Monday, August 2, 2021

I know how to live

5 weeks ago, I bought a one-way flight ticket to Spain to safe myself from an undesirable situation. While most people would think it’s because I got dumped, it really isn’t. It’s everything else but that. It’s exhaustion from people taking advantage of me, draining “friends” who pretend to be there, but when I needed a shoulder to cry on, none can offer an ounce of empathy, never mind support. It’s being lost (temporarily) because life doesn’t go according to (my) plan. It’s being afraid that I was a little too late to start having a family on my own. Obviously, I had pissed a lot of people off doing what I did (packed my bags and left). This is not a solution, it’s just a reaction, and this is my way of coping. You don’t need to understand, and you don’t need to agree. Just let me be.


I discarded my mobile number at the airport and went to Spain with absolutely no plans. I just needed the sunshine, to get out of my comfort zone, to eat fresh, cheap, and delicious Spanish food (and not to forget the vino tinto), to be in a new environment where no one knows my name, no one to judge me or to tell me how to live. A place that I have a chance to be who I want to be, and where I can have a healthy dose of positive perceptive in life. -This off course is the best thing I’ve decided for myself since I’ve started solo travelling 6 years ago. This is what I’ve learnt so far:-


Be true and authentic to yourself


People don’t know you, all they have are just impressions based on a few corrupted opinions they formed (depending on your state of life). They’d tell you to live small, “start from the bottom, because everyone else does”. Don’t listen to them. If I had to marry the first guy who flew to Malaysia to visit me, I’d probably be a housewife in Copenhagen. While being a housewife is an honourable and self-less career, it’s just not my dream career. I had other dream; to be a forensic psychologist. People would tell me how to live (their life); live small and take small risk, and be safe, be normal and follow the crowd. I refused to listen. Instead, I listened to my heart and followed my dreams. I’ve applied to other Universities in UK (and received a few interviews and offers). Truth is, the universe wants us to win, all we have to do is try and give our best shot, not give up and live small. Don’t be scared to dream big, only you know your potential and capabilities. Most importantly, don’t listen to others when they tell you to start from “bottom”.


Another was people asking me if I wasn’t “too tired” of studying. They made us believe that there is a limit (in age) to pursue your dream, or to continue to strive for higher education. This kind of discouragement is an anchor pulling you down. I have witnessed my mother (a loving independent woman) who is 63 years old and still collecting medical diplomas and master degrees (at least 6 that I know of), -that’s how I was brought up; to keep chasing knowledge, be ambitious and strive for the best. “Each of us has far more choices that what we are aware of. We think we are so limited in life that we have to live and do what we are currently doing” (p.178). Which is not true. Don’t stop learning because some “people die at twenty but buried at eighty” (p. 22).They stopped taking risk in life, and they stopped trying, simply because they are afraid to let go of things that makes them feel comfortable, they want to play safe, they are afraid to explore, so they take small risk and live small, as long as they know/think they are safe “in life”. Life that no longer has meaning because they are afraid to live; take risk and opportunities.


Others told me that I fall in love easily. Don’t feel sorry. Being in love is the greatest feeling one can experience. Be in love as many times as you want, because this is how you know you feel amazing and incredible things. Close your eyes and be in love. No rules on earth telling you that you can only be in love ONCE. People are afraid to risk in life, and they don’t want to, so they tell you not to do it, but do it anyway. Don’t be scared to fall in love, to face rejection, to get heartbroken. Boys are beautiful, but you can’t have them all. What you can have, are experiences and memories with them. So be in love and share your love. “The waste of life lies in the love we had not given” (p.51). It’s false to impose the “play hard to get” games on women, because not all women want to play games, not all women want to be treated like a princess. Some of us wants to be equal. To give as much (if not more) than what we receive. And this is the feeling of being in love that others may not be able to understand. They paint a false perception that women must choose wisely, that we can’t give our heart and love easily, because we need to protect ourselves- from what, really? They make other girls feel sorry when relationship doesn’t work- what is there to be sorry about? That’s part and parcel of life, it’s experience and memories- two things these people would never understand because they have only been in love once, and they think that’s how everyone should life their life. I say be in love as many times as you want, with whoever you want, whenever you want!


