I’m starting to get asked a lot about my 1 year round the world trip. Yes, the plan was to leave the corporate world and live out on a suitcase. Starting from Thailand to china, Russia, Europe, India, Indonesia and back to Malaysia. It was supposed to be an epic journey that would nourish my soul and excelerate my growth to a better human being.
All that, was before I met my boy friend.
I believe that there is no absolute right nor wrong for the decisions that we make in our lives. If we can look at our lives in a form of flow chart, we would then understand that every path that we take represents a learning that we must undertake before reaching our destination. If we can undertand that, then we would live a life of no regret.
He is good for me. Although I am not traveling, I am still learning what I needed to learn. Perseverance, be more compassion, plan better, write more and keep learning new skills. That said, I couldn’t find any reason to pack my bags and go. Especially without him.
I am not trying to kid myself, nor am I trying to convince myself that I’ve made the right choice. But as I said, how do we know if we have made the absolute right or wrong choices in life? Of cause, I would be lying if I say I don’t look forward to waking up in a foreign land checking in and out of airports which is my favorite thing to do! But, it wouldn’t be such fun as to be doing it without him.
Bad news is, I did not survive Dukan Diet Attack phase (which was supposed to last for 2 days). Well, almost…except that on the evening of day 2, I gave in to my carbo and vegetable crave and cooked a reasonable portion of whole wheat pasta with green chilli pepper and red capsicum. My goodness! Pasta has never taste soooo good! Even if it’s whole wheat!
Anyway, the good news is that I’ve lost 3kg! But, not a good enough reason for me to continue the diet till May. After being educated by my health conscious colleagues and reading some negative reviews on Dukan Diet, I’ve decided to go with Weight Watchers. Not exactly a diet program but rather a lifestyle to watch what you eat by counting points. On top of that, I will also be cutting down anything that is refined like processed sugar, pasta, rice and whatever that is white and pale in color.
I think the most important thing is to learn to listen to our body and what it needs. I am never a meat lover and 2 days of pure protein from poultry and seafood turned me into a cranky monster. On top of that, dry mouth, bad breath, bad hair, bad everything and no more cooking Mexican food! *gasp
So when I came to know about Weight Watchers, I was delighted. I mean, just look at the recipes! We can practically eat anything with moderation and make sure that we don’t exceed the daily serving points.
Sounds good. Sounds like a plan? So here’s how you do it.
Ok, not going into details on this diet program originated from the land of skinny women – France. But rather, an agonizing day of carb and sugar crave 🙁
Yes, I’m finally going to start Dukan Diet after pigging out in Bangkok last weekend and had my weighing scale staring right back at me alarmingly. 68 freaking KG! That’s 10KG over my ideal weight.
The alarm went off at 5.30am. After a few rounds of snoozing I finally managed to drag myself out of bed at 6.30am. Went straight to the kitchen and made myself some Oat bran galettewhich tasted horrible by the way. And some tuna omelette and 2 pieces of scallop in soy sauce for lunch.
I knew the first day of Dukan Diet Attack Phase is going to be hard but I HONESTLY did not expect to be hungry all the time. No matter how much I ate, I felt the pain of hunger. My mouth was dry and I had to kept drinking green tea to prevent bad breath.
The urge to snack on chips and chocolate was beyond belief. And bread has never looked so tempting and inviting.
FInally dinner time approached and due to greed and the impulsive need to satisfy my hunger, I had 1 can of diet coke, 5 pieces of scallop pan fried with soy sauce and 5 crab stick. I also munched on 1 tbsp of 97% fat free oats, 1 fat free yogurt and 1 cup of herbal tea.
And guess what, I am still HUNGRY!
Can I really go through another day of Attack phase?
As much as I love Bangkok city and wouldn’t mind taking a 2 hour flight on weekends to paint the town red with my boyfriend, I really hope he gets to come back to KL soon and finally put the work-permit-mumbo-jumbo to rest. The anxiety of an uncertainty that befell upon him on this career path is not amusing.
