Beyond My Wildest Dream: I almost went to jail in Italy

Hey you guys!

Before I start my story, I just want to say that this is not a click bait. I really almost went to jail back when I traveled to Italy.

So, before I traveled to Italy, one of my mom’s colleagues gave me some Euros because she had been to Europe couple of times before. But I also exchanged my money in a bank. So I have 2 sources of euros.

When I traveled to Venice with my family, I wanted to buy some souvenirs. I really like earring back then so I kinda collected them. But then, when I was about to pay for some reason the seller said she can’t proceed the payment. Apparently, there was a machine that kinda scan the money. I didn’t know what the machine does that moment. So I changed the money without thinking any further. I thought maybe the money was crumpled or anything. No biggie. I put the money back to my wallet.

Well then couple of days or weeks later I visited Milan for the second time. The first time, I went with my uncle and cousin who traveled with me from Indonesia. The second time, it was only my cousin and I. We walked around from morning to night, I guess it was 8pm or something. So we were about to go back to my aunt’s house at Civate and we went to the central train station.

I was pretty surprised as I did not see “Lecco” on the announcement board. So at first I thought “Well, damn. I have to stay at Milan with my male cousin and I do not bring any spare clothes. Oh shoot this is going to be awkward if I have to share a room with him. Oh shoot more expenses. Oh mate I’m broooookeee” But then, I thought it’s good since we really wanna experience Milan at night as we did in Rome and Firenze. BUT THEN, Lecco showed up and the train will depart at 8.30pm or something. Whew, I dont have to share a room with my cousin! No surprised expenses. Whew!

Since we still had some times until the train arrive, we decided to walk around and do window shopping. So I went to this ZARA store and I decided to buy some clothes. Hey, I was at that point in life where I wanna look all cute, good, like to wear make up etc and like to take picture of me hahahha. Now? Back to my usual, messy looking self. Yeah… I’m just gonna be me. Oh sorry, getting out of topic again!

SOOO anywayyy, I was about to pay at the cashier and talked to my cousin. I gave the cashier some money and there were other people there, the cashier, the guard and a guy who was not wearing a uniform. I gave them the money that I used at Venice but got declined. I know it’s the same one because I originally wanted to use the money to pay for my flights tickets to my aunt who bought me the tickets, but she refused. So I put the money in different section in my wallet.

There was a lot of fuck going on my mind

The look of the cashier got confused and she talked to the other guys in Italian like explaining things and she kept scanning the money. They were talking and they looked really serious. I didn’t understand any of it (though my cousin who’s Italian taught me several words in Italian, yeah forgot those in a second, sorry cousin). Suddenly, the cashier asked me where did I get the money, I was confused as to why she asked me this, so I told her that I exchanged the money back in Indonesia and one of my mom’s friend gave some to me as she just came back from Europe.

And so, the guy who was not wearing a uniform told me something beyond my wildest imagination.

“It’s a counterfeit money”

MY. FACE. WENT. FROM. LAUGHING. AND. SMILING. TO. STRAIGHT. PALE.

“FUCK I’M GOING TO JAIL. FUCK WHAT SHOULD I DO. FUCK *imagining myself sitting in a cell* FUCK I CANT GO BACK TO INDONESIA. FUCK I HAVENT FINISHED COLLEGE” aaand lots of another fuck in my mind thinking about worst case scenario. Yep, there was a lot of fuck going on my mind

I dont know whether I looked that innocent or they felt sorry of my reaction or I just looked too stupid to actually trying to buy something with counterfeit money, but they actually really nice to explain to me about it. They told me the difference between the real and the fake one. They also told me that the machine is used to tell us whether the money is fake or not. So I asked them if I could scan all of my money to tell whether I have another fake one. My cousin did that as well. Luckily, we did not have another fake one.

