which is not fun - and the sole reason why I hated going on planes was because I was scared of the dropping roller coaster sensation that you get when bad turbulence hits the plane!
Three Summers ago, I was on a plane to Taiwan from Hong Kong when the plane had to take off in the middle of a heavy rainstorm (the joy of living in a tropical typhoon and rainstorm prone country...). It was probably not that scary of an experience for anyone else, but for me - the person who can't stand roller coaster-ish sensations whatsoever - it was the scariest thing. Turbulence hit from the start and I basically felt sick to my stomach because the plane was constantly making roller coaster drops. That turned me from being just another 'nervous flyer' to having a full on 'fear of flying'. It also made me obsessed with checking the weather on days before I fly. I had to get on a flight to Malaysia from Hong Kong a week after the scary Hong Kong to Taiwan flight, and I was really nervous about the Malaysia flight pretty much the whole week because the weather reports said we would be flying on a rainy day, which was completely unnecessary and being so anxious sucked!
Because I loved traveling but was terrified of getting on planes for the fear of the plane hitting horrible turbulence, I never really went anywhere out of my comfort zone when I was flying (with my comfort zone being my routine flight with Cathay Pacific from Hong Kong -> London and back, and occasional Hong Kong to Taiwan flights on a Boeing 777 - nothing smaller than that). And because of this, I missed out on a lot of opportunities to travel around Europe during my first two years at University, since I only restricted myself to traveling to places I could reach by trains and Eurostars - which amazingly cover Paris, Belgium, and Amsterdam; but there were still so many other places I wanted to go but didn't as those places can only be reached by planes!
The turning point for me came at the end of my second year at University when the bf proposed that we go on holiday to Barcelona for a few days during the start of the Summer. I thought about it long and hard - I have never been to Spain and would love to go, but getting on an A320 - which is a single aisle plane definitely did not sound ideal for my turbulence-fearing self. At that point, I felt that the fear was more in my head than anything else, because I was creating worst case scenarios in my mind - "What if turbulence hits hard and the plane starts dropping and shaking like crazy?! Surely I will feel the impact more on a single aisle plane than a Boeing 777?!" And then I made the decision - I was not going to let fears that I have created for myself stop me from traveling. So we booked the flights with British Airways and our hotel in Barcelona, and off we went during the start of Summer to Spain!
I was probably a little nervous and scared before getting on the plane because it had been a while since I got on a single aisle plane (I also took a single aisle plane when I flew from New York to Washington a few years back when my 'fear of flying' hasn't been aggravated yet - so that was completely fine), and guess what?
IT WAS ALL OKAY! The flight was pleasant the whole time, with a little bit of turbulence in between that I would expect from any of my other routine flights, but definitely not the worst case scenario roller coaster dropping sensations I had expected in my head. The holiday in Barcelona also turned out to be one of my favourite travel experiences ever! ♡
And from that point onwards, I just started traveling the way I have always wanted to. During my third year at University, I did not have the chance to travel much during term time except to fly back home to Hong Kong because school work got extremely hectic and stressful, but as soon as final exams ended a few months ago, I flew to New York from London with BA with my besties, and then to Berlin and Copenhagen with my brother. They all turned out to be extremely pleasant flights, which makes me think that surely - highly turbulent flights aren't THAT common so I should not be missing out on all these adventures just because I am terrified of the odd chance that bad turbulence will hit the plane!
And that is just about how I got over my 'fear of flying' - solely by encouraging myself to take chances and FLY MORE - which leads me to realising that not all flights are so bad afterall! <3 I think when one bad experience happens, you tend to just focus on that one experience and forget about all the other positive experiences you have had - which was exactly what happened in my case. I have yet to get on another flight that is as turbulent as the one I got on which initially triggered my fear, and that got me thinking whether my fear will come back if I happen to have another flying experience as bad as that. And you know what? I will never know until that happens - but what I am certain about is that nothing is going to stop me from getting on a plane and traveling to the places that I love - regardless of how bad the turbulence might be! :) Ultimately, I have to remind myself that as bad as it gets, it is probably just more or less half an hour of rough air - which is not enough to stop me from collecting memories that I will have with me forever when traveling around the world to new places <3
So that is it! I am really excited to be flying back to Hong Kong and am planning another Europe trip in 2017 to Iceland (fingers crossed that it will happen!) ♡ I hope you have found my fear of flying story/ journey interesting and helpful and that I have made you feel better by letting you know that it is completely normal to feel a little nervous before you fly and anyone could feel that way - even people like me who have had their fair share of flying and have been hopping on both long and short haul flights routinely for the past 6 years! <3
Now - on to more studying! *sigh pie* I will try not to disappear so much and upload my travel diaries + other fun posts as soon as I have the time/ when proctastination hits hehe <3 Meanwhile, have a great weekemd and December everybodyy! ♡
I was thinking about doing another travel diary for this week's post, but then realised that travel diaries are all that I have been doing for the most part in the past few months. While I loveee sharing all my travels with you guys, there is so much more going on in my life that I would love to share with you here as well :) So today, I decided that I would do a post on the books that I have been absolutely loving and that have inspired me lately. ♡