But I am pretty sure everything will turn out just fine, as how it’s supposed to be. I’ve no idea how can I get so calm and so optimistic. But I guess after 3 decades I’ve finally learn how to adapt to situations of uncertainties.
Long gone is that girl who grinds her teeth and fought with all her might for something that she thinks is right and believes with all her heart. How foolish she must have been, to see the world through a pigeon hole and disregard the entire universe that has make up certain reaction and outcome. To have been so selfish to her own projection of what is right and what is wrong, without considering the people around her.
I’ve gotten it all wrong. My so called passion has led me to become self-centred. Who am I to dismissed other people’s thoughts and ideas? I am but a tiny contribution to an intertwined series of events. After all, corporations are still making their millions and consumers are still throwing in their dollars.
With that realisation, its only fair to be channeling my passion and energy to things that is truly mine for self fulfilment. Like…my writing, my mexican cooking, my Spanish class and my relationship with my boyfriend.
Those that knows me well knows that I absolutely cringe when it comes to Chinese New Year. While the rest of the world is posting up photos of what they had for reunion dinner, showing off their ang pows and their spanking new clothes, I was lazing around watching silly YouTube videos and reading Facebook updates on my newsfeed.
Truth is, I’m not exactly the kind of person who looks forward to Chinese New Year.
Maybe I was traumatised by the amount of gossip during family gathering and the amount of interrogation of why I did what I did and did not do. Maybe, the appreciation of the festivity and the meaning behind it has not really sunk in after all these years. Maybe it was the aftermath of a disastrous event with ex bf no.1 that happened during Chinese New Year 15 years ago.
But, I must say that it’s good to be back home. To be away from the hustle and bustle of the city, to recharge and to clear my thoughts and to hit the invisible ‘Restart’ button again.
It’s a quiet Chinese New Year, and the days were spent on shopping with my younger cousin at Batu Pahat Mall. Which I enjoyed a lot!
Yay for shopping!
Got this make-up cleaning tissue from Sasa for RM11.92 (after 20% discount).
Bought a complete set of Natio skin care product, also from Sasa for RM69.30 (after 30% discount) I have to say that I totally love this Australian brand! It makes my face feels squeaky clean!
First time trying out KATE by Kanebo. From left: My color pencil eye liner in white (RM15.30, after 10% discount), eyebrow palette (RM41.40, after 10% discount) and concealer (RM34.20, after 10% discount).
I love the scent of a perfume but not really fancy using it. A bottle of 100ml perfume would last me 2-3 years. So when I came across the apple-looking DKNY perfume that smells like heaven, I knew I had to get it but reluctant to fork out RM275 for a 50ml perfume that I know I would not use that often. So I asked the promoter if she can sell me the miniature 7ml perfume and she said OK! But it has to be done ‘under the table’, which is fine with me 😀
In case you are wondering, I paid RM40 for the 7ml perfume. Which is not too bad if you do the math.
Was introduced to this Malaysian brand called Fabiano Ricco by my cousin few years ago (URL:www.fabianoriccoshoes.com) and fell head over heels in love with their super comfortable and affordable flats (the ones in the picture retailing at RM39.90/pair). Unfortunately, there are not many store available in KL.
My favorite purchase has got to be this Bobbie Brown brush set with 24 brushes! Doesn’t matter if it’s a reject from Bobbi Brown, the brushes are amazing and it was initially retailing for RM128 but we got it for RM100 because we bought two 😀
Now I am fully rested, I am all set to go back to KL tomorrow. Needless to say I can’t wait to see 9!
Everyone has their favorite day of the year. Mine is my birthday, as narcissistic as it may sound.
Instead of giving myself a birthday treat in a foreign land, I am wide awake at 4 in the morning, with a stuffed nose, feeling all stressed up with work and a glass of screwdriver on my coffee table.
I am not going to complaint. Tempting. But I am not going to do that. But wanting to be all positive doesn’t change the fact that I am still stressed up, accompanied by the damn screwdriver that is a tad too strong for my stuffed nose.
