Sunday, November 17, 2013
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
Thursday, September 19, 2013
My solo trip to New Zealand has done so much good to me. I'm absolutely smitten with the country and came back, feeling that I'm forever changed.
That's the beauty of travel and now I know why, some chose to travel indefinitely.
Travels also teaches us on things that we don't notice before.
Here are three lessons I've learnt during my recent trip and they have somehow etched into how I see life.
1)You carry your world wherever you go and you choose how to deal with it
Running away is overrated. It may take you out of familiarity but it lurks somewhere in the brain and tugs at the heart. Being in a new environment helps in distracting you but only for awhile. Your world follows you wherever you go, unless you opt for a lobotomy. So what do you do when the world you wanted to leave behind reveals to you?
There are two ways. You worry while you missed out on living the moment or you choose to be present.
Running away is a romantic notion but you can't run away from dealing with it. Choosing not to deal with it is also dealing with it.
2) Goodbyes are not hard
Everyone loves a beginning. Hello is nice but we've invented so many words and phrases for goodbye.
When you're on the road, and you meet people, spent good time with them, then you need to leave. Before you part, there's so many promises of seeing each other again and keeping in touch.
Some finds it hard to say goodbye but I noticed, seasoned travellers do them with so much ease. I'm not trying to say that they've grown cold to developing human connection but they know, goodbyes are just part of parcel of life on the road. Only when we're travelling, each short experience is intensified with the accumulated experience together.
This teaches me to appreciate the moments with someone because they may be all we have in this life. The keeping in touch part will happen if both is willing. If not, that part of memory is always be there with who you've created with.
So, goodbyes are not hard even if we think it is. It's simple and shouldn't take too much of our emotions.
3) We have our own journeys to complete
While I was travelling in New Zealand, I've came across two occasions that I really enjoyed and met people whom I wished I had more time with.
I tried to work around my schedule to prolong my time but I always need to get back on the road again to resume my journey. I could choose to be spontaneous but I guess, my frame of mind and heart told me, I need to continue on my journey.
It works the same for everyone. We all have our own journeys to ccomplete. It's not only for travelling people, but to everyone. Our journeys are how we live our life and the goals that we try to pursue.
We shouldn't stop our intended journeys unless your heart tells you so. If not, you'll need to get back on the road.
Do you have any lessons you've learnt while travelling? If yes, what are they?
Monday, August 19, 2013
|Auckland Art Gallery|
People say, "Whoa, you are so brave" - when they knew I was going to do it alone. Fact is, I am not. Brave travelers are those who explored eagerly upon stepping off the plane and are willing to get lost or bruised in adventures. I didn't start out that brave and I certainly am afraid of getting lost.
I hate getting lost. I hate detours. I hate confusion. But the fact is, we need to get lost sometimes. We need detours from original plans because, some plans just don't happen.
As a person of faith, I also have to constantly remind myself, to let go and let God step in. He knows better.
Another fear of mine was navigating around. I can't read maps to save my life. My sense of direction is all over the place. Hence, the first day of my exploration of Auckland, is within a very small radius.
However, my cousins were living in city centre, which made it very easy to get around.
I am an impatient person. For better, for worst. When I travelled with him, he's always the one reading maps and navigating for the both of us. Now that I am alone, I am forced to remember pathways, street names and how to get back to somewhere.
Hence, it felt like, I was playing the game of Starcraft. All I had in front of me, is a small lighted circle of area while the rest are pitch black.
And I had to slowly, meekly, explore further, pushing more and more out of the familiar circle in order to get further.
|Barren winter trees|
Sitting down, I thought, "Okay. This is what you wanted right? Just sit and watch the world go by."
The weeks before were jam packed with never ending list of to-dos. I barely had time to breathe. Let alone, reflect big stuff. As I sat down in that chilled afternoon, I let out a long exhale.
And I got what I wished for.
I met a young Chinese guy, who asked if I was travelling to New Zealand. It wasn't hard to guess, as I was holding a travel guide book in one hand and my passport in the other.
He was also heading to New Zealand and our thing in common - we were both travelling alone. He said, he wanted to learn how to be independent. That's the thing about solo travels - they are crash course in gaining independence. Very much like the modern version of coming-of-age young men from ancient tribes, going off into the wilderness to prove their manhood.
He headed straight to Christchurch on a connecting flight while I boarded the Super Shuttle service to Auckland city centre.
We bade farewell and wished each other luck before we parted. He took my number but I've yet to hear from him. I'm curious to know how his adventure turned out to be.
To be honest, I didn't like Auckland at first. It was gloomy and rainy. In the entire journey there, I had mixed emotions. I left for this journey in hopes of finding clarity, answers to whatever that's been halting me from living to the fullest. Yet, throughout that 18-hour journey, I couldn't conceptualize what were those questions.
As I layered with the fleece jacket I bought prior to my trip, I kept thinking, what if this turns out to be a shitty holiday? I hate the cold but yet I chose to come to New Zealand in winter. What if I hated traveling alone?
So many what ifs.
I have always travelled with him. Yet, to come here on my own without him, feels weird. And lonely. Yet, he was the reason I bought those tickets. Clarity. I needed.
When the shuttle arrived in Waldorf Tetra, where my cousins lived, there were two silhouettes waiting. I couldn't see their faces but I knew it was them. I hugged both tightly, happy that there are familiar faces that consoled me before I set off on my own.
That night, I went to bed. Lonely. Confused. Depressed.
Little did I know, this was just the prelude. Prelude can be negative. That's fine because the unfolding story and finale matters more.
Journeys, they reveal the within. That's what solo travellers seek.
We want to push the edge to see how far we can go.
We want to know ourselves in ways that familiarity can never reveal.
We want to seek.
We always want to seek.
|Rainbow over Auckland|
To be honest, New Zealand wasn't first on my list. Looking back, I think I was incredibly stupid to have never looked that way.
Back in May, I just wanted to get away. Anywhere, as far as possible. I was stuck, in a rut - everything seemed hopeless and my natural instinct is just to go away. I know that's not very mature of me but it was a natural reaction. I went on skyscanner - which I think is God sent! and, I took a good look at the world map. I have to say that I am very lucky to be able to point to anywhere on the globe, and have the opportunity to go that way.
My initial choice was Mongolia but time was a hindrance. With only 12 days, it would be a waste to go that far off and not cover as much as I can. Then, seeing that I will be traveling alone, Mongolia seemed a little dauting for a first time solo female traveller.
Then I remember, I have cousins in Auckland, New Zealand. The fares were great and it's a great place to go solo. Plus, everyone speaks English there. The plan was to fly in to Auckland, see familiar faces and then, go around on my own, which I did.
New Zealand is an amazing country. I never thought much of it until I was there. I got what I wanted when I wanted to go somewhere far.
New Zealand is more than 6,000 miles away from Malaysia.
It is the closest country to the South Pole.
It's landscapes of rough and jagged mountains, deep valleys and trenches, fjords - are unique only to New Zealand.
It's volatile nature lying on the tectonic Pacific plates made it seemed dangerous and unpredictable but it's really not.
New Zealand is breathtakingly beautiful with an endless array of activities that literally takes your breathe away.
Hence, my 10 days in New Zealand has made me realized - life will never be the same every again.