Destination X: On Ditching Hashtags For Real Experiences
Tucked away in a cafe’s booth, we sat down with Cherie and Theodora—nurses, friends and first time travel companions to one another. Fresh from their Anywhr beach experience-getaway, they were still sporting healthy tans, courtesy of Destination X.
The story of how the girls ended up choosing to travel Anywhr is an origin story of a couple more fans of Anywhr. As Theodora discovered and shared Anywhr with Cherie, the two began doing their due diligence (stalking). Scrolling through Anywhr’s Instagram feed, reading Facebook reviews, etc. While game for a surprise trip, the girls knew putting their family members’ minds at ease was just as important.
We (Anywhr) couldn’t have put their minds at ease on our own. However, with the positive reviews and experiences of Anywhr’s many solo female travellers, the girls were convinced.
*Related post: 13 Reasons Why You Should Not Go On Your First Anywhr Trip
While Cherie was slightly more apprehensive about relinquishing control, she soon warmed up to the idea of it and waited patiently for the day to arrive. After (a whole lot of) stalking Anywhr, the girls thought they had us figured out and were pretty damned sure where they’d be sent to… but more on how wrong they were later.
The duo come across as the archetypal definition of an unlikely or dynamic duo, depending on how you’d like to look at it. Opposites—as far as we could tell from first impressions. Cherie the extrovert and a Pediatric Nurse, is a self confessed (Singapore) city-girl. If she had it her way, she’d have some sort of travel timetable, shopping and Insta-worthy moments. Theodora—the more introverted of the two, is an A&E Nurse who’s all for letting go, “I don’t plan and prefer going with the flow—to see how a day plays out.” she said when asked about her travel style.
A Destination Isn’t Just a Social Media Post
Honeymoons, the party life, Insta-worthy pictures, drone footage… this is what the sun-kissed duo had assumed about Destination X. However, in true Anywhr fashion perspectives were changed. This time around, it was thanks to a far flung stretch of beach, away from love-drunk honeymooners, party goers and buzzing drones.
The girls never expected this to be their destination—how could it? It was actually affordable, and not just the dolled up pricey Instagram destination they had thought it to be.
“We thought it was going to be a lot of lounging and relaxing by the beach with books… but we ended up doing a lot more activities than expected” said Theodora. Things, like snorkelling that they never expected themselves to do—let alone enjoy.
How much did they enjoy snorkelling? As Cherie said “We went to snorkel again and I tried diving deeper with the locals and my nose bled… but it was fun!”—that’s how much. While Anywhr doesn’t encourage travellers to do things that may leave them with a slightly bloody nose, we are advocates of breaking free from comfort zones.
From heading out to sea, fishing, eating their own catch and striking up conversations with fellow travellers, Destination X’s (social media) veil began to fall away. On foot, the duo went about exploring Destination X, discovering the not-so-manicured side of their tranquil beach getaway—scars from Mother Nature—out of sight from where tourists typically venture.
Theodora sums it up perfectly by saying “There are so many more facets to (local) life in Destination X than what we see through our screens or as the average tourist.”
Catch Your Breath—Travel
When we asked Cherie and Theodora what it is about travelling they enjoy, they didn’t give us opposing or different answers. Like so many others with this first world blessing and curse known as a career, travelling is akin to frantically clicking on the refresh button when your (internet) browser hangs… but more enjoyable.
“I do it to detach myself from work, especially since my job in the A&E department can be emotionally draining,” said Theodora with Cherie nodding in agreement. In the Anywhr team’s professional opinion, the world would nod in unison.
Before going on their Anywhr surprise getaway, Cherie and Theodora belonged to two opposing (travel) schools of thought. Those that feel the need to know and be in control (Cherie), and those perfectly fine if left to wander, wonder and see where the day takes them (Theodora).
By the end of it, Theodora said “It’s my dream style of travelling—seriously—not having to plan and to explore less travelled destinations”. And Cherie, while a convert to planning less and checking her phone less isn’t giving shopping up anytime soon.
Not having shopping bags to lug home, “The calming sound, clear water and colours of the sea” were the things the girls wished they could have brought home home. Neither could quite believe they’d set foot on pristine beaches of Destination X, because both had categorised it as a place specifically for honeymooning and partying. To their surprise and our delight, they discovered and experienced how it was so much more.
“Don’t be afraid to lose control” - the girls' words when asked to sum up their surprise vacation. We’ve got enough scheduling, restrictions and rules to adhere everyday. Give travel a chance—quit putting yourself on a short leash.