No, I am not typing this under the influence of alcohol.
Or maybe I am.
3 shots of vodka in my orange juice? I must be out of my mind. Arrgh.
I should get back to bed. Into the arm of my man, the love of my life.
If you know me personally you would have known that I am embarking on an epic journey in 2013. Yes! 12 months on the road, living from my backpack 🙂
Being the spendthrift that I am, it shouldn’t come as a surprise when I say that I am far from achieving my financial goal for this epic journey of mine. Which is why I have to save as much as I can within this 10 months for my travel fund.
Thrifty living is an art. Before I was exposed to thrifty living, it didn’t cross my mind that I’ve wasted so much resource on a daily basis. I stocked up way too many canned food in the kitchen cabinet, I would buy the same shirt/tank top/blouse of various colors, I go gaga over stationeries (like pens, color pencils and notepads) and I buy way too many lipstick and eye shadow palette that I don’t use.
To save money, I had to put a stop my lavish lifestyle and make do with RM500 every month. Though this amount does not include phone bill, rent for my apartment, electricity and water, insurance and monthly contribution to my parents. For instance, I used to spend RM16 every morning for a Starbucks tall size triple shot soy caramel macchiato, about RM1000 on shopping, (dresses, shoes, bags, DVDs, books, everything Starbucks) and often time, RM20 – RM50 on a meal. (Crazy I know!)
Some people say that it’s impossible to live on RM500 a month. And now I am going to prove to you can be done!
Make a mental note of what you own that can still be used or consumed. The purpose is to use and consume whatever you have before spending money on things that you already have. I have coffee power, pasta, instant noodles, canned food laying in the cabinet that comes with an expiry date. Not forgetting, stationeries, notepads and way too many clothing, accessories and make up that I don’t wear.
Making a mental note of what you already have will prevent you from buying things that you already have.
Find a hobby that doesn’t require you to leave the house on weekend.When I have nothing better to do over the weekend, I would hop on a train to KLCC. Very often end up in Zara, Mark & Spencer, Uniqlo and Kinokuniya Bookstore.
But ever since I’ve decided on my 12 months backpacking trip and started blogging (again), I spent more time at home planning my route and the drafting up content of my blog.
So depending on what your hobbies are, find one that doesn’t require you to step out of the house to minimize spending.
Buy house-brand products.Our perception about a brand is determined by how much we can recall seeing an ad and the feel good factor that comes with it. And because house-brand like Giant or Watson are not being advertised, we tend to perceive that they are of low quality.
Truth is, a lot of products are being sourced, rebranded and repackaged by not one but many brands in the market. Therefore don’t judge a brand by it’s marketing spent, but the ingredient stated on the product label.
Besides, house-brand products are usually cheaper!
Cook and pack food for lunch at work. One of the easiest ways to reduce on spending is to cook your meals and pack your lunch to work.
There is a misconception about cooking for singleton is more expensive. What I usually do is to cook a pot of rice that for 1 week’s consumption. And cook up various dishes with the same ingredient like Cabbage, celery eggs, baked beans, tomatoes and mushrooms.
Toast and fried egg
Fried rice with cabbage, celery and tomatoes
Rice with baked beans, cabbage with mushroom and oyster sauce
Lucky for me, I am the kind of person who can eat the same thing over and over again for a week.
Don’t carry more money than you actually need.I used to carry a few hundred ringgit in my wallet which resulted in unnecessary spending. Now, I only carry RM50 with me, which is more than sufficient for daily usage.
Carrying a fix amount of money would also likely train you to eat cheap, drink cheap and travel cheap.
Plan your budget for the week or month.
When you get your salary at month end, set aside RM500 for your monthly expenses. And save up the rest in a separate bank account without Internet Banking (this is to prevent money transfer via the internet whether its for online shopping or bill payment).
When you see your savings multiple in the other bank account, it will motivate you to save more!
