#2151 | Ten stories from Korea – and Bringing back more with American Tourister

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Seoul, Korea

I was in Seoul in March for a work trip, and it was to be my sixth time in the country. I’ve been through phases of love and disenchantment with Seoul, which is what happens when you visit a city for the first time at 20 and keep going back in stages. Currently I am in a phase where I have newly fallen in love with the city, and so everything to me seems fresh and beautiful. I recognize this: it is this sense of wonder that I associate so heavily with travel, that attributes a sense of individual significance to what is ultimately just a set of geographical coordinates. But yes, I cannot help but feel like Seoul has seen me through much of my formative years, and this attachment I feel to the city has formed, for me, an affection for what I see as its quirks. I feel like I can say things like this is my favorite coffee place in Seoul or you must get this hair oil from Olive Young or If you dont run into at least one crying drunk on your trip, were you really in korea? without feeling like a hack. Fun times, fun times.

All that is to say that in some ways, I feel like as one gets older, travel is less about checking landmarks off a bucket list and more about imprinting yourself on a city and letting it do the same to you. When you return from any trip you bring back memories of excitement, joy, disaster, disappointment, the works, and all that catalyses the way you grow through each trip. It is by a long shot not the only way to develop as a person, but it is surely one of the ways. And I dont think I’m exaggerating by saying that I think this is the way it is for many travellers as well, and a big contributing factor to what people mean when they say they’ve been bitten by the travel bug.

When American Tourister approached me some time back to collaborate on their new Curio collection, which is accompanied by the tagline: bring back more, the first thing I thought of was how many ways this rung true. A luggage’s primary function is obviously to be a vessel for your travel essentials and lets face it – shopping, but it’s also a sturdy companion that’s pretty much a silent witness accompanying you through the world. I don’t know about you guys, but I travel so often that my luggage is very personal to me – I keep an entire set of skincare, a separate hair curler, and my preferred toiletries as well as back up essntials in a compartment of my suitcase that I never take out. I only swap out the clothes portion of my suitcase when I travel – everything else has become an invariable staple. I had been using my old cloth luggage for about two years before American Tourister launched the Curio, and my old luggage was by this point insanely banged up by being perpetually tossed around by baggage handlers. Not that I mind that – I like that every tear and scuff is a map of my personal travel history, but it had reached such an extreme point that I was in a market for a new one.

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My Curio and I totally poppin on the streets of Seoul

My Seoul trip was in the works when the Curio was launched, so I thought I’d take the chance to literally bring back more with this new luggage by mapping out personal memories through my forthcoming trip and bringing back little tokens through the trip that I could then pack into the Curio and pass on to someone else. When I told them about the idea, American Tourister very kindly agreed to contribute an cabin sized Curio for a giveaway, and so everything you see from here on has had some part in forming my relationship with Korea in the last five years, including the new Curio I brought along on the trip. And of course, the sweet spot – everything here, including a cabin sized Curio in Golden Yellow, is up for grabs by one lucky winner!

TEN STORIES FROM KOREA

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1. Banana Milk Keychain and Lipbalm

I was quite a late adopter to the Banana milk craze, only trying it for the first time during my third or forth trip to Seoul. I didn’t understand why I would want to have banana in my milk – which is silly in retrospect because I actually have the habit of cutting up bananas to put into my breakfast cereal, which obviously, I have with milk. But anyway. I had the famous banana milk which you can apparently only get in Korea, and it was like drinking my cereal. Now I have it all the time whenever I visit Korea, and sipping at it makes me feel, ridiculously, like I’m a character in a korean drama. I can’t buy back an actual banana milk packet because I dont know how long it keeps and i dont want the giveaway winner getting sick, but I got a banana milk keychain instead after seeing a whole line of banana milk inspired products in a store. How cute is this?!

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2. Mise en scene Hair Oil

I was in Seoul in 2013 at the same time my girlfriend Elissa was doing a summer school programme there. She was training to be a pharmacist then, and being an idiot, I asked her if that meant she would be doling out drugs at Watsons. In my defence, I was 20 and knew nothing. She smacked me over the head and introduced me to what is now one of my favorite hair oils to prove a point, the point being that Watsons is awesome. The said hair oil was from mise en scene, which stocks all over the country’s drugstores, including Watsons. Now we are fast approaching twenty six and Elissa is saving lives everyday in a hospital, and here I am, still raving about the wonders of how I can feel my hair literally drinking up the hair oil upon application. So much has changed but two things remain the same: the sarcastic sturdiness of our 13 year friendship, and the wonders of this hair oil.

3. Skinfood Brown Sugar Scrub

My boyfriend went to Korea a couple of years back and bought this for me, and I fell in love with it instantly. It’s a sugar scrub that leaves your face feeling baby smooth, it smells amazing, and the best part? It’s half the price in Korea as compared to Singapore. This product for me signifies not only my love for good skincare, it also represents the thrill I get whenever I land a bargain. Score!

4. Set of 10 face masks

Of course I had to get face masks. It’s not even that I use sheet masks that often, what with all the new fangled masking styles, but sheet masks are such an essential part of shopping in Korea that it felt sacrilgeous not to include it. The first time I was in Korea I was stunned by how affordable the masks were compared to their retail prices in Singapore, and went a bit crazy buying masks. I have since then learnt to mediate my mask-buying habits, but I made an exception for this trip. Here you have an Acai Berry flavored mask, because I love acai bowls, and a bamboo mask.

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5. Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

Jumping from skincare to culture, I’m just going to say that this giveaway covers pretty broad ground. I’m a value-added kinda girl, y’all. Anyway. I read Pachinko last year and could not stop recommending it to everyone I knew. It’s easily one of the best books I read last year, and that’s saying a lot given how many books I read. The story is an intergenerational epic, and beyond being an emotional narrative following the thread and repercussions of foolish young love set against traditional Asian values, it serves as a humanizing snapshot of post-war Korea, commenting on the second generation korean community living in Japan. I dont know how to classify the book – it is an epic, a family story, a romance, a historical novel, a slice of culture, a lesson in empathy. But under all that, it is just damned good. I did not pick this up in Korea, I actually got it from a bookstore in Bali, but I think it is a great read that brings new dimension to the country and culture, a dimension you may not necessarily get from simply visiting Korea. I got a new copy of this for the giveaway because everyone should read it, and because it now has been indeliably inked into my relationship with the place.

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6. Krave Beauty skincare duo – the Kale-lu-yAHA and Matcha Hemp cleanser.

I met Liah in New York a couple of years ago, and honestly thought I would never see her again because our meeting was so random and we had met in a continent neither of us lived in while being based in two completely separate continents ourselves. But as it happens, I had a 24 hour stopover in Seoul on the way back, and Liah materialised at the foot of my airbnb to bring me around, triggering my personal shift from being bored of the city to loving it anew. The rest, as they say, is history. Liah is one of the most hardworking and dedicated people I know, so insanely passionate about skincare, and when she launched her own skincare brand last year after years of research, I knew off the bat that it was going to be amazing. Krave beauty doesn’t ship to Singapore, only to America and Korea, so I bought it when i was in LA last year, and loved it immediately. I purchased another set this time when in Korea, and am putting it in the Curio for a new person to love!

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7. Honey Butter Chips

There’s not much story to this, only that it’s one of the guilty pleasures that I indulge in when I’m in Seoul. It’s got the savory crisp of chips blended with the sweetness of honey, and the result is a confusing yet pleasurable mix of emotions packed into each chip. Try it and let me know what you think.

8. O’sulloc Matcha and Roasted Tea Spread

I used to hate green tea, and O’sulloc changed that for me. The second time I was in Korea with a girlfriend of mine, we got caught in a heavy rain and ended up seeking refuge in an O’sulloc tea house which was apparently famous. We couldn’t stay there without buying anything, and anyway, o’sulloc was supposed to be a famous teashop, so we each got a matcha tea and a green tea roll to share. AMAZING. I suddenly realised that my life thus far had been a hack, and I’d been consuming overly sugared versions of green tea that were but a shadow of what it was meant to be. Since that trip so many years ago, O’sulloc has expanded itself and now there are chains in most major neighborhoods in Seoul. I can’t bring back the green tea rolls that I love, but their matcha spreads are an unreasonably yummy form of portable magic. They just launched their roasted tea spreads, so I got both the classic matcha and the new roasted tea spreads from the outlet at the Myeong Dong Lotte dutyfree store for this giveaway.

9. Korean seaweed multipack

Everyone knows that airport prices are at least double city prices when it comes to souvenirs and the such, but I learnt this lesson the hard way. My first trip to Korea, friend had asked me to get her korean seaweed and I promised. I saw it many times during the trip but put off buying it, thinking that it couldnt be that much more expensive in the airport. WRONG. It was at least thrice the price. I still got it anyway because a promise is a promise, but boy, I kicked myself real hard over that one. Now I get it in the city center like everyone else, and I got this one from an e-mart in Seoul. Think of that when you’re crunching away on the seaweed, dear winner. It travelled miles and came with a built-in lesson too!

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10. Socks

I cannot go to Seoul without obsessively buying socks. You must understand: I live in a house of women, I share a sock cupboard with two sisters. Irritatingly, the three of us have the same shoe size, which means that often I have shoes and socks go missing, and the socks somehow never reappear again. I needed a way to procure socks by the masses, and at a cheap price, and Seoul is essentially SOCK HEAVEN. You can find stores selling these novelty socks everywhere along the streets, and they normally go for 1,000won each with some kind of discount if you get more than ten. I got ten designs from a street vendor in Myeong Dong for the giveaway, and I think they’re all pretty damned cute! Maybe no one sees them but you, but still, pulling a Princess Bubblegum sock over your feet in the morning is bound to put a smile on your face.

And there you have it, ten anecdotes from my relationship with Korea, manifested in physical goods and packed away and sent off in a Curio for someone’s brand new adventures. Everything mentioned above I personally purchased throughout my trip, and American Tourister and I are giving it away along with a cabin sized Curio in the super pretty Golden Yellow. The luggages aren’t just functional (TSA approved lock, amazing wheel-spinning action), they’re gorgeous too. I love the fact that all the colors in the range are so unique and pretty, because I feel it makes them stand out in a sea of dark colored luggages without being too oestantateous! I got the blue one for myself because I already have another luggage (a super past-season American tourister actually, haha) in yellow, but I do really like the cheery sunshine-y vibe that yellow luggages have, and I’m sure the winner will too 🙂

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All you have to do to be in the running is leave a comment in this post listing an item you associate with a city, and what your story is. Look – I even gave you ten examples above. I’ll have American Tourister pick a winner by Monday 16th April, so happy reminiscing and I look forward to reading all your entries!

Go make new memories, y’all. Till next time.

X
Jem

Comments

  1. LIAH FAN says:

    KRAVE BEAUTY!!!!

    • hey jemma and friends~

      I associate Seoul most definitely with FREE SAMPLES FROM the etude house/innisfree/tonymoly. LOL. I just love how Korea is so generous with their “serbiseu”. They shove the free samples in your face when you enter their stores like their lives depend on it and when you buy things that are *not* free the “serbiseu”really leaves you feeling a tad less guilty about the new hole in your wallet. Homegirl be broke from all the sleeping masks, waking masks, clay masks. Seriously, what’s better than entering a store to spend money but leaving with free stuff? Free food tastes the best, and free beauty products feel the best too. That’s why I’d say although they have the cutest socks, the spiciest ramyeon, the free “serbiseu” is what I’ll never forget about Korea.

      Story – here goes. Not much of a story I’d say, used to be your typical thirteen year old who was obessed with Kpop and travelled to Korea solely to experience being in the same country as my idols. Fast forward seven years, I’m not as much of a fan, but still fascinated by the beautiful cityscapes AND landscapes in Korea. The people there are so scarily polite it makes you question whether you’ve been actually living as a savage back here in Singapore. The food – let’s just say it feels the Seoul. Haha. There’s just something in that country that doesn’t feel like it’s a place on earth!

      jods

  2. Blossom Siew says:

    hmm I haven’t been to a lot of countries repeatedly, but (btw i love how you added a book into the luggage! and because of your recommendation i’m currently reading that book heh) i haven’t been to korea so the things in the luggage would really motivate me to do so!

    ok maybe this is weird but i always associate exotic weird (ok special) food to C H I N A! i love their cucumber flavored lays (somehow it’s always sold out??) it really has a cooling effect taste to it LOL. and their instant cup milk tea (either xiangpiaopiao or youlemei). Been to suzhou and tried these food for the first time and i am hooked haha! hope i’ll win and thanks for the giveaway 🙂 would really want the luggage to bring for my upcoming grad trips!!!!! yay 😀

  3. Hi Jemma!

    Every time I tell myself I won’t ever try a giveaway again, I find myself typing furiously away in hopes of being the lucky one hahaha. I have such a difficult time picking just one item that I associate Korea with. But, I think I am going to settle with jjajangmyeon! I fell in love with it the very first time I had it at a lil korean restaurant back here at home (but then again I wouldn’t know what authentic ones taste like since I’ve never been to Korea haha!). I’ve also wanted to try to whip it up myself, but it is quite difficult to find the ingredients ): ugh talking about it gives me mad craves.

    I’ve been stuck in Singapore for 2 years now due to an injury that required me to undergo a surgery. Previously I was travelling every holiday, and every time I travelled, I had to borrow luggage from my grandma (even her luggage was chio-er than mine). I didn’t and still don’t have the luxury to invest in a good luggage. So of course when I saw this post, I knew I had to enroll myself. Hoping to sashay down the streets of myeongdong with the gorgeous yellow luggage when I visit korea in May this year for my grad trip!

    With love,
    Sze

  4. Everybody knows that Japan has the weirdest (in a cool, innovative way) food, and the one thing that I cannot leave without buying is their KIT KAT!!! You may wonder, why not Tokyo Banana or 白色恋人. In my opinion, these are quite commercialised in Singapore so we got to find something unique for my family and friends. Think Soybean, Cherry Blossom, Blueberry Cheesecake, Brandy (yes, alcohol!), Pumpkin, Fruit Parfait, Red Bean Paste, Cappuccino….. and more! They even have chilli flavour (which by the way taste really exotic and not for the weak). My favourite of the lot got to be hands down Red Bean Paste! And Matcha! It’s really a tie between these two and they kind of go well together too! These make great souvenirs for my family, colleagues, and kids. They always look so excited and curious upon receiving them because they’ve never really seen so many different flavours of Kit Kat before. There you have it, a MUST-BUY in Japan! 😊

  5. Sandy Yvette Au says:

    Love your post! Can associate all the ten with Korea because I am in Korea right now! I just ended my Japan trip and continued with a week in Korea! Ok I shall share the 1 item that I associated with… Thailand (Bangkok)! Tees/Tshirts! I went crazy buying tons of different tees from there because they are so awesomely special and cheap! Their designs are nowhere you can get it elsewhere. I love how they shouted 100 baht, 150 baht!
    I seldom join in giveaways… but when your post lured me in sharing… I love all the 10 items you mentioned! And of course the American Tourister is what I really want! I broke my luggage in Japan and now stuck with a spoilt one in Korea… hahahahaha! God bless me.

  6. Hello Jemma!

    My family and I are smitten for Japan and we have been back to the country 5 times now. My absolute favourite city in Japan has to be Kyoto, particularly for its historical and cultural artefacts. An item I would associate with Kyoto has to be the Omamori, or more commonly known as the Japanese Lucky Charms/Amulets. I bought my first Omamori at the Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto after my family completed an arduous trek through 10,000 vermillion torii gates, thanks to my very enthusiastic father. Despite being pretty winded after climbing back down, I still remember that spark of elation when I spotted a small wooden shrine office selling the famed Omamoris. My sister and I stood for a long time, in front of the display table as we pondered over which amulets to get. I’m pretty sure we might have inadvertently stressed out the shrine maidens who were manning the store with our intensity. The Omamori reminds me of Kyoto’s rich heritage, and its tranquil demeanour which stands apart from many other cities in Japan.

  7. Hi Jemma! 🙂
    You might not believe it, but out of all the countries that I have visited, there’s no country that have captured my soul like Seoul. (hehe) It would be so hard to just pick an item that can best represent the city, just because the city is a 24 hours heaven that have so many different sides to offer and trust me when I say I can go with a 15kg luggage and come back with more than 60kg worth of stuff when I visit Korea — from food to clothes to my kPOP merchandises and of course cosmetics!! This girl can’t just stop ^v^

    BUTTTTT if I really have to choose an item that best represent Seoul, Korea, it would be my green mini (Chou Chou) bolster that I bought during my student exchange last year 😉

    I stayed in a really small Goshiwon (also known as a private student dormitory, size of a regular hdb storeroom). I was staying there for 3 months while studying at Korea Uni. It was my first time being abroad without my family, a liberating yet lonely feeling at times. Back in Singapore, I have a huge room all by my own, that I can even have space to even roll on the floor. But the Goshiwon was ridiculously small with my bed, table, wardrobe, toilet and fridge inside that small room. I thought I would get claustrophobic from that constrained space.. In addition, the Goshiwon only provided a thin pillow and a quilt, which also means I have nothing to hug to sleep.. This green mini boslter, that I bought from Flying Tiger Copenhagen at Sinsa Station, made my stay there so much better! They say if you close your eyes, you cant see your fears. And that’s what I did, by hugging my mini boslter to sleep, and imagine my family back home and the warmth from their hug. I mean we did have Facetime every now and then, but nothing can replace their warm hugs that I used to get back home.

    Now that I’m back from exchange, this green mini (chou chou) bolster sleeps by me on my bed. I sleep by it to reminisce about the good times that I’ve spent in Seoul, the friends I made and the food that I ate on my bed — from that one kimchi stain on my green bolster that just cant be removed (I was told by the manager to not snack on my bed hehe but my late night hunger pangs had to be satisfied with the kimchi I always had in my fridge), and the time I was in my Goshiwon, cramming my Korean notes before finals — reciting Korean love lines and talking to myself in Korean like,”Hi I’m Sharleen. I’m a University student from Singapore… I want to buy banana milk from the convenience store.” Ahh good times 🙂

    So yea, this green mini bolster would best represent my time and memories that I spent in Seoul. I yearn to return to that city everyday and am planning to visit it soon after I graduate from University!

    So I believe I would need a very sturdy suitcase from America Tourister to BRING BACK MORE (and the whole of Korea with my favourite Kpop band BTS maybe) on my next visit! Which also btw, I live for Misc En Scene hair Perfect hair oil — it smells so good and makes my hair so smooth! I’m already on my second bottle. haha

    Thank you for hosting the gift away! <3

    Warm regards,
    Sharleen

  8. Firstly, can I just say that I’ve picked up reading again, slowly but surely, thanks to you? I’ve been a quiet follower of your Instagram and blog for many years and this is my first time trying out for a giveaway (I never believe in them because my luck in life is /really/ bad).

    If I had to pick an item to pair with a city, it would be smelly toufu with Hong Kong! It was in the middle of the night, amidst my grad trip with a bunch of friends, where I still felt hungry despite the whole day of indulging in amazing food. While the others were fast asleep and snoring away, a friend and I snuck downstairs to the night market and bought so much street food we could barely contain our joy. It was also my first time trying smelly toufu and GOD it stank but holy cow it was amazeballs! The simple thrill and sheer excitement of leaving our airbnb (AND returning!) without waking the others up became our running joke and secret — till this day no one in our clique knows about our little escapade.

    Thanks for running this giveaway and please continue writing, Jemma!

  9. Cha Tra Mue Thai Milk Tea – Thailand
    Mention Thailand, and one of the first few things that pop up in all our minds is no doubt, their famous Cha Tra Mue Milk Tea! Cha Tra Mue has them in small instant packets in the normal Thai Milk Tea or Thai Milk Green Tea and OH MY GOODNESS they are such a lifesaver! No more days of filtering tea leaves and having to guess how much evaporated milk i need to put in (they take forever and it never tastes like the original if you’re not good at making tea the traditional way,like me sigh) So when i first saw those Instant Thai Milk Tea packs in Thailand’s supermarkets, can you imagine my happiness?!?? Whenever i visit bangkok, almost half of my luggage will be filled with just Cha Tra Mue’s Instant Milk Tea Packs. CHA TRA MUE THAI MILK TEA > NEW CLOTHES. ALWAYS. PLUS, they only cost about 3-4 bucks for a pack of 5, so they make GREAT souvenirs for relatives, friends, neighbours and colleagues! I mean, who wouldn’t want to receive them as gifts? They’re wayy better than the usual keychain/magnets souvenirs right! I once saw some physical shops in SG selling them for $12 for a pack of 5?!!! All the more reasons i would stock up on them in Thailand to bring back home. P.S I even hide them in between my clothes in the wardrobe to keep my siblings from taking them and in my locked cabinet at work just in case when the stocks at home/office pantry runs out. 😝

  10. Hui Xian says:

    Hey Jemma!!

    While reading your blogpost, the first city that came into my mind was Stockholm! I was there for an exchange programme and I had a memorable time there getting to experience a new culture (e.g. fika and avoiding people at the bus stop) and stuffing myself with microwaveable Swedish meatballs. One thing I would associate with Stockholm would be Oatly!! And it’s gotta be the chocolate version. I don’t drink milk and since everything else was so expensive, I discovered this oat drink that goes really well with a specific brand of chocolate granola. This pairing became a breakfast experience that I really miss and I couldn’t stop mentioning how much I love Oatly to everyone (I also took countless photos of my breakfast for my own consumption.). The founder left a number on the carton asking consumers to send him texts and I made sure I sent an appreciation note in caps to let him know how amazing Oatly is and why is it always out of stock in the supermarket (I would visit all the supermarkets in my area to hunt it down.).

    Thanks for holding this giveaway! It was fun writing this!:)

  11. A beautiful shawl I haggled for on the streets of Istanbul! I associate this with mainly Istanbul of course, but also the whole of Europe. It started out as a makeshift skirt because I was wearing shorts and I wanted to enter a mosque. But then it became my blanket on long bus rides (because budget student exchange life) between cities, my scarf when I was freezing cold during winters (especially in Edinburrrrrgh) and lastly, an actual shawl. It has been such an awesome, lightweight, multi-purpose item that I brought it on almost every trip since then, and created more memories with it!

