tiny wanderer in Germany

A Year in Germany (Part One)

Usually friends find it hard to keep up with my whereabouts when I was still clinging on tightly to my identity as a nomad. Texts and emails that start with, “Where are you now, Ying?” are not unusual. It was always fun,and privileged to say the least, to come up with a different answer each day. Yes, last week I was in Dubrovnik and today I’m in Ajaccio—life rocks as a traveller. Traipsing from places to places had defined me. While others had labels like “The Career Woman”, “The Fun One”, “The Doctor”, I was simply called “The Wanderer”. That suited me just fine.

But these days, my answer to the question above is less exotic. I’ve been answering ‘Germany’ for a better part of the year.

Yes, The Wanderer have been living in Germany for a year. And a little bit more. Apart from a handful of short road trips (I consider 2 days to 2 weeks short), I have been a true resident of the quiet Hermsdorf.

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how i afford to travel the world

How I Afford A Life Of Constant Travel

Dear Mum,

I hope this postcard finds you well. It’s been a while since we last heard from each other. If there was Internet in Heaven, you might have probably read here that I’d quit my job to travel the world. Don’t worry, before you get yourself too worried, yes—I’m still in one piece despite having travelled to more than 65 countries.

And no, dad didn’t sponsor me. How could he have afforded to? He had only saved up enough to allow me to finish my degree in an Australian university. I am eternally grateful to him for doing so but I had a hard time persuading him that the world has more to offer than a regular pay cheque. He couldn’t have understood my intentions then but now, I’m glad that he has come to grudgingly accept that I would never be quite the regular Malaysian girl next door.

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Vipassana Meditation Retreat Experience by Tiny Wanderer

A Journey Within (A 10-Day Vipassana Meditation Retreat Experience)

People who know me personally call me animated, exuberant even.

Okay, I admit I can get pretty talkative when it comes to talking about things I care about or to people that I connect easily with. Yup, I’m one of those people who just can’t shut up once triggered. My voice raises a few decibels higher (this is embarrassing normally, especially in a public place), my facial expressions move in sync to match the speed and the passion of my speech, while my hands gesture wildly to complement the whole conversation in action.

So imagine, when I first toyed with the idea of enrolling myself in a 10-day silent Vipassana retreat, friends arched an eyebrow quizzically.

“Really Ying? Why torture yourself?” I pretended they had only my best interests in mind.

So I did it and survived. That was almost a decade ago. Till this day, I still could recall vividly the lessons that I’d learned while struggling through the entire duration. It was one of the ten hardest days in my life. I was almost reduced to tears. But while I didn’t find answers to any life’s mysteries, I caught several moments of clarity. These moments of clarity also helped me stay present and mindful while travelling.

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12 Ways To Kick-Start Your First Solo Travel Experience

Did you imagine the start of your travels to be somewhat like this?

A regular family is eating dinner quietly, when all of a sudden, the youngest of the family, the mousiest of the lot, suddenly drops her fork with a clatter, announces to her parents that she’s going to globetrot, her parents cheer and then, the next thing you know, she’s wandering into the heart of Patagonia, with a backpack and saucepans clanging on the side.

Yes, you did and worse of all, you truly believed in that little story that you’d made up. You haven’t started your travels because you’re waiting for that one-size-fit-all-sure-fire-formula that will turn you from an ordinary being into an extraordinary adventurer. While waiting for this formula to drop from the sky, you thought perhaps it’ll be just be easier to travel vicariously through your favourite travel blogs.

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maldives banner

The Other Side of Paradise: Maafushi, Maldives

As the ferry slowly pulled up to the pier, the large hanging grey clouds rumbled slowly, threatening to rain. Chris and I looked uncertainly the sky and then at our approaching destination: Maafushi Island of Maldives.

We had been super excited when we spotted a reasonably affordable guesthouse on Maafushi while researching for accommodation on the Internet. Double rooms started from USD35—it felt almost too good to be true!

However, as Maafushi grew closer and closer, my heart sank a little.

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Maldives On The Cheap: How I Backpacked Maldives For Less Than USD 300

I bet you’re about to hate me.

You’re huddling in your cramped office cubicle, wishing that you were anywhere else but there.

You wince as you scroll through the page. One after another, photos of sparkling turquoise waters revealing itself slowly and almost mockingly. You can almost breathe the balmy air; taste salt on your lips.

Reading about someone else’s vacation on the Maldives is like smashing salt into your gaping wound, and yet, you can’t seem to tear yourself away from the page.

Well, don’t.

Because I’m about to tell you how you can do the same without having to sell your first-born. Or that shiny new gadget of yours.

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Life in small-town Germany : Part 1

 WHERE IN GERMANY ARE YOU LIVING IN AGAIN?

 

I‘m growing comfortable living in a little German village called Hermsdorf. To the uninitiated, it’s somewhere in the state of Thuringia, where the nearest bigger cities would be Jena and Gera. Leipzig and Erfurt would be an hour away while Berlin a mere 2.5 hour drive.

 

Still lost? Me too. I knew nothing about Hermsdorf before I got here.

 

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Dawei Myanmar

Discovering Dawei

Mornings in Dawei city start with a hearty breakfast at our hotel.

 

At Shwe Moung Than hotel, the $18 per night price tag not only offers a lovely double-room with a private bathroom, but also daily breakfast at the highest floor. The breakfast menu varies so everyday is a pleasant discovery of local Burmese dishes. The van driver who drove us from Htee Khee border town to Dawei sure knows the best places to stay in.

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Reflections of 2014

Reflections of 2014 (And Some Favourite Travel Highlights)

Admit it. We always turn pensive when New Year’s Eve rolls by.

The last day of each year, somehow commands an enormous power to make us think. Whether you like it or not, you tend to contemplate, to muse and chew on the little high and low moments of the year that went.

I rang in the New Year by making a dish of Malaysian chicken curry for my new-found German friends at their place. I’d tried my best to emulate the simple flavours of home but without the right ingredients, it didn’t turn out the way I’d wanted.

The curry was way too creamy, the chicken not flavourful enough.

But because it was already late and everyone was hungry, I couldn’t just dump the dish into the bin and make another. Besides, I didn’t have enough ingredients to start making another one.

Unfortunately, for me, the dish must be served.

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