In 2018 I went on my first ever solo backpack-trip. First time backpacking, first time going abroad alone. Double scary. I had zero sleep on the days before my trip started, and was nervous as hell. I had a pretty rough start in the first 5 days but I’ve managed to pull through. Looking back at those days makes me laugh so hard, because no matter how terrible it was at the moment; it is hilarious now. Because of this, I recommend you to start in an easier destination as a newby, and book yourself a private room for the first 2 nights. Alright, let’s go:
I flew from Amsterdam via Warsaw to Beijing. Like I said earlier; I had zero sleep in the last days, so I felt like I was a nervous zombie. The first thing that happened was a few hour delay on Warsaw Airport because there was a problem with the airplane. After a long wait it was finally time to board to Beijing! Or so I thought.. They wouldn’t let me board the flight because I didn’t had a visa for China. I told them I already had a flight booked to Kuala Lumpur and I would be spending only 70 hours in Beijing. (Dutch citizens can get a free visa on arrival when they stay less than 72 hour in Beijing). They said that wasn’t true and they didn’t let me get on. I got extremely angry, showed them the details and eventually they let be get on the plane. I was the last one to board.
If you think this was the only thing that went from on that flight you couldn’t be more wrong. I had the middle seat and on my left AND right side were two extremely heavy people and I barely had any space to move. One smelled like sweat so badly, and their overall hygiene was just.. bleehhhg. This promised to be a long (almost 9 hour) flight. It was a night flight, so I was hoping to get some sleep. However, Mrs. Whale next to me decided it was time to eat all night. She couldn’t sleep and every time I almost did, she started eating EXTREMELY loud. Nor earplugs, nor music helped and because she kept moving and I was squeezed, I felt every move. Another night of no sleep.
Arriving in Beijing
The visa on arrival took HOURS to get. The line wasn’t even that long but they refused to give me the visa (for a reason they couldn’t explain). They kept on sending me from one place to another. Luckily with help from a local (and the change of staff) I got one. Wow, I was hoping all this shit wouldn’t last throughout my trip.
After arriving in the city center, my maps decided it was time to stop working. It kept on pointing me in the wrong direction. I was so lost and tired. I was beginning to loose it. I asked SO many locals for help, but not one soul spoke English and was able to help me. 1.5 hour later; I found my hostel.
First time in a hostel
FINALLY!! I made it! Someone gave me the keys and I went to my dorm. It was 14:00 pm now, so I hoped the room would be empty. I was desperate for some privacy (and sleep). I opened the door and; A. The dorm was terrible and dirty, and B. I looked straight into the hairy but hole of a snoring guy. I lost it. I called home crying, I felt like this was the worst decicion I ever made and I should have stayed home. They calmed be down and I went out to the supermarket next to the hostel. I bought a bottle of alcohol with a soda (No idea what it was, everything was in Chinese) and went to my room. Luckily, the naked guy was gone. I sat down, had a drink and fell asleep. 2 hours later I felt better and I went out to explore.
Oh, my first day isn’t over just yet. Around 2 in the morning, a drunk roommate came “home”. This guy is -still till this day- the worst snorer I’ve ever met. I tried to wake him up but he was completely in coma. After putting a pillow (7 times) over his face to kill the sound a little, I manged to get 2 hours of sleep. The rest of the days in Beijing were amazing luckily.