  12. Hi Jemma!

    I have only been to neighbouring country so far and my current favourite is Thailand ! 1 item that I always buy there is their chilli flakes !!! With 虾米😍😍😍 Yes yes.. Singapore do sell those type of chilli but it just doesn’t taste the same !!! Thailand chili flakes are super awesome they come in many different types of chilli and most importantly is super cheap. I always buy 5?? Bottles back hahaha to give to my friends parents etc. Food is always the best gift and it goes well with everything ( especially maggies) 😍😍😍😍

  13. Hi Jemma!
    Have you been to Manila? I have, and well every time I fly to Manila, or when my friends fly to Manila, I will always remind them to bring a handkerchief hahah – I actually grew up in Philippines, and migrated to Singapore 10 years ago and settled here, one thing I picked up from my mum is that she always have a handkerchief with her; be it in Singapore or Manila. She used to tell us to “cover our nose” every time we are there because of the smoke we can inhale from the streets. I recently even went back and my grandmother gave me this small piece of cloth, just to find out it’s a makeshift mask so I don’t have to hold a handkerchief to my face every time hahah

    It’s funny thinking about it because I never really took the liberty to bring a handkerchief when I pack – I just got used to having my mum, my grandma, my aunt, or even my cousins to have an extra to lend me. It’s a small practice that goes unnoticed, and it goes great when you catch a sad movie, or spilled food; someone will always have that extra handkerchief with them.

  14. Not sure if this count as a thing but.. GS25 is something (a place?) that I hold dearly to when I am in Korea. My maiden trip to Korea was in 2012 for summer exchange, and the GS25 near my hostel sold an awesome bibimbap onigiri. I loved it so much that I tried to eat it as much as I can in my 5 weeks there, and every time I went to Korea I would look for the bibimbap onigiri to satisfy my craving. And I would always start my trip by heading to the GS25 at the airport (even before I collect my wifi egg lol) to top up my T-money and to get a bottle of banana milk. I’m not a big fan of it, but drinking it at the start of my trip has become a ritual somehow lol.

    I have been to Korea 5 times, and 4 times I went there just to watch the concerts by my favourite oppa/group (Big Bang). My most recent trip was last year, when I impulsively purchased the ticket to Korea even though the concert is right smack in my Taiwan trip. #YOLO lol. Since I go to Korea merely for concerts, I hardly have the time to settle down in a nice cafe or restaurant and enjoy the good food (unless I have company), so my best option is always GS25, which has /everything/. From my favourite bibimbap onigiri to all the cutesy drink bottles that always tempt me to bring them home, to the 1000won packet drink (which has flavours ranging from lemonade to Americano coffee and comes with a free cup of ice in the freezer) and cheap cup noodles, I can easily settle all my meals there. And because I bought my dinner at GS25 and then ate it at the guesthouse during my trip last year, I met a new friend at the guesthouse. And because of the new friend, we met another new friend during an impromptu trip the next day and we ended up doing crazy things that night – going to the Peaceminusone pop-up store in the middle of the night even though we had gone there earlier. It was something that I would never do because I usually travel alone, and I was really thankful for the experience, all thanks to me buying dinner from GS25 (LOL).

    So yeah, this is my story, and crossing fingers that it is a valid entry because I really want a cabin luggage so that I don’t have to spend time checking in! And then there’s my family of 5 sharing 2 luggages among us.. So yup, good luck to myself! 😁

  15. Hi Jemma!

    Just like you, I have been to Seoul for 5 times already and it will be my 6th time this coming August! I totally agree with you on how you went through different phases with Seoul, as I did went through different phases with Seoul too! With the first trip at the age of 20. Each time I visit Korea, I couldn’t walk pass Kakao Store without entering the store! It’s my favourite to-go store, and I will definitely hold a bag of goodies after I exit the store. I am a huge fan of the Kakao characters just like how other people are crazy over Line characters! All the Kakao characters are so cute it’s irresistible!! And what’s more, it originated from there!

    During my recent trip, I brought back a 25 inch apeach plushy home and have been hugging it every night. Every time I look at it, it reminds me of Korea and the fun times I’ve had over there. And I am so sad every time Kakao release new products and I couldn’t buy it straight in their stores!! Even though the international shipping cost 14 USD to ship the items to Singapore, it just felt so different because I can’t see the big Ryan bear at the entrance of the store! It feels like Kakao represents Korea, and the stores are always crowded each time I visit.

  16. I was late in the game in visiting Japan, and it was only recently that I found out what I’ve been missing out on all this while.

    The happiest place where I associate Japan with is not Disneyland, but their ubiquitous Conbinis which can be found nearly every corner of the street! Lawson, FamilyMart, 7-11, etc. Big love!!♥️

    From the dazzling array of inexpensive, prepackaged food in all flavors one can think of, or cant possibly ever imagine of, my favourite staple and one of the foods I always go back to is the humble onigiri! Yums 😋

    The onigiri is inexpensive as a hearty snack which is filling and tasty. It fuels me through a hectic day in Tokyo, early day trips out to Kawaguchiko and Shirakawago where I have no time to stop for lunch in between the attractions, is my sneaky companion in my bagpacks when I enter theme parks cos I was trying to save money.

    The crispy seaweed, soft rice and the many forms which the onigiri comes in (sake, canned tuna with kewpie, umeboshi,mentaiko) are part of my many precious memories of Japan and what I would associate with Japan.

    I step into conbinis a few times a day. Breakfast. Rest stop during the day. Midnight snacks. Settled! The conbinis will always be there to satisfy my wishes hahaha.

    Recently I found a new Ongiri that I really love! Tomato flavoured rice encased in bright yellow pillowy eggs.

    I know I’m in the land of Japan when I enter the Conbinis, and see the bright yellow onigiris greeting me on the shelf. Such is the happy feeling associated with something in a country that brings about a sense of familiarity, and yet a sense of bliss from the inside 💛 And that’s one of the reasons why I enjoy and love traveling, cos we always leave parts of ourselves in the places we visit as we find new and old things to love xoxo

  17. A dirty green bag pack which I still keep, from my first solo trip to 7 countries in Europe!

    Fresh out of junior college and wanting to see the world for all its glorious beauty, I saved up to make this trip happen. As a naive young lady without any solo travelling experience, I brought with me a 25kg white luggage from Singapore to Paris. It was the worst decision ever, having to lug it around cobblestone streets, plus basically screaming I’m at tourist!!!!!!! And to my horror, the luggage broke just 1 week into my 42 day trip. I resorted to getting this really huge ass ugly bag back, which turned out to be best decision ever.

    I travelled freely, lightly, from Rome to Paris, to Greece…. without the burden of lugging the suitcase. But just with my sturdy bag back that took me everywhere. It’s a memory I’ll never forget. The YOLO-ness, many first experiences, fear, joy and friendship. And now as I grow older, I believe a good suitcase truly takes you everywhere.

  18. Hi Jemma!

    Can’t help but always associate larvae (this weird insect cartoon) with Korea cause my exchange roommate who was an American-born-Korean gifted a larvae stuff toy to me before we parted ways at the end of the semester :>
    It was an inside joke between us and she found it amusing how I would also laugh non-stop while watching the cartoons. Every time I go back to Korea and see the larvae character, it always reminds me of the warm fuzzy moments we spent together – I went on exchange alone so she felt like “family” to me. ♥

  19. There are so many things to associate with travelling, but I’ll choose a packet of Kettle Brand Honey Dijon Potato Chips to go with my trip to London back in December 2016. I also noted, the luggage Jemma is giving away is about the same colour as the chips pack. Haha!

    Anyway that year, chancing upon some flight deals online, my girl friend and I broke our banks and packed our bags to fly across the globe arriving on Christmas eve only to find most of the stores closed. Even Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland and Portobello street market where our Airbnb was on was eerily quiet. Our only consolation was buying super cheap Honey Dijon Chips at the nearby Tesco for just a pound when packets here can go up to $7. This became our nightly routine (fat die us i know, but its so good) throughout our 2-week trip.

    But that wasn’t the end of our Honey Dijon adventures. Staying in a rather cheap, dingy Airbnb in central London, one night whilst eating our chips, we experienced a black out in our apartment. Well, our chips were donated to the floor instead of our tummies, but at least I didn’t die in the hands of some new age Jack the Ripper in London like what the back of mind told me was ‘the person turning off the lights’.

    Also while munching on 1 pack out of the stash I bought back while waiting for my luggage at Changi, to my dismay, my hard case luggage (its some old American Tourister too haha!) had 2 large dents from who-knows-what, and the only consolation I had was my 1 pound Honey Dijon Potato chips.

    Here, this sums up my misadventures in London, with my (multiple packs of) Honey Dijon Potato Chips – which I’m not sure is even a British product. Oops. All the best everyone!

  20. Hey Jemma, thank you so much for doing this really thoughtful giveaway 🙂

    The first item that came to mind was Lambert, a small lamb soft toy I got in Perth’s Caversham Wildlife Park when I was in primary 4. That was my first ever overseas trip so it meant the world to me, and Perth was incredibly amazing. It was so quaint and scenic, and that self-drive trip with my family provided many peaceful moments of reflection (yes, even at that age). One of our first stops was the wildlife park, and in the gift shop I saw a pile of Lamberts sitting there looking all adorable. I knew I had to get one – besides, koalas were a little too common haha.

    Back in Singapore, I’d often talk to Lambert and recall those happy times. I didn’t want to wash away the “Perth smell”, so I always left it sitting at my bedside. One day, to my horror, I saw a wet Lambert hanging by its ears in the backyard, and it had turned slightly pink. I cried my eyes out. Thankfully its colour was back to normal when it dried!

    Fun fact: I’m listening to the song associated with Perth while writing this (Jay Chou’s ‘Feng’) hahaha.

    xx

  21. Firstly, this post arouses my post-Korea blues again, heh. Not gonna lie, I always have this tendency to search for cheap flight tickets there in hopes of stepping into Korea once again.

    Soooo, something I associate with a city would have to be from a recent travel of mine to Hong Kong. Nope, its not the dim sums, nor the street markets, it’s the bamboo scaffolding (I am definitely not belittling any of the said things because they all have their merits)! I am glad that I am brought to the attention of the scaffolding from the hotel’s chauffeur who picked my sisters and I from the airport. What a nice introduction to the city!

    Not that I have a strong interest in architecture or buildings, but throughout the short trip in Hong Kong, I am always drawn to the bamboo scaffoldings every time I see it on the streets and would snap shots of it and just be in awe of it. It’s like as though it has a certain charm to it, an almost rustic feel to it. Well, Singapore does not have such sights so it’s definitely novel to me. I also can’t help thinking how much skill it takes to learn how to use bamboo instead of the conventional steel as scaffolding and perhaps how more environmentally friendly it can be too. Whoops, didn’t I just disclaim that I had no strong interest in this? But yeah, it was an amazing sight and if I ever were to come across a documentary of Hong Kong, I will definitely be reminded of those bamboo scaffoldings. I hope the sight will stay as a unique part of Hong Kong for many more years to come. 🙂

  22. Amanda Lee says:

    Hi Jemma,

    Thanks for this giveaway!! omgosh can i just say that i LOVE LOVE LOVE the socks?! okay, i would associate GELATO to Italy! I am very thankful to be able to travel Europe and Italy was one of the destinations. Everywhere you go in Italy, you can see gelato shops or people holding cones/cups of gelato. I cant even remember exactly how many i ate but my friends and i were in Italy for about 12days and we had at least 1x gelato everyday so i guess 12?? Haha sometimes the number count can go up to 2 per day:) The best gelato i had was in Venice and I tried the strawberry cheesecake (my favourite flavour HANDS DOWN) and youghurt!

  23. – Gimbap

    Gimbap means dried seaweed rice roll in Korean, you can imagine it as a longer version of sushi roll.

    I went to Seoul for a month with my girlfriend and it was during winter time, the both of us were basically wrapped up like “Gimbap” every other day. To save on cost, we usually eat Gimbap for breakfast. It is cheap, filling, convenient, and super accessible. It can be found in any 7-11 or GS25, sometimes we would find it in small decent dining stall along the street. It ranges from 1000won to 3000won, depending on how much ingredients you chose to add on. Somehow, Gimbap is just crazily addictive (at least to me) and i cannot forget the taste even after i return to Singapore.

  24. Stephanie says:

    First thing that I thought of is loose Chinese tea leaves; Tie guan yin to be exact. Maybe because I am on holiday in shanghai now. I usually look out for them whenever I am in China (including Taiwan heh).
    I grew up watching my dad brew Chinese tea with his clay tea pot and tea cups (and the numerous sets he has) how he rinsed them with boiled water first and meticulously place the right amount of leaves into the pot and subsequently, pouring them in tiny tea cups in a messy but organised manner… Watching the routine was somehow therapeutic for me then. One fine day after school when I was about 10 or 11 years old and my parents were at work, I decided to play around with the Chinese tea set and imitated the steps that my dad did whenever he brewed Chinese tea… I remember I drank about 5, 6 rounds of 5 tiny tea cups. I couldn’t fall asleep that night, clearly I didn’t know about the effects of caffeine then. But that sparked a new love… the appreciation for Chinese tea. I love that leaves harvested in different seasons have different notes and flavours and there’s so many types of tie guan yin or even oolong tea. I had to learn more about the oolong tea range recently because my partner loves it and drinks it everyday 😅 but yay, at least he enjoys visiting tea houses whenever we are in greater China. I hope this love gets passed on to the next generation because I believe if it makes me feel cultured to a certain extent, it should make them feel the same too! That’s my story (true life) for you. On a side note, I feel like buying the Pachinko novel already, perhaps at the airport when I fly back to SG two days later. You’re a good salesperson, heh.

  25. Korea is a place that will forever be known to me as a place where I endured heartbreaking love, busked in reunion love, and everything in between. You see, I fell in love with a Korean boy about 7 years ago and being a young j2 kid in love, I had to literally earn and save my way to my first ever solo trip to visit him post A levels.
    Since korean boys are subject to compulsory military service, we also went through a trying 2 years of LDR, with several trips over the course of his service to help us survive those crazy times.

    Naomi island is known to us as a island of despair because that was where we bawled our eyes out before his military service commenced. We were both so apprehensive of what’s to come and helpless tears was the only way we knew how to convey that.

    The Inchon international airport is a place that brings mixed feelings; joy and butterflies at arrival and tears and longing at departure.

    Lotte Mart is always our happy place, be it marketing for supper or for a home cooked meal, nothing can go wrong with a trip to Lotte mart!

    Fast forward to now, our LDR is coming to an end in a matter of days! And I’ve planned a surprise trip to visit him the day after tomorrow, just coz the tickets were cheap. After this trip, i think it’ll be some time before I head back to Korea again but i think we’ve created enough memories to last us for awhile…

  26. Hey Jemma! Got super stoked when I saw that you wrote an article about your latest trip to Korea, because it just stirred so much excitement in me for my upcoming one! I’ve been stuck in Singapore trying to study my butt off in university so I really can’t wait to just set off my wanderlust spirit in me once again after reading your post! hehehehe always enjoy reading your travel posts :’)

    Wanted to just share this cause I really do love travelling & making great memories in places I go. And 2 years ago, I was blessed with a great memory in a country I never thought I would ever visit.

    I had the opportunity to travel to Yogyakarta to do community service, and during the trip I received something I still associate quite strongly to the city. Surprisingly, that something would be this simple hand fan I received there. It was my first time there, and not knowing how warm the place would be, this friend of mine and I scurried over to the nearest stall to buy ourselves a fan after we ended a particular guided tour. I guess he was feeling rather generous that day, so he bought a few & gave one to me to keep. That particular moment sparked off a friendship I am quite glad to say I’d treasure for the rest of my life.

    Like if I’d think about it again, a hand fan is something so practical and common to have, but this one was particularly special because that simple interaction of trying to cool ourselves down from the intense heat, brought someone so special to me into my life. The walk shared from our resting spot to the stall and back, opened up a new relationship to me where I could just truly be myself and be comfortable when talking to this person. This level of trust I gained, I seldom find in anyone anymore nowadays.

    Since that day, I talked to this person a lot more, and got to share things that I have kept to myself for a while, and to be frank even some of my closer friends are not aware of these things. Long story short, we got to know each other better, and he’s been giving me moral and emotional support for the past year. He even supported me as I slowly recovered from anxiety :’) What’s even better is how practical this hand fan is, that I could easily use it almost everyday in this weather we have in Singapore. Every time I see the fan (whilst fanning myself with it of course hehe), I’ll always be reminded of how my courage to join the trip to Yogyakarta actually brought me so many valuable relationships and memories that i’ll treasure for the rest of my life.

    So yes, I really do treasure the hand fan I currently own, and I do look forward to returning back to Yogyakarta again one day in the future to probably relive those wonderful moments I had back then. 🙂 but for now, secretly more excited to head over to Korea after reading your post! ♡

  27. Ahhhh. Hi Jemma! I just went to Seoul in Jan and it was freezing. But I got to see snow for the first time! Anyway, I’m super interested in getting Liah’s products. I’m really bummed that they don’t ship to sg!!! I don’t know why it didn’t occur to me back in Korea.

    So, I’ll always associate this present-shaped pendant I got from Salamanca market in Hobart, Tasmania! My friend, Madeline, got a dino ear stud and that’s also how I’ll always remember that she loves Dinosaurs.

    How we met was really unexpected. I met Madeline during FYP in Poly. I mean, we worked in the same lab and I found her quite cool. We were kinda on the surface friends – just casual talks here and there. After we graduated, I reached out to her on social media and we hanged out, clicked very well and so we decided to travel to Melbourne and Tasmania.

    On Sunday mornings in Hobart, they have this weekend market where the locals sell artisanal products and food on FOOD TRUCKS! It was a lovely morning, except for the fact that I choked on too much mustard on my bratwurst that got Madeline laughing like crazy. If you were there, I bet you’ll be laughing hard too because I WAS REALLY CHOKING and COUGHINGGG. But, it was an amazing trip with her: and I just can’t believe how we became close. You should visit Salamanca market if you go there!! 🙂

    So…that’s my story! I hope you enjoyed it and it’s always a pleasure reading your entries. Thank you for holding this and wishing you all the best. Keep rockin’.

    xx,
    Chelsea

  28. Hey Jemma! Thanks for having this interesting giveaway! Well, I guess if I have to pick a country and an item associated to it, I will still pick Korea!
    Actually, I went to Korea with my family 11years ago ( before Kpop even step in!!!) and back then, the only impression I had of korea was winter and Da Chang Jin ( HAHAHA yes I know!). So at that time, me and my sisters were young ( I was only 9) and my parents ( Not knowing any korean) bravely brought their 3 kids to korea ahaha the struggle was real. And actually thinking back, I can only associate Korea to winter based on my memory. Its not an item but just my memory of Korea!! Unfortunately, my family dont have the opportunity to go Korea any time soon. But all in all, it was an amazing trip back then!!!

    I would like to pick item 6 ( the skincare duo). Hope I can get it for my mum. She hardly have any time to have some relaxation time, working real hard till 2am every day and getting up at 6am. Wish this skincare duo can at least let my mum pamper herself a little!!! Thank you!!!:)

  29. green tea- Tokyo

  30. Jie Ying says:

    Hi Jemma! Thank you for sharing with us the thoughts and memories you have of Seoul, and the little stories of what makes Seoul, Seoul to you.

    For me, if I have to pick a city, it will have to be Taipei. I went there for a short elective trip of 1 month in the city. For me, it’s the 1st time I’m staying over in a foreign country for an extended period of time. By extended, I mean having to pack some washing powder for my clothes. When you said in your post– “I feel like as one gets older, travel is less about checking landmarks off a bucket list and more about imprinting yourself on a city and letting it do the same to you”, this particular sentence resonated with me so well. 1 month may sound short, but it was long enough for me to have a true taste and engage in a way of living that is almost similar to that of a Taiwanese. And I love it.

    One item I associate with the city of Taipei, ever since I came back last June, is a cup of good fragrant coffee. I was never a coffee lover- I would drink the occasional cup when I needed a perk-me-up, but I wouldn’t say that I did so because I “enjoyed” coffee. If anyone asked me the question of am I a coffee or tea lover, I used to reply the latter. All that changed during that 1 month. There’s a quaint little coffee shop near the place I was interning at and that I just so happened to chance upon while exploring the hood, it’s called called Wilbeck Cafe. They serve the most interesting blend and flavours, and have beans imported from all over the world. I was so intrigued by their black sesame latte the first time I ordered from them, I made it a point to drop by every day during lunch time just so I could try out every other drink they offered on the menu. Well, I did come back everyday for that 1 month, but I didn’t manage to try out all the drinks, because some days I found myself reordering the same flavour because I loved them so.

    I made a mental note to myself that I will come back to Taipei, the city that made me experience the feeling of falling in love again, not with a person this time, but with a place. So many experiences I had, so many memories that I have kept close to heart since. And indeed, I am actually leaving for Taiwan again very soon, this Saturday on 14 April in fact, for another round of elective. I will make sure that this time round, I will try out the rest of the drinks I didn’t manage to!

    So that is my humble item and the story behind it. If anytime you are back in Taipei, I hope you will drop by to try their coffee for yourself too! 🙂

  31. Esther Koh says:

    Yay!!!! Thank you for blessing us with this.
    The item that immediately thought of was a wooden box I got in Israel. The box is special because the lid is embroided with the words Jerusalem on it and a dove holding an olive branch. I think the box is personally significant to me because i got it for my mom when she couldnt join me on my trip to israel, and the box reminds me of her. but it also reminds me of how a beautiful country like israel could still be so torn apart and dangerous in many places, and how we have to continually pray for the peace of israel. a dove with an olive branch symbolises peace and thats what i continue to hope for israel! its a special country for me, a real eye opener into a place often painted by the media in a certain stereotype – perhaps maybe why i remembered the box immediately when you asked us to share a story!☺️☺️

  32. Charmaine Phua says:

    Hello Jem, I really enjoy reading your thoughtful blog posts and I am always inspired by your musings, especially your book recommendations. I read Pachniko because you raved about the book and I thoroughly enjoyed it!

    Back to the question, one of my fondest trips that I have ever taken was to Budapest, Hungary because it was my first solo trip. The item I will associate with Budapest is a slice of cake, not any cake, but the Ruszwurm cream pastry from the oldest confectionary in Budapest. The story goes like this. I was planning a trip to Budapest with two other friends and we were all booking the tickets individually. Right after I booked my bus ticket to Budapest, the website crashed and my two other friends couldn’t book their tickets. That left me in a dilemma because I really wanted to go Budapest, ever since I watched the Grand Budapest Hotel, and I knew that I might not have a chance to go if I decided to forgo my ticket just because I was nervous about doing this trip alone. So what did I do? I left my fears behind and I left for my first solo trip ever and the rest, is history.