Take the cheapest mode of public transportation.If you don’t own a car (like me) and when you have excess money laying around, it’s becomes natural just to just hop into a cab instead of taking the train and bus.
A one-way trip to KLCC on Putra LRT from Taman Jaya cost RM2.40. Where else a cab cost approximately RM15. That’s 7 times more!
So, travel smart 🙂
Now here’s a monthly breakdown of my spending, I hope you are inspired for thrifty living.
RM4.20 a day<br
– Travelling on Putra LRT to work and back
Food & beverages
RM30 per week for grocery shopping
-Cabbage, rice, long beans, eggs, celery, tomatoes, mushroom bread I pack food for lunch at work and have toast bread and egg for breakfast
-Twisties, Jack & Jill potato chips, Cadbury chocolate
3 in 1 coffee (30 packets)
Soy Chai Latte or Soy Caramel Machiato (1 per week x RM13)
I am not going to lie. I took up a degree in Computer Science for all the wrong reasons.
Remember Angeline Jolie’s character in Hacker? That was my reason.
After graduated from college, I worked as a junior programmer like any other Computer Science graduate would. Unfortunately, reality bites and I actually had to write programming scripts in C/C++. And it didn’t help when my immediate supervisor was such a dick to me.
To cut things short. I call it quits just within a month. Just like that. I didn’t want to try harder because I absolutely detest what I was doing. I was in my early 20s with a degree in Computer Science and I can’t even complete a set of programming scripts to save my life.
So I called my dad, packed my bags and head back home to Batu Pahat, Johor.
I felt miserable. I felt I had let my parents down. I felt I had let myself down.
I didn’t know what to do. My degree was completely useless to me and I didn’t have the money to go back to college to start over again. My options were either get a job in a local bookstore or get a job as a receptionist in a hotel.
However, that didn’t happen because I was proud and arrogant (for all the right reasons). I couldn’t get over the fact that I am a bloody degree holder. And the amount of hard-earned money invested by my parents for that piece of paper.
So with the little knowledge that I had on web designer, I got hold of some pirated Macromedia CDs and printed a bunch of online tutorials on Photoshop and Dreamweaver. And self-studied for a month before I applied for a Junior web designer in a local Internet start-up company, with a starting pay of RM800 a month.
8 months of hard work and the knowledge acquired in web design, I quit my job, packed my bags, came back to Kuala Lumpur and landed a job as Microsoft Web Analyst for Microsoft Malaysia.
I am not aiming for the top spot on the corporate ladder, nor am I aiming for big bucks, big cars, fancy leather handbags and designer clothing brands. On the contrary, I am contended with what I’ve achieved to be able to live comfortably. With a lot of hard work guided by these principles that I lived by throughout my working life:
One step at a time. I realised that if I want to excel in my career, I’ve got to start from the bottom and work my way up.
Throughout my working life, I’ve never rushed into a position bigger than I can handle. It is easy to fall into the trap of peer pressure, especially when my college mates were earning twice as much compare to me. But I’ve never let money cloud my judgement. I knew I had to start somewhere and the knowledge that I’ve acquired and the working experience would more valuable then the pay check at the end of the day. Because when I am ready for a bigger role with bigger responsibility, the money will follow.
Take initiative.If you want to excel in your career, you have got to walk the extra mile. Offer to help with your colleagues’ task, offer to do more than what was assigned to you, ‘ask’ if there are anything else that you can do. Make yourself known to your peers and superiors, taking initiative can go a long way. When there is a task to be assigned, you would be the first to come to mind thus increasing your chance for a bigger role and ultimately, a promotion.
Don’t be afraid to ask question(s) to your manager or your peers. But before asking, have your solution(s) prepared instead of expecting to be spoon fed with answers.
Coming up with alternative solutions helps you understand the issues at hand and helps you improve your problem solving skills.
