Researching for Holiday: The Gathering

holiday research

Ah, Europe. The continent I’ve wanted to see for sooooooo long. Finally, I get to go this May for a luxurious month.

Now, people travel in many different ways (and I won’t even bother going into details about how different travel methods will affect your research), what I will say is after trying many different styles of travelling, I’ve finally found my style: Strolling with a purpose.

I have to say, it took many trips abroad, and many trial and errors for me to arrive at this point. I’ve tried not doing ANY research and just wing it. I’ve tried following excel spreadsheets (no kidding) that categorises NYC into food, sight and shopping. And I’ve definitely tried going with the guidebooks, that brought me (along with some sheer dumb luck) to the most amazing sushi restaurant I’ve ever been to in my life thus far. I’ve loved some aspects of those methods, even the spreadsheets. When I’m armed with spreadsheets worth of info, I’m not afraid of anything except for the single fact that I won’t be able to draw them out and put them back quick enough to pretend to be as a local.

This time, it’s a little different. I went nuts with the researching (FYI, I love researching for holidays) and the information gathering, and there’s no such thing as going to far for research you guys. I’ve literally asked everyone who have been to Europe for their itinerary; even the locksmith that works with me. I really love to hear stories about how people discovered a charming cafe in the corner of London; or how they happened upon the best bakery in Paris.

So what am I trying to tell you here? Stay with me, there’s a point here I promise. But first! A fun fact from Captain Obvious, everyone travel & plan their travels differently.

No doubt, everyone consider their way to be the best way to travel but some plan their trips around shopping, while others plan around eating. Here’s a fun and short anecdote: I turned up to NYC armed with information from my friends and their friends, then I traveled to 2 restaurants with raving reviews listed on this Bible of spreadsheet, and it was closed down. Was I devastated? Sure. Was I pissed? No. I should have checked if I really wanted to go.

That’s the point folks, regardless of what information you get (unless it’s a museum or a volcano which are unlikely to be relocated), check it first before you travel thousand of miles to see it.

One of the challenges I’ve had so far in my information gathering stage is for Iceland. Don’t get me wrong, there isn’t a shortage of information out there; but during the research, I realised there are so many suggested information that doesn’t apply to me. Whether it’s the route, or the number of days required, or even the time of year, some things just don’t apply to me! Then I decided there was only one way to do this: the old school way.

iceland holiday in may research

So I printed a map and comb through all the information to get to a somewhat reasonable plan for my 4 Day road trip in Iceland. While I can’t tell you what’s the best thing to do, I thought I’d share my version of how I plan my travels.


The absolute first thing I’ve done when researching is marking all the locations I’d like to see, then I’d travel to a district a day and spend the entire day slowly meandering through the streets and gaps. Perhaps I might not get to see everything I intend to, but at least I’d get to see parts of London really well. And maybe it’s just me, but I feel more relaxed knowing that I don’t have to rush from tourist attraction to tourist attraction.

Then I move onto something with a little more detail. Since all the Europe ones are still work in progress, I’ll show you something I’ve made a little earlier: NYC.

new york travel planning itinerary

Sure that’s going a little excessive, but when travelling to places like New York and London, I have a serious case of FOMO; so I let OCD self run wild and colour code my spreadsheets. So in about few weeks I’ll probably update you with more information I found about Iceland, but until then, I’ll be mapping out Amsterdam, Paris and Berlin.

 So that’s it. I hope now that I’ve shown you the maps & spreadsheet, it may inspire you to plan your own adventure. Then come back and we can talk about why our own methods are better.


N Y C : MoMA

After spending a number of years referencing the Museum of Modern Art throughout my architectural degree, no chance was I going to pass on the opportunity to go see this place when I was in New York.

And since our honeymoon was right after the wedding, naturally when I found out that MoMA offered free entry on Friday after 4pm, I pretty much planned my day around this.

Museum of Modern Art New York A review


Before heading to the museum, I did some basic research and found out that I should go a little early, because the usually there is a crowd since everyone has the same idea. So on the day, we got there 30 minutes earlier (I thought 30 minutes was very generous amount of time), and boy, was there a line.

