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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wanderlust tiny wanderer

Doing Wanderlust (By Opening Up Your Heart To The World)

SOME TIME IN 2009…

I unscrewed the large metallic screws that held my cabin’s porthole tight and looked out. The real threat of Somalian pirates has passed-we’re free to enjoy the transient but majestic ocean vistas once again. Looking out from Deck 3, the ocean appears close; occasionally a whiplash of water would graze the surface of the porthole. The night was jet-black, the horizons indistinguishable except for the lash, swash and slosh of the waves against the vessel, illuminated by the neon on the promenade deck. I pressed my face against the porthole, unable to take my eyes off the constant motion of the ocean and thought, “I never want to stop wandering.”

What exactly is this insatiable wanderlust that has urged me to throw myself into the maelstrom of romance and ‘consummation’ of far-flung lands? I am not an explorer, a historian nor even an avid tourist, yet consumed with a certain kind of restlessness, I had packed my bags and had set out for the unknown.

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How I Was Denied Boarding at Bangkok International Airport in 2007

My journey around the world didn’t begin with a round-the-world ticket. It didn’t even begin with a ‘I-will-quit-my-job-and-travel-around-the-world’ thought. Such thoughts were too ambitious for a 23-year old Malaysian girl possessed with fervent wanderlust. I had some cash to my name but not enough. No worthy assets that I could sell to fund my travels. No rich parents to loan me some. No credit cards for emergency usage. No travel insurance. Nada. The only things I have, of real value were time, health and some spunk.

So mine begin with a simpler thought: I will take one step, and then another.

I never knew where I’d go and where the road will lead me to. I only planned to keep pushing boundaries and see how far that would take me.

And as the story goes, my miraculous round-the-world journey somewhat kick started with denied boarding.

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It was fun while it lasted (Reflections of an ex-crew member)

Costa Victoria is an old ship but one that has recently been refurbished with new balconies, terraces and windows. Elegantly furnished with a classical nautical style without the modern kitsch, the ship is refined and stately. Even if it’s only a mid-sized ship, it does have 964 cabins, 5 restaurants, 10 bars and at least 14 decks (storeys) to get lost in. For crew members, the Victoria supposed to be one of the better ships to work on after Costa Atlantica and Costa Mediterranea.

Ale showed me around eagerly as I’d never been on the Costa Victoria before. The main halls were decked with fairy lights, Christmas trees and other festive decorations.

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Melbourne Graffitified (The Hunt For The Best Street Art)

Mister A and I have collected a rich, haphazard treasure trove of street art while walking randomly in Collingwood and Fitzroy (inner city suburbs of Melbourne), mainly along Smith St, Kerr St, Argyle St, Gore St, Rose St, Fitzroy St, Nicholson St and its surroundings. We have disappeared behind the dark alleys and local neighbourhoods and found, among the dumpsters and white picket fences, is some of the world’s best street art.

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Of Beginnings (Starting anew in Melbourne)

I squint when the lights come on and the captain’s voice booming over the loudspeaker, announcing that we’re about to touchdown at Melbourne Tullamarine International Airport. Already? My heart beats a little faster. The AirAsia flight was long, uneventful and uncomfortable, even for a pint-sized girl like me, but boredom had given way to fatigue and I’d slept the entire journey.

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bags

Of Endings (Leaving to Travel Yet Again)

A sturdy but slightly dusty 45L red and gray backpack, and an orange waterproof daypack are sitting on the floor, staring back at me. One weighs about 15kg and the other, about 5.

I’m ready. Here I am, standing and scanning at my almost empty and more spacious than usual small room. Most of the furniture are gone-I’ve either sold them or given them away. The other clothes, shoes and a barrage of knick-knacks have been packed away into two small suitcases while some books into a box. I’m no hoarder, as my nomadic lifestyle has never allowed me the luxury to, yet packing took longer than I’ve expected. In between my brief escapades, I’ve only lived in La Maison of Awesomeness (a name my housemates and I have given to our 3-bedroom apartment), for a total of 5 months, but somehow things found its way into my room. All those ‘stuff’-I’ve no more use for them anymore.

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How I Got My Australian Working Holiday Visa

On the 2nd of July at 1.05 am, I am playing cards on the dirty pavement outside the Australian High Commission in Kuala Lumpur with two other fellow CouchSurfers Marcus and Stefano while waiting and sitting in line.

There are about 38 other Malaysians ahead of us, starting with the first girl sitting on a foldable chair, closest to the iron wrung entrance of the High Commission. While we may look like refugees to a passerby, huddling in front of an institution that may promise sanctuary and asylum, we are actually more like a bandwagon of bedraggled aspiring travellers, camping out so that we can secure ourselves a spot of opportunity: our only chance to apply for the Australian Work and Holiday visa for the year 2012.

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Come, sit and have some tea

Hello!

This is my first post and if I may so admit, I’m terrified to the bone.

It has been a while since I’ve put myself out there, trying to speak to the virtual masses, capturing vignettes of life and letting them tumble out of my mind and into words that will make beautiful sense.

What scares me most is not of lack of content, but lack of discipline and faith in my own craft to nurture this space. Will this blog continue to see the light of the day, month after month, year after year? Will I continue to keep this delicate thought sanctuary of mine rich with words and evocative with memories? Or will I allow my resistance  to get the better of me, let it desiccate my creative juices and desire till this blog shrivels into oblivion?

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