5 Things to Consider Before Going To Yogyakarta

If you are just like me always on the hunt for good travel deals, then you would understand that it’s totally okay to check AirAsia’s page every once in a while 😀 Marc and I have been eyeing on a getaway trip during Chinese New Year because there are 2 public holidays during that week! But.. it was too expensive to go anywhere because of the peak period.

When we found out that there was a cheap promo to Yogyakarta (Jogja) 2-3 weeks before the departure date, we booked it immediately! The only other arrangements we did was to booked accommodation and asked my local Indonesian friend, Erik on how much it will cost to eat and travel for a day. The rest? YOLO.

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That’s what we did for ALL of our other travels anyway.
Fly there first, then plan.
BAD MOVE. 

We didn’t consider quite a bit of stuff which made the trip interesting in so many ways. As usual, we did it backpacking style but I don’t think this location is quite feasible with our circumstance.

To sum it up, here are the 5 things you should consider before travelling to Yogyakarta:

#1 – Tourist spots are all far away from each other

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The nearest beach from the city (Parangtritis beach) – 1 hour drive

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Conversations with Luka

I met Luka, an Italian surfer dude who stayed in the same hostel as me in my Philippines trip a week ago. When he first arrived, he was so courteous, with him introducing himself and stuff. That was probably the nicest he has been to me throughout my stay because hours later, he began with his funny jokes, poking fun and laughing at me (and other pple too) but it’s all good, because it’s all FUN!

He has this amazing personality, one-of-a-kind and he is sooooooo funny!! Like really funny, funny! Nina can vouch to it. The Italian accent contributed a major part of it! Sometimes, I just burst out laughing from a normal conversation between him and other people because of how he string his sentences together with his thick Italian accent. Once, he told me that he understands English, I do not need to slow the pace of my speech just because he is an Italian. HAHA. And, he’s so cool about it! 🙂

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Because he is SO FUNNY, there are a few conversations that I can remember till now and reckon it’s good to put it here for memories sake. I know right, one blog entry just on this.

#1 – Cooking Dinner

The hostel crew decided to cook dinner instead of eating out and so everyone helped out in the kitchen. Being the only Asian, I was tasked to boil rice using a rice cooker (how tough can it get, right??! I do it at home all the time anyways!) because you know, I’m the expert. Only except that I’ve never boil rice for so many pple before. So yea, you guessed it right. I messed up, it was too watery.

Me: Oh no, the rice is too watery! 😦
Luka: NOOOO… it’s too cooked!!
Me: No, Luka.. it’s too watery! How now?
Luka: *shakes head* How can you not know how to cook rice?! You’re an Asian, that’s what you know best! It’s like saying, Italians can’t cook pasta! You’re a Malaysian!!!!
Me: Thanks Luka. I’m feeling better already.  -_____-

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Do I really have to post that travel picture up?

After a long day exploring the city, we were all exhausted. We plopped ourselves to the couches in the common area and that’s when it all started. My travel buddies and I began to play with our phones (not cool on vacations, I know!),  checked for emails, replying Whatsapp texts and what not. Checked social media, lo and behold, my buddies have uploaded pictures of our most recent outing an hour ago.

Why so efficient this people? -___-

So, I felt a pressured to also post something online to show that I’m on a holiday too, having as much fun or maybe more than my friends back home! At least people should know where I am, right? I skimped through my pictures on both my camera and phone to pick the most breathtaking capture I’ve taken so far. I couldn’t choose one, so I kept asking for opinions.

“This one or that one?”
“This sunset at this angle or the other?”
“Or this picture because better lighting?”

I was doing that for at least 10 minutes until I stopped and gave up.

Then I asked myself – Why am I stressing myself up to post a travel picture just because everyone is doing it? Is it actually okay not to inform social media that I’m away somewhere awesome for a holiday? Am I missing out on my travel milestone for not posting a picture up in Instagram?

I put both my camera and phone down, continued reading my novel and don’t give two hoots on picking the best picture to put in Instagram. I guess I’m still learning how to enjoy the moment, balancing between capturing memories in a camera and in my heart. Some moments, no matter how beautiful can never be captured with a lens.

