I recently had a conversation with my boss (she’s more of a friend and a mentor than a boss, really) and we chatted about my current state of mind and priorities in life. I remember saying something like this – I’m at a stage, a comfortable yet awkward stage, where at times I can be naive and crazy and stupid without being told as “too old for such”, and at other times, be treated seriously and with respect, as a young professional on a continuous learning curve.
Fact is, I’m thoroughly enjoying this paradoxical stage of my life and there’s a conscious awareness that it is a fleeting stage, a luxurious moment that will never embrace me back should I fail to embrace it first. When we are young, we always feel that life hasn’t yet begun — that “life” is always scheduled to begin next week, next month, next year. But when we next look into the mirror to face an ageing self and the painful reality that our scheduled life did not arrive, we find ourselves asking, “Exactly what was it I was having—that interlude — the scrambly madness — all that time I had before?”
Relishing the old, embracing the new. While it’s time to throw our arms open at the sight of a second quarter (see how I greedily dream about living a hundred years), here’s a flashback of my year 2013 and my 25th of age. *Gasp! I’m turning 26! GASP.*
Fully recognised that I’m neither old nor wise enough to give any qualified advice, but if I dare make a weak attempt at this, I would encourage all the young folks and the young-at-hearts, to break free of the mental prison that we locked ourselves into. Admit it, deep down we all know (sometimes, too well) how the externalities tend to conform our definition of a “successful”, “comfortable”, “typical”, “mediocre” or “miserable” life. Our narrow mentalities are shaped to accept (not without struggle) what “needs” to be done at different stages in life. We complain about these (all the time), we blame the entire universe (not surprised), we envy and dream about living the lives of those far, unreachable others while slapping another contempt at our own (sounds familiar?).
Aren’t we all creatures of the same kind? What’s wrong with that? Fact is, there is nothing wrong with THAT. What is wrong, is that we have not DONE anything about it. We continue to talk, to dream, and to let time feast on us.
So… here’s what I did to spice my boring life up by a wee bit and along that process of self-search, managed to convince and encourage myself that I would not want to live it otherwise.
A pretty awesome 18 months actually, I must say. :)
- Bought my very first DSLR – Nikon D600. Our maiden trip was to Mt Bromo in East Java of Indonesia, where I witnessed the most spectacular sunrise!
- First trip to the Kingdom of Ramen and Shabu Shabu!
Witnessed and experienced the high life envied by many… and wasn’t too impressed. (Tokyo on Fararri)
Preferred the Tokyo through my lens and worn-out shoes instead (Tokyo on Foot)
- Started Blogging!
Life is short, but the bucket-list is long. So, let’s get started. (the 5W1H about Travelgraphy)
Never thought I could be a blogger one day. Just as how we can never guess correctly what’s in that box of chocolate that life gives us.
- Runway model for World Gourmet Summit 2013 – Hearts on Fire Edible Fashion Show. Something totally random! Was a very enjoyable and cool experience nevertheless. Had the pleasure working with the magician of local food scene – Chef Janice Wong, founder of 2am Dessert Bar. Yes, I was wearing a dress made of white chocolate!!
- First sponsored trip – to Macau!
- Bucket-list item checked – World’s highest bungy!
- Had my first public photo exhibition at the Chinatown Mall
- Travel photography sharing session with public, at SCAPE.
- Travelgraphy won the Best Photography Blog at the Singapore Blog Awards, 3 months after it was created. I was quite proud of it, to be honest. Because blogging is something at which I set both my mind and heart, and in return, it nourishes me with doses of happiness and satisfaction from time to time. I do have to say though, that the local blogging scene can either be as simple, or as complicated as you imagined. To me, it is about finding what you truly wish to get out of it. I was once being told as an “aloof blogger”, for I am quite a social chameleon. I actually liked that comment, because it resembles just who I am – minding my own business and enjoying the enjoyable little things in life, at my own pace. Why so serious? ;)
- Sponsored trip to Boracay, Philippines, where I did helmet diving, horse riding, ATV riding, Zorbing, cliff diving, island hopping, Segway, 300-meter flying fox, and of course, lots of romanticising by the pristine white sand beaches
- Maiden trip to Europe – The Hague and Amsterdam in the Netherlands (visited a million-dollar farm where cows are milked and massaged by machines, and a cute little farm boy running around to give free kisses!), Bergen and its surrounding Fjords in Norway (to be updated… I know, I know, it’s long overdue…please be patient with me)
- A series of fashion photo shoot for Lian He Zao Bao’s 90th Anniversary – brief appearance as a front page model ;)
- Fashion advertorial spread on Female and Her World magazines
- Outback Australia – part of the delightful rewards for being the Best Photography Blogger in Singapore ;)
- Some spontaneous fun at the Teddy Bear theme-restaurant in Shanghai, China.
- Close encounter with cyclone Usagi in Hong Kong
- Fashion advertorial spread on 女友 magazine
- Great Wall of China, Beijing (to be updated)
- Christmas in Bangkok… for work, actually. (hotel review on the majestic Kempinski to be updated)
- Meeting Santa Claus and chasing aurora in the Arctic. Though it was a rather futile chase (saw only a glimpse of it on a tour boat outside of Reykjavik, Iceland), I managed to strike 3 items off the bucket-list!!! And… it has given me a perfect reason to be back again!
- The third bucket-list item that got fulfilled was a night’s stay at the Glass Igloo Hotel (Hotel Kakslauttanen), under the quiet, arctic sky. Well, my initial mental image included a full-blown aurora activity as the backdrop… Despite all that calculative planning, sometimes, all we need is a bit of sheer luck and perhaps, good karma. Now, I can only try my best to convince myself that the faint stroke of blue at the corner of my photo was the Lady Aurora…
- 6-day Icelandic road trip (updated!)
- Songkran at Phuket!!!! And awesome, cheap Thai food EVERYDAY!!! So happy that I smiled my eyes away ;)
- Fun in the strawberry farm @ Cameron Highland (ok, I’ve probably overused this term… but, “I will update soon”)
- The ultimate relaxation of body and mind, the enchanting company of the Maldivian Blue…
- Will be relocating to Beijing for work, starting from July. That’s gonna be my new home for a year. Taking full advantage of the location, places like Kyoto and Jiu Zhai Gou（九寨沟）made it to the must-dos. The rest of my wanderlust items? No concrete plan yet. Just grab whatever comes along the way, that’s the fun part of the ride, isn’t it? :)
I shall end my ramblings with a lovely poem by Yoko Ono, wishing my life and yours, blossom in full exuberance.