So I learnt to be true and authentic to myself; that I want to dream big, I want to always be in love and I want to achieve my dream no matter how old I am. “No one’s path is better than the other- they just looked different” (p.65), and this is how I choose my path; to dream big and be in love! The world has become “a place where people have forgotten how to dream” (p.56)- everyone wants to be practical, everyone wants to fit in the crowd, not having the guts to be different, be in love and dream big. I say screw the crowd, not everyone starts from bottom, and not everyone wants to be in love ONCE, not everyone wants to stop studying at 24 years old. Be true to yourself because “fear is the number one factor that caused people to live small, inauthentic lives” (p. 54). At the end of the day, you will thank yourself for listening to yourself and be true to yourself. This is your journey, own it!


I have witnessed a lot of people who are not true to themselves; claiming to be posh, but have no effort to live like the posh (no money, no education, no property on their own, no manners and take advantage of others), people who pray religiously and have good relationship with their Gods but have no moral compass and belittle and talk poorly about others, people who claim to be so self-concern on Covid-19, but can’t even respect a one-way system. Lots of hypocrites in the world. Don’t be one of them. Be true to yourself. Know yourself, your strength and your flaws, be kind and let others speak highly of you.  


Feelings are what makes us human


Feelings are real, don’t avoid them. I have met the most affectionate person who are unable to express his feelings through words but does so with his actions. I have also met couple who avoid confrontations at home, but suppressed their feelings, results to silent treatments, and bitch behind each other’s back, and generally not happy in life. This happened because they denied their feelings, and it’s just a matter of time until they hurt someone else- because they live in a very unhappy life; life that deny each other of expression, opportunity to be heard and understood, potential solutions that could save and strengthen their relationship in the future. “A person closed off from his feelings lacks sensitivity, compassion and empathy” (p.114). So don’t feel sorry to what you are feeling, instead, show it and own it. Cry if you’re sad, dance and laugh if you’re happy because “laughter is the shortest distance between human hearts” (p. 115). I now understand why some people were unable to show an ounce of empathy when I was going through a bad patch, it’s because they are not happy; they are closed off from their feeling resulting for them to deny others to express their feelings as well. I hope when it’s their turn to hit rock bottom, people around them would only show love and support. The world is a better place when we are able to feel what we feel without having to explain and justify ourselves. Everyone goes through bad patches in life, it’s kindness that we show that can help make the world a better place. “People who do not love themselves cannot show love to others, and people who do not have any self-respect have no idea how to give respect to others” (p.161). Love and respect yourself and show love and respect to others. Don’t deny your feelings just so you can look cool and macho. Be real to yourself and let your feelings show the emotions you are experiencing, because that’s the closest thing of us being human and showing humanity.  


Find happiness in life

“Happiness is our birthright” (p.50). I have met a person who owns a house and a job, and a goal and purpose in life, but still can’t be happy. I have seen married women who is loved and has someone to love, a career and everything I would perceive as “perfect” but are still unhappy. I thought I was unhappy because I didn’t have a job, a house, or a person to love, then I realized that happiness comes from within us. “Happiness is an inside job” (p.183). We attach meaning to life, and we decide what makes us happy. If traveling makes you happy, then to hell with what people wants to say. If finding yourself over and over again makes you happy, then do it unapologetically. Do what makes you happy; solo traveling, being lost in nature, being in love, meeting new people, music, cooking, reading, it can be anything. Anything but money and power! Detach ourselves from material and superficial things in world.  In life, I don’t want to be rich or posh, I don’t want to be right and have the last say, I don’t want to be smart and know it all. I want to be authentic, kind and honest. I want to tell people there are some English words that I still don’t know the meaning to or don’t how to pronounce, because I want to learn- and I want to be honest without being judged. I want to offer help and kindness without having to be taken advantage off. Be who you want to be, as long as you are happy, and you are not hurting others. Don’t let your status, money, power and achievements define you, instead, let your values and your heart speak for yourself. 


Travel the world and be a better you

“The world is a great book, of which they who did not stir from home read only a page- St Augustine” (p.126). It saddens me to meet many well-travelled people but are still ignorant and shallow minded- criticize others, lack manners, feel superior. Then I realized that there are different types of traveling; one where you’re are sheltered and protected,  and another where you are curious and want to explore- not only the places, but the culture, the mind, the lifestyle, the differences that separates us from one another- but yet the similarity that makes us one. 


