The Reality That This Photo Hits Me

I’ve posted this photo on my Facebook and asked my fellow Facebook friends. To see what kind of interpretation that they could give me. Some of the answers were the obvious one such as a cart and a mini steering wheel that will define marriage or committed relationship. Some were being creative by guessing shopping for Nutella (food crave guess) and some were being artistic with the photos.

Pictures do speak thousands of words. Every person has different definition of one photo. But this simple but colourful picture hit me on the face with a harsh reality. I was a bit hesitated to accept it but I still have time to turn back things around. It’s better late than never.

“Most of us were traditionally raised to be a consumer..”

Since I was a kid, I was being taught and raised with the same principles that were being taught to my sisters.

“Get a good exam result, get a good degree, get a good job, get a good salary and live a good life..”

It’s like when you were in your first ever relationship with someone. You thought he was behaving badly was a normal thing in relationship. Even when you were not happy and questioned yourself the purpose of this toxic relationship, you’re still sticking to it because you thought it was normal and everybody was doing it. Because of the mindset that you’re having, you’re putting a big hard shell around you to make you think that, if you’re stepping out of this shell, you will find a lot worst out there. He might be the most decent one. Pffft. I still laughed at myself when I thought about how naive and stupid I was back then.

The relation to my bad relationship experience is I thought living the life as a consumer is a normal thing to do. Everybody is doing it, so, it might be the right way to live. Right? I couldn’t be more wrong in this. Yes, I wish I could see this harsh reality when I was in early 20s. But, it’s better late or never. It’s better if I realized it now compared when I was at my 50s and have my regrets of realizing that it’s too late.

“You have a big salary. Why bother to learn on how to bake a cake. You can just buy one at the store..”

“Why do you need to have a business when you can survive on your own salary..”

“Doing business won’t give you much money compared to your good-job salary..”

These were among the statements coming from the people that I respect and adored. It managed to get into my head for a long time. Just like my previous relationship experience, I was putting myself in a big hