Travel

“Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.” — Terry Pratchet

Travel. That’s what I really wanna do this year. I travel almost once a month for work, but it’s not the same as a personal trip, a trip to a new place I haven’t been before. Or if it’s to a place I’ve been before, I want to see more and do more. The tug-of-war between wanting to travel more and the constraints of time and money. Sigh.

Anyway, since we’re on the topic of travel, check out NatGeo’s Travel 365: 20 Most Popular Photos of 2012

Leveling Up

Chanced upon this amazing website/blog called Nerd Fitness which talks about fitness, training and diet, but what really struck a chord was their focus on mental attitude and the founder’s Epic Quest of Awesome. IT’S SUPER COOL.

Basically, each time you cross something off your bucket list, you gain 20% towards your “next level”. Obviously once you gain 100% you “level up”. The more I read about Steve’s accomplishments, the more inspired I got. Sure, I’ve got a bucket list, but there isn’t really a push factor for me to set out to accomplish each and every one of them. I mostly list them down so I can dream about them, or hopefully one day have the heavens shine down on me and allow me to magically cross them off. With this system, you actually have a push factor to accomplish each and every single thing on your bucket list, no matter how big or small they are! And how nice it’ll be to one day look back and say “Aye, I’m now a level XX and I’ve leveled up till here by doing XXXXX”. 

So yes, I’m now revisiting my bucket list so I can add more and actually work towards accomplishing them!

Some clarity

Today marks the first of many fulfilling me-time Fridays. Randomness led to me ordering Pizza Hut for supper, sipping my hot green tea and reading Tuesdays with Morrie. 2 hours later, I found myself half-drugged (thanks to my drowsy meds) but still with some clarity on life, and death. Snippets, as always –

We’re so wrapped up with egotistical things, career, family, having enough money, meeting the mortgage, getting a new car, fixing the radiator when it breaks — we’re involved in trillions of little acts just to keep going. So we don’t get into the habit of standing back and looking at our lives and saying, “Is this all? Is this all I want? Is something missing?”

“Oh if I were young again.” You know what that reflects? Unsatisfied lives. Unfulfilled lives. Lives that haven’t found meaning. Because if you’ve found meaning in your life, you don’t want to go back. You want to go forward. You want to see more, do more.

And another one that struck a chord,

Death ends a life, not a relationship.

Be the change you want to see

Some heartfelt thoughts for a change instead of random blabber. The past month has been rough and amidst it all I’m trying to discover who I am and who I want to be. More importantly, I’m starting to create a life I’m proud to live. Which begs the question, what kind of life do I want to live? What makes me proud of who I am?

Right now, I’m still searching, learning, and growing. I’m learning to make my happiness a priority. To choose happiness above all else. So, I’m happy when I run because it means I’m taking care of my health. I’m happy when I travel because it means I have the luxury of not being tied down to a day job. I’m happy when I meet friends, but I’m also happy spending time alone. I’m happy when I’m surrounded by nature and being overwhelmed by it. It’s a very simple rule, really. Simply, do more of what makes you happy.

I read this somewhere – The best day of your life is the one on which you decide your life is your own. No apologies or excuses. No one to lean on, rely on, or blame. The gift is yours – it is an amazing journey and you are responsible for the quality of it. This is the day your life really begins.

Also – Dream what you want to dream, go where you want to go, be what you want to be. Because you have only one life and one chance to do all the things you want to do.

And finally – Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you’ve imagined. 

Don’t be scared to walk alone. Don’t be scared to like it. I’m still shaping what defines me. More importantly, to create a life I’m really proud to live.

A turn of events

On my third day in Bangkok, Steph texted me early in the morning and asked if I was still in Bangkok. I jokingly replied “Yes! R u coming” and she said she was thinking of flying over. Fast forward a few hours and we were having dinner together at some random restaurant near her hotel. Lol! Who would’ve expected that eh? We spent Saturday shopping, my friend gave us a lift to Chatuchak (I really do have awesome friends heh) and after having some awesome coconut ice cream, we headed to MBK for dinner and back to the hotel for a massage. Best massage EVER! Lol.

Wow. I really had an amazingly refreshing trip. I’ve always wanted to travel alone, and I finally did! Ivan was never really comfortable with me traveling alone, in fact I was so close to chickening out after booking the hotel. Then Gen texted me wishing me a safe trip and told me that traveling alone is one of the best and most liberating things. So I plucked up some courage and headed to the airport. At least for the first 3 days when I was alone, I really felt like all my time was my own. No need for driving people around, keeping track of others’ schedules, attending to work at specific times of the day, you get the picture. I could take a nap whenever I wanted, eat whatever I wanted, and go wherever I wanted to go. But of course, coming back to reality, it’s not a sustainable lifestyle. As much as I’d love to live as my own independent person, there will always be things to worry about – work, family, money. But for what it’s worth, I had one of the most amazing trips ever 🙂 The only way it could be better was if I were in Bali! Hahahaha!

Day One

A day of firsts, the most obvious being that this trip is the first time I’m travelling overseas alone. Five stars for bravery.

My day began with me meeting up with Eric at the airport. I was there at about 9, realized that Eric probably just started work, and gave him a call. The funny guy rushed over from T2 (where his desk is) just to “send me off”. We took a picture together cos apparently he’s going to start a photo album of “people he has sent off while at work”. LOL. Super random but I guess we’re that good friends. And I’m also betting that my face will show up the most in this album of his lol.

Anyway, I didn’t sleep on the plane cos the guy next to me kept talking to me and I was too polite to refuse conversation. So I trudged around Bangkok half-dead for the first half of the day. I finally gave up at 5pm, went back to the hotel and took a nap. AN AFTERNOON NAP! I have not had a siesta in I don’t know, months??? Lol. Woke up an hour later, showered, and met up with my friends for dinner. I can’t stress how much I love Bangkok, the friendly faces – from the coffee guy who sees me 10 metres away and starts preparing a cup of iced mocha, and the wonton mee lady who knows my order at the back of her head, even though I only visit here once a month. My wonderful friends who found out that I was here alone on this trip and immediately offered to take me out for dinner saying that I could tell my mom not to worry cos “if you’re in Bangkok alone, we’ll take care of you”. Wow.

Growing

Every year this day I allow myself to be sad. Just this one day. To remind myself why I am the way I am, why I do the things I do, and who I do the things I do for. See, death is a funny thing. It haunts people. You’d think time heals all wounds, I think it just numbs it. I guess I haven’t been in a good place (emotionally) in awhile, what with work, graduation, and family all coming together at the same time. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger but it also makes you fucking tired. So yes, I’m tired. Exhausted, really. But come tomorrow, it’ll be fine. Cos that’s how this “one-sad-day-a-year” works. You feel sad, then you grow out of it.

So, picking phrases from a song that’s on replay in my head – in my darkest place, you were my guide. So I’m hoping if you hear this, you believe that all that I do is to make you proud.

Every year I say this, and I’ll say it again. I’d give so much just to have you back.