That’s what travel taught me. To live in the moment and it’s okay to not post a travel picture up for the sake of it.

Fine. Just maybe one picture 😀

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p.s. – Don’t get me wrong, I’ve nothing against posting pictures during travel, it’s just that I shouldn’t be absorbed into peer pressure just to prove something that isn’t worth it at the first place! 🙂

xx

How to have a getaway in Kuantan for less than RM250

I knew March was going to be a challenging work month, so I tried to slot in a weekend getaway somewhere. Texted Giri and asked if she was free bring me around Kuantan since she’s working there.

Now, some of you may ask, “What’s there to do in Kuantan?! There’s nothing unless you go to Cherating!”
WRONG. But I don’t blame you because that’s what I thought too! Until I came to Kuantan.

Took a bus from Puduraya to Kuantan bus terminal and it took 3.5 hours. From there, took a RapidKL bus to the Rapid bus terminal for another 20 to 25 minutes. My hostel was pretty near to the bus terminal, approximately a 150m/ 5minutes walk.

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I stayed in Kuantan Backpackers – the only backpacker hostel in the town. The reviews in TripAdvisor mentioned that it’s pretty hidden, which is true. SPOT THE PLACE IN THE PICTURE! Haha..

It’s the small little sign in blue under “Merchant Trade”. I wouldn’t be able to find it if it wasn’t for the map given by Zamri, the new owner of the place.
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21 days travel – Camotes Island (Part 1)

This is my 4th travel of the year and my 1st backpacking travel. Most Malaysians I know have never backpacked before, probably because travel is meant to be luxurious. In fact, I hardly know of any Asians doing backpacking; either that or I have a really small social circle.

When I told my friends and family about my plan to backpack in Philippines for 21 days, they thought I was crazy!

“It’s so dangerous for you to do this – you are a girl!!!”
“What if you get kidnapped?!”
“Why do you need to do this for so long – isn’t 5 days or 10 days enough for you?”
“What happens if we can’t contact you?!”

Like I said, backpacking is something unheard of in my country. What more, I’m a girl.
That being said, I was so glad that I did it! No regrets, in fact I can’t wait to do it again 😀 😀 😀

So, here’s a journal of my travel in the Philippines! Enjoy 🙂

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My travel dates were from 4th Sept – 25th Sept (will share my itinerary with you guys at the end of this 21 days travel series) and my first island was Camotes Island – 1 hour van ride from Cebu City and 2 hours boat ride from the Danao Port.

Van ride – PHP50
Boat ride – PHP85 including terminal fee of PHP5

FYI, PHP100 = RM7.50

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This was my first ferry/boat ride after 10++ years, so I was SUPER excited about it!
Like a 10 year old kid! Lol. The locals were staring at me and could very clearly tell that I was a tourist! Haha..

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New Season in Life

It’s funny how I’m typing this from Dunkin Donuts café in a small town called Ormoc – a 2 hour drive from Cebu.

It was only 9 months ago that I told one of my directors that I’m feeling very frustrated at work. I started contemplating, considering other options and more importantly; I had to ask myself what do I really want to do in my life.

I knew that accounting and finance wasn’t my cup of tea but I hung on to it because it seems the most promising among many other options and after all, I spent 4 years of my university life pursuing a degree for that. I spent the next 4 years in the Big4 accounting firms as an auditor and subsequently, a M&A consultant.

Yea, work life balance was definitely better in Deloitte as a consultant but when times were bad, it was really bad. I told myself that if ever my job seems as bad as my previous one, it was time to leave and it was. I did not want to jump to another company but with the same amount of stress and nonsense; so the considerations for my next job cannot be compromised anymore.

It took me more about 1.5 years to take this leap of faith to finally apply for opportunities that I really like specifically travel, sports, community work and education.

During this time of consideration, God had taught and showed me many things. I was broken. I was challenged and was brought to tears so many times. I even had a mild depression. I remember working round the clock, having minimal sleep and it was a routine of work and sleep, even during the weekends. My superiors were difficult on me because I was equally as frustrated.

