Sonia, Ben, and Josh: Worst travel companions ever!

Sonia Chew and her Travel SSBD buddies, Benjamin Kheng and Joshua Tan, give us the lowdown on their travel habits (which include plenty of pranks) 

Sonia, Ben, and Josh: Worst travel companions ever
Sonia, Ben, and Josh: Worst travel companions ever
18 May 2016

Sonia, Ben, and Josh: Worst travel companions ever

Photos: Travel SSBD

Sonia, Ben, Josh: we love you, but after hearing about your (mis)adventures on Travel SSBD, we’re thinking twice about ever going on a trip with you all.

From exploiting each other’s greatest fears, to watching each other sleep, to mistaking mosquito patches for condoms, these three get up to a lot of mischief – both together and separately – when they’re abroad. Keep reading to find out who is afraid of marine life, who uses a Bible for protection, who has a knack for lulling babies to sleep on a plane. 

Benjamin Kheng
Benjamin Kheng
18 May 2016

Benjamin Kheng

On what he’s like as a travel buddy:

“I’m down to try anything as long as it doesn’t have to deal with my phobias,” Ben said. “I am extremely scared of heights and fish. Anything that is not filleted or in cooked form will freak me out.”

As luck would have it, Ben had to face his fears while in Jakarta for Travel SSBD as the itinerary included both abseiling and snorkeling. The heights, he could deal with. But the fish were a whole other story:  “I kept trying to punch them because I was so scared.” 

Sonia, the crew, and the guides spared no mercies once they found out about Ben’s unusual phobia. “She [Sonia] just added onto it! She was really enjoying herself and the crew was just really giving it to me. The guy who was swimming and snorkeling with us would have these crumbs – I tried swimming away, but he was fast – and then they would release the crumbs right in front of me so that the fish would come.”

On whether he’s spontaneous or more of a planner:

“Before army, I was definitely more of a winger,” Ben said. “Army teaches you to be boring. These days I feel a need to plan an itinerary.”

On the strangest thing inside his travel bag:

“When I was competitive swimming, we would have to bring along a lot of gear: pool boy, flippers, paddles, people would get confused, and I would always get asked ‘what is this?’ at immigration,” Ben said. 

Travel SSBD - Jakarta (With Benjamin Kheng) will be released on Toggle.sg this Friday, May 20.  

Benjamin Kheng
Benjamin Kheng
18 May 2016

Benjamin Kheng

On his most memorable travel story:

Ben immediately launched into a spooky incident from his stint on Travel SSBD. “On the first day, we were just about done and were asked if we wanted to do something fun – did we want to walk on the other side of the street. So I thought, ‘how shocking could this be?’ So we took a short walk along the Orchard Road of Jakarta when suddenly there was this procession with all the folklore and the spirits of Indonesia. They were really committed to acting it out. Like, I saw this lady with an explosion in her stomach and holding a dead baby.”

On the worst person he has ever had to sit next to on a plane:

“Sonia,” he said, grumbling jokingly about how easily she can sleep through a plane ride compared to himself. “We travel long distances and she gets this long sleep. And she still looks very glamorous when she sleeps, and when I sleep, it’s like (makes unintelligible noises). It’s annoying how well she sleeps.”

Oh come on, Ben, we’re sure Sonia’s even more annoyed about the fact that you watch her while she's snoozing away. 

On what he learned about Sonia during their trip together:

“First off, she’s really not afraid to get down and dirty, jumping into oceans and climbing mountains. She’s also really hardworking. Jakarta traffic is really bad, and she had some recordings to do for her radio show, she did 12 sets in the back of the bus. She was so normal and cheerful! And she knows how to hold her liquor.”

On what he’s learned about himself while traveling:

“I learned that I am not that afraid of heights, but I am still very afraid of fish.”

Travel SSBD - Jakarta (With Benjamin Kheng) will be released on Toggle.sg this Friday, May 20.  

Joshua Tan
Joshua Tan
18 May 2016

Joshua Tan

On what he’s like as a travel buddy:

“I’m a really easygoing travel buddy. I have minimal quirks. When you travel solo, you can do whatever you want to do, but I still prefer to travel with friends because you can hang out and do stupid stuff.”

On whether he’s more of a nature person, city person, or an adventure person: 

While Joshua said that he prefers nature, having been deprived of it in Singapore, he admitted that the Travel SSBD trip to Pattaya was a bit out of his comfort zone.

“I enjoy adventurous stuff but this was too ‘ON’. We did skydiving and I’m afraid of heights. I also get really bad motion sickness. They didn’t tell us what we were going to do during the trip, so when we drove up and saw that we were going skydiving, I was like, ‘WHAAAAT’.  The last time I’d gone skydiving, I was nauseous for three hours afterward. And lo and behold, SSBD decided to do it.”

“Afterward, I was so nauseous, but then we straightaway went to the bus. And the next activity was speedboating. I was really, really bumpy and I just lost it, everyone saw what I had for lunch that day.”

On his scariest travel story:

“Activity-wise, skydiving was the scariest. But there was one time when my friends and I went on a road trip in Melbourne – we had hardly any petrol, and we were half an hours’ drive away from our destination. This was like the countryside, with no gas station, and we were freaking out because there was no way we could push the car 50 kilometers! Thank god we had enough petrol to reach so it was fine but I was really scared for a while.”