Go to work and plan for your annual leave. There would be times when we are too distraught to go to work after a breakup, after a fight with our best friend, or just simply feeling lazy on Monday. Whatever reasons that is prompting you to text your manager to take day off, DON’T. Get your ass up, get dress and go to work. Being lazy and skipping work due to personal matters show signs of irresponsibility, especially when there are tons of work waiting to be completed.
If you must take a day off due to personal matters, be honest about it with your manager and handover all the pending matters to your peers.
Grab whatever networking opportunity you can get. To climb the corporate ladder, you need to market yourself and know people within your industry. So when you are given an opportunity to network, grab it!
Never mind if you promised your best friend to hit the club after work and doesn’t matter if you have a movie to catch with your boyfriend/girlfriend. Just go, because opportunity doesn’t knock on your door twice. You’ll never know the person that you are going to meet is going to be someone who plays a role in helping you get that promotion or a better career opportunity in the future.
How often do you put your plans on hold because you have all these ‘stuff’ that is holding you back physically and emotionally?
I know, because I was that girl. And today, I am going to share my secret of decluttering my life.
Minimize the time spent on writing and replying email
And while you are at it, write concise email with action plans to minimize the never ending loop of chain email.
I received approximately 100+ emails a day. And to date, I have 1,372 unread emails in my mailbox. On a daily basis, I do my best to min the amount of unread email in my mailbox and guess what, only less than 20 emails require my attention and reply. Imagine the amount of time and energy wasted on reading emails, instead of becoming more productive on task that are important and needs to be completed on time.
A tip that I find very useful from Tim Ferriss is to never check your email first thing in the morning. Instead, complete your most important task before 11am. Check your email at noon or prior to lunch then at 4pm or before you call it a day. Checking emails at noon and 4pm will ensure you have the most response from previously sent email. And if the email is so important, you will get a call or SMS from the sender. So as long as it’s not life threatening, it can wait.
As for checking emails over the weekend, a big NO NO! Hello? Don’t we all strive for work- life balance? So what do you do? Turn of all email alerts! Again, if it’s something that if of high importance and needed your immediate attention, rest assured you will get a phone call or SMS.
Set aside an monthly amount that you allow yourself to spend
I remember when I started making more money than I needed, I became a spendthrift. I didn’t bat an eyelid when I spend RM200+ on a pair of Aldo heels or a fancy dress from Zara, a bag of imported European chips that cost more than RM10 at Marks and Spencer and Moleskine notebook(s) that I ever needed in my entire life just because some dude decided that it’s cool to use Moleskin like the legendary Vincent van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, Ernest Hemingway, and Bruce Chatwin.
I was a spendthrift, I know I know!
I don’t blame it on having too much money. I blame it on lack of self control. And thanks to my round the world trip and my quest to save up to USD10,000 by March 2013, I’ve put aside RM500 on food, transportation and leisure activities (movies, books etc). And guess what! Not only that I did not lose sleep over this, I feel like a million bucks knowing that I’ve stop piling up material stuff that I can live without.
Get rid of the overstuffed closet
I had a 2 door wardrobe and I had a problem. My closet was going to collapse and I had clothes laying on my bed, on the ironing board and on my couch!
If you are like me, you know this is a serious when you have no choice but to donate some of your clothes away.
So what can you do to uncluttered your closet?
First of all, don’t buy clothes just because they are on sale. All you need is a couple of blue skinny and straight cut jeans, plain baby Ts, one or 2 fitted blazer and funky jewelry to mix and match.
Secondly, unsubscribe from all the fashion vlog on YouTube. Fashion channel like Anneorshine, Beautycrush, Clothesencounters, are great but watching them inspire you to go out and get that floral print, that maxi dress and that oh-so-beautiful jacket! So it’s a choice that you need to make. An overstuffed closet or a closet with essential clothing items which you can mix and match yet define your personal style?
Fashion is a personal style that can’t be bought. Remember that.