It was in the months of waiting (searched and applied for many jobs during the time) that God had taught me to truly trust Him and have faith in Him because He wanted to show me He is my provider. This process of waiting has taught me to be still in the Lord despite the bleak outlook. God wanted to deal with the issues of my heart – pride, patience, purpose and 100% dependancy on Him. I shared this journey of mine with my cell group members throughout the “Breakthrough series” because I knew that this lesson wasn’t meant for me alone. Some days, I wondered if my breakthrough will ever come. Doubts of whether I will ever get a new job or taking a huge pay cut keeps lingering in my head. All right, the thought of having a pay cut really KILLS me!

It was also during this time I finally had the guts to tell my mom that I no longer want to work in the corporate world. She has always envisioned us to be top leaders in the corporate ladder, earning big bucks and owning comfortable luxurious home – simply because she wants the best for us. She was reluctant at first but praise God! She gave me her blessings in the end! 🙂

By end July, I received my bonus and increment – I was then offered a job in an NGO that I really like!! OH YEAHHH BABY! 😀 😀 😀

His timing is soooooooooo perfect omg! Best part of all? NO PAY CUT!

Talk about His goodness and awesomeness! I finally received my breakthrough and I’m travelling in the Philippines for 21 days before I start my job! 😀 So so blown away at how God has orchestrated everything so perfectly and at how He puts everything in place in the end. All I needed was to have faith in Him to take the leap and pursue the things He has prepared for me!

I’m in a happy place right now! Stress free! Here’s a picture of what I’m doing right now! Till then! ❤

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10 big moments in 2013

Happy New Year, folks! A great year has passed and expecting a greater one to come! I had my fair share of ups and downs but I really thank God for His grace and faithfulness upon my life. This was sitting in my draft for quite some time but I knew that I needed to do this despite being late, because I know I’ll look through this again when 2014 ends.

2013 wasn’t the most challenging year compared to 2003. In fact, if I could summarise the year in a few words, it would be a year of learning. Learning that life is not always how we want it to be, that life can be really hard sometimes but at the end of the day, we always have a choice on how we want to respond on these situations. This year, *I* chose to be thankful. 

#1 – Passed my CPA 

This was the biggest highlight of the year for me. I wrote it on facebook on how I found it almost impossible to finish this (a professional accounting program) because I quit my job as an auditor in 2012 and I was undecided if I want to continue this program. I was half way there and spent an approximately RM6-7k for the 3 papers. Then, I got a job as a M&A consultant in Deloitte and I finished the entire thing in June 2013! Yay! Praise God really! I had different crazy challenges every semester – no time to study, had sports training, insufficient study leave – but I passed every paper with God’s grace! No more forking out RM2-3k every 6 months and no more wasting my annual leave to study for my CPA!

#2 – Rekindled my love for DIY’s and crafts

(Almost) every girl likes crafts. I stopped doing crafts after high school due to other commitments in life. Then, I discovered Pinterest. I spent hours and hours just browsing through the articles in there and I just couldn’t stop. One year later, I have my own stash of crafts materials with tons of ideas! All I need is time! 😀 I told myself that I would do a project once every fortnight in 2014 and we shall see how it goes!

#3 – Got serious in futsal and represented Deloitte in IAFG for the very first time!

I didn’t tell anyone about this but I had a fight with Marc on Valentine’s Day. So, I decided to say yes to an invitation of futsal (since i loved it anyway!) and it was one of the best decisions ever. I made friends with these awesome bunch of people and I’ve been playing with them ever since! Friendships were formed and I’m so thankful for these bunch of people! 🙂 I’ve also decided to try out for my company’s futsal team for our annual Inter Accounting Firms Games (IAFG) against other accounting firms. Although we lost, it was quite an experience. Can’t wait to play even more consistently this year.

#4 – Took a step in faith and serve more in Homes (Cell Group) and Court2 (A tuition community centre)

I’ve never imagined myself to be a cell group leader in my church but in June, God challenged me to take a step of faith and to journey with Him to lead a small group together with Jon, my cell grp leader. It was so overwhelming but the experience only leaves me wanting more of God! I learnt how to study God’s word so much deeper and just enjoying His presence in my life. Once again, He put different people in my life – some to encourage me, some to teach me, some for me to care for – and I’m just so thankful for each and every one in my Homes. My hope (just like God’s) is to see them grow so much deeper in Jesus each day. Just wanting to be God’s faithful steward in this 🙂 Also, I took a coordinating role in a volunteering teaching program by my church. Wow, wasn’t easy man, we made mistakes here and there but we learnt from that and I know 2014 will just be better!