It felt like I walked a block before reaching the end of the line.

Uniqlo free entry moma friday afternoon

When you get to the beginning of the line, you’re given a ticket (I’m assuming there are limited tickets?), which you have to show at the main staircase before going to the main gallery. Now, let me paint you a lovely picture: MoMA, one of the best museums in the world, opens late on a Friday night with free entry, which invites all the tourists and locals to this one amazing space. See what I’m getting at here?

Here are just a few shots I got:


MoMA New York City

moma new york city


moma new york city uniqlo free entry friday


Around certain areas are these openings, where they offer you a glimpse of what the other museum goers are doing.

Perhaps on another day, at another time, you’d catch a glimpse of a man contemplating in front of a painting; or a woman taking a picture of a sculpture.

The picture above was taken when I was standing on that 2nd bridge in the picture below. What’s interesting was standing on that stair case in the image above and looking back at the bridge, the people on those bottom level of the walkway have little to no idea how the next two levels will be. I was there, walking about and oblivious to what’s happening right above me.


moma new york city uniqlo free entry friday night

Some of the more famous work I saw included the Study for Bauhaus Stairway by Roy Lichtenstein; and the original Bauhaus Stairway by Oskar Schlemmer.

Study for Bauhaus Stairway MOMA NYC

Bauhaus Stairway


That was probably one of the first artwork introduced to me in university, and looking at this bring back a lot of memory.

And the rest of the museum did not disappoint. I saw a huge amount of renowned artwork that I’ve read or studied like these ones below.

Worhol Pollock paintings in MoMA NYC



And below, one of my personal favourite: Academy by Cy Twombly. I’ve yet to see Tate Modern which houses some of his better work (in my humble opinion), but nothing beats seeing the real thing.


I remember the first time I stumbled across Twombly’s Three studies from the Temeraire in Art Gallery of New South Wales here in Sydney, I think I gasped so loud that I scared the elderly couple quietly studying in the next room. I just couldn’t believe one of my favourite artist’s work is housed in one of my favourite gallery!

Another surprise was seeing work of Frank Lloyd Wright exhibited in MoMA.



What I loved the most was all the work in progress sketches. I always love the ‘behind the scene’ stuff. I find that always tells you a lot more about the thought process and the character of a person.

Even the work in progress sketches are meticulously drawn and labelled.FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT EXHIBITION MoMA NYCThe exhibition was definitely worth it. The whole museum is definitely worth it. We spent 3 hours and I can tell you that is not enough.


MoMA is a must see location if you are heading to New York city. If you have time and want to get the whole experience, I suggest for you to go during normal hours where there are a lot less people.

The thing is, the museum is enormous, and you should feel it that way. To arrive in a room where nothing but a 3m wide Pollock painting is completely overwhelmed by the number of people taking selfies in front of it.

If you are short on time and wouldn’t mind a free ticket into this amazing museum then make sure to get there earlier to line up. There are a bunch of other things you can do in NYC, for more details check is out here.



MoMA NYC concierge



Holiday Homes: Airbnb

Right, so apparently Airbnb is not the newest thing and sooooo I’m not a hipster.

Well that’s okay.

While I was doing some research for places to stay in Hong Kong, I couldn’t help myself and started looking at places I could stay at.

Not that these are the most expensive or the best, it’s just that I would book them within a heartbeat if I was travelling to these countries. Even if you’ve found places to stay, you should check out their guides. They have cities such as Paris, London, New York & Rome. What’s really cool is that they list out the neighbourhoods loved by the locals. Enjoy!

BERLIN factory apartment

Factory Apartment Kreuzberg

Price: From $285 per night

Accommodates: 4 People

Size: 102 SQM

ISRAEL accommodation

Boutique Suite in Tel Aviv

Price: From $466 per night

Accommodates: 4 People

BERLIN apartment

Modern Berlin Apartment

Price: From $187 per night

Accommodates: 4 People