The 30-year journey, and to many more.

If you think I love travelling, you need to look no further than my parents to understand why. I grew up in a family where travelling is an annual ritual (we would have a big family trip for two weeks every year) that I have no idea how to live my life any other way.

Now that the kids have grown up with two of us living abroad, my parents seem to bear the torch of our family tradition very well. They would be in China one day, Thailand next, some other city in Indonesia afterwards and Singapore probably a few weeks after. Sometimes I lost track of where they are, and would wake up to a constant stream of pictures of them posing with some landmarks that were definitely not anywhere near our home in Jakarta.

So, really, I could just blame it on the genes that I am spending so much time (and money) travelling, all in the name of satisfying my sense of curiosity. Not that it is a bad gene to have, I have been having the time of my life for the past few years exploring new places around the world.

However, it is a bit ironic that the very thing my parents have inspired me with, this unwavering sense of wander, is what makes me unable to be with them on this very special day. Today marks the 30th year of their journey together as man and wife, and here I am, way up north in a different continent and very much wish that I could be there with them today to celebrate.

My parents haven’t just been parents to me, their (slightly rebellious) daughter. They have been my role models in life, work and relationships. They are the rare example of how long-distance relationships can work (they spent several years in different countries and continents before getting married to each other), they teach me the meaning of being with each other through thick and thin, and simply how you can make things work if you have the will to.

Their humble journey started from their hometown in Medan, before eventually moving to Jakarta where they started to build a family while still trying to make ends meet. Now when they can afford to live comfortably, they have decided to spend the time conquering city after city with each other.

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And just enjoying each other’s company, basically.

Even though things haven’t always been easy for them and my family, it is heartwarming and refreshing to see their determination all these years through the hardship in life, and learning together to overcome their differences to be where they are today.

One of my favourite travel quotes comes from one of Malaysian Airlines advertisement campaigns (before their reputation went down due to the missing planes saga). I remember stumbling upon it on my way home from work and just stood there thinking that this pretty much sums up what I wish for in my life.

My parents have been lucky travellers who find that great someone in each other to journey this life together. I certainly hope to find mine too one day.

Happy 30th wedding anniversary, Mom and Dad! 🙂

Remembering Mr Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore.

Last week was a very long and emotional week in Singapore.

Eight days ago, the country woke up to the horrible news that Mr Lee Kuan Yew, the Founding Father of Singapore has passed away at the age of 91.

To say that the whole nation was struck with grief is an understatement. Eulogies after eulogies filled my Facebook news feed. I know of friends who cried to their sleep every night since the fateful Monday. I teared seeing the Prime Minister of this country almost broke down in tears during his speech at the state funeral.

Nevertheless, it was a memorable week, one that I would even say I was very privileged to witness. I can’t think of any other political leaders who seem to be so well loved by his people, that they attributed the success of a whole nation to him. The commendations were very well deserved, in my opinion, and there truly aren’t that many people who have successfully brought a tiny little island in Asia from being a third world nation to a first world country.

Continue reading “Remembering Mr Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore.”

For the love of writing.

I love writing. I really do. But for some reason, when I have to write about a topic unfamiliar to me or as part of an assignment that I will be appraised on, I get stressed about it. Perhaps because of how I have been labelled as a good writer, the expectations get a little too much at times.

I just finished writing my very first article at my new workplace. It was not even that difficult, just on an event that we have recently participated in, but for some reason I mulled over it a lot and it consumed a lot of my brain cells thinking not about the content but about how people would perceive my writing. And when I was finally done with it last night (or early this morning, rather), I felt so relieved that I had to reward myself with something: more writing.

Contrary to popular belief, I find writing difficult. It takes a lot of effort for me to come up with a piece with good content and coherent sentences. But I like it so much that I find myself keep doing it; perhaps precisely because it is difficult, I simply have to master it, and it could very well be the reason why I love it so much.

The thing about writing is that it always starts with a blank page. And blank pages can be both exciting and daunting at the same time. There is a whole story for you to create there, a word-masterpiece waiting to take shape. A blank page is going to stay that way if you don’t start writing on it, word by word, as painful and difficult as it sometimes is to do. But the magic about writing is, as you pen down your first word, the second will inevitably come, and the third, and the fourth, and the next paragraph will follow and in time you would fill up the page with your thoughts. And the blank page is gone, just like that, replaced by your very own creation.

The thing about writing is, when you have written something that is truly your own, you will want to do nothing else but create more. It is a point of no return.

So Happy Valentine’s Day everyone. I hope you get to spend time with the people you love, doing something that you love.

With the special friend who has been a huge influence in my love for writing, and from whom I just received a very happy email today! 🙂

Inspiration: The Everywhereist.

I haven’t been feeling the best the past few days. I’m not sure if it was because last week was a particularly good week that I had to compensate for it by having a crappy one right after. Or perhaps it was Monday blues gone bad that extended all the way until Thursday. Or perhaps my body was operating mainly on the seven cakes that I ate last week and the sudden dip in the number of cake consumption severely affected my mood.

Anyway, I can’t tell the cause for certain, but I know for sure what the effects are: sulky face and muddy mind with a severe writer’s block. Good thing for me, I have a surefire way which helps to alleviate this: reading my favourite travel blog the Everywhereist.

I had always thought that I was a good reader. When I was younger, I would spend hours reading a novel, absorbing every single word that the author wrote. I would feel a sharp pang of disappointment whenever I finished a novel and would be begging for more words. These days, it is really hard to keep my concentration at one place. I would start walking around after two pages of reading, or maybe browse through different things on the net instead of focusing on a webpage. Ironically, I find myself dreading reading most travel blogs, not because they are not great, but because I may have developed some kind of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD).

But the Everywhereist is different. Geraldine’s writing style makes me hang on to every word she writes. Not many people know this, but the Everywhereist is one of the main reasons that this blog even exists in the first place. I got very bored previously writing a travel blog where I spelled out my itinerary for the day, the tourist attractions that I saw, etc. But reading Geraldine’s blog gives me the reassurance that I am not alone in being fascinated by little things encountered during travels and not the normal touristy stuff.

Continue reading “Inspiration: The Everywhereist.”