    That trip to Budapest was a first of many things. First time travelling and staying alone, first time dining alone in a restaurant and first time exploring a city on my own. Where does the cake come into this story you may ask? Well, I was so lucky to meet a great bunch of fellow solo travellers on this trip and for some reason, we hit it off straight away and the remainder of my days in Budapest were spent with time partying in the ruin bars, meeting up to soak in Budapest’s famous baths and having meals together. On the final day, just before I was due to leave that night, we visited the Ruszurm confectionary because its was famous and between the 4 of us, we polished off a good number of cakes including the specialty of the shop, the Ruszurm cream pastry. Sitting in the tea room, enjoying that cake and laughing with my new friends, all apprehension about travelling solo faded away and this remains one of my fondest trips ever because I made life-long friends. The four of us were from 4 different countries but we still keep in touch and 2 of them visited Singapore this year.

    There you have it. The Ruszurm cream pastry was not just any other cake, it was a cake that reminded me to step out of my comfort zone, to do things I never thought I would do and to challenge me to grow as a person. Perhaps that is what travelling does to you. This is the end of my story!

  33. Priscilla says:

    I went to US for my exchange program last year and I visited New York during winter. It was my first encounter with snow too. I was amazed with how fast paced and fashionable the people there were. It is just something so mesmerizing about New York both in the day and night, I won’t be able to find anywhere else. I’ve look up your broke student guide to New York, and really thankful for the tips to get cheaper or free access to many places like the Statue of Liberty and stand-up comedies. And I super love the MET museum you’ve recommended!!

    While it was super pretty with white snow everywhere, my skin was immensely dry. I’ve bought the Clinique moisture surge to apply over my face and my hands. Yea even my hands were cracking from the cold. While it isn’t the cheapest moisturizer out there (broke student here), it was the best for my sensitive skin. It was a shield to the brutal cold, my everyday armor before I head out.

    Though you may say that you can get the moisturizer anywhere, I guess it’s just the sentimental attachment I have with New York 🙂 I can still remember the brutal cold in US whenever I slap on the moisturizer here in the hot and humid Singapore. New York is definitely a place I will visit again when the seasons change 🙂

  34. As a Singaporean, I believe that one must not forget our neighbouring country – Malaysia! Even though many of us may have the luxury to travel across to several countries or continents, I often travel acoss Malaysia for a short getaway. Living in the northwest of Singapore, it is convenient to simply travel across the causeway by means of public transport. Whenever I’m in Malaysia, I will often bring back the tradition chinese biscuits from Him Heang for my grandparents. They love Beh Teh Saw and Tow Sar Bing, and I will never fail to bring back for them.

    One tiny action of bringing back their favourite traditional biscuit can make a huge difference to them. I love seeing them smile whenever I visit them. As I get older, I start to learn to appreciate my family and friends around me, and I urge everyone to stop in your tracks, and take time to do something for them. Be it taking time to meet your friends, visiting your family members, or just a text away, can give someone that warm fuzzy feeling on the inside – the best feeling ever.

  35. Rachel Mark says:

    Hi Jem! I recently just came back from a trip to Tokyo with my friends and I managed to find out something new about their culture through Goshuin. So the item that I hold dear to me from Tokyo is my Goshuin-cho (Goshuin book). I’m not sure if you know this, as I also recently found out, Goshuin are temple seals that are used as proof of visiting a particular shrine or temple in Japan. They are usually hand written by staff at the temple and each Goshuin is unique. Each one also looks like a work of art with the vivid red ink of the stamps and the bold calligraphy on top of it.

    Currently, I have received seven Goshuin in the span of my ten-day trip there and each one brings back fond memories. The one I cherish the most was from Togo Shrine, a very quaint shrine just next to the bustling street of Takeshita Dori in Harajuku. Despite going to Harajuku quite a few times in my visits to Japan, this is the first time I’ve visited Togo shrine and it is such a wild contrast from the crowd both at Meiji shrine and Takeshita Dori. There were only a handful of people there and it was unbelievably scenic, adding to the sense of spirituality I got from this particular experience. A few locals even talked to us while we were there, wishing us a pleasant journey in Japan, which added to how memorable this place is to me.

    What I love the most about Japan is that you can always find a small shrine or temple in the most unexpected places, giving me a strong appreciation for how they preserve their unique culture. My Goshuin-cho has given me a way to form deeper connections to the places I’ve been to and that is more special to me than anything else I can get in Tokyo. I hope that I managed to share something new about Japan with you Jem! I look forward to hearing more about your travels.

  36. Rachel Yeo says:

    Hello there!

    One thing that I (and my family) absolutely love is.. Matcha!! God’s gift to mankind, and grace extended to me lol.
    Naturally, I associate this with Japan; my first love, and also Korea!

    In my first family vacation to Japan three years ago, we stumbled upon Uji. Its a small town just a stones throw away from Kyoto, and its famous for its green tea! What I really liked about that place is that it was so much more quieter than other places. We frequented many of the ice cream stalls and saw how green tea leaves were milled into fine powder. We brought back 2 packs of green tea and this year we are going back to the Kansai region for more of Japan!

    In Korea, it was the O’sulloc Green Tea Plantation that we enjoyed the most 🙂 Will definitely make trips back to Jeju to explore other places and revisit locations that made us feel at home.

    Thanks for hosting this giveaway! Crossing my fingers cause i could really do with a new luggage too. Plus i’m having withdrawal symptoms from Korea. Hah.

  37. Ohai Jem!

    Thank you for the 10 little stories that you have written and I absolutely loved reading them!

    My one item (or rather multiple items) are seashells that my partner-in-crime and I picked up while snorkeling in Boracay. We took the risk of travelling during our reading week to my very first beach destination because of air fare promotion and it was one of the most enjoyable trips that I would never forget. I went “Heng ah!!!” When I heard news that Boracay may be closing itself to the public for a while due to over tourism! The seashells reminded me of the fun I had there- snorkelling, helmet diving, parasailing but most importantly, it allowed me to bring back the sound of the ocean (which we hardly hear here!).

    I hope you enjoyed this little story of mine too! And thank you so much for hosting such a lovely giveaway!

  38. Shanice Teoh says:

    Hey Jemma!
    The item that I am gonna contribute to your long list of comments will be…. instant noodles from Taiwan! In particular – TTL Hua Diao Wine Chicken Noodles & 满汉大餐’s 牛肉面。I would say this two are the ultimatum of instant noodles. Try them if you have not!
    Usually I get at least eight bowls of it and pack them into my check-in luggage which takes up lots of space. And the results of that is getting nagged by my mom or friends for borrowing spaces in their luggage lol! So recently, boyfriend suggested me to get a cabin sized luggage to stock up my loots like this. Thus I have been looking around for a decent one and of course American Tourister is my top choice in mind as the current one I’m using is also from them and it has served me well for the past 2 years for all my holidays. Definitely looking forward to try the Curio =)

  39. Hi Jemma! My beloved bicycle would be the silent observer to my growth, maturity, and experiences acquired from exploring the city of Amsterdam alone. I was in Amsterdam for a 6 month exchange programme, and my bike has accompanied me through this journey right from Day 1. It helped me to save a ton of money on public transport, but more importantly taught me how to appreciate and savour sights in a much more embodied and sensorial manner (imagine the wind in your face, legs cramping from a 50km cycling trip, and body shivering from the erratic Dutch rain and wind). It was the primary mode of transport that transported me from my dorm to Van Gogh Museum; from Waterloopein Market to Chinatown (for my Asian supplies); and from the city to the outskirts of Amsterdam. It was also my trustworthy bike that was stable and fast enough for me to get away from a stalker on one of the dark winter evenings – I was 5 minutes away from city centre and caught in an area with minimal lamp posts when I realised that I was being stalked. I peddled as quickly as I could to get nearer to the crowds and city lights, before daring to stop and heave a sigh of relief at having shaken off the stalker.

    I couldn’t bring my bicycle back to Singapore, but that didn’t stop me from bringing its equally important counterpart – the metal chain and lock – back home with me. It weighed exactly 1.5kg, and despite my bursting luggage full of stroopwaffels and Dutch potato chips, I brought it back as a reminder of my growth. Hope you enjoyed this story! 🙂

  40. Stroopwafels and Amsterdam. I was so utterly enchanted by these soft waffle biscuits that encased gooey caramel goodness that I carted back 5kg worth (in other words, whatever I could fit into my hand carry) to Paris where I was studying, and snacked on them endlessly walking from one lesson to the next. Amsterdam was also where I first experienced snow, and despite the biting cold, I licked up my stroopwafel ice cream there with much relish.

  41. Jem I low-key super want to go to Korea after reading this post and if I have the American Tourister luggage I will be so set to take cute sunny-yellow pictures walking down the streets of Seoul. So here’s my story –

    I have a weird fixation with getting “wearable memories” when I travel to someplace new – buying food or nubby keychains are great but even better is a ring from a street vendor or junk-jangly charm bracelets sold by grinning old women with kind faces, so I can wear my travel memories like second skin. I went to Bali in 2016 and bought Ikat fabric in a lusciously rich yellow from a too-friendly lady in the Ubud art market – spent an hour in the dim store surrounded by mounds of fabric in so many colours it’ll make you dizzy, feeling textures of silk and cotton and linen and talking about artisans and fabric in Indonesia – it was the loveliest afternoon.

    In Ikat fabric, individual yarns are bound in intricate patterns then dyed, and when the dyeing process is done, the bounds are untied and the yarns are woven into a single fabric. The cool thing is that because it is really tough lining up the dyed yarns to form a pattern in the final cloth, Ikat is characterised by a certain “blurriness” in the design, which I adore. If you look closely you can even see breaks in the pattern where the weaver takes a break. When I got home I sewed the fabric into a Kimono-style drape top and it became my “wearable memory” from Bali.

    I guess wearable memories just keep warm and surrounded in tangible travel memories in a way so real and recent you can taste it on your skin, thinking with the time/money (and with the right luggage plsss) you can just pack up and go, over and over again.

  42. Esther Ng says:

    Hai hai~

    Taiwan has to be the most memorable trip I’ve taken in recent years.
    It’s the first mother-daughter trip I planned from start to finish and fully paid for with my first full time job.

    The one thing that always reminds me of the trip is a lavender sachet that I bought from the lavender cottage. I still have it around, although it’s doesn’t have much scent now, beciase it always brings me back to being surrounded by lavender and the fun time spent with my mum.

  43. I was based in France for my school’s exchange programme and a fond memory I have is when I visited Keukenof during the tulip festivals. I flew from Orly, Paris into Schipol, Netherlands with a friend who had arrived in France in visit me. Together, we met up with my other university friends who were based in Amsterdam to visit Keukenoff and they brought their own friends. Now that we’re all back in Singapore, we always talk about our time together and I’d always associate tulips with the beautiful new friends I made when I visit 😊

  44. Just came back from Seoul about a week ago and already missing it 🙁 3rd time there and I can totally relate to your recent trip about how we choose to just soak in the city vibes instead of checking of iconic landmarks.

    So of course Seoul is the most memorable city in my mind Ever since my first Korea trip, I fell in love with my MarketO brownies! Good things have to be shared so I would always bug my friends and say like “You have to get this! It’s a damn good brownie!” My friends think I’m crazy coz I kept lamenting about the MarketO blondies 🙁 totally miss them 🙁 So I would legit suggest anyone going to Korea to just get those damn brownies. Move aside Brand X Y Z.

    Hope I’ll get to win the luggage! Would love to bring it with me to my next trip during Summer 🎉 Stay cheerful and keep writing!

  45. Chanel Teo says:

    Hello Jem! Thank you for giving us a chance to share our story. Here’s mine 🙂

    Banana milk is an item that I very much associate with Seoul. It is the first order of business of mine whenever I have the opportunity to go to Seoul – the very first thing I purchase when I touch down. Heading to the nearest convenience store in the airport is a must for me.

    I first visited Korea in summer 2015, as my graduation trip with my best friend whom I have known half my life. I guess when you are visiting a place for the first time, you’d try every  single thing your friends/family/korean dramas have introduced you. Banana milk was definitely one of my must try for trip and I must say it was love at first taste for me. I still remember where I had my first banana milk – we touched down in Incheon airport and rushed all the way to the domestic airport as we were starting our grad trip with Jeju first. As our flight had a slight delay, we decided to checkout one of the convenience stores. I left the convenience store with a kimbap on one hand and Binggrae banana milk in another. Right after I had the first sip, I was completely sold. From then on I made sure I conclude my day with a banana milk before I sleep. This eventually became my ritual for the next 2 trips to South Korea, with the latest trip concluding exactly a week ago.

    South Korea will always hold a special place in my heart and I don’t think I can ever be sick of this beautiful place. There is so much more for me to explore and experience. With that said, while it has only been a week since I’ve returned to Singapore, I know I am already counting down till next time I go back, in Autumn 🙂

  46. Hi Jemma!

    An item I associate with London is a silly, gimmicky “I love London” bag that I was forced to buy under… unfortunate circumstances.

    London was the first city I had visited alone. I wasn’t a well-travelled person, in fact, I hardly even travel around Singapore! But somehow, at 21, I found myself standing in that bustling city, all by myself.

    Though I desperately wanted to enjoy this solo trip, my nerves got the better of me and I was constantly anxious and jumpy, especially when I was surrounded by swarms of strangers in Oxford street. I had told myself not to fall prey to those gimmicky souvenir shops along that street, so I would hurriedly scuttle away as the salesmen brandished all sorts of fancy souvenirs and called out to me.

    One day while I was walking along that very street, a bird shat on me. Yes. Right on my face. It was a huge dump that the bird had taken, and the shit dripped down my face, ruining my coat and cloth bag. On hindsight, I wonder whether all London birds generally have more waste, or did that particular bird eat too much that day?

    To be honest, I almost burst into tears right there and then because:
    1. I was alone, scared and mortified
    2. I knew people were staring and I couldn’t even see their expressions with my vision blurred by… shit *shudders*
    3. I had to queue to enter a toilet (with shit dripping down my face) and pay for the toilet visit too!

    It was my first solo trip and this had to happen! I remember that in that moment, I really wanted to disappear and return to Singapore. This was definitely not the magical London dream that I had envisioned.

    So after I washed up and calmed myself down, I found myself heading back to those souvenir shops again because my bag was ruined. The salesmen welcomed me in, and I smiled back, inwardly hoping that I didn’t miss a spot on my face. I chose a new “I love London” bag- the least cheesy out of them all, and found myself handing over an exorbitant 12 pounds for it.

    **So yes, that bag is the item that I associate with London now.**

    Those days still feel like a dream to me. Did I really walk along the streets of London by myself? Was I really 7 hours away from my family, living in a different time zone? And did I just embarrass myself terribly in front of ten thousand tourists and scar myself forever? That “i love London” bag tells me yes, and is a horrific vivid reminder of that mortifying incident in Oxford street.

    (Though I’ve since donated that bag, the memories are here to stay) Oh well, at least it’s a funny story to share during times like this, hehe!

  47. One item for Barcelona, my favourite city ? Chocolate-covered strawberries. Specifically, chocolate-covered strawberries at La Boqueria market on Las Ramblas. It’s 2 euros for a stick of lusciousness, sold everywhere in the market. La Boqueria’s always bustling and there’s people at every corner you turn and the colours in the market are POPPIN’, it is so dang colourful, but once you get the chocolate-covered strawberries, you drag whoever’s with you (the two times I’ve been there it was with my family and my best friend) to a corner on the side of the market or behind the market where there’s less people. Or just stop right there because who can wait to get that into your mouth. All the buzz and colour from La Boqueria you can ever want explodes in your mouth in one juicy bite. I swear everything looks a little dimmer after you finish the entire stick – and that’s something, given that it’s BARCELONA.

    tldr if there was one food that ever made me wish my mouth was bigger to enjoy it in one immense gulp, it would be these chocolate-covered strawberries from La Boqueria in Barcelona. Or that I had three mouths to enjoy the three chocolate-covered strawberries you get on one stick at the same time. Probably not the most unique, but I have terribly fond memories of these strawberries.

    PS. Today my professor teaching memory studies recommended Pachinko to us and for the life of me I couldn’t remember where I first encountered Pachinko until I came back here, and belatedly realised this was also a giveaway post (I skimmed this post the first time I read this, heh).

  48. When I think of Korea, many food dishes come to mind – Korean fried chicken, Ginseng chicken soup among many. What I definitely missed about Korea is the brown rice fried chicken from Mattaco. They’re serve the best oven baked chicken and fried chicken!

  49. After spending so much on plane tickets, accomodation, and everything else I was desperate to save money during my trip to Japan. I remember scouring the convenience stores for different types of instant ramen! During my stay I had so many different types (yakisoba was definitely my favourite)! So my item would be cup ramen from Japan!

  50. Hi Jemimah,

    Makeup Sponge
    Being a beauty enthusiast, I keep a lookout for pharmacies and beauty stores! Even though sometimes I come out of the store empty-handed, I like to look at what each country’s pharmacy and beauty stores stock (and if the prices are lower) and to also discover their local brands. On my recent trip to Thailand, I purchased a beauty sponge by a Thailand brand Odbo, which I think is a great dupe for the Beauty Blender! It costs only S$5 and I love that it’s a steal for its blending abilities!

  51. Hi Jemma,
    I consider myself as quite an adventurous traveller, every year I’ll do a backpacking trip, sometimes alone. Solo travelling and couchsurfing has allowed me to see the goodness of people and I feel that it’s a great way to remember the city. So the recent trip I took was cities in USA and Toronto, a total of 6 cities. And what I remember strongly about each city were the food and people. So one story was in Montreal, Canada, people are French speaking (yes ikr French!!) which made it difficult for me to order food as I couldn’t understand the menu and signs. At that moment, while I was looking lost, a kind lady approached me and told me I must try this shop’s poutine, and kept pointing and trying to tell me to try this, it’s good. So I ordered it, sat with her and tried to carry a decent conversation with lots of hand gestures. So poutine is actually a mixture of fries and cheese curds, a dish well loved by Canadians. So from then I made it a point to try every “national dish” each city had to offer. Thus I’ll always associate the cities I visited to their food and the kindness of their people.

  52. A Mexican lady, whom we met while travelling in Guatemala, invited us to stay at her place when we visit Mexico. That few days at her place was filled with generosity – grocery shopping at local markets, us exchanging our nation’s cuisine, sipping wine at night with her friends and family. When I left, she gave me the moka pot which we used to make coffee every morning, so that I could enjoy good coffee instead of instant ones while I continued my travels. Lost the pot at my relative’s in NY, and I’m still hoping to get it back.

  53. Hi Jemma!

    My item (?) would have to be the La La Land movie/DVD/OST. I have the DVD and I feel like whenever I rewatch the film or listen to a track on Spotify shuffle, it instantly brings me back to my time in LA. It could remind me of my own encounters with the quirky characters on Venice Beach, or Sebastian’s story as an aspiring jazz club owner, I think of all the hardworking aspiring musicians you see dotting the city. Or of course — the observatory dance scenes remind me of my own anecdotes there. It’s not often there are movies or there is art that are stories about places as much as the people but I think La La Land is the perfect example of that, that means my memories will stay lodged in my brain for a longer time. This year my lucky colour (HAHAHAHA I know it’s ridic but well maybe it can be self-fulfillingly true) is yellow and I would love to have a sunshine yellow luggage! Actually, even as much so, all the things you put inside look amazing! I promise even if I don’t win, I am so getting a copy of that book to read, in any case! Have a lovely week/month/year, Jem! 🙂 <3

  54. I associate friendly people with Taiwan. I have met so many kind strangers that help my friends and I despite the language barriers we had. There was once when we went to Alishan National Forest in Taiwan. Before heading off to explore the forest, we walked around to ask for available transport that could drive us to Sun Moon Lake in the evening since the last public pus would leave at 1 pm. AT that point of time, it was already 2pm. We went around quite a while until we saw a lorry driver who just started the lorry engine. We approached him and asked if he knew anyone that could drive us to Sun Moon Lake. Without hesitation, he called his friends who was a cab driver back in the main city to come over at 4pm. We had no SIM card that could be contacted but we just tried our luck that the cab driver could find us. 5 minutes before 4 pm, we head back to the place where we were supposed to meet the cab driver. The rain started to drizzle. From afar, we could see an old uncle walking around. His face looked like he was looking for someone. True enough, it was the cab driver that came to bring us to Sun Moon Lake. We were really grateful for the kindness.
    The kindness of Taiwanese did not stop there. When we were back in Taipei, we found out that the nearest MTR exit to our Airbnb did not have any elevator. The flight of stairs was really something considering we had to lug heavy luggages as well! Two high school students saw us and offered to carry our luggage together even though they were not heading to the same direction as us. Really, the kindness we received during our trip created a heart-warming memory and encouraged us to do the same to the visitors of our home country 🙂

  55. Hi Jemma!

    I associate a white checkered scarf with Eindhoven, the Netherlands. I spent more than 6 months there on a student exchange a year ago, so naturally the city will always hold a special place in my heart. It was where I felt true independence away from family, and it was the home base where I could return to after days of visiting other European cities.

    The scarf was one of the first few things I bought when I was there, and it kept me warm in the wintery months. I’d wear it on my morning walks to university, when I wandered the city center chomping on a kebab, and as I took the bus to the local airport ready to explore another city. Just thinking about it now brings back memories of the scattered bicycles and little shops, and my home away from Singapore where I built new habits and friendships.

    Wow writing this really makes me miss my time on exchange, especially since I haven’t worn the scarf since then. I guess that’s the beauty of spending prolonged periods of time in different cities, you leave a little bit of you there too.

  56. Kerenza Ng says:

    Hey Jemma!

    It’s so cool to enter giveaways where the conditions aren’t things like “tag a friend you’d like to win this with” or “state 3 reasons why you love brand X”. Your giveaways always come with reflective conditions that often lead to me thinking about it for a few days, even if I don’t win! And I don’t doubt this would either.

    I personally associate purple sarongs with Bali. Not just any kind of purple, but a rich, dark purple reminiscent of the elegant hue only spotted by royalty back in the olden days. Why so?

    In 2013 I lost my Father to lung cancer. It was a time where I was learning more about me, growing into myself thanks to the wonders of puberty and the loss of the largest (and only) male influence in my life threw me off quite a lot. It’s never easy losing a loved one, especially so when you’re a self-confessed (and proud) daddy’s girl. I was lost in my own sea of grief, anger and fear. With the loss of my Father meant I was to move back in with my biological Mother, with whom my Father separated from when I was 9. It wasn’t easy, learning to cope with the grief of losing my dad and the tension that comes with newly living with someone, seeing them daily when your previous interactions were limited to bi-weekly Sunday meetups.