“You dont look like you know you are carrying a fake money. I can see that from your reaction and I have the guts that you are innocent. We were about to call the police before, but we need to make sure if you really aware of it or not. Please be careful next time and please separate it with the others so you wont get it mixed up”

THANK GOD THEY DID NOT CALL THE POLICE OR I’M DEAAAD. Luckily my aunt also rejected the money or she would be the one who took the blame. Whew… So after that, I paid for my clothes and went back to Civate. Whew that was wild!

Moral of the story guys, don’t accept money from someone just like you wont accept carrying anything for strangers. She/he might not have that bad intention, but she/he also does not know whether the money is legit or not. You better exchange the money yourself at a trusted money changer like the bank. At least that’s what I learned from my experience. I think it’s also better if you just use credit card or debit card to withdraw some money at your destination so you wont bring too much cash with you and it’s safer that way. But do check the fees though. Now, I usually withdraw money if only I really need more but before I go to another country, I always check the fees first. I prefer to avoid exchange my money too often if I’m abroad but I usually do bring some US Dollars. But well, I have never done that actually since I usually bring enough or just withdraw. So the USD is just for backup.

So guys, have you ever experienced similar event like me? Or what is the wildest thing that ever happened when you travel? Leave me some comments below 🙂

Cheers,

Kemmy

Hostel vs Hotel: Which one should you choose?

Hey you guys!

I’ve stayed in both hostel and hotel when I travel. Both have their upside and downside, obviously. But what makes you choose hostel or hotel anyway? For me, there are some consideration, which are:

1. Money Talks

I have never found a hostel room that is more expensive than a hotel room. I think because you will share a room with other people there. In Indonesia, I have found a hostel room in Bali for less than 10 USD. Very cheap huh? In many countries that I have been, I usually had to pay for at least 20-30 USD for female dormitory. I don’t even want to see how much will it cost me to rent a room in hotel hahaha. I meant, in Indonesia you will get a 3-Star Hotel for that price

2. Privacy

Of course that staying in a hotel gives you more privacy since you’ll have the room for yourself. While in hostel you will interact with others. Oh well if you want to of course. What I like about staying in hotel is that I could get out of the bathroom with only towel on and just lay on my bed and watch TV or something hahaha basically you could walk around naked and no one even care (since you are alone!)

3. Interaction and Cooking

Lets get real guys, during traveling it’s cheaper to cook. And that’s what I love about hostel. Kitchen. Most hostels provide a fully equipped kitchen which we can use to cook. It saves more money! Also, hostels usually offer some activities so traveler could interact with each other. Well, if not then just go to the common room and talk to someone there! Or even in the kitchen while you guys cook something and eat it together 🙂 yeay meal friend! Well during my stay in a hotel, I have never made friend with anyone really. Oh well I did not talk to anyone. If I want to eat, it’s either I order some food (which is very expensive) or just find something outside like cup noodles and I’ll boil water in my room. Well you know, to save some money hahaha

4. The Amenities

Yepp hotels will offer you more amenities than hostel, obviously. Hotel usually provides swimming pool, gym etc while hostel provide their amenities in a social kind of way like common room. Well I meant you pay more for hotel anyway.

5. Safety

I’m not saying all hotel is safe and all hostel is not. But usually in a hotel, they will provide you with a safe where you could put your valuables there and you also will hold the key to your room yourself. No one will enter your room unless you give them permission. While in hostel, well since you have to share then many will come back and forth. So you need to be careful with your belongings. Some hostels provide a locker but some are not

It depends on what you want/like and your budget

So which one wins? It depends on what you want/like and your budget. If you prefer more privacy then hotel is your best choice but if you like to mingle with others and want to make friends, then choose hostel for a place to stay. For me, personally, I choose both. I like staying in a hotel as the staffs are spoiling you and serving you well. If I want to save more money or my intention is getting more friends, then I’ll choose hostel.

Which one do you prefer? Do you find hotel or hostel better? Leave me some comments! 🙂

Cheers

Kemmy

How To Make Friends While Traveling Solo

Hey you guys!