#5 – Malaysia’s General Elections in May

Year 2013 was a historic moment for Malaysia. It was the closest general election ever with more than 80% voters’ turn out. You see, Malaysia is a very beautiful place. We have glorious food and attractions around. We have brilliant people. Unfortunately, due to corruption and dirty politics, we have fallen so much in every aspect. Security in Malaysia is in its critical stage but the government refused to do anything about it. We diligently pay our taxes every year but it has never been used for the correct purposes. Our education, healthcare, transportation systems are still lagging behind. In fact, if we are not doing anything about it, this nation will be heading for destruction. For the very first time in history, the younger generations were interested in politics and they were very determined to cast a vote for a change. People booked their flights home and some even lined up for a good 12 hours for postal votes overseas. The determination for a new government was just so surreal.

Although we didn’t manage to have a new government, I know that Malaysians have learnt from this experience. We have gotten stronger, more united and I know Malaysia will only get better from here. I have faith and I’ll give whatever it takes to let my children have a better Malaysia.

#6 – Travel 

I travelled to Bangkok, Singapore and Australia in 2013. Of course, the most memorable one was Melbourne. It was my very first time experiencing the weather and coffee there. It was a love hate relationship for me because I loved everything there except for its unpredictable weather. I just couldn’t take the cold. Everything there was just so beautiful. Even their fruits were so much bigger than Malaysia’s. Visited my uncle and aunt who lives in Aussie for the very first time and caught up with my friends who lived there.

#7 – Got sick in October/November

Right after my Aussie trip, I developed this really bad cough for a good 1.5 months. I spat really thick amount of phlegm daily and it hurts my ribs so much. I didn’t take it seriously as it was just a bad cough until I had difficulty breathing one night. I was wrongly diagnosed (can’t blame the GP doctor) and was diagnosed with sinusitis. It took me 2 months and almost headed for a surgery because all the meds weren’t working. The doctor mentioned that if I didn’t get better in 5 days, I would have need to go for surgery. Thank God I got better and I didn’t need surgery! 🙂

#8 – Spent more time with family and friends

Well, this has been my priority since I resigned in 2012 and I’m glad that it got better.

#9 – Celebrated our one year anniversary

Marc and I didn’t think we’ll see it through the first year because we were arguing wayy too much. Friends were asking me to rethink if this was the guy for me and I did. Glad we didn’t call it quits because we finally found a way to communicate with each other and since then, we are so happy together! 😀 Now, we look forward to every dates and we are so thankful for this relationship! Hehe..

#10 – Know when to say ‘no’ and to spend more time loving myself

Mentioned this a few times that I have learnt to say ‘no’ to certain people and certain situations. I have always given priority to people around me that I forgot I need to treat myself better. I learnt it’s okay to take some time off to do facials, to do my DIY projects, to clean my room, to read a book or even to clean my room! I miss doing all these things! This was the year when I started doing more of these and when I did that, I was better at interacting with other people. So the saying, ‘Love yourself so you will love other people better‘ is true!

Here’s to a better year and do greater adventures in 2014!

The weekend

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I’m back!  It was a very very busy month! Wished I could take the time and blog it all, but I guess I can only do so much for now 🙂

Managed to squeeze a day trip to Malacca during the holidays (long weekend) with my girls. A getaway with the girls just mean girly time! My mentor, Adeline was so sweet in coming up with this idea of having an empty notebook and everyone will have to write nice things about the person! Cheryl was just so awesome in painstakingly doing each of these!

At the end of the day, I was thoroughly blessed and encouraged by the words they say!
Hope you are having an eventful month as I do! Good times, rough times but it’s all good 🙂

We’re at the half year mark of 2013! Don’t let the year pass you by!
Hope June treats you well!

xx