    Then came the opportunity to visit Bali in 2014 for a Geographical Investigative Study. I took Pure Geography for O Levels, and my wonderful teacher proposed and put together a trip to study both the coastline and tourism in Bali. Nearly a year had passed since my Father passed on, and I was still as lost then. Nevertheless, with my mother’s encouragement (we’ve cleared up 4 years of misunderstandings by now and became a lot closer) I went on the trip.

    And it was life-changing. The purple sarong in question came into play on the 3rd day of our trip, when we were due to visit Uluwatu Cliff. That day was exactly a year from the day my Father was admitted to hospital, the very start of the month-long stay leading to his death. It wasn’t a particularly easy day, with me constantly resisting the urge to break down and cry.

    At the foot of the cliff, those of us in shorts were told to put on sarongs to respect the sanctity of the holy cliff, of which an old temple was built and worshipped at for many many years. We headed to the peak of the cliff, right at the very edge. There was a small pile of rocks right at the end of the cliff, stacked together in a haphazard manner. I’ve always had a fear of heights but that day I climbed up to the top of the rocks, realising that there wasn’t gonna be another time where I’m on the peak of the peak of a cliff like this.

    And at that moment the grief seemed to slowly ebb away. I was up there, precariously perched on the edge and watching the waves crash into the rocks god knows how many feet below me. The wind seemed to slap me to my senses, the ends of the sarong fluttering around my calves as if trying to teether me down to the rocks.

    Even at the peak of the highest point I’ve ever been on I felt so small. It was as if the surrounding cliff faces were still taller and bigger than me, the clouds more out of reach than they had when I was at the foot of the cliff. And the sarong, with its frayed ends whipping my calves. For the first time in a whole year since my nightmare started I felt true peace. It was as if I’ve reached a nirvana where all was nothing and I had given in to the soothing calmness of nature.

    When I left, I was tempted to take the sarong with me, as a symbol of the moment I had up on Uluwatu Cliff. But I realised I had to return it so that the user after me might experience the same wonders as I did, and needed the whipping of the sarong around his or her feet to keep him or her grounded too.

    And that’s why till date I still associate purple sarongs with Bali.

  57. A korean beauty mist (Ground Plan’s 24h Secret Mist) is an item that makes me recall my trip to Seoul last year. I’d arranged to meet a Korean friend whom I met 10 years ago(!) at Garusogil and we caught up over lunch, coffee and some shopping. So much of our lives have changed – marriage and babies! and studies! – but it felt great to reconnect after such a long time. After lunch, she took me around the Garusogil area and introduced me to ~Korean beauty secrets~, one of which was the Ground Plan store. There, she gifted me with the 24h Secret Mist. I really appreciated that both of us made the effort to keep the friendship alive despite the distance and infrequent face-to-face meetings. 🙂

  58. Michelle Ang says:

    Hi Jemma!

    I love Taiwan and have been there countless times! They have the BEST beef noodles there and I’d always visit different stalls to have beef noodles; none of them disappointed. However, one day at Xi Men Ding, everything changed. My boyfriend and I were waiting for a movie and we were having the munchies, as usual. Since it was raining, we could only pop into the nearest Family Mart to satisfy our cravings.

    It was there that we decided to try the Man Han Da Chan Instant Beef Noodles and we were shook! In a good way, of course. It tasted almost as good as the actual freshly-made beef noodles and even better, we could pack cartons of this back to SG! From then onwards, we always associate Taiwan with their instant beef noodles! 🤤

  59. I love Vietnamese food so going to Vietnam was a no-brainer for me. Snacks are an easy souvenir to bring back to share with many people so I decided to get some. Lesson learnt: skip the snacks and go for the freshly made food. Also, forget about buying the Vietnamese coffee filter unless you want it to sit in your cupboard and leave it to collect dust.

  60. SALONPAS / OSAKA

    I was in love with a Japanese boy band during my secondary school days, and the obsession was real – I had all their CDs, magazines that they featured in, even advertisement flyers and brochures that they were on. They were like the next big thing in Japan then, having advertised for multiple brands and products such as beer, snacks, drinks and even telco services, and had their faces plastered over billboards around Japan.

    Fast forward 10 years during my recent trip to Osaka, I was posing in front of the famous Glico man in Dontonburi when a familiar face on a billboard opposite caught the corner of my eye. It was the boy band that I had given my heart to 10 years ago, a little aged, but posing with the synonym of middle/old-age – Salonpas. It was a sad day and I recall having memories of my life flash before me. Despair aside, it brought about good belly laughs and nostalgia when my friend and I recounted the silly things we used to do chasing after boy bands during our younger days, and how the Salonpas advertisement is a reminder of how much time has passed and how much we have grown since then.

    I now see Salonpas with mixed feelings of hatred and love – hatred, well because it just reminds me how old I have become, and love, because it brings back memories of that night in Osaka. And also, thought I hate to admit, it has become my holy grail *cries*.

  61. Hi Jemma,

    Thanks for hosting this giveaway. Pursuing my studies overseas means that I don’t get to fly home that often and one thing I would always stock up on would be a familiar taste of Singapore: Milo. Who doesn’t like waking up to a warm cup of Milo on a cold day in the UK? My love for Milo made me pay the price (£5 to be exact for a tiny tin) when I ran out of my stash within 2 months, and I bought 5 tins at one go completely. The sad fact is that you can never recreate that iconic Milo-bing taste you get at our local coffee shops, a taste I miss so terribly much. After being away for a year; I am just looking forward to flying home to the sense of familiarity I miss so much. Winning this luggage will definitely be helpful for me to pack all the Milo I can when flying back to the UK next year!

  62. Hi Jemma!

    One thing that I associate most with a country is – (Frozen) Meatballs in Sweden (the Ikea kind)! Being a broke student while on student exchange means that my friends and I buy meatballs almost all the time to supplement our meals because “real” meat are often more expensive! We will cook the meatballs together with all kinds of dishes from the usual pasta to even Chinese stir-fry dishes. Hahahaha. Looking back, eating so many packets of meatballs is probably not very good for my health, but it was really yummy and now it reminds me of my good times in Sweden! 🙂

  63. Hi Jemma!

    Firstly thank you for having this giveaway and even thinking about us when you’re overseas, picking things that are special to you(: and also thanks to American Tourister of course!

    An item that i associate with a city would be… army stews in Korea! Might seem like an obvious answer, but let me tell you why! Last year i got the chance to go for my first overseas trip with my good friend to Korea, a place which we both LOVE and have been wishing to go for a few years already. Since we’re both people who are terrible at directions, our meal plans were all ruined as we were unable to find the restaurants which we planned for. On one of the days where we planned to eat at a jjimdak restaurant, we walked round the area but to no avail (told you we were bad at directions sigh), so we just decided to give this random army stew shop a try. The army stew shop has this really warm ahjumma who was always smiling and their food was so bomb–im not sure whether it was really so good or we were hungry or the atmosphere in the shop? anyways we loved it so much that the both of us actually went back another 2 more times, and we still talk about that ahjumma’s army stew every once in a whilebag packs size hehe)

    • Hi Jemma!

      Firstly thank you for having this giveaway and even thinking about us when you’re overseas, picking things that are special to you(: and also thanks to American Tourister of course!

      An item that i associate with a city would be… army stews in Korea! Might seem like an obvious answer, but let me tell you why! Last year i got the chance to go for my first overseas trip with my good friend to Korea, a place which we both LOVE and have been wishing to go for a few years already. Since we’re both people who are terrible at directions, our meal plans were all ruined as we were unable to find the restaurants which we planned for. On one of the days where we planned to eat at a jjimdak restaurant, we walked round the area but to no avail (told you we were bad at directions sigh), so we just decided to give this random army stew shop a try. The army stew shop has this really warm ahjumma who was always smiling and their food was so bomb–im not sure whether it was really so good or we were hungry or the atmosphere in the shop? anyways we loved it so much that the both of us actually went back another 2 more times, and we still talk about that ahjumma’s army stew every once in a whilebag packs size hehe)

  64. Wan Tian says:

    Hello Jemma,

    I had my graduation trip last year to korea and one of the best thing was to do underground shopping there! I was amazed by the wide array of clothes they sell in just one of the underground subway. It is totally like bugis street but perhaps 10x bigger. This coming may i would be going again with my family and hence i decided to stop buying clothes in singapore now in order to shop shop shop in korea! hahah. therefore, if anyone were to go korea, i would definitely recommend them to buy those pretty clothes at a cheap price!

    Hope i can win the prizes!! 🙂

  65. Beatrice says:

    I associate a warm and toasty burrito and guac with the USA – i loved Chipotle since the first time i tried it during student exchange! I used to buy one entire burrito, have half for dinner and save the rest for lunch the next day because #brokestudentwoes but exchange was a really amazing experience. every time i eat a burrito now i get reminded of those days and in my head Chipotle is the best Mexican food ever, but i think i’m just biased towards it because of the good feelings i associate it with : )

  66. Hi Jemma,

    Every time I see people playing with Jenga, my mind instantly goes to Sydney. It’s where I learned how to play Jenga and experienced hilarious “that happened” moments.

    The first time I learned how to play Jenga, my nose bled. We had vindaloo curry before that, and we didn’t know how spicy it was till we had it. So we spent the next 30 minutes drinking milk and water while finishing up the curry and learning how to play Jenga. We figured having some wine would be nice so we opened up a red, a white and a Moscato. Halfway through my nose bled while I was trying to remove a block. I was competitive enough, so I didn’t budge and continued to remove the block while my friend ran around looking for tissues to help stop the bleeding. After that, we spent some time cleaning blood stains off Jenga blocks. Since then I tell people not to have wine with curry. It’s a perfect conversation starter, I think.

    The second time I played with Jenga, we had just gotten back from having sushi. I was in town to visit and hang, so we went out for dinner. Our post-dinner plan was to watch Masterchef Australia with some wine and Jenga. It was all going smoothly till my tummy started to feel weird. I thought running to the bathroom once would do the trick, but no, I think I went to the bathroom at least 8 times that night. It was till I vomited on some Jenga blocks that I realised I should camp by the toilet bowl. Our token doctor told me that it was probably food poisoning. Funny how I was the only one to suffer in the group of 6. I may or may not have sobbed while cleaning up the blocks I vomited on. I spent the night sitting by the bathroom and the rest of my trip there miserable and on a liquid diet. It was pretty hilarious when I had to explain to people why I can’t have coffee (T-T) or solid food.

    So, that’s two times with Jenga and both times I suffered. I don’t avoid playing Jenga I just haven’t had an opportunity to play it again since then. I’m going to Bali this summer with my best friend (she’s graduating! and it’ll be her birthday!), so maybe we might end up in some place that rents Jenga sets out. Third time’s the charm? We’ll see.

    Thank you for hosting this giveaway, and I wish everyone luck! xoxo

  67. Katherine says:

    For all my trips, food is always a highlight! Shiroi Koibito from Sapporo, Hokkaido! During school days, one of my BFF bought this for me when she returned from holidayy. Both of us really love it and even tried to ration our consumption so we could enjoy it for a longer period of time. After graduation I travelled on the plane for the first time to Hokkaido coincidentally! It was the home of Shiroi Koibito – I definitely NEED to buy a few boxes back home to enjoy with my BFF. Shiroi Koibito and Hokkaido will always hold a special place in my heart :).

  68. The most memorable thing that I can recall during my travels is the Tibetan Yak milk tea in Shangri-La, China. I was there for my university graduation trip and was totally unprepared for the weather – it was zero degrees at night! Since it was June, I thought it’d be summer weather aka Singaporean clothing… stupid of me to not check, I know. I even had to hike a 4500m mountain for 8 hours in little more than jeans and a cardigan.
    Anyway, it was my first time trying yak milk tea fresh out of a teapot and I have to say, it completely blew my mind. It’s a mixture of creamy yak milk/butter and the fragrance of tea leaves. The texture and warmth just left me swooning over it for days, especially considering the weather. It was the perfect companion to a chilly winter night and I still miss it whenever the weather gets chilly. Sienna

  69. i associate my kindle with all the cities i’ve been to but most especially seoul where i was in the summer of 2017! i read avidly so a kindle was perfect as my travel companion considering i was there alone but i found so much joy in my long commutes all over seoul with it. it helped me pass time but was also most useful for late night korean lessons with the textbooks i downloaded into it, for a foreign land, and as i tried to be less dependent on my phone, my kindle was perfect. i even found a pdf version of the subway maps and put it into my kindle so i didn’t have to use my phone that much. i still have all the documents i needed in korea in my kindle and it was a lifesaver especially when i realised i needed to print my boarding pass to get home but i don’t have access to a printer. my pdf version got me home safe and sound with no extra airline charges!!

  70. Cheryl Ang says:

    An item or items I associate with a country would be the stickers on my laptop. I am currently on exchange in Switzerland and it has been amazing so far. Even though I have been here for 3 months now, everything still seems very surreal and the sights still take my breath away.

    On my laptop, I have a sticker from Iceland that features an animated caricature of a volcano. I recently embarked on a 12 day road trip around Iceland and it was truly an unforgettable experience. Iceland seems so overhyped on social media so I had to go to see for myself. I wasn’t disappointed and everyday I had to remind myself that everything I was experiencing was real. part of nature. NOT manmade. I got a sticker to remind myself of the sheer beauty that Iceland featured. This is of course very student budget friendly because Iceland is notorious for being very expensive.

    Another sticker on my laptop is a sticker from a tattoo studio in Marseille, France. I was walking around the tiny allies of Marseille and chanced upon a small tattoo studio tucked away in one of the corners. Getting a tattoo is one of my plans here on exchange but I did not plan on getting one that very day. I didn’t. The owner still welcomed me with very open and friendly arms, showing me the photographs of French traditional tattoos that were hung upon his wall. Soon enough, we bid farewell and he shoved a bunch of stickers and a name card into my hand, telling me to stay in contact.

    Of course, I have a tiny sticker of a shark skating on a skateboard done by a local Singaporean artist to remind myself that home is where the heart is.

    Therefore, stickers on my laptop serve as a reminder that travel doesn’t have to be extravagant or lavish – they are made up of the unique and intimate experiences that I chance upon as I traverse the world.

  71. I was 19 then and it was my first trip overseas with my friends.
    We headed to Korea and we all know how Koreans love their barbecues.

    We entered an unassuming BBQ octopus shop and…
    Restaurant owner: Spicy?
    Naive us: Spicy juseyo.

    Little did we know, the next moment each of us chugged 1 litre of water each.
    Ever since we associated Korean spicy to that monstrous (but shiok) level of spicy.

    Next few restaurants: Spicy?
    Us: Just a little.

  72. sze ning says:

    Havent got the chance to travel to Seoul, maybe later this year after I graduate from university? haha your stories are too captivating and I have heard so much great stuff about Seoul, especially their make ups and that I an get Krave Beauty from Seoul OMG!

    For me, I would associate Salmon with Norway haha this may sounds a bit mehhhh but during my exchange days in Oslo, salmon had became our staples every meal and they are fresh and good unlike those frozen ones. Just throw the salmon into the ovens along with some broccoli, mushrooms and salt and pepper and viola, a meal is done and dusted :p Moreover, sometimes they would be cheaper than meats (students woes). About 1 year back in Singapore and I still miss the cheap and fresh salmon from Norway!

    Lastly, thanks for using stories in exchange for a giveaway, it seems more meaningful 🙂

  73. Jingting says:

    Love your post. Been a follower for quite some time 🙂
    I have recently been to Korea in late March and it was even showing in the first 3 days. I would associate Kimchi with Korea as every meal I sit down, it’s a starter that the restaurant will give and they even serve a variety of Kim Chi flavour, this I really enjoyed it. In my last day, I went to find kim Chi in Lotte Mart and spend almost $30 bringing them back, it’s so good! Thank you for the giveaway.

  74. Hi Jemma!

    I came back from Korea recently from summer studies and reading your post on Korea really bring back good memories. Like you, I bagged home the hair oil from Olive Young too and packed it as gifts for my loved ones! Other than the brown sugar scrub from Skin Food, their strawberry sugar scrub does wonders too! & you should totally try out the crunchy almond green tea spread from Lotte! The crunchy almond bits it in give a different texture to your soft bread!

    And my personal one item which I will associate it with Korea is actually the Bibimbap from Nandaemun. I remember heading down to Nandaemun one morning during my stay in Korea, and I met and befriend with the stall owner. This mid age lady was friendly, and striked conversations with me although there was communication barrier. We talked about where I came from, how long as she been cooking. What touches my heart most is she treating me as her daughter, feeding me with more food. I only ordered a bowl of Bibimbap at the start, and she continued to prepare small dishes of cold noodles, and another bowl of hot udon. It’s amazing how people can connect despite not speaking the same language, and this is one of the most memorable incident during my month long stay in Korea.

  75. Leong Yik Sheng says:

    Hello Jemma! I’d share about my life-changing egg bread experience in Korea!!!!

    It was the very first trip I had planned on my own, from tickets to apartment to itinerary, because I spontaneously flew over during a break to look for a friend on exchange! It was a trip I felt very unprepared for and unsure of, because I don’t know Korean at all and it was my first time being in a foreign land without a familiar language. Most of the days I was on my own as my friend was having lessons.

    On one of the days I met up with my friend, we were at Ewha (or was it Hongdae) shopping area and I randomly bought an egg bread for 1000won, hoping to get some warmth in the cold winter afternoon. Before I bit into it to realise how amazing its taste was, my friend offered to take a picture for me (hence, it was one of the few pictures I had of myself on the trip that I now depend my memories on). And then I bit! into! it!!!! It was the best feeling ever – both the egg bread and having a companion with you to share the memories with during travels. :’)

  76. Charlene says:

    Hello!

    I associate Coffee, to Vietnam. Despite coffee is easily found in every city, it holds deeply in my heart. In that particular trip to Hanoi, vietnam. I had SOOOO many cups of coffee per day and the best part was every cup of it was good. In particular, the coconut coffee from Cong Caphe or even the egg pudding coffee from Cafe Giang. The fun part was I wasn’t even a coffee lover then, now 2 years later I’m in love with coffee and need a cuppa of it almost daily without fail :’)

    That’s it! Thanks for reading

  77. It may not be the country’s own product but I associate Skipper’s Liquorice Pipes with Aarhus, Denmark. Although the second largest city in Denmark, this city is practically unknown compared to its more famous sibling, Copenhagen but this was where I had the chance to go for a school exchange trip. This city and its university’s dorm was where I met the first people in my life who willingly ate liquorice because they actually like them???!!! When I saw my Danish friends scarfing them by the pounds, I was appalled! But to my surprise, these pipes weren’t that bad like other liquorice candies I have ever been forced to eat! I wouldn’t crave for it, but the candy has made me have some (minuscule and grudging) appreciation for the black root candy! Plus, I can look like some bad-ass sailor ‘smoking’ a pipe like those Bob Dog candy cigarettes from my own Singaporean childhood!

  78. I will never forget discovering The Saem in Seoul during my first trip there a few years ago. It changed my perspective of how costly makeup didnt equate good makeup – their concealer works far better for me than other famed/well-known big brands, and at that price point, its a win. I usually dont get friends to bring back stuff for me much, but if I have friends travelling to Seoul, I ask of them to bring back 10 of these for fear of running out.

  79. Hi Jemma!

    My item will definitely be my 1 litre Nalgene water bottle and I associate it with Hong Kong. I spent a semester abroad in Hong Kong and I did not know there were so many hikes to do in Hong Kong, like Dragon’s Back and Lantau Peak. Needless to say, the small, 330 ml water bottle that I brought with me from Singapore was insufficnet to hydrate me on these hikes. I bought the larger water bottle at a sports shop in Mong Kok and it was a great investment! I brought it to conquer Lantau Peak, the second highest peak in Hong Kong with my friends and it was an amazing experience! Although the climb up was extremely tiring, the view from the peak is very worth it. The water bottle has hydrated me on all my adventures in Hong Kong and whenever I use it in Singapore now, I am constantly reminded of the fun times I had.

  80. Hi Jemma

    When I think of Winnie the Pooh I’ll associate it with Five Hundred Acre Wood (Ashdown Forest), East Sussex, England.
    A place where I’ve always wanted to visit.
    Yellow is also my favorite color just like Pooh bear.
    Hope to win it, cheers. 🙂

  81. Kimberly Tan says:

    My mustard colour wibter coat from York, England!!! My very first nice winter coat that is not a trenchcoat, which btw are so common and boring. Hahaha just my thoughts on that, anyways, during my internship, I managed to convince my mum that winter coats can be nice and pretty too. Lol That’s always a good memory for me! Also, I use to say London’s my favourite place to be, but right now, Leeds and Manchesteris higher on the list even though London has Cha time which sells better bubble tea then Liho! Sure I’ve bought alot of things during the internship, but my very first winter coat holds special memories abd means alot to me!!

  82. Have yet to step back into Korea ever since I was in primary school. Thanks for your giveaway will be looking forward to bring back more when I go for the trip in oct!

    My association will be Bangkok, must have their bird nest & bring back the pork floss rolls !! Can’t missed these every time I go Bkk 😋😋

  83. Hi Jemma,
    My item would be the Kolo Mee from Sarawak, Malaysia. I tried this noodles from Sarawak when I was here to visit my mother’s hometown. Being a kid that lived in the town since I was born, I was pretty annoyed at how inconvenient it was at the Kampong area in Sarawak. But the food over there seems to help me to understand that this was what my mum used to eat everyday for breakfast and the kampong here is where my mum used to lived. I began insterested and very amazed at how my mum and the people there managed to live with the small amount of resources available.
    Being a foodie will mean that this food, Kolo mee helps me to associate this special city to me and my mum since this was the starting point that help me to understand my mum and her living culture better.
    Thanks for reading, Jemma 🙂 Enjoy your day.

  84. Hey Jemma!

    Many people would associate Australia with the gorgeous beaches, damn talented street buskers, #interiorgoals #housegoals cafes, amazing coffees and many more! However, a pair of cheap but comfortable slippers from Target is what I associate with!

