“Tell me, what is it you plan to do. With your one wild and precious time?”
– Mary Oliver
I had one goal at the start of the year, and that was not to put off living to the unforeseeable future, not next year, not next month, not next week, not tomorrow.
2015 was the year that I kinda broke free from the toxic chains of procrastination, and started converting some of my plans into actions. Setting the things in motion that ultimately culminated in 2016. It’s the best year, really… One that has exceeded my wildest dreams and any expectations. What started as a 10 weeks career break to travel a bit, eventually lead to an amazing journey of exploration and adventure that span over a period of 6 months.
It wasn’t all just about having fun though; It was a time of personal growth. Getting comfortable with uncertainty/ constant changes, adapting to less-than-ideal environments and living a more minimalistic lifestyle. I’ve said this many times, like a broken recorder, but I’m super thankful to have a very cool Mum, a supportive Dad who never fails to ensure that everything was running fine back home (all the bill payments, checking of mails, mundane but important stuff), a lil’ sis who became the default “Mum” to the 3 boys, and a loving boyfriend who encourages me to embark on this trip of a lifetime.
Life is never always smooth-sailing, and there were, of course, moments that scared the wits out of me. My broken neck became cranky and I feared that I had to undergo an invasive surgery to correct the unstable injury. Luckily, it turned out to be a false alarm but all that worrying lead to another bald spot (a result of alopecia) and more tears. But, I’ll be strong!
The highlights of 2016:
Quit my job and traveled to 16 countries over a span of 6 months
This is probably, by far, one of the scariest thing I’ve ever done. I dare say, leaving the comfort of my relatively stable and promising e-commerce job to pursue an airy dream of “travelling around the globe”, even beats the momentary fear of sky-diving and base-jumping! Many friends prefer to leave such extravagant plans for retirement, when they have more time and money. Yet, time waits for no one, especially in a society where there is an increasing number of people getting cancer, heart attack or kidney failure at an alarming rate. I knew, deep in my heart, that I would be full of regret and resentment, if I were to give up this rare opportunity to fulfill a life-long dream (10 years in the making!) while I’m still young and able, just so that I can fit the bill of a perfect employee.
Was also pleasantly surprised when my dearest Mum offered to join me on our first backpacking trip across Europe and Asia. Many people thought she was nuts to travel “longer than the usual 2-3 weeks holidays” at her age, and assumed that she would be a “liability or burden”. That couldn’t be further from the truth. While it’s true that we had our frustrating moments, I do think that we turned out to be the best travel partners for each other (having lived together for 29 years, and supported each other through tumultuous periods of our lives). 6 months on-the-road served as a great bonding time for the both of us, and I’m truly grateful that it was with my Mum that I shared this amazing journey with, because frankly, I’m not sure when is the next time that I’ll get to travel for an extended period of time with my parents.
✔ A train journey on the legendary Trans-Siberian Railway
✔ Living with the nomads in the plains of Mongolia
✔ Learning to ride a motorbike all by myself in Pai, Thailand
✔ Watching the hot air balloons take off in the mystical land of Bagan, Myanmar
✔ Visited my sponsored kid, Pelsil, in Cambodia
Redecorated my cozy little room
Another activity that has been pending on my “To-Do” list for the longest time. I used to joke that I had to share half the room (the other half was used to house our family’s bookshelves, aka mini-library) with the boyfriend, 3 dogs and 1 fish. Now that we have finally moved the bookshelves to the storeroom, there’s ample of space for me to re-decorate my room and fill it with inspiring quotes and pictures with loved ones! ❤ A living space that I can finally call as my own.
Pursuit of Other Interest
✔ Take up horse-riding lessons at Amigos, JB
✔ Improve my swimming skills
✔ Re-ignite my passion for reading
Volunteer & Give Back
✔ Organised several micro-volunteer activities as a Chapter Lead for Cause Corps
✔ Stop procrastinating and donated blood
Thank you for a fantastic 2016!