WATCH: Travel SSBD Ep 7 - Sonia Gets All Chummy With Joshua Tan in Pattaya 

Joshua Tan
Joshua Tan
18 May 2016

Joshua Tan

On the strangest thing inside his travel bag:

“What might be strange to me might not be strange to you,” Joshua said, rather lamely, until we prompted him with Ben’s story about the paddles. “I’m not as dodgy as Ben.”

“But okay – I have a Bible in there because I’m quite a scaredy-cat and I feel it can protect me.”

On the worst person he has ever had to sit next to on a plane:

“I’ve been pretty blessed, I’ve always sat next to people who are nice,” Josh said, which we didn’t believe for a second. C’mon, Josh, not even screaming infants?

“Nah, it’s like an ability, when babies are around me they fall asleep,” Josh said. Ah Boy to baby whisperer? Who knew?

On what he learned about Sonia on Travel SSBD:

Joshua describes Sonia as “super wild”, “so full on”, and “so adventurous.”

“When we arrived at the skydiving area, she went bananas. She was so happy. She was yelling and screaming her head off because she was so enthu and I thought, ‘I have to do it too, I can’t let everyone see that I would lose to a girl’. I was stressed out! But once we were in the air, Sonia started losing her s***. I was the opposite, when the plane took off, I somehow got a sense of calm. There was no way out of it, and I couldn’t escape, so I became very calm and it was more enjoyable. Sonia was the complete opposite.”

On where he wants to travel next:

"I would love to go to Turkey and Greece because I'm fascinated by medieval history, like castles, and the romance of medieval times, especially since I minored in it [in university]. Turkey is a melting pot between Europe and Asia, and many legendary conflicts, like the Trojan War, happened there. Plus, there are kebabs, hummus, I would go crazy there.”

WATCH: Travel SSBD Ep 7 - Sonia Gets All Chummy With Joshua Tan in Pattaya 

Sonia Chew
Sonia Chew
18 May 2016

Sonia Chew

What she is like as a travel buddy:

“I’m quite a fun travel buddy, I tend to be mischievous – if you give me a fun travel buddy like on the show, I tend to always have a lot of pranks up my sleeve. I try to get it captured on camera if possible, so hopefully you’ll catch some of those moments.”

“When I’m traveling alone I’m a little bit more reserved, but I love to make new friends when I travel overseas. I went to U.K on my own, and I was supposed to meet a friend there, but we ended up making friends with a bus full people on a road trip to Amsterdam. It’s good to do things like this when you’re younger and can tank a 15-hour trip from say, Bristol to Amsterdam.”

“I love an adventure!” she continued. “When I’m with a bunch of friends, we go around looking for food, and it gets confusing, we ask ourselves ‘are we traveling for food or eating to travel’?”

On the strangest thing inside her travel bag:

I have these mosquito patches that look like condoms. So basically, I dropped a whole stack of them once and someone thought it was condoms. It’s not your regular mosquito patch with the blue casing, it’s a semi-transparent cover with a smiley face on it, they come in packs of 10, and most people mistake them for condoms when they come across them. They would GASP and ask ‘what is that?!’, and I have to explain myself and say it’s a mosquito patch and they’re just like, ‘okayyyy.’

On what she found out about Josh and Ben while traveling with them:

“Josh is afraid of heights. He gets scared very easily. But the good part is that they’re both very game for anything for sure, they tolerate my games and my pranks very well. And Ben is afraid of fish….” 

Sonia Chew
Sonia Chew
18 May 2016

Sonia Chew

On the way she pranked Ben while snorkeling: 

Sonia burst out laughing when we told her that Ben had shared the story with us. “We all pranked him in the ocean! We purposely made fish go around him. When we came up for lunch there was fish on the table and we were like wow, he can’t catch a break.”

“Something else I found out about Ben and Josh though is that no matter what situation you put them in, they still look good. It’s like they’re unicorns. Why. How. Even after throwing up, even after jumping off a plane, even after diving and being afraid of fish, Ben would still look great and I would have to touch up my hair and they would just be flawless. There’s some magic going on there but I don’t know what it is.”

On the worst person she has ever sat next to on a plane:

“There was an incident where I sat next to a guy who was constantly on his laptop and reading a book. He would keep being on technology. He had his light on and I couldn’t sleep, and it was a 13 hour fight. I tried to ask him to like, you think u wanna move? And he didn’t respond to me. He looked at me blankly and continued doing his thing.”

On the most interesting person she has met while traveling:

“It was in LA. I met this gorgeous girl in LA, at this bar, and she was actually with her boyfriend and a bunch of friends. And she bought me a drink! And it was so unusual because in Singapore that just doesn’t happen, unless a guy buys one for you, but she bought me a drink and she said, ‘you look so unusual, I love your style, I wanted to say hi,’ so our groups of friends combined and we hung out all night at the bar-lounge place. We still keep in touch on Instagram, and I was only in LA for two nights, so I think it’s great when you can make friends like that.”

Have you recovered from your trips yet?

“No, I’m still extremely exhausted because I came straight to work on Tuesday, there’s no time to recover and rest between trips, but by the time the trip begins, I’m so excited that I forget about being tired.”  

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