    My first encounter with a pair of Target slippers was in July 2016 when I was in Perth with a friend. It was winter at that time so I only packed winter appropriate clothes and shoes.When we were there, the cold weather was a nice welcoming change for the humid tropics but it wasn’t as cold as I expected it to be. We traveled around Perth city in our jackets and covered shoes and after a while, I thought it was warm enough to be walking around in slippers- a very Singaporean thing I feel. So we popped by the local Target to hunt for a pair of slippers.

    Lo and behold, rubber slippers of many different colors were hung on the rack! And the best part was, it was only AUD$4! I excitedly grabbed a light brown pair and wore it immediately. It was the softest, cheapest and most comfortable pair of slippers I owned! Compared to my havaianas back home, this was such a good and cheap alternative!

    We traveled to Fremantle and after checking into our airbnb, we decided to explore the charming town. So I thought, maybe the temperature here will be the same as Perth city so I’ll just wear my slippers. With my trusty slippers, I went to explore the town with my friend. While walking towards the central market, my toes were starting to hurt a little from the cold and I decided to check the temperature and it was a -3 deg celsius! (I still have the picture of me in my parka, jeans and slippers haha!) This was a really memorable moment because I survived -3 deg celsius winter in my uniqlo down parka, ripped jeans and slippers.

    Whenever I know of people who are visiting Perth or Australia, I will always ask them to help me buy two pairs of slippers from Target as”souvenirs” back for me because they are the cheapest and the most comfortable pair of slippers and they are pretty durable and long lasting for AUD$4!

    Thank you for always hosting such generous and unique giftaways! Really appreciate how you host them instead of the usual gitaways which includes sharing and liking and/or tagging people :>

  85. One of the most magical places I’ve been to is Sri Lanka; its nature is simply breathtaking and the amount of spirituality residing in each indidivual and even in the air feels almost papable and never fails to sweep me off my feet. Strangely enough, the “item” I connect most to Sri Lanka is this single tea leaf that I had plucked from the tea plantation hills way up up up in the peaks of Sri Lanka. Till this day, it still smells vaguely of my soul home – carrying with it the Sri Lankan’s devotion to their religious beliefs and the rejuvanating quality of waterfalls and the strong baked scent of sunshine.

  86. Sherman Ng says:

    Hi Jemma!

    It’s really difficult for me to associate Seoul with just an item. Having been there thrice (I just came back 2 weeks ago after spending a month there) and having plans to visit Seoul again in September during semester break, I have came to love Seoul, South Korea so much. It’s eye-opening with each visit as there’d always be something new since Seoul has so much to offer.

    If you were to have this giveaway last year, I would have exclaimed Miss Lee’s Cafe at Insadong. I love Korean cuisine and Doshirak (도시락) has got to be my favourite. Doshirak translates to lunchbox – which is rather self explanatory. It’s rice served with a humongous portion of Kimchi, a sunny side up, SPAM, seaweed and sprinkled with sesame seeds in an aluminium lunch box. It’s amazing – but honestly it’s such an understatement.

    Now that I experienced Seoul once again, for the third time, the item I would currently, at this very moment, associate with is skincare products. Being a teenager dealing with acne prone skin, I have followed Korean beauty Youtubers such as Liah Yoo & Joan Kim on the hunt for skincare products to help solve my problematic acne prone skin. My favourite brand has got to be Cosrx. Some of my favourite products would have to be the Centella Alcohol Free Toner, Oil-Free Ultra-Moisturizing Lotion (with Birch Sap) & the One Step Moisture Up Pad. Although I could get all these products, and others (except the centella alcohol free toner) in our sunny island, it’s soooo much cheaper in Korea which is such a bargain! I made sure I stocked up a few extras in case I run out of it before I visit Seoul once again.

    With each visit to Seoul, hands down my favourite city – it’s such an eye-opener. Seoul is huge, and I highly doubt I’d get to experience it with just 3 visits. It also feels like home from home with each visit because with every visit, I fall deeper in love the culture, the people, the food and everything else there. A funny joke: I was soooo used to speaking simple Korean in Korea and now that I’m back in Singapore, I’m still doing it and it’s honestly sometimes so embarrassing but alright, that shall pass. Haha. Now I can’t wait to hopefully go back in September!

    Thanks Jemma for this amazing giveaway! I hope that you had fun in Seoul! 😀

  87. sarah Lew says:

    Hello jemma wei!

    The item I pick: my turquoise luggage from Lojel

    My luggage and I have a close relationship. We spent 2.5 years travelling around the world for work and it has given me so much memories. I remembered the day when I first wheeled her out of Singapore, she was the brightest looking one among all the other luggage I see in Changi airport. There were times of sadness when I carried my pre flight blues to the airport with her and there were blissful times when I packed my luggage on a happy note. Her two wheel legs has braved through the rough pavements in Europe, snowy roads in Zurich and the estimated weight limit.There was once (and maybe thrice) when I had to sit on her as I over shopped in Japan and San Francisco. Few years down the road, she is still at the top of brightest looking luggage, despite of bearing some black scars on her shell from nasty airport ground staff.
    For all the times I land back safely into Singapore, I wish she lands back in one piece as well. She is leaning towards aging as her two wheel legs loses it’s rubber and a broken zip. I wish for a Curio and I hope that she will remain curious to what other countries she will be exploring with me. Fingers crossed as I take Lojel out with me tonight. xx

  88. My Ich Liebe Fußball mug always sparks within me the same joy that it gave me back when I first spotted it hiding amongst the other knick knacks at the back of a €1 store in Berlin. It was 2014 – World Cup season – and though I had selected Humboldt Universität at random for my summer school choice, I had unknowingly chosen to spend what was perhaps the best 2 months if my life in the World Cup Champion city, falling in love over and over again with every corner I rounded. I still pine to visit Berlin again, and am even considering naming my future child after the city. It is very silly, but your first love always is :’)

    Btw my dad broke my mug last week. So. Ahaha.

  89. This item is not exclusive to a city nor a country but it reminds me of Japan (Tokyo, if a city is the must) every time I have it – eggplant. We have eggplants in Singapore, sure, but I’ve NEVER had it in my life. Those time I saw eggplants in Singapore, they were overcooked; look grey and stingy, reminds me a lot of cement paste. How eww is that?! But my opinion of eggplants changed completely when I first had it in Tokyo.

    It was after two fun days at the Disney resort that I decided to head over to a bakery nearby to buy a bread as the following day’s breakfast and somehow the bread with four slices on eggplant and some tomato sauce caught my attention. I remind how much I hesitated before I purchased it; will it change my mind of eggplants because it taste good or will it ruin my day’s breakfast? My friend egged (pun there, geddit?) me to buy it and it was AMAZING. It tasted like an Asian/Japanese take of pizza. And from then on, I started to eat eggplant (I take it as a sign that I’m growing up into an adult now, less picky with food) and every time I have it, it just reminds me of how my decision to “man up” and make that purchase changed a small little part of me. I now can eat eggplants and this seemingly boring memory is somewhat special to me, always reminding me how I should challenge the boundaries of my comfort zone.

  90. Hmmm for me i’d day is scents, definitely. Not a scent that I already have but I have this habit of loitering around at the DFS counter, sniffing away all the tester perfumes. And I always end up buying a bottle for every other trip I make. (because they can be pretty ex) Like for example the Gucci Bamboo perfume always reminds me of Tasmania and Jomalone’s Vanille & Anise reminds of Tohoku, Japan.

  91. Leonie Kwee says:

    Korea reminds me of a country where everything is possible. I’ve never been there but I feel like it’s a country full of opportunities, I am actually going there soon for a half year for my exchange and reading all your stories about Korea definitely makes me want to go more!

  92. I associate my umbrella With South Korea. It was an umbrella I got from one of the make up stores. It sheltered me from all the rainy weather, and I shared it with my friends, and it reminded me of all the good and bad associated with my study trip, how the colours of the umbrella simply cheers me up. I am super grateful for the size of the umbrella because I always reach back home dry😍. It is a memory to remind me how my friendship with my two roomies were and is right now.😍

  93. Joanne Goh says:

    Hey Jemma! Mine is Maple syrup from Canada!

    For me i hardly travelled since young and only after ive started working as an adult that allowed me to fund my own trips abroad.

    I went to Canada to finally visit my aunt and her family who lived in Ontario. They immigrated there more than 10 years ago and i finally visited them last december. Every few years they would come back to singapore with Maple syrup, they would bring a suitcase full of syrup to give out to my relatives and maple candies to all the children! I miss ny aunt loads as she and i are more like sisters, we like the same things and even have similar careers. She is an art teacher and i teach at the same school as her when she was in sg. Probably my longing for maple syrup reminds me of her.

    Somehow it tastes better than tbe ones we could get at supermarkets and macdonalds. I do love having Macdonalds big breakfast and always find their syrup way too sweet. One reason why canadas maple syrups tastes better probably caused the ones my aunt get were made with no additional sugar and were freshly taken from farms. In my trip to canada, i rushed to get as many bottles of maple syrups and even from walmart! I bought home lots of maple candy too! I distributed 5 bottles of maple syrups to my relatives in Sg who misses it. Now that my aunt is getting old, she hadly visits us in sg anymore. Now im the one providing maple syrups to my relatives back in sg. I’m hoping to visit again next year. <3

  94. Hey Jemma!

    Personally, tea associates with a city called Bristol to me. Bristol is a city two hours away from London in the UK and I am a Singaporean undergraduate student here, graduating this July. I’ve been studying here for close to three years now and tea has been the thing keeping me sane.

    Before I go on, let me apologise – I know you are a huge coffee addict. However, tea works for me! Matcha, Early Grey, Chai, Peppermint, Lemon and Ginger… I can go on all day!

    I guess the association stemmed from the common knowledge of tea’s prominence in the British culture, with the UK being one of the world’s greatest tea consumers. However, I never really understood it till I got here. I remember how the university screened a sexual education video on consent using the story of tea (I believe the video is on YouTube!) during my orientation days here… ah classic! Staying in a school accommodation during my first year here, I also remember how my English flatmates would always invite me to have a cup of tea with them in the kitchen every night. (Ironically it was always breakfast tea with milk…. haha) Thereafter, to keep to a healthy diet, I started incorporating green tea into my daily lifestyle as it keeps me going, plus I would love to believe the ‘green tea slimming benefits’ are 100% real. While having scones (nothing beats Muffin Man in London), a cup of warm earl grey to wash it down always provides such pleasure. On days I give myself a little treat, the afternoon tea sets here are always to die for – cakes, scones and tea… what better combination?! Let’s not forget the brutally cold wintery days, where a cup of warm tea in my hands never fail to make me feel better as I slog off my readings in school…

    My crazy obsession with tea heightened when a shop called ‘Bluebird Tea Co’ opened in Bristol. Hailing from Brighton, this shop has SUCH amazing tea concoctions which they blended themselves! They have a huge array of teas, ranging from green to oolong to black to white and lastly rooibos as the teas’ base. Then, there are fruity flavours, chocolatey tastes, floral scents and so so much more. Also, the brand hires such an amazing team whose services are always so impeccable. Stepping into their shop for a ‘cuppa’ has been my way of taking a short break away from the library. Trust me when I said teas keep me sane… they provide me with caffeine when I am too sleepy, warmth when I am too cold, a cleanse when I am too bloated, calm when I am too stressed, hydration when I am parched and lastly, comfort.

    Now that I am graduating in two months’ time, I would like to say an official ‘thank you’ to England for making tea a part of my life. Honestly, nothing feels better than a warm cup of tea in the cold mornings, or a cold cup of tea during summer on the grasslands. Bristol is now home to me, and tea is bae <3 My tea obsession began here in Bristol, so tea will always be associated with this humble, vibrant city to me… 🙂

    Lastly, I have never been to Korea, never tried the honey butter chips/ any of the korean facial products you've chosen/ the green tea spread (!!! TEA!!!) so it would be amazing to try it. More importantly though, after travelling around Europe during my time here, I am in desperate need of a new cabin-sized luggage because the handle of mine is really wonky now… I have no idea when would be the next time I get the luxury of time to continue with my wanderlust expeditions but I know (and pray!!!) it won't be too long away 😉

    Psst/ Bluebird has a website and they ship internationally if you are wondering what I am fangirl-ing about. Alternatively, when you next visit England, please do pop by one of their stores to experience the magic, hehe. It is a weird dream of mine to bring Bluebird to Singapore one day……. if only….. :')
    *They are currently revamping their brand, so if you see this sometime later, you might want to search 'Bird & Blend Tea Co' instead 🙂

    May whoever reading this have a beau-TEA-ful day 🙂

  95. Danica Yong says:

    Hi Jemma!

    Without a doubt Meiji The Chocolate “Bean to Bar” is by far the best chocolate bar I’ve ever tasted, if you haven’t tried it yet please do!! I’ve been searching it all over Singapore but it doesn’t seem like it is selling here yet :(.

    When I was in Kyoto at a health/cosmetic shop waiting in line to buy a variety of things, I noticed the tourist infront of me had only bought a dozen pretty packaging chocolate bars. I thought it was strange because all I was holding was matcha flavored chocolates and since the packaging was really pretty and lured by the confidence of the tourist I purchased two different types of dark chocolate! I know right two different kinds of dark chocolate?? Comfort Bitter and Elegant Bitter, both were beyond words amazing and the packaging was pretty amazing too. Opening it I could see the amount of thought and care the Japanese had put into creating this product, it had three individually wrapped chocolate bars that made it easy to munch on and the designs on the chocolate was to bring different flavors into the chocolate.

    My biggest regret is that I finished the chocolate quicker than I could replenish my stock and in the remaining days of my trip in Japan it was a pity that I could not find any more since it was all sold out at every store!! But the memories of eating that chocolate will always hold a special place in my heart.

    Please do try this chocolate!! [not sponsoring but its magical!!!]
    hehe sending all my love,
    Danica 🙂

  96. Goh Sin Er says:

    – Worry dolls from Mexico

    As a Clinical Psychologist supporting children who have been exposed to trauma, I strongly believe in the concept of resilience. But on a personal level, I had such a hard time applying it for myself when I lost many important people and pets in my life last year.

    During this time, I was nominated to attend a professional conference in San Diego. I made the decision to visit Mexico and that was one of the best decisions I have made in my life. (Mexico is is only 1 hour drive away from San Diego downtown) I bought a couple of worry dolls from a street vendor after hearing about the folk tales of how these dolls are given to children in Mexico and they are taught to whisper their worries to these dolls and hid them under the pillow. These dolls are said to possess the magical power of taking your worries away. I immediately established a new bedtime after purchasing them. This new routine reminded me the importance of coping and gave me renewed sense of hope that I can pass on some of my worries, stress and sorrow to the dolls. Sometimes, life can be just as simple as this, a simple bedtime routine to renew your sense of hope for tomorrow and for the children that I am supporting at work.

    This us why I will always associated my worry dolls with Mexico, a place that has recharged me and renewed my sense of hope on a professional and personal level.

  97. hey Jemma,

    I got a Long list of stories if I were to associate an item with a story from a country from leisure holidays but I’ll choose a hand and home made braided bread thing from Inner Mongolia.

    many destinations we set foot on to begin our adventure often entails non stop food, culture and bargain hunt spots, but for the this particular bread, i was in Inner Mongolia for a humanitarian cum church trip to help a bunch of not too affluent locals with their schools and road works.

    Took us 2 flights, 4 hours on bus via bad rocky roads and It was the start of many days of uncomfortable night sleeps under leaking roofs, pungent smells coming from 10 metres away where everyone poo and pee on any open spots, and being typically Singaporean, I maintained my composure and went through the trip.

    Every morning, the kind, aged church elder will make us breakfast. These braided, fresh, hand made bread thing that is more delicious than any bread I have eaten in my entire 32 years of being alive.

    Streets after streets are selling these every morning and easily we could have bought these off these stalls , but she said ‘all of you travelled so so far for us, this is the little I can do to show our appreciation. My hand made braided bread to fill you up before you start the difficult day”

    PMS or what, I wept like a baby.

    Till this day, I can still remember what that sentence made me felt.

    Thanks for this platform to share, hope to be that with a four leaf clover on me! 💓

  98. Beef instant noodles reminds me of a country close to my heart, Taiwan. I stayed in Taiwan for 6 months doing an internship, and boy, it was a crazy tough internship that pushed me way beyond my limits. It was tough stepping into a brand new industry that was physically demanding. However, at the end of the day, I would pop by the 7-11 or family mart near my place to enjoy a comforting hot bowl of instant noodles. Instant noodles may not be much to some, but it actually brought warmth to me and to my heart. It’s especially comforting since I was there during the winter months and the weather was really cold.

    Another instance would be when my roommate and I were stuck in the apartment due to the typhoon happening outside. We couldn’t cook as our rented apartment was a small studio apartment with no kitchen. We had nothing else to eat except instant noodles. Most of the shops were closed due to the typhoon, and it was also impossible to get out due to the strong wind and the danger of getting hit by flying objects such as the signboard of a store (lol). Yup, the aftermath was pretty crazy as signboards dropping onto the floor, trees fell onto the pavement and sidewalk.

    Lastly, we had instant noodles for our reunion dinner together on Chinese New Year Eve. Hahahaha, I don’t even know how to describe how depressing the feeling was. When I was stuck with my roommate all alone in a foreign land, and we couldn’t cook anything cause we had no cooking equipment, and almost all were closed due to the festivity. Chinese New Year is a really big thing in Taiwan.

    Hence, instant noodles really holds bittersweet memories for me. It’s weird how a simple bowl of noodles reminds me of so many experiences and brought me through all the tough times. Thanks for always being there for me no matter what time and where, instant beef noodles. Also, thanks for hosting the giveaway, Jemma. God bless. 🙂

  99. Hi Jemma!
    Loved your list! For me, the item I associate with Thimpu, Bhutan is prayer wheels! I saw so many of them during my stay in Bhutan. I bought myself a tiny prayer wheel keychain as a souvenir and I absolutely love it! Every time I look at it or spin it, I’m reminded of the wonderful time I had in Bhutan, amazing locals I met, and the unbelievable natural landscapes! It’s funny how one object is enough to serve as a reminder for the memories made in Bhutan. But that’s how it is, you only have pictures and souvenirs as a way to recall a trip, long after your memories fade. HAHAH getting too deep here. Enjoyed writing this, thanks for sharing this post 🙂

  100. Wendy Yan says:

    Hello Jemma!

    I associate wooden bangles to Cambodia. (one of my favorite place in the world) I was sitting by the roadside stall having lunch with my friends 4 years ago when these 2 boys, aged 9-10 approached us to sell us bangles and postcards. They spoke with such confidence and eloquence that it made me ashamed. It was a weekday and these kids were not in school because they had to make ends meet. That trip made me reflect a lot, especially if we are doing the best that we can in our life with opportunities so readily available to us. I also decided to work with the disenfranchised and underprivileged when I returned. It’s always a wonder how traveling can make one reflect and aim to be a better person. Now I look at wooden bangles and find a new meaning in it.

    Thank you and have a nice day ◡̈

  101. Tze Ling says:

    Oh wow this is an amazing spread of items and a really thoughtful question.
    The first answer that sprang to mind was elephant pants, from Ho Chi Minh, which is a slightly strange answer, because elephants pants are fairly common in that region in the world, especially Cambodia and Thailand. When I was in secondary 4, my school sent me on a trip to Vietnam to build houses and teach kids (typical Sec 4 feelgood service trips haha). So in preparation of the trip, we did a whole lot of things, including fundraising. The Cambodia trip sold elephant pants and such as part of their fundraising, and I still rememember how I thought the trend was lowkey ridiculous, even though everyone else was fawning over them.

    However, on the trip, I fell in love with the culture of the place, and even though not exactly cultural relevant (except to their tourist industry), the elephant pants we all went crazy buying at the market at the end of our trip at the Ben Thanh market were an amazing reminder for a trip that was genuinely the critical point in my social awakening. Even though the service and efficiency of the trip can (and should be honestly) be questioned, the learning that happened and all the memories I gained can never be doubted.

  102. Herman Jude says:

    Hi Jemma!

    Thanks for the great giveaway!!

    An item I’d associate with trips would be memorabilia or souvenirs (cliche as it is) I am a sucker for them!!! I’d tend to pack my luggage filled with little items such as keychains/pins (aka Disneyland!!!)

    My fav travel story would be travelling to the States and re-uniting with a friend that was supposedly missing from my life and then heading to Disneyland today and getting my first-hand experience in a Uber-share!! Perhaps the culture differs vastly from Singapore, it was a fun experience and I’d definitely would love to re-live those moments with a new luggage from American Tourister!

  103. The one item I’d associate with most of my travels is my trusty purple 75-litre backpack. When I travel, I either bring a hugeass hard-shell luggage or this backpack, because I don’t have anything in between. I bought the backpack when I was on exchange in Sweden and it followed me to over 30 countries in Europe! I’ve been collecting patches from each city I visit, to sew on the bag, but I’ve ran out of space to sew them on… There’s a story behind every patch on the bag but I’m just going to choose one!

    It’s really a love-hate relationship; when I was in Prague watching other tourists drag their bags over the cobbled roads in Old Town I was so glad my bag could fit on my back, but when I was in Brussels for a day and had to carry a 20kg load on my shoulders for 12 hours, it was AGONIZING. That experience in Brussels is probably the most vivid memory I have that’s associated with the bag. I was with two other friends and I don’t know why none of us thought of renting a temporary locker to stow the bags. We were just like, “20kg? One day? Okay la that’s not too bad” but damn, were we wrong. We were so miserable, even a visit to the Godiva outlet (and in Belgium, they give you unlimited free samples) couldn’t put a smile on our faces. And when we went to the famous Vlaamse Friet, it wasn’t the chili cheese fries that made us beam from ear to ear — it was the empty tables next to us that we could put our bags on that made us heave a sigh of relief and happiness.

    My friends have been nagging me to buy a small to medium-sized luggage but I just haven’t gotten around to it. I’m graduating from uni in July and buying a luggage just seems too “adult” right now. Also, every time I think of buying a luggage, I get reminded of that scene in Confessions of a Shopaholic where Becky Bloomwood goes crazy in the luggage section of a department store…

  104. Sophie Teo says:

    Yakgwa (Korea sweet traditional snacks) – Seoul, Korea

    I think yakgwa is not so commonly known to tourist in Korea but I happen to chance upon it during my first trip to Korea. When I was planning my itinerary to Seoul for the first time, I was very ambitious to try out different activities there. If you actually google what activities to do in Korea, most will recommend hiking! So I went on a hiking trip to the bukhansan national park. Being a newbie to the whole hiking thing. My friend and I was super unprepared. First of all, we wore our new balance shoes to hike instead of a proper hiking shoes. The biggest mistake we made was not checking the weather report. After hiking for a very very long time, we were pretty close to the top but it started pouring heavily. In my mind I was thinking we really struggle so much and we already came this far, it would be such a pity to give up. So both of us decided to hike up regardless! But while we are near the peak, there were locals descending down. They advice us not to go up because it’s very slippery. The rain got heavier so all of us including the locals went to seek shelter. While at the shelter, we were super cold. The locals was nagging at us for not wearing proper shoes. Haha They also offer us snacks and one of the snack is yakgwa!! It was yakgwa that bring us warm in the cold weather and that was how I met my first Korean friend!! But most importantly, yakgwa to me symbolises the hospitality of the Koreans!! So now whenever I saw yakgwa, I will immediately think of the hospitable Koreans 🙂

  105. Eleen Lim says:

    Dear Jemma,

    Batik cloths is one thing I would always associate with Indonesia, Lombok to be specific. Although Batik patterns and items are available in Singapore (esp SIA girls uniform), I received my first Batik item from a guesthouse owner in Lombok. It is a peach coloured batik design cloth that she gave me when I was departing back after two months in Lombok. I ended up heading back to Lombok the following year and that cloth was simply the most useful thing I’ve packed in my bags. When it was time for formal events, I would wrap it around myself as a sarong (since it is a polite to wear batik items during formal events in Indonesia). But when I head to the local markets, the cloth would function as a bag (my local friend taught me how to). When it’s beach time, it can act as a picnic mat. Hence, I’ll always have in hand that cloth whereever I go travelling.

    Therefore, I would always associate Batik cloths with Lombok because to me they represent the love and help I’ve received the Indonesian people on my journey to learn Bahasa Indonesia.

    Thank you for reading this comment!

    Your faithfully
    Eleen

  106. Zhi Jun Low says:

    Hi Jemma

    Really appreciate on how you are having this giveaway in such a reflective manner

    I have just flew back from Japan and having strong Monday blues at the moment while I’m typing this.

    My goto item every time from Japan is their FRUITS. weirdly it may seem pretty mediocre especially when you can get it from our local supermarkets (but with a hefty price tag)
    It clearly shows how Japanese are dedicated in work! With superb care and quality control, they break through the dimensions of how a normal fruit taste like to super high quality produce.
    Many prefectures are working hard to grow high-quality fruits , with the aim of boosting their profile and as well as the regional economy.

    Do drop by their local supermarket or departmental stores to browse through their great produce

  107. It’s definitely bing tang hu lu (冰糖葫芦)aka sugar coated haws (according to google translate) for me. It’s basically sticks of Hawthorne balls coated in liquid sugar that’s frozen, and for that reason it’s normally sold in winter, or else the sugar will melt. There’re also some variations that include oranges and bananas, but I’ll always have a soft spot for the ones that only have Hawthorne balls.
    My mum is from China, and because of that I spent majority of my childhood between China and Singapore, and even studied in one of the local Chinese schools for a while. I’ve friends and family there, and for a long time I considered China home. Back then, bing tang hu lu was only available in China at that time, so I’d associate the snack with a lot of love and joy, and it would be one of the first things I ate when I went back. Also, it’s super sweet, so to a child, it’s basically heaven.
    As I grew up, my visits back to China gradually decreased (busy with school and whatnot), so no longer feel as strongly for the place as I do now. Growing up also means becoming more aware of the happenings in the world, so every time I read about the place in the news I sigh haha.
    The last time I went back was in 2014, and I discovered I didn’t even enjoy bing tang hu lu as much cuz it’s so sweet for my taste.
    I still love the two a lot, and just typing about it here is making me super homesick lol, but I’m no longer as naive about it as I used to and I guess that’s just part of growing up ahha.

  108. Hi Jemma,!
    As a foodie myself, the item that I’m gonna talk about is this honey cake aka Medovnik from Czech Republic. It is a popular snack in Czech Republic and the neighbouring countries It was my staple breakfast and supper for the whole 6 months of my exchange life! Talking about the cakes really bring back so many memories of my exchange life! The cake was used as birthday cake for so many occasions where we had to prepare for an impromptu birthday celebration(perks of having honey cakes in my fridge all the time). My friends and I would always improvise ways to decorate the cake with by using whatever snacks and fruits we managed to find in the fridge.
    It was so special, using the same cake that was bought from Tesco and celebrating it with friends all over the world. I spent my birthday away from home last year, it was such a bittersweet feeling to have new friends to celebrate with and the honey cake as my birthday cake!

  109. one of my favorite places on earth is Adelaide, Australia and I’ve always associated Crywolf’s album, Cataclasm, to that country. I guess it’s my fault for listening to it obsessively while I was there for my internship back in 2016, but every time I listen to that album, I get transported back to Adelaide. it reminds me of the many brunches that I’ve had, the long bus and train rides that I took, and the places that I’ve hiked at. it reminds me of the friendships forged and strengthened, and most of all, it reminds me of how I first fell in love (unfortunately this love story doesn’t have quite a pleasant ending LOL).

    it’s a painful sense of nostalgia whenever I listen to that album now, but I’m hoping for healing to take place and I know that once that happens, I’ll be able to listen to that album once again and smile at the things that happened back in 2016. this is really cheesy and cringy HAHAHAHA i can’t believe I typed that…..

  110. Hi Jemma, just wanna start off with that I have been a fan on your style of giveaways. It more engaging rather than just the repetitive ‘follow me’, ‘tag your friend’. (;

    The item that I chose is fishcake sticks that are sold on the streets in Jeju. Two years back whilst travelling with another girlfriend we decided to do a self drive in Jeju to see the sights by ourselves OTOT since I was pretty confident in my driving skills. But nope, even with 5 years experience of driving everyday, I wasnt ready for left handed driving coupled with additional personal problems gnawing at the back of mind making me a whole lot of distracted. So lo and behold we got into a minor accident. Yep. Scraped a van and in the process damaged our own side mirror.

    As if it wasnt bad enough, the other Korean party called the cops on us. So imagine, two foreign girls stranded with no car, escorted into a police station to give statements, fingerprints taken, and yes, no dignity left. And the whole process took the ENTIRE day. #facepalm

    After enacting my life out in a B rated Korean drama with the Korean police officer occasionally asking in accented ‘Ko-pi??’ We were finally released at 9pm from the station stranded in Jeju with no transport AND with our luggages. So where did the fishcake come in? With no car, our next option was to cab to the bus station so that we can get a bus to our accommodation near Seongsan Ilchulbong. Not gonna lie, at this moment I was pretty shaken up by the whirlwind of events; car accident, negotiating with the police on the street, escorted in a police car, statement taken in a police station.

    At the bus station we saw a hole-in-the-wall selling fishcakes sticks in true Korean fashion with locals standing around a boiling huge pot of fishcakes, eating whatever they want, how many they want and then paying the owner and leave.
    Managing to squeeze our way in, we tentatively each took a stick for our combined lunch and dinner.
    To this day I still remember that springy, slightly doughy texture as for that moment it gave me some temporary relief. The warm salty soup and homeliness to it, albeit strange was needed to soothe the nerves and re-strategise our itinerary for the next few days.

    From that day on, fishcake sticks no longer reminds me scenes of Running man cast wolfing and moaning of its simple pleasure nor the accompanying beer snacks that Korean dramas feature. It now definitely holds it own distinctive personal reminder. (:

  111. Jia Min G says:

    Hi Jemma,
    Love your cute post about korea! I really love korea too. Only had 2 chances to visit korea when i was in pri sch with my family and the other time was with my friend few years ago. My memory of it when i first went was….. seaweed! A super iconic food that you’ll buy back for your friend after your trip to korea. When i was younger, i cant take spicy food at all. Even macdonalds curry sauce would kill me after 3 dips. yes, i’m that ‘weak’ woth spicy stuffs. So when i was in korea, almost every meal is kimbap. I would wrap my rice in the seaweed and eat it. It sounds so sad but I love it and it was the only food i can eat without me drinking alot of water every meal. hahaha. Now that i’m older, i still cant take spicy food really well BUT the only spicy food I’m willing to sacrifice bloating up myself with water is korean food!!

    Really want to win a luggage of my own and travel more! and I’m also a liah fan for sometime! been wanting to try the krave skincare products! && thank you for the giveaway!!

  112. I associate thoughtful and quirky design with Japan. From the baggage carousels where handlers ensure that your luggage comes out handle first so its easy to grab your bags, to the plastic covers that shops give you for your shopping bags when it rains, I am in awe of how these small touches add up to make your day happier!

    The item that comes to mind is this potato chip picker upper that I got during my first trip to Tokyo. Its a little hand with a button that activates the “thumb” so that it can pick up one chip after another! It always puts a smile on my face during my snacking sessions in front of my computer. A more cheery day and clean fingers. What more could I ask for?

  113. I travelled to Almafi Coast Sorrento in Italy last year. The surroundings and sea view are so amazing! But what I wanted to share is that it is also an area where lemons grow in abundance and can be as huge as my not-so-small face. You will find all things lemon – Sorbet / Pasta / Biscuits / Soap / Sweets, etc and of course their famous liquor, Limoncello. Some of the eateries even have a Lemon tiles top table. So for me, Almafi = Lemon 🙂

  114. Melbourne always has a special place in my heart.
    I recall the flight ticket being my 21st birthday gift, flying off to the airport shortly after mid terms in uni to catchup with my best friend in aussie.
    Then she brought me to her favourite cafe, top paddock for the highly raved ricotta pancakes. It was so good that i had to eat it again before i flew off. As silly as it sounds, till today, I can never forget how good the pancakes tasted and am still planning a return trip to Melbourne specifically to eat it again.
    Missed how carefree we were when we were younger, and road trips with new friends to the Great Ocean Road and Twelve Apostles.
    Would love to bring the cabin luggage along for my next adventure and thank you for hosting the giveaway 🙂

  115. Hello Jemma!

    I’ve not been to many countries, but I find myself constantly going back to Bangkok almost every year. The affordable flight, accommodation, food and hospitable locals always have me going back for more. However, when someone asks me, “What’s so great about Bangkok? It’s so hot, so humid, so crowded, so overrated……”, the first thing I would do is to give them a side-eye and a ‘do you even know what you’re talking about’ silent thought in my head, and then I would proceed to tell them about how wonderful the street food can be. yes, street food can be portrayed to be unhygienic and unclean because it is sold on the streets with tons of polluted air from the vehicles and stray animals roaming around (which is why I stubbornly refused to consume any street food during my very first trip to Bangkok, call me someone-who-greatly-missed-out, I will accept it haahahaha). In my defence, 3/5 of my family had food poisoning that very trip, of course I wasn’t one of the 3. But during my other 342582 trips to Bangkok, I come back to Singapore perfectly fine after consuming their street food. Ok seriously, their food is a m a z i n g. I mean, where else can you find a random man frying (very oily but VERY GOOD AND VERY CHEAP) roti prata with condensed milk/chocolate syrup/sugar/banana on the streets??!!?! where else can you find cheap cheap chicken skewers, overly sweet but refreshing orange juice, and even fried insects that ranges from cockroaches to dragonflies?????????? WHERE!!!!! writing this just makes me miss bangkok so much, so i hope i can win this giveaway so that i can fly to bangkok soon, with the very awesome striking curio luggage and come back stuffed (both my tummy and the luggage hahahhaah) have a good day!

  116. Hi Jemma!

    When I saw this post, I thought of my Antler luggage which has followed me to see the world. Antler is a British luggage brand but nope I am not associating my grey antler with British. Let me begin my story…

    I was in my university years taking the last semester before graduating and entering the adult working life. It was mandatory for each student to go back to our home university to take our semester modules. So lucky me as a student and not earning much yet, I saved and bring myself to my home university in Las Vegas – 9,000 miles away from Singapore. In my heart, i was like ” WOHOO! USA leh! away from home for 1.5 mths!” I was super excited but troubled – I do not own a luggage of my own and whenever I travel, I borrowed from my sister or relative. So when I knew I was going to Vegas and for such long period, I thought to myself that I should get a luggage of my own so I won’t have to borrow from my relative or sister in future. With luggage limit, I decided to borrow one almost-spoilt luggage that my relative does not want it anymore and buy a new one at Vegas to replace. So when I was there at Vegas outlet, my first thing was to shop for a luggage. I went to a few luggage store to find a luggage that can suit my budget (remember I was still a student back then), I settled on this grey antler. Samsonite and american tourister were my first choice but I couldn’t afford it and I was happy enough to settle with my grey antler. This grey antler has came back with me from Vegas (with shopping loots from the outlet of course and also lent a helping hand to my classmates because their loots couldn’t get into their bursting luggage) and travelled the world with me ever since! Thank you, my grey antler from Vegas!

  117. Hey Jemma, this post brings back fond memories of my trip to Korea a few years back. 🙂 just wanted to say that I love your broke student’s travel guides. Very useful and relevant when it comes to planning trips, not just for students but also a graduates like myself, who has been out in the work force for close to a year already.

    An item that I associate with my favourite city, NYC, is the lox bagel. NYC makes the best bagels hands down and that is just one of the reasons why I left a piece of my heart in that city. The friendly folks, the good vibes, and the endless amount of creative energy buzzing around the city. Best decision made was to travel there for my grad trip. 🙂

  118. Hey Jemma!

    I have never been to Cambodia but this book and its historical recount of the Khmer Rouge has definitely allowed me to gain a deeper understanding of this country and its people. In the Shadow of the Banyan written by Vaddey Ratner( a Cambodian herself) follows the life of a young girl named Rammi as the Khmer Rouge descends upon her country. The book is a written reflection of the author’s life, herself being only 5 years old when the Khmer Rouge came to power. Despite the book being filled with bleak and poignant moments, it is juxtaposed by the child-like innocence Rammi adopts when describing the landscape and people around her. These vivid descriptions allowed me to sort of envision what Cambodia could look like should I have ever the chance to visit it. It also allowed me to make a few realisations about Cambodians, especially those who survived the horrors of this regime.

    A friend of mine once recounted how during a volunteer trip in Cambodia, the elderly there was full of life and pride. This was despite the fact that many of them did not have the best living conditions. As she spent more time conversing and observing them, she realised it was only because they had lost so much during those bad times, that they weren’t phased by the minuscular problems that plagued their everyday life. They enjoyed the simplicity that life offered them and were appreciative of the smallest things. They took pride in their culture and country despite the very different perception the world may have of them and their nation. That being said, I do hope that one day I’ll be able to experience the warmth of the Cambodians as I take in my surroundings as vividly as Rammi did. I do realise that this book may not exactly encapsulate the essence of this country but hey it did alter my perspective and widened my knowledge of Cambodia.

  119. Sherene Sim says:

    I have been lucky enough to have the opportunity to travel in and out of Asia. It was only in my later years whereas I realised my love to travel and explore, you can always be a tourist but to be a traveler, it takes guts, courage and heart to live a little, to enhance your perceptions a little better and I have to say out of all the countries London is still by far my love. I’m physically in Singapore, but my heart has been stuck in London ever since I left a footprint there over 4 summers ago. Till date, you can ask my friends, and they’ll know which country is my love, I just couldn’t stop and never will stop conversing with friends about my travels, no matter how short it is (though I always wished I had more time to explore), the experiences I’ve had can never be compared.

    Over 4 summers ago, I had purposely left a week earlier before the start of my Summer School in Finland for a week trip in London with my friend. It was the first time I ever left Asia, the first time I flew 14 hours to a country I’ve always dreamed to go (although any countries with Disney Lands are still my dreams too). I had to take up the chance my friend offered me when she asked if I liked to head over to London with her to visit her aunt. And damn did I just say, Yes!! (more of screamed) My friend had been to London few years before to visit her Aunt before, so she knew a couple of popular spots that were a must go, and the first item (that she introduced me too), I’ll associate to London is not the Big Ben, not the London Bridge, not even the Big Red Bus, but its the Cream Cheese and Smoked Salmon Bagel from Beigel Bake, a bakery situated along Brick Lane. OMFG, that bagel seriously ignited my love for smoked salmon, I used to only eat cooked fish dishes, avoiding raw fish at all cost, but that bagel, oh damn, it was just yums. From then now, whenever a friend asked me what they should do when they were in London, I’ll literally, like LITERALLY force them to head to Brick Lane, as that’s a decision they’ll never regret making.

    P.S Whoever is reading this, really, do try it if your’re in London. They have the smoked beef as well, I can’t eat beef so I couldn’t try it, but my friend highly recommends it.
    Here’s their website, http://www.beigelbake.com/ .

    P.P.S I can’t wait to head back there for my graduation trip, though its in about 2.5 years time.

    Cheers

  120. What I have in mind would be the Aqua S soft serve I had in Sydney during my post A’s trip with my bestie two years back. It was the first overseas trip I went on with a friend :’) and a v exciting one indeed – from the booking of tickets, accommodation, and planning our itinerary!!! It was our second day in Sydney and we planned on a day of visiting museums, Mrs Macquarie’s Chair, Sydney Harbour Bridge and went to Aqua S to grab some soft serve. It was such a treat after a day of walking around — it helped that it looked amazing (!!!) and tasted really unique too, as I had never tried sea salt flavored soft serve. It was so yumz that I went back two days later to grab a second cone. What comes a close second (I think I remember places for their foods and human encounters) would be the freshly shucked oysters at the Sydney Fish Market !!!!!!!!!! Watching the shucker at work was both therapeutic and enthralling, for they made what is a rather complicated task seem seamless and clockwork. The years of practice was evident as they skillfully shucked the oysters :)))))

    Typing this reminds me of my experience in Sydney …from our day trip to the Blue Mountains, to our adventure at Bondi Beach (where the train system informed me that Bondi is pronounced “bond-eye” instead of “bond-y” as I had imagined), to our trip to Taronga Zoo, to visiting the Sydney markets on a lovely Saturday morning. Thank you for this giveaway concept that has prompted me to turn back the clock and think about this amazing trip hehe.

  121. Hi there Jemma!

    As you may know, grocery shopping has thought to be therapeutic and exciting, maybe not all the times but it definitely serves all kind of purpose. Grocery shopping with someone else brings that up a notch in some ways, as you get to have fun with this other awesome human being. Fun, as in poking fun at each other of how badly the previous cooking session went, or dragging them to your favourite section and babbler to them on how this particular item have brought you a certain joy at one point in time (even though you may have narrated it countless times, but well it’s fine because like what they say “what counts can’t be counted”, right?).

    So, please imagine that you are in a supermarket in Tokyo with me, because I’m about to drag you to this section where I’m going to share with you this particular item which I have a very fond memory of. The item which you will be looking at is a food item: warabi mochi neatly packed in a blue striped styrofoam tray. I chanced upon this when I was in Tokyo with my then boyfriend (he’s such a precious human being btw), so anyway we have never seen anything food item looking like this before as those mochi balls are transparent (actually it might be because it was our first trip to Japan, and we were just opening our eyes. ha!). Have you heard of/seen a raindrop cake? It is something like that, but this one, is smaller and less firm. Anyway, we were genuinely intrigued by that item as we can’t imagine in our wildest dream what would it taste like! After payment, we impatiently ripped the film covering the tray apart and started popping it into our mouths.

    Ok after we popped one each into our mouth simultaneously, we looked at each other like we have tasted something out of this world (we literally felt that way!!) IT. WAS. SO. GOOD. And we started laughing maybe because we didn’t know what to expect. Think mua chee, but wayyyy lighter, it is almost like water in solid form. However, it is not tasteless, it has this subtle sweetness to it and you can dip them in roasted soybean powder which is provided at the side. And yes, we finished everything in one seating and swore to get 5 packs when we were returning home.

    There you go, so whenever I think of Tokyo, warabi mochi would come to mind. If you ever go to Tokyo again, do try and look for it! And I certainly hope you would enjoy it as much as we did.

  122. My heart is definitely with South Korea. I spent my summer studying at Korea University, and it became a place that I totally fell in love with. If I have to choose a specific place in South Korea though, it would definitely be Busan. I watched my first Baseball match there, and absolutely fell in love with the sport, and the way they carried out their matches. I love the chilly beaches, where everyone is just slowing down their place and taking their time — Songdo Beach is an absolute stunner. I spend nearly half an hour simply staring at that mini lighthouse look a like while I was there. Busan is absolutely stunning and magical. And omg, the coffee in Korea, I absolutely miss that. Affordable and yet good quality coffee. There’s a coffee house every corner of the street, and I miss how I could just enter into one and have a good cuppa coffee and just relax through the day while reading a book, people watch, or enjoy the sea breeze. Wow, I really miss this place. :’)

    I’m graduating from Uni this semester, and I’ll be heading off to Japan for my grad trip to make more memories. I’m not sure how it’ll go, but I believe Korea will always have a special place in my heart. Thank you for this giveaway! Could really use the luggage!! 🙂

  123. Charmaine says:

    Hi J! Thanks so much for conducting this giveaway! Of all the things that one decides to bring on a trip, a piece of luggage is surely a must so this is such a useful giveaway! 🙂

    Japan is my favourite country, so naturally my favourite things can be found there! I was hardpressed to decide between Japan drugstore lipsticks and ramen, so I thought I’d mention a little about both.

    I know that K-beauty is all the rage, but somehow I find their lipsticks make my lips dry and chapped. Since the only cosmetic product I use daily are lipsticks, I had to find lipsticks that would really suit my lips and not make them peel. One day, I stumbled across a range of Kose lipsticks in a drugstore in Taiwan, and fell in love. They are so rich and moisturizing! Since then, on my two trips to Japan after that, I would bring back at least three lipsticks from drugstore brands and they are my go-to for everyday use.

    Moving on to ramen, my favorite is ichiran ramen! It is not available in Singapore now (but hopefully it will be someday). I tried it once in my most recent trip to Japan last November and it was love at first taste. There’s just something so special about that slightly salty broth that lingers on the tip of your tongue… I loved it so much I purchased a box of instant ichiran ramen (containing six packets) but sadly the taste when replicated back home is only half as nice.. the noodles were no longer springy and didn’t seem to absorb the broth well. Ah well, I will go back someday and ichiran will definitely be a must go! I actually have some gluten intolerance, but the ramen is just so good that some stomachache is worth it! Haha.

    Hope to win this giveaway and proudly lug this Golden Yellow American Tourister to all my travels! I’ll literally be walking on sunshine 🙂

  124. Chan Ming says:

    Hi Jemma!