You know what I like about traveling? Well, one of them is making friends! I find it easier to make new friends while I’m traveling solo. Many people think that if you travel solo, you’re alone all the time, completely alone and lonely and so on. But, hey that is not true! I was hardly ever alone! Really!

Many people think that if you travel solo, you are alone all the time, completely alone and lonely. But, hey that is not true! I was hardly ever alone!

There are endless opportunities to meet people when you’re traveling solo and it’s not that hard 🙂 But the problem is it is hard for many people to form a new friendship when they are alone and I know guys, it is outside of your comfort zone. Because it is out of my comfort zone too. Sometimes I get shy and behave nicely in front of someone that I don’t know so maybe some people think that I’m rigid or something. Well, I am far from that.

So, how do I make friends?

1. Use the traveling card

If you are shy and don’t know what to talk about, well good thing you have at least one thing in common – traveling! Lately, I’ve been very very chatty even to strangers. But sometimes I just don’t have any topic to talk about. For example, when I went to Fraser Island with a tour. I started my day really really early, so I left the hostel at 5.40am ish. Don’t blame me, I am not a morning person. I did not have my coffee that morning and my brain was not functioning properly. A guy sat beside me and silence feels so weird and uncomfortable when you sit together right? I meant, you are going to spend the day with this guy. So, what did I ask? Yep. Traveling. “Are you traveling alone?” I know it sounds silly as he was alone. I know. But hey, from that topic, we went from awkward silent to a chatty convos!

2. Stay in hostel dorm

I find it easier to make friends if I stay in a hostel. Why? Easy. Common room and you got to have roommate there. Well, if you are shy, you could start from your roommates. Use the traveling card or any topic you want to start your convos. I got a travel friend from staying in a hostel. Well, soon to be travel friend! After you introduce yourself, you or the other person will usually ask “Where are you from?” or whether you’re travelling alone or how long will you stay in this dorm/city/country or places that you’ve been to in this country/your country/other country etc. Since I stayed there for 2D3N, I got to talk to my roommates for couple of days. Apparently, she is going to visit Indonesia soon and guess who lives there? ME! So we decided to travel together when she comes here! Exciting isn’t it?

3. Consider a group tour

I know I know, some of you don’t like to do group tour. I don’t like it very much either. But, I must say it is very easy to make friends from group tour and hey there are some places that are not as easy to visit and sometimes you do find group tour makes your life easier. As I have mentioned earlier in number 1, I participated in a group tour back in Fraser Island. I also joined a group tour when I went to Blue Mountains. There were 10 people in the group tour. The tour guide gave us several options whether we wanna do a long walk (1-1.5 hour), medium walk (30-45 mins) or no walk at all and go with him to somewhere else. I decided to do the long walk and there were 4 other people who decided to do it as well. 1 hour is a loooong time so of course we got to know each other and bonded. We are still talking until now!

4. Ask questions! Take an interest in people

People loveee to talk about themselves (or is it just me? hahaha) Don’t be afraid to look stupid. Do ask many open-ended question such as “where else have you traveled to?” “what is the highlight of your trip so far? what makes it so good?” “what’s your favorite place/restaurant in this country/your country?” “how is it like in your hometown?” “are you taking a break from school/work or are you on holiday?”

5. Give everyone a chance

You will meet many many people with different backgrounds and cultures from all over the world. Everyone has something different to tell and to offer if you give them a chance 🙂

6. Don’t overthink and worry so much!

You don’t need a clever lines or convos to talk to people. Most people who are traveling are open-minded and they want to talk or seek people who are like them. They also want to meet new people along the way, just like you. Just be yourself and be confident!

7. The most important thing is to be safe!

Most people you met have good intentions and they do want to meet new people, broaden their network around the world and friendly. But do remember that there are some who mean harm to you. So, do use your best judgement. Listen what your guts tell you. Your personal safety is the most important thing.

Well guys, those are some tips that I could give based on my personal experience. So do you have any other tips based on your experience? Have you made some friends while traveling solo or with companion? Do leave some comments below, I’d love to hear your stories 🙂

Cheers,

Kemmy