Say ‘NO’ to collectible items and stuff that you don’t need
Once upon a time, I was crazy about Starbucks Tumbler. Like most of the people who can afford to have a tall latte everyday, I was enchanted by the green mermaid and the social status that comes with it. To date, I have 10 Starbucks tumbler which I hardly use and have absolutely no idea what to do with them. Not to mention Starbucks mug, key chain, lanyard, notepad and tote bag.
So yeah, collectible items are a big No No. Unless you intend to sell it for 10 times the original price at ebay.
A good way to gauge whether your stuff is something that you really need is to ask yourself, are those stuff something that you would grab with you if your house was on fire. So that would give you the motivation to not spend money on stuff that don’t matter.
Spend your precious time with quality friends
There are a few type of people that I avoid like a plague. The chatty ones that talks for the sake of talking without any real substance, the whinny ones that whines about every thing under the sun and the negative ones that exude so much negativity that unfortunate events follows them wherever they go.
These kind of relationship takes up a lot of time and energy to maintain. And at the end of the day leaves you gasping for air as though you are drowning in a bottomless well.
So yeah! That’s how I declutter my life and I hope it helps you declutter yours. Good luck!
I can’t believe I’ve been staring a the monitor for the past 2 hours thinking about what to blog. Have I lost it? Am I too concerned with what others think about what I blog? Well…I guess I have every reason to be worried. Coz my entries are as raw as it gets, ‘intimate’ as well. What can I say, I express my self better in writing.
Weekend came and gone (almost) too soon. But I am glad I managed to get my haircut at Azuddin’s. Gosh, I can’t imagine what am I gonna do if he is no longer within my reach. Perhaps I really do have to sponsor his return flight to wherever I may be. If I am still with the airline.
My hair is super short now. God knows why I allow it to turn out like this and now I have to lose more weight to be able to carry this hairstyle. But when you had so much fun with the hairstylist you kinda let them do whatever they want with your hair. Haha! Doesn’t make sense I know. But what the heck, it was a fun experience chatting with my dear friend about psychic powers. Ooh yes…Azuddin’s got super power which I will not elaborate further!
Anyway, I’m sure I’m gonna get comments about my super short hair. ‘It’s too short.’, ‘it makes your face looks fat’, ‘you should have cut it this way/that way’ blah blah. Well SHUT THE FUCK UP! I didn’t ask for your opinion ok? So bugger off and mind your own business. I will ask for your opinion when I need one.
2nd day and I am totally love this one bed room studio apartment. It’s so cozy I can just stay in and read my lovely books! Best of all, Amcorp mall is just below the apartment! Not forgetting, there’s a gym and a pool! Gosh I am really loving this place 🙂
Mom and dad came over to help move my stuff to the new place. I’ve shifted 80% of my ‘rubbish’ already and I can’t wait to just get everything outta that dump. I can’t believe I stayed more than 3 years!
Now that I’ve shifted to my new place, I can now have party and gathering whenever I feel like it hehe!
No matter how horrible you have been told you are, don’t believe it. No matter how bad you think you are, have courage. No matter what is going on around you, stand your ground. No matter what happened in your relationships, take hold of yourself. No matter what you get in return for the love you give, know that you are protected. Divinely protected. – Iyanla Vanzant
Random updates 1:
I had the strongest need to hang out with a friend today. Odd…haven’t felt like this for ages.
Random updates 2:
I secretly wished someone will get me a leather jacket for my birthday. But since it’s a secret and nobody knows, so I guess I’ll have to get it for myself 🙂
Random updates 3:
I can’t believe I am 33 already. Yoda said I am still a baby. Odd, he seems to think that the age of my soul is 17 going on 18. Well…I don’t know what to think…I wished I have another 33 years to live. Time is running out.
Random updates 4.
I still think about Maga at times. Funnily enough I think about him a lot lately. I wonder how would we be if he is still alive today.
Random updates 5:
I’ve always known that I can get anything that I want if I put my heart into it. I thought I wanted ‘it’. But till today, my heart is still having doubts. And I am still finding the answers, in the songs I listen to and in the books I feast my eyes on. Sigh, is this search going to last forever?