    An item I associate with Korea would be corndogs.

    Corndogs are a seemingly simple street snack, but they hold sentimental value in the hearts of my parents, and hence, in my heart too.

    The beginning of this year was the very first time I visited Korea. Before that, I spent years dreaming of the day I could finally visit the country. My parents went there for their honeymoon, and would always tell me of how beautiful the country was, especially their favourite place of all time, Nami Island. My dad would always speak so fondly of the island, of it’s romantic atmosphere in the winter, and he never failed to mention how wonderful it was to eat a warm corndog beside his wife, my mother, on a cold winter’s day on the island.

    To be very honest, I would treat such stories as ordinary ones, until I finally had the opportunity to visit Korea myself earlier this year. It was still the winter season, and Nami Island was one of the must-go places in my itinerary. The island, with its walkways of tall trees and white snow, was breathtakingly beautiful. It was freezingly cold too, and my friend and I decided to get warm snacks to help ourselves warm up in the cold weather. Coincidentally, I ended up buying a corndog, and while taking a photograph of it, I recalled my parents’ stories of their honeymoon in Korea and time in Nami Island. At that point, I somehow felt a special connection to Nami Island, knowing my parents spent their first few days as a newly wedded couple here, and now I, their first daughter, was here too, 21 years later.

    My father’s work commitments prevent us from travelling as a whole family often, hence that brief moment recalling my parents’ stories of visiting Nami Island when I was there myself made the whole trip there even more precious to me. Perhaps one day, when I get married, I’ll visit the island again with my husband, and share a corndog with him.

  125. Hi Jemma,
    I dislike wearing socks because the aftermath of having to wash them is really troublesome! But I would like to share about my recent travel to Japan, which I finally get to experience after many years of the hype I have seen on Instagram. The first thing that comes to my mind would be the tabi. The ryokans I have stayed in are really generous with their freebies and I didn’t imagine that the tabi would be of use in the cold nights. In fact, I have received a tabi from my Japanese friend many years back but have not used it up till now. It is only during that trip that I realized that the Japanese have some serious sock etiquette going on. Strangely, I snuck home all the tabi I received, including those that I have worn there and then. To date, I cannot figure out why my feet can feel snug and comfy being splitted up into two sections.

  126. Hello jemma! I enjoyed your Korea experience and objects of association! Sadly I’ve only been there twice and am still a tourist there. I’d like to share about my Aussie experience though! In 2014, a group of friends and myself went to Sydney and drove to Gold Coast, it was our first ever roadtrip! We rented houses for 10 people and bought food to cook almost every night. Someone recommended us Red Rock Deli, a brand of chips available there and the Honey Soy Chicken flavour BLEW MY MIND I’m not kidding. Sadly it’s super ex in Singapore but I will always remember how we binged on it at night, and when we brought a new bags of it back, it exploded on the plane sobs. It’s available in SG if you ever wanna try and affirm me! 🙂

  127. Annabel Huang says:

    Dearest Jemimah,

    I associate Oden with Japan! I know you said to list an item but I can’t help but talk about food.
    It was love at first sight when I went to Japan 7-11 and had a bowl of oden. The soup is so flavourful and I’ll finish it wholly. I can’t seems to find nice oden in Singapore. There used to be a pop up oden shop in Jurong Point along the Japanese section in basement however I couldn’t find the store anymore.
    Oden are good to have any time of the day and best enjoyed most during rainy or snowy day. I can have it for all 3 meals when I’m in Japan and that’s how much I love it.

    Please give it a try next time you’re there and I hope you’ll like it as much as I do.

  128. Hi Jemma!

    I never been a fan of mochi. However whenever I go on a trip to Japan or Taiwan, my mum will always remind me to bring a box back for the whole family. And I do so everytime. Whenever I see mochi on my trips, it always remind me of Home and my family.

    On my recent trip to Kyoto/Osaka, my Friend recommended me to a famous shop at Arashimaya bamboo forest that sells warabi mochi and I was totally blown away by the texture and its soy bean powder. I am now a mochi concert!! It was a shame I couldn’t bring it back to Singapore for my family! I am hoping one day to bring my family there to taste it!!

    There, that’s my mochi story with Japan! Haha! Thank you for reading!

  129. Whenever i go to Tokyo, i will like to go to this particular ramen place! Cause a funny incident happened here a few years ago. Maybe i hope i can bump into this cute guy again 😄

    I remembered there was a sudden heavy downpour and I made an impromptu decision to have an early dinner at this ramen shop which was just nearby. To my surprise, it was so crowded and i only saw one empty seat but had to share this table with a guy.

    I wasn’t sure if i got distracted by his cute look, slurped my noodles too much and some of the gravy went onto his white shirt!!!! Lol. I panicked lah, offered both wet and dry tissues and was very apologetic. And i made it worse when i accidentally knocked into his green tea and added more damage to his white shirt. Lol

    But ended up he was amused by it. Lol…. He even said i had a good hearty appetite, was happy to see me enjoying my food! He ended up leaving first and seems to be in a rush. If only we could talk a bit more and maybe get his contact! Haha. Now I still think of him whenever I am eating ramen!

  130. yeo si ying says:

    hey there jemma~

    my top pick of an item to associate when a country would be bubble tea from taiwan! the first time i was in taiwan was about 7 years back as part of my JC exchange program. It was then i discovered just how magical taiwan’s boba tea is. Imagine growing up on sweet talks and neighbourhood bubble tea shops tasting the most fragrant bubble tea ever and thinking where the hell was this all my life.

    Having tasted the wonderful tea taiwan offered actually saved me lots of money and calories the next few years as i would refrain from “wasting” my calories on “normal” bubble teas. But then share tea and koi had to come along and kinda added fuel to my bubble tea cravings.

    So yeap, 7 years later, i managed to go back to the very stall i got my first Taiwan bubble tea from, and it was exactly how i remembered it. 🙂

  131. HI JEMMA!!!

    First off, thanks for hosting this super awesome giveaway! Really love that you chose such a wide and diverse range of items that suits anyone! 🙂

    I haven’t had much opportunities to travel out of Singapore, aka the furthest I’ve travelled to till now is Korea. However, I have to say that Korea was also the most memorable place for me thus far. If I have to associate one item to Korea, it will probably be my cast (and no, I’m not kidding, it’s really a cast for an injured leg HAHAHA)

    Long story short, I was actually in Korea for summer exchange and was leaving the school early to get more cash from the ATM (for shopping obviously!) For some unknown reason, I fell at the last few steps of the stairs, and sprained not one, but both ankles!!! I was in so much pain that I couldn’t even stand up and just sat on the floor crying while gripping my ankles! I can still remember the sounds I heard from my ankles when it happened! Luckily, there were some Korean students in the vicinity and saw me, and actually offered to carry me all the way to the hospital! This sounds awfully like some K-drama where a knight in shining armour comes and save me HAHAHA and luckily, the hospital wasn’t that far away (P.S. fun fact, my friend actually told me that he was gonna carry me to the hospital but he thought the Korean guy was more buff so he let him carry me instead HAHAHA) The doctor diagnosed me with 2 sprained ankles and I had to go home with a huge cast around my leg! I was really thankful for the Korean student because he stayed throughout my A&E visit so that he could translate what the doctor said to me! But I guess it was through this incident that I also had a chance to experience kindness from total strangers and most importantly, my friends, whom were so helpful to me along the way! They offered to carry my bag, carry me up the stairs, buying me food, pushing me around the house in a roller chair HAHAHAHA They were so accommodating to me throughout the trip, changing plans so that I would not be alone at home! So if I really do win this giveaway, I would definitely share some of the prizes with them!! Taxi uncles were also so nice to me and would always ask what happened to me while I replied back in broken Korean, basically I could only say that my leg hurts HAHAHA but it was still really nice of them to ask about my injury even if they didn’t know me at all!

    Other than that, my friends and I were supposed to go on a boat cruise that day to see the city but it had to be cancelled because of what happened 🙁 and how ironic was it that I was going to get more cash but ended up spending more cash because of my injury (so thankful to have gotten travel insurance before I left, so everyone should get it to be safe!!!)

    With that being said, I’m actually going back to Korea again for my grad trip and would be able to experience all the activities that I previously didn’t get to experience because of my injury, such as wearing a Hanbok! So the gifts that you have included in this giveaway would be so appropriate! And I have to say, my family and I absolutely loved the Matcha spread from O’Sulloc so I would love to try the Roasted Tea flavour as well! And I also love American Tourister products, it was actually the first luggage that I got (from at least 6 years ago) and it is still working so well!!

    Once again, thanks for hosting this giveaway and I wish everyone all the best!

    P.S. fun fact #2: I discovered that I actually had a fractured ankle bone from the fall when I came back to Singapore, so guess who had to wear another air cast boot for almost 1 month in Singapore!

  132. Ohmy thank you for hosting this giveaway!!

    I associate New York with cultural history and lots and lot of family memories because I recently went in December and was brought around by one of my sister’s Professors out of his kind heart and enthusiasm to show us his hometown :”) We learnt about the cultural history of everything – including the architectural history of random buildings along the road, the deeper meanings behind common tourist destinations such as the Brooklyn bridge, the meanings behind the art pieces/artefacts in the many museums!

    The kindness of the people of New York (including the professor who took 6 days to bring us around) will always be a cherished memory and will always be the best part of travelling – meeting new people, learning new things, expanding your horizons.

  133. Hi Jemma! Reading your posts are always a spirit lifter and your photos are so gorgeous always, they must take a lot of effort and I love them so much!! One item with I associate with a city- that would be my hawaiian shirt, and Tokyo. 🙂 I didn’t know that thrift stores selling secondhand clothes were so common in Tokyo, and they always have a section for preloved hawaiian shirts that i’m guessing are really authentic! I love (the idea of) Hawaii and it’s so great that the people in Tokyo do too. I had sooo many shirts to choose from, but I only picked two because budget!!!i’ll totally return to get more though, and when i’m able to, flyyy to Hawaii finally with all my Japanese Hawaiian shirts!! heehee

  134. My story is about DA+PP shoes and the city Bangkok. I have a small feet size of 35 (generally small cos most of my peers are at least 37 and above..). So I absolutely love buying shoes in places like Bangkok, Seoul and Japan (they somehow cater very well to small feet…) So just 2 years ago I went Bangkok for the first time at the age of 25 (IKR, what took me so long hahaha), chancing upon this really preppy independent label DA+PP w the cutest loafers (preppy brown leather w safari prints, animals included) and they fit me perfectly and I had t get them. Last year I went back to Bangkok and I decided to pop by the shop again and expectedly – there was new season of cool preppy shoes, again! I got myself another pair. From then, I told myself every time I return to this city, I promise to get a new pair of shoes from this cool brand.

  135. Hi Jemma,

    Reading on your post and checking out your IG stories really make me want to book a trip to Korea! My must have item for any country is food and I’m obsessed with PNB 풍년제과 choco pie which I first tried in Jeonju and was glad to find them at a departmental store in Seoul! I would always buy so many boxes of them as gifts with the chocolate cookie textute and strawberry jam and cream instead of the usual marshmallow insides. It’s also pretty awesome when I stack them up as a “birthday cake” and everyone grabs a choco pie instead of having to slice the cake up! Optimization with yummy food!

  136. I’ll always associate coffee with Hanoi.

    I first visited Hanoi in December 2017 with two buddies from my university days. So many stories and descriptions about how strong and amazingly tasty locally-grown, Vietnamese coffee can taste and I just couldn’t wait to try it! My friends were not that much of a coffee fanatic as I was, but they were game for trying out the different small cafes tucked in the hidden corners of Hanoi, roadside coffee shops that can be found in almost every street of Hanoi, and Cafe Dinh – which made the deepest impression on me during our trip – can be found at the Old Quarters of Hanoi.

    We found this cafe thanks to the instructions and guidance of another traveler. Without it, we would not have been able to find this cafe which has no signboard or whatsoever to indicate that they’re located behind AND above a shopfront selling bags.

    It was on the balcony of Cafe Dinh that I had a long conversation with another traveler from Venezuela. As we sat on our low wooden stools and I sipped on my third cup of coffee of the day, I asked him questions on his life back in his hometown. Why he moved. What he thought about Vietnam or Hanoi. Thanks to the English he picked up through the Duolingo mobile app, we were able to hear from a voice that came from a faraway continent. He asked me about the pay in Singapore. The cost of living, and the price for a bowl of pho. The nightlife in Singapore.

    That night, the cup of Vietnamese coffee had the same effect on me as a glass of liquor would have. With more sips, we were less formal and polite, more open and warm. We shared about our lives and stories freely.

    I’ll always associate Hanoi with coffee. Coffee with the power to drive conversations between strangers from a different land.

  137. Cheryl Heng says:

    Mine would be a burnt bagel and Tallinn, Estonia!
    I was in Tallinn for exchange and for the life of me, I cannot cook. I tried to toast a bagel for breakfast in the communion room and left the kitchen for a bit to get something from my room. I went back to the kitchen and my Czech Friend was just smirking at me. Turns out my bagel was burnt beyond recognition. So I went back to my room to get my entire packet of bagel and the cleaning lady saw me and said “seems like you can try many times (they don’t speak English there).” So I tried and burnt my second and third bagel and gave up; I was just going to eat burnt bagel for breakfast. And then my Erasmus friends gave me food to eat out of pity. And this lasted the entire semester, for all the meals that I messed up, my Erasmus friends shared their food with me. Human kindness is not supposed to have any boundaries.

  138. Clarissa Choo says:

    Hello Jemma!

    Japan has a special place in my heart with all its snacks, it’s culture and not forgetting the people! The sales associate who will bow after you leave the shop has left me with a lasting impression even if you just buy a small item. Also, their respect for culture is that amidst all the tall buildings and landscapes, there can be a temple in the middle of it. They also respect all products which is why all their products are so neat and pretty!!! Therefore, I associate Japan with its culture, respect and the people!

    I would like to win the cabin sized luggage for my upcoming Japan trip (yay more prefectures) so I can fill it to the brim with all the snacks from Japan!!!!!

    Thank you very much for reading this and have a good week ahead!

  139. Hi Jemma 🙂
    I’ll always associate Coca Cola with Nepal 🙂
    I was on a 5 day hiking trip in Nepal some years ago with 2 fellow friends. It was my first time hiking, and my first time in Nepal as well. …I’m not a fit person at all; I had months to prepare for the trip, and had wanted to train for the hike… but just never did. 😝 so, I embarked on the trip without ZERO prior training (and the last time I actually ran was probably about like 1 year before that??) I remembered thinking “what did I get myself into…? I’m never doing this again!!!” about 1 hour into the first day of hiking.
    I don’t usually drink Coke back at home, but for some reason, I started craving for it as I hiked and always ordered a can of Coke at every meal. It always seemed like a really good idea when I was hiking, and also a great source of motivation to get to the pitstop. But then we were hiking in December in the midst of winter and I was always shivering when waiting for my Coke and thought ok, maybe a hot ginger tea would have been a better choice. But I always ended up ordering a can of Coke even though it was so cold.
    Well, long story short, the hiking trip was a turning point in my life. I’d never thought of myself as a mountain kind of person, and never thought I’d go on a hiking trip and hike for 5 days straight. Sure there were times when I wanted to die and my feet were killing me (I had so many huge blisters on my toes!!!) but the view at the top was most gorgeous and what I learnt was that, I am actually capable of achieving things I never thought I would! I felt really empowered (and that’s not even overstating it). And I’m actually planning to go for more hikes (like to Everest Base Camp!)
    So yeah! There’s my story! At the end of the trip I had downed about 2 litres of Coke. That’s way more than what I normally would even drink in a year normally!

  140. Veeveetee says:

    Hello Jemma!

    I love Japan and I associate Japan with luggage too because of the fact that I buy a million things whenever I am there and will always have my luggage filled to the brim towards the end of my trips there. It’s as if every single item out there in the streets of Japan are calling out to me every single time that I’m there. The last time I was in Japan, I literally died while dragging all 3 of my luggage back to Singapore. I will be going there again once more with my family this time for my sister’s graduation trip! I am so excited once more!

    Thank you for hosting this giveawy!

  141. Hello Jemma!

    The country that I’m always visiting is Bangkok and the thing I associate Bangkok with is Balenciaga’s inspired recycled bags! Eating and shopping at Bangkok is never ending. The list goes on and on with the different cafes to visit, different shopping malls to go. With the affordable prices for their food and clothes, you can never stop eating and shopping. Usually I’ll go Bangkok with a luggage and ended up having more than 3 bags home and thus, the big recycled bags, which is also a Balenciaga’s inspired, is very useful during the trip home. You can’t afford an expensive bag, but you can afford an inspired bag from Bangkok that can keep all your shopping loots! 😉

  142. Hi Jemma!

    Well the first thing that came to my mind is definitely an incident of a feet towel when I was in Australia! My friend and I checked into a hotel and everything was going fine; the room was clean and they provide a big towel and a face towel for each of us. There is only one thing that was missing- the feet towel. However, we didn’t think much about it because not all hotels provide feet towel or at least we did expierence that. After a few days, I felt that the face towel that I was using was pretty rough. I took the towel and while I was complaining to my friend about it, I open the towel up. There it was, 2 foot prints stamped on the towel and my friend immediately burst out laughing! She was at least laughing for a minute straight with tears running down her checks! I couldn’t believe that I was actually using the feet towel ON MY FACE FOR A FEW DAYS. This happens 4 years ago and I kid you not, the first thing I look for whenever I checked into the hotel is definitely to look for the feet towel!

  143. This reminds me of a shirt that I received when I managed to conquer my fear of heights and did the 134m bunny jump known as the Nevis Bungy in New Zealand.It was the day that I felt like I could accomplish whatever that was blocking my path and stand up to my fears.I had to cross the gorge and my legs were turning into jelly due to the height and I had to hold on to the person in charge to be able to move across since I was closing my eyes.It was a moment to remember as I did the most awkward jump with my arms flinging trying to imagine myself as a bird that was soaring.Everytime I see this shirt,I will be reminded of how silly I was and proud of myself for accomplishing this feat .

  144. I associate my current luggage with Korea. It was my first visit to Korea last year, I brought along my trusty old luggage that have been through many countries and cities. When I first got to my Airbnb apartment, I had to open it up to get my stuff out; to prepare for the day, but little old me just forgot my three digit pin. I had to try all the possible three digit combination to get it open. And after multiple tries, I finally had it. As the Airbnb host comes in to the apartment unannounced (based on the reviews I saw on its listing) I had to lock my luggage every time I step out. So i went ahead and did it while ensuring that I get my pin right. So when I came back, I tried opening my luggage again. Oddly it didn’t open, the lock only release loosely. After yanking it and pulling it, I figured that it’s stuck. MY LOCK IS SPOILT AND EVERYTHING I NEED IS IN IT, this exact thought popped into my mind. I panciked! But utimately I had to cut the zipper open, leaving the zip still hanging on the lock. As a student, this sudden expense was unexpected. Luckily I was able to find a sturdy, spacious and affordable luggage at a nearby mall. Which is essential as I had already bagged home a few bags full of skincare and cosmetics.

  145. Travelling has been my favourite thing ever and I’ve travellled to at least 3 places in each year for leisure, trekking and what not during my semester breaks. As much as every country amazes me with its unique history, architecture, people and food, the ONLY thing I always associate it back to, are the cats. Every single cat I pet on the street, I’ll remember.

    “Oh have you been to Yogyakarta?”
    “YEAH dude I remember there was this tiny kitten I pet on the street.”

    Ok so maybe I’m not the best person to ask for travel informations or experiences despite my travels but I mean…can you really forget that cute face that once looked into your eyes and at that exact brief moment…you knew you were there at the very location and time in that country for a reason – to pet this cat.

  146. Shermaine Ang says:

    I arrived in Netherlands a few months back. I was on exchange and the housing situation here was terrible — I have yet to find accommodation for the next 4 months. I settled into a hostel.

    I actually managed to secure a room on campus before flying over, but I gave that up. I didn’t want my exchange to revolve around school. I was already going to attend classes in school, meet people from school — exchange is so much more than that. I wanted to experience the country as a citizen, not just as a student. I wanted to meet new people, as diverse as possible, of all nationalities and backgrounds.

    And meet new people I did.

    My hostel had a common area in addition to a shared kitchen, but you’ll always find me in the kitchen. Outside meal hours, the kitchen was quiet and peaceful. It was also where I found Andrew.

    It was late at night and the temperatures dropped below zero outside. We both took comfort in hot tea, minding our own business.

    “So, what brings you to Rotterdam?”

    I was ready for this conversation. Travelling and living in hostels the past month or so has made me all too used to questions like these. Standard backpacker talk — what brings you here? How long are you staying? Are you still studying? What do you study?

    I was telling him about my ineptitude in the kitchen and he was incredulous. How does one not know how to cook nowadays? I thank my low-maintenance self for being happy with microwaved meals.

    It wasn’t something that bothered me in the grand scheme of life, but I indulged in a line or two of self-deprecating laments. Something along the lines of trying and failing and that cooking just really wasn’t my thing. Nothing too serious. Got to keep the conversation going, y’know.

    “But you can’t be good at everything, Shermaine. I mean, look at you! You’re good at A, you do B as well, you seem to dabble in a bit of everything. Cooking just isn’t one of them. It’s just not possible for someone to be good at everything!”

    Simple words that spelled out simple logic, but oddly affirming coming from a stranger I’ve just met half an hour ago.

    Andrew insisted that he taught me how to cook, anyway. The next time we met at the kitchen, he had all the ingredients ready. The steak was simple, but the stuffed mushrooms took a lot more time and effort. He taught me how to use a knife right, how to hollow out the mushrooms efficiently.

    They turned out great, by the way. We offered them around the hostel and upon positive affirmation, he made sure they knew “She made it!”

    I’m pretty sure stuffed mushrooms aren’t what people associate Cuba with, but thanks to this Cuban I met — it is for me.

  147. Hi Jemma and American Tourister~

    Surprised at myself even, but what came to my mind first was charcuterie/apéro and Paris. I was only introduced to charcuterie/apéro in 2016 (when I was 24 years old), and it was only because circumstances brought me closer to this french colleague of mine (who have been seated in close proximity to me, but I never got the chance to know better). Lelé opened my eyes to many things – food, wine (I didn’t know how to drink wine until her too!), the stark difference between Asian and European mannerisms/culture, etc. And I remember being most surprised when she brought apéro to our office with her wrinkled saucissons, stinky camembert cheese, and cabernet sauvignon – because I loved them!