Not long after I started my first solo travel, the people I met have tremendously changed my life. People who have been to national parks, had rainy days and slept with wet clothes, and woke up every day since then thanking god for clean and dry clothes -little things in life we have always looked past. I have met people who has worked the same job for 30 years, no experience to share and no one to share with. I have met a girl who has been in a relationship for 15 years, so hurt and broken but still able to offer love and support to the world. I have met a person who became a father at 19 years old, and now is 40 years old and want to start living his life, or a 61-year-old lady still cycling across Europe because that is what her heart desire. Many people with many experiences- all we have to do is open our eyes, pay attention and listen to their stories. These stories are insights that makes us be a better person, to know one’s story without having to go through them, to have sympathy and empathy on things we can’t imagine happening to us, to be humble and realize that we don’t know it all (even if we think we do). Some people told me that backpacking is a “teenage phrase”. It isn’t. I have witness people in 50s still backpacking across the world, seeking the truth and self-discovering. Moving from one place to another, being flexible, taking up challenges, and most importantly, getting out of their comfort zone and getting to know the world. 


Good news for ladies, backpacking also helps in shaping your boobies and abs! Try it if you don’t believe me (provided you do it right). I enjoyed it very much. Travel the world, get out of your comfort zone, learn new things, gain new experiences, meet new people! Live your life, travel the world, know the world, know yourself, be a better you. – and share it with people.  


Traveling solo gives you the opportunity to get to know yourself, and your desire. We spent too much time listening to unwanted opinions. Opinions that people spend lots of time and energy on our life to prevent us to be ourselves, to always wants to pull us back in the crowd and tell us we’re doing it wrong. Solo traveling means the only opinion that matters is yours. “Find the time to be in silence, stillness and solitude” (p.123), and you will know yourself much better, and you would know to never doubt yourself ever again, and never listen to anyone else’s opinion other than yours. 


Friends come and go, it’s okay to cut some loose


In life, I have 6 beautiful friends- friends who goes above and beyond for me- and whom I’d do the same. Sure, I will make new friends in the future, but only genuine, authentic, kind and honest people get to be in my crowd/circle. It’s not personal though, and it’s never personal. It’s just self-growth, self-development, and self-relationship. I want to be true to myself, and I can’t have people around who doesn’t want the best for me, dragging me down with their unwanted comments (or opinion they form with other friends), words of discouragement and attitude that are not compatible with mine.  


I have experienced knowing a person who barely knows me, but believed the best in me; gave me all the support I needed to nail all those interviews. He believed in me when I doubted myself, he gave me the confidence I lost, walked through the scary moments with me and only want the best for me. U know who you are, thank you <3. I have also friends who lent me money for me to continue travelling because they only want me to be happy. I have a personal cheerleader in life that (no matter what I do), achievements are celebrated excessively, and I also have people who are genuinely proud of me. These are all I need atm. Sometimes strangers are more kind to us than our real “friends”- find those who only want the best for you, and could be happy for you even when they’re not- in life, we need to support each other, not discourage and demoralize people around us. 


For those who have been nothing but kind and supportive towards me, thank you for crossing paths with me. Trust your instinct that there are other reasons why we are not meant to be in each other’s life for now. You know who you are, know yourself, keep being awesome, never stop being kind, the world needs you.  


So that sums up, what I know so far, and what I have learnt during my 5 weeks (and ongoing) solo travel. Don’t follow the crowd, they fuck you up, they discourage and break you, they whisper negativity telling you that you can never make it. Trust yourself, your guts, and your capabilities. Safe yourself when needed, cut some anchors loose, don’t feel sorry, don’t justify, don’t worry about what people will say behind you (they’d do it anyway), be true to yourself, dream big, give yourself the chance to be the person you want to be. Find that happiness within you, and always be kind!


Travel blog will be updated soon. Stay tune! Thanks for reading!  



All quotes were taken directly from Sharma. R. (2004). Discover your destiny with the monk who sold his Ferrari: The 7 stages of Self-Awakening. HarperThorsons. London – This book changed my life in 2015, and I reread this just to relearn how to be happy and content in life again just like other seekers who have transformed their life.