Travel

Traveling with strangers: An introvert explores Taiwan

By AJ JORQUIN

When I got my internship for Gist, I was told that I’d be sent to Taiwan for Klook’s app launch. Yes, I was undeniably excited, till I found that I had no idea who I’ll be with on the trip. The only thing I knew for certain was that I’ll be in a junket and will have to handle social media and do a few interviews. I had to conquer this fear of going on an adventure with people I do not know, so I took a deep breath and told myself, “Not today, introversion. Not today.”

The day I arrived in Taiwan, “OH MY GOD!!” I got lost at the airport. Luckily, Shannen, our PR from Spark It, gave me a call and got me together with the group. Meeting the group was so awkward; they all seemed so intimidating. But, I kept reminding myself:  “Not today, introversion. Not today.”

Our first adventure was in Chang Kai Shek, a memorial palace for the former president of China. I was with the Media Group along with Elaine (Chalk Magazine), Vincent (Female Network), Deni (Philstar.com), and Shanen (Spark It). Dinner at Din Tai Fung in  Taipei 101 was easier after having warmed up to them. During dinner we met up with Felix, who’d be our tour guide for the rest of the trip. He was very energetic, and was like a walking encyclopedia.

Felix knew everything about Taipei 101, Snake Alley (a street market we visited), even the history of Longshan temple. (Of course, he had to know a lot because he was a tour guide, but I wish my energy level were on the same as his.) You should have seen him when we were in Jiufen, a small area up in Taiwan, with food stalls and shops everywhere. It was so hot and so crowded, yet Felix bolted through like a Targaryen in battle. Jiufen was such a beautiful place, by the way, we visited the teahouse that inspired the movie Spirited Away. But you do have to battle the crowds and make sure you don’t get lost in the sea of people. It’s definitely a place where you can challenge yourself for an adventure.

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On our second day, we had dinner with Rebecca, just Rebecca, the web developer of Klook, and Ryan, just Ryan, the manager of Klook Taiwan at Addiction Aquatic Development found in Zhongshan District. We had an array of fresh sashimi, crabs, juicy tender beef, and fresh wasabi. During dinner, Rebecca, just Rebecca, who is from the UK, told us about her stay in Taiwan. “I don’t have a favorite place in Taiwan, I just love the convenience of it,” she said. She told us how all the convenience stores in UK close at 4:00 p.m., something she’ll never get used to. Ryan, just Ryan, told us all about how Klook is such a great app. Klook’s vision is to make travel hassle-free by enabling users to plan things ahead. Social media influencers Richard Juan and Chie Filimoneo agreed with him. Klook did make our life in Taiwan easier, they got us Felix who showed us the beauty of Taipei 101, the history of the Chinese Dress rental shop, and all the must-know shortcuts in Jiufen. After dinner and the Klook App Launch, we went to a joint called The Fucking Place to celebrate the launch of the app, from there, let’s just say what happened in Taiwan stays in Taiwan.

We ended our trip with a visit to Volando, a spa spring with private hot baths and saunas. Although the view was picturesque, picture-taking was very limited since it’s a sauna where, as you know, people walk around naked. Quite frankly, I had mixed feelings about the spa when were told about the all the naked people, but luckily we were there on a weekday, so nudity was #cancelled.

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Taiwan was such a great experience and we all wished we could have stayed longer. Jiufen is a must see if you’re a shopaholic, and trust me when I say you’re going to need more than just a day to go around the place. Marketing aside, Klook is a great app; it plans everything for you and tells you where the best spots are in a country. Going out of my comfort zone made me realize that my introverted self can be adventurous. Why should I let some Myers-Briggs label stop me from doing so?

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For information, visit klook.com.

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