    Now I have learnt to enjoy charcuterie/apéro with a glass of good wine, and I don’t think I will ever stop reminiscing about that apéro date we had last Oct in Paris, eating ourselves silly even though we knew her dad had prepared dinner for us back at her home! (:

    I guess I really miss my best friend (she has since relocated back to Paris last year), hence why charcuterie/Paris came to my mind first, because Lele represents Paris and all my ‘firsts’ with the saucisson, cheese, wine and pâtés <3

  148. hello jemma & american tourister! 🙂 thanks for holding this giveaway.

    hmmmm my story’s from not too long ago, in los angeles! my item’s a sandwich – in particular, a HOT sandwich hahahah.

    so i haven’t really travelled much beyond asia, much less alone, until i had the chance to just a month ago for a school thing. i was headed for chicago but i decided to take a detour to check out the city of angels (been pining to go there since….well……forever) and so i arrived in LA after fifteen hours of crashing at the chicago airport (to save money instead of getting a hotel room – bad idea after all) waiting for my flight, risking getting kicked off a flight (american flights and their overbooking woes sigh), surviving the budget flight and when i finally touched down, i strutted out of the arrival hall, luggage in hand, feeling like a real champ.

    my friend texted me and told me to check out ‘the sandwich shop’ because they supposedly had AMAZING sandwiches and so i did – i made a beeline for it and when i spotted the shop at the international terminal, i felt so happy and so i decided on a cold sandwich, handed over those greenbacks and then received my meal, feeling really proud of myself. and then as i was eating the cold sandwich i looked up and there was this huge television screen that screamed a couple of words in font size 2000 – “world’s best HOT sandwiches”.

    and then with every bite my heart sank, feeling like the world’s biggest noob. the advertisement never failed to scream at me again and again in BRIGHT RED BOLDED FONT. i told the story and subsequently got laughed at by my LA-based friend who came to pick me up. ended up laughing it off – what a way to start my trip, but i guess that’s what solo travel is – and i’m off to a couple more cities in the next few months: prague, london, etc for more school things, so a luggage would really come in handy (ha ha!) – silly, full of surprises, probably a couple of mistakes, but funny stories to last a lifetime (or maybe ones i can use in a giveaway just like this – i’m kidding :p).

    so there’s that, the story of the hot (cold – sigh) sandwich.

    cheers and happy monday, all! x

  149. I know I could be writing about any city I’ve been to, but I think I have a strange relationship or a fleeting love affair with Korea – So I’ll go with that. I’ve never been but I feel like on some level I know it, just a smidge.

    You see, I have plenty of friends who have been, some more obsessed about Korean-everything than others, even a friend who’s Korean whom I have discussed with him (Yes, a him) about skincare routine. And thanks to Globalisation I have had the snacks mentioned above along with keychains and beauty samples from Korea (I have a keychain collection, and would say the Korea ones takes up a solid 10%) that my friends bring back.

    I’ve seen photos, Instastories and even have a cousin whose doing an overseas programme there now, but why have I not been? Well, I plan to and it’s in the works, but truth is I have a date with a friend set whose recovering from an illness this year. She won’t be able to leave the house much, let alone travelling. And like you said, a promise is a promise! Until then, I can make do with it being a long distance relationship (Ironically, I’m actually in one haha).

  150. Hi Jenna!

    The one thing I can associate in Korea, really is picking up ALL of the shopping requests from the duty free shop! For makeup items, I purchase them online in advance so they can pack it for me and it’s easy for me to bring them back hehe without infringing on my luggage space ! I love korean skincare products (maybe cause I dream of having b e a utiful skin like most Koreans do) ! In the past before I discovered the app I had this tedious task of going to specific shops to pick up the requested item which really ate into my planner activities and also my luggage space but really thanks to this new method (maybe not new idk I am quite suaku one) I now can spend more time playing instead of worrying about luggage space and request!

    X,
    Joan

  151. In 2016, I could finally afford to bring my mum on a wholly sponsored (my one year savings!) trip to our dream destination, Taiwan. Unlike my peers, I didn’t get to sit on a plane or travel until my mid-twenties and my mum had never sat one one her whole life! She packed her luggage a week before. 😂

    When we got to Taiwan, in the name of being thrifty, we got our first meal from 7-11. No- it doesn’t sound as desolate as it looks in written form- it was late and Family Mart was right across from our hotel. I did not do any research on “10 must-try foods b4 you die in Taiwan” but I picked up this wonderful bowl of instant noodles that I still worship till this day.

    I remember the nonchalance in which I prepared the noodles, with a noted interest in how many sachets there were in a bowl. (Four sachets!)

    I remember my initial surprise at the real meat chunks that came out of a particularly big sachet.

    I remembered how initially uncaring I was as I poured hot water into the red styrofoam bowl. How ignorant I was. I was about to enter nirvana. My mum was glued to late night taiwan variety shows.

    My eyes widened in surprise when I slurped down my first mouthful. I had to exert enormous self-control to stop and pass the bowl to my mum. It was after all, our shared supper. This was all done in silence as my brain was experiencing fireworks equivalent to SG50 National Day Parade celebrations.

    As she reluctantly tore herself away from the hotel’s flat screen, she commented: “Looks good!”

    Looks good?! She had NO IDEA! It was heaven. It was life. It was life-sustaining nectar. It must be what they termed “ambrosia”- what gods ate. Maybe, it could make me immortal.

    There, I sat as I watched my mum go through the same thing I did. Surprise, shock, wonderment. We even retrieved the annoying top sticker from the bin to take a picture of it. This was so we could declare war on every single shop that sold this noodles and lug it back to Singapore.

    I remembered my despair when I could only fit four packets into my luggage. We trudged down to go Taipei Main Station and haggled for a cabin sized luggage so we could fit more. I’m happy to report that with the additional cabin bag, I brought home four more packets!

    Needless to say, Taiwan had a lot more to offer in their wondrous food scene, especially in their night markets. The one thing that stole my heart though – that wonderful red bowl of noodles. It solidified my mum’s and my love for Taiwan forevermore.

  152. Kaitlyn loy says:

    For me, i would always associate bicycle lock with Sweden. I was on an exchange programme in Sweden 2 years ago. You might think that i chose to cycle there to experience the local life but nope. How i started cycling was actually becuase i lost my monthly bus pass on the first day i bought it. Unwilling to fork out additional money to buy another one, i decided to rent a bicycle for 6 months which is actually cheaper than a monthly bus pass. However, this turned out to be the best decision i made when i was there. The bicycle allowed me to get in touch with nature and experience life like a local. Luckily for the bicycle lock, i can walk around in peace knowing that the bicycle is secured.Fiddling with the bicycle lock with my gloves in the cold is something i can never forget. I even brought back the bicycle lock that i bought in sweden though i dont have a bicycle in singapore to remind me of my exchange times. Hopefully, i can create new memories with the luggage when i head to Europe next year!

  153. Lee Xin Qi says:

    7-11 Ippudo’s cup noodles from jap!! i lugged like 4 of them back to sg during my last trip (oct’17). it was so good to have them during the autumn season (warm and fuzzy feeling during the typhoon season when we were there)

    it’s like WOAH, japanese surely does their instant noodles right, there’s even real meat inside! My dad felt in love after he trying and he went to hokkaido and brought back more😂😂

  154. Ahahhaaha hi Jemma! Ahhaahha my memory of Korea most distinctively returns to that ONE TIME when my mum and I got lost in the Bukchon area AT NIGHT and it was RAINING and it was horrible because our luggages had been with us for such a long time that some of the wheels where not even rolling well and at that time… we only had wheels going in a fixed forward-backward motion. No 360 wheels, no sturdy luggage to sit on. Just my mum and I, lost looking for our accommodation in the Bukchon area after visiting the high school from Winter Sonata, walking mindlessly in the rain and at night, mildly freaking out and not even able to find out way cause there wasn’t anybody around hahahaha. But thank God! We did eventually bumble our way to the correct place after an hour and never again did we travel around without using Google Map 😂🙈

  155. Hi Jemma!

    Books! And “Paradise Falls” from UP!

    Super random (i know!) And paradise falls doesnt even exist in the real world. But Ive recently bern quite obsessed with wanting to be at places with fantastic views while I read. Its just a massively different experience when you read vs you read with a view. So to help menoit with that I found a giant UP inspired poster of Paradise Falls and put it up on the wall I face next to my bed so I can be really transported out of Singapore to the place I wanna be at. That said, I’m quite an almost-virgin when it comes to travelling. I’ve never travelled out of SEA. But im planning a hugeeee trip next year and there are many locations that I’d wanna visit! Maybe then I’ll be able to associate an item with a real city hahahaha

    Thanks for reading 🙂

  156. Chua Ruiyi says:

    Hello! I’d like to say that I just came back from Taiwan. A second visit to the city reinforced the impression I had of it and its people from the first time. Except that this time, I was bombarded with skincare and masks. The variety of the masks available there may be a headache, but nonetheless very much appreciated because there is plenty of Japanese brands available on shelf. It’s a piece of Taiwan that I managed to bring back to Singapore, that has an unique way of staying with me for a long time – complexion. Big shoutout to you girl!

  157. Hi Jemma, thanks for holding this giveaway and thanks for sharing your stories!

    My city of choice is Tokyo, and the number one item I’d associate it with is Matcha Ice Cream! When we were in Japan last year, I just could not resist it whenever we saw it – I must have had it at least once a day. Be it the tub versions sold at the ubiquitous convenient stores (Lawson 100 ftw!) or the soft serve types sold along the street – if we saw it, I had to have it!

    But more memorably, this silly dessert indulgence of mine also played a part in our simple proposal! 🙂 We were having a little picnic in Nara Park and he offered to cycle get drinks. When he came back, he had a matcha cone in one hand and was busy balancing on the bike and keeping the ice cream from melting. It was so hilarious and that image will always be imprinted in my mind. He passed me the ice cream and as I was still laughing, he took out the ring box and proposed. It was a simple surprise but so sweet and unforgettable to me. <3

  158. Microwave Xiao Long Bao in Taiwan!

    I was there for a Chinese Orchestra competition in 2011 with my Polytechnic. One night in Miaoli my seniors decided to head out to the Family Mart nearby to grab some supper. It was cold outside (and I don’t like the cold) so I was looking for something warm when the XLB caught my eye. It was interesting because I’ve never seen microwave XLB before. So I picked it up and ate it (after the cashier threw it in the microwave of course) on the way back to our hotel. It was so darn delicious I swear. Especially when it’s cold outside. The delicious warm broth that bursts in your mouth and the shiokness when it goes down the throat. They’re like little packages of happiness. It is the BEST microwave food ever. So now whenever I travel to Taiwan I’d try to look for it because eating it reminds me of the time I’ve spent together with my friends and seniors.

  159. You know how people collect magnets from countries they’ve visited? I collect bandaids 😂

    I love to purchase cute bandaids from every trips. It has gotten to the point where my friends and family will buy bandaids for me as souvenir when they travel.

  160. Honestly I haven’t travelled the world much. I do study in the UK though but financial restraints means that I do not get to travel across the UK and Europe as much as I would like to. So basically London is my playground! The one thing that comes to mind immediately when I think of London would have to be borough market. I can’t think of any day trip or trip that I have made to London without going to borough market. It was one of the first food markets I have been to in my time here and has since become a favourite. Whether I am craving oysters, or just in need of a good doughnut, borough market is the place I’ll always go to

  161. Hey Jemma, thanks for hosting this giveaway! It’s meaningful in how it allows us to reflect on our formative experiences while traveling 🙂

    Korea has always been my favourite country, mostly because it has been a place that brought me comfort and joy during some of my very trying periods in life. My favourite place in Seoul has to be Yeouido Park! I love basking in the stillness of Han River. After 2 trips in Korea, I decided that I have to experience my favourite places with the people I love the most. And that encouraged me to bring my parents to Korea with me last year during Summer!

    It was one of the most memorable and comforting trip I had. My parents are people who dislike spending too much money or heading out during weekends because they have always preferred to stay in and just have a simple meal together.

    I remembered bringing them to Daiso at Sinchon during our first night in Seoul. Everything was priced at an affordable rate, and they literally were smiling from ear to ear in the store, making jokes about how “sua ku” they were as they explored different sections of Daiso. We laughed so much together. In the end, we bought quite a bit of home essentials, and before we left – my mum picked up this watermelon cushion that I’ve been eyeing on in the store and paid for it. And that cushion has sealed its place of being one of the most special and personal items I cherish.

    It’s very simple, warm and subtle moments of happiness like this that we remember the most. I grew to love Korea even more after the trip with my parents. Not only because that I got to experience Korea with them, but how they went the extra mile to appreciate the country because they knew how much I love it.

    Thank you for sharing your stories in Korea! It’s so so nice to read about someone’s experiences in Korea and relating to similar feelings 🙂 I understand how you feel about those super cute socks hehe and I will definitely be trying out the Korean fried chicken store in Myeongdong!

  162. Hi Jemma,

    As for myself I associate Japan with masks and loads of snacks and skincare.
    Saborino morning masks, lululun masks, chocola BB pills and many more. I went to Osaka and Kyoto with my family last December and wish to relive that moment all over again. Going to drugstores and staying there for hours just to search for all the must buys. And not forgetting daiso too, lugging home with all my cheap loots. As for my trip to Korea, I bought home everything I could and wished my luggage was bigger so that I could have brought home more. Succumbed to buying honey butter chips when it was all the craze back then and my favourite tteokbokki chips. I tend to go to a bookstore whenever I go to a different country and buy a book there, if possible, to leave a part of my memory in it. My sister loves reading especially and is always asking me to refer to your Instagram for your book recommendations.
    Anyway, thanks for hosting this giveaway and would love to hear more of your book recommendations too! Thank youuuuuu 🙂

  163. Its weird but I associate hotdogs with Iceland.

    I travelled there three weeks ago and even though Iceland is insanely expensive (especially if you eat out aka buying a hotdog at a diner) my boyfriend and I could not help it there because they are too damn good!! The icelandic hotdog bun is so soft I’m pretty sure its 50% air 50% bread, served with a juicy sausage, relish and crispy onion. And of course, we went crazy with the Ikea-style free sauce – soo good! So that’s the story if how we spent 6SGD on a hot dog in Iceland.. Multiple times heh.

  164. Hi Jem! I’m absolutely thrilled when I found that the Pachinko book was part of your 10 items as I felt a strong connection to it few months back when you posted on your instagstories. I’ve been an introvert person whom leads a stagnant life of routines. From facial routine to exercise routine to work routine. However, there’s this mini crazy adventurer that will pop out and take over me only at wee hours.

    I’ve been watching this Japanese With Chinese dubbed cartoon for 7 years and the cartoon surrounds a typical Japanese family with a sneak peak to their culture. It is something simiar to Doraemon but it’s more realistic to reality. The dad figure in the family always have to do overtime and had many drinking entertainments at night with his bosses. The dad is a quiet person whom barely communicate with his family but he is really observant and usually gives slight body gesture to show how he is feeling. His favourite hobby is Pachinko and there are many episodes on him relieving stress and finding joy in Pachinko.

    My boyfriend and I went to japan as our first trip as we have not been there before. We explored the main cities like Tokyo before heading to Osaka. I’ve always been discreet in all my relationships so he was not aware of my little transformation at night. I would sneak out after he is asleep to roam around Tokyo. On our second night in Osaka, I sneak out as per usual, walking aimlessly and found myself attracted to this brightly lit shop. Whenever the automated door opens, a short deafening noise was let out and I was hesitating to enter. Eventually I did and was thrilled to find out that it is a Pachinko shop! I started strolling around the different machines and observed people on how the game works. Time flies especially after I sat down to try it for myself. It is a rather straight forward game but perhaps it was the sound of small metal balls hitting each other that was therapeutic. I did not caught hold of time. Suddenly, someone clapped when I hit a mini jackpot and I realised it was my Boyfriend standing behind me! Apparently he woke up and found that I was missing. He called me but Pachinko shop was too noisy for me to hear anything. He went round the neighbourhood searching for me for an hour (we stayed in Airbnb) and eventually was attracted to this Pachinko shop which is 30minutes from our place. I confessed on all of my “night adventures” and he was supportive of them! Now I no longer roam around Singapore at wee hours alone and gained a partner in action! (Our recent favourite- DONKI!) Pachinko remains a special place in my heart as it is not just a place where gamblers go to during their leisure time, it is also the place where my wander soul found a home.

    I’ve yet to read this book but I intend to get it with me during my solo trip next year to Egypt before getting married to my thenboyfriend and hopefully have a good luggage that could accompany me.

    I guess not all who wander are lost ay?

  165. Dutch Pancakes in Amsterdam!!

    It’s not just any pancakes, but specifically the ones from Upstairs Pannenkoekenhuis and I loved it so very much that I brought all my family and friends who visited me in Amsterdam there!! There’s just something really charming about its cozy and intimate interior topped off with a whimsical touch as its ceiling was filled with dangling teapots from various cultures.

    The pancakes were really nice!! As a savoury pancake lover myself, I loved that I could have the best of both worlds when I order their special pancake – nicely grilled bacon slices, slightly charred pancake edges, topped off with some pieces of Brie and drizzled with a good amount of honey. Gosh, just thinking about it makes me wanna go back to Amsterdam so bad!!

    While the food was good, what made the experience of dining there even more special was the company of my loved ones especially after not having seen them for months while I was in exchange. Oh and the other lovely customers there as well! I remembered seeing the delightful smile that the other patrons would break into after a mouthful of the pancake goodness and listening to their conversations with the restaurant host about how this was their second visit in many years and the pancakes were still as good! Ahhh good vibes in that place 🙂

    To many, Amsterdam might be a city of bikes and vices, but to me, nothing reminds me of Amsterdam more than a good hearty serving of those delicious Dutch Pancakes from Upstairs Pannenkoekenhuis 🙂

  166. Samantha says:

    Thought long and hard about a worthy item to post but it just struck me – life changing BIDETS are what I would associate with Japan! Even though it’s a pretty common sight at home and in public toilets, I have never had the habit of using the hoses near the toilet seats after said business, it was usually just a to-wipe basis only. It was only more recently when the toilets in school and the malls (select cubicles only!! must queue for those cubicles!!) were equipped with bidets that I gave it a try.

    Of course, the ones in Singapore aren’t perfect. Sometimes the bidet spray is too far off aim, sometimes the pressure is off, but still, life changing! It makes the whole washroom experience infinitely better HAHA. I can’t wait to experience the ones in Japan, I hear they’re the true god sent ones!

  167. For me, it is lucaspawpaw!!!!

    My Melbourne best friend always uses it and told me that all Australian know and swear by this brand. So whenever I caught a view of the bright red packaging, I will never fail to think of her and will pick my phone to drop a whatsapp to say hi.

    Cannot wait to visit her and could use a new cabin bag to bring her all the SG goodies!!!

  168. This recount might sound dramatic but you know how a song or a scent brings you back to a certain time at a certain place? Having that same ramen even in its cup noodle form brings me right back to that moment: 2am, sitting in the ramen shop, savoring every last bit of the soup.

    It was our first time in Tokyo (maybe my second but there’s so many sides to Tokyo it always feel like my first) and we were packing our days as if we had 25 hours a day to explore.

    We started every morning at first train and no matter how many times we said “let’s head back early tonight”, we would stumble into the hostel every night trying not to wake every other guest in the room.

    It was our 4th and last night in Tokyo before heading to Nagoya. For dinner that night, we had planned to meet a Singaporean friend who was living in Tokyo —But because of an impromptu overnight stay in Hakone (this has a whole story of its own), we ended up only meeting at 1am. At this point, we were deliriously sleepy but the lure of a yuzu broth ramen was too novel to resist.

    Since it was so late, we ended up walking what felt like an hour (it was probably 20mins) to the only outlet that opened till sunrise. When we finally arrived, we were drenched in sweat, with our sanity barely in tact. But as we took our first taste of the yuzu broth, our eyes lit up — it was as delicious as it’s novelty and it felt like a prize for giving up sleep to get here.

    The next time I had this Yuzu broth ramen was in a cup noodle form which someone had brought back from their own Tokyo trip; it’s as tasty as I last remembered. But more than that, it still tastes like the reward we got a year ago.

  169. This might be a little late because I’ve been thinking about what I associate the most with a city but even if it is I’m still glad that I was able to reflect on things.

    I think what I associate the most with Japan and as clique as it may sounds, it is how polite the locals are! I vaguely remember my first trip to Japan and its to Osaka!! It was about 6 years ago and I was pretty young back then, plus i went there for a competition so I can hardly remember details haha. However, I do remember with the days that we were allowed to go out was just taking their metro and having a hard time choosing the station because there were so many lines and ALL.IN.JAPANESE. But thanks to the nice locals, and with broken Japanese mixed with english and sign language, they understood where we were going and helped us with the purchase. After that just when we thought all was good we went the wrong direction and they very kindly ran to us and even took the train with us, and told us which stop to alight at. HAHA. Although it might seem small, with such a quick paced work life, hardly do people have time to stop and help without feeling impatient and not to mention guide people too!

    So I guess that’s what I associate with Japan and maybe for some brownie points I’ve never been to Korea so it’ll be nice to experience some with friends during the holidays in a funky yellow suitcase!

  170. Hi Jemma!

    I think for me it has got to be the bread from Wu Pao Chun Bakery. My family hired a local guide cum driver in Taiwan and he brought us to the flagship store in Kaohshiung one night, shortly after he won the prestigious Coupe du Monde de la Boulangerie- a baking competition in Paris. My dad was super excited (this man lives for bread) for their award-winning Taiwan longan with red wine bread and Taiwan Litchi Rose Champion Bread but we were told that they were sold out for the day and all the existing stock were for their pre-order collection. It was a chilly evening and the younger kids were lethargic but my parents and the guide whined and pled with the staff, explaining that we are foreigners due to return to Singapore the next day and had made our way there to get a taste of their bread and simply refused to leave. It was quite a funny scene but it sure paid off. By the way, understand that Breadtalk would be bringing in the brand so please go give it a try! None of the friends I raved about it to have heard about it and I’m glad they would get to try it soon.

    Anyway, we learned our lesson and the next time we went I made sure to pre-order online and get it sent to our hotel. It’s not the cheapest but I think it’s worth every penny. Some people enjoy buying souvenirs but personally, I prefer to bring a taste of the country back (think the likes of beef noodles from Taiwan, “Soi 19” wanton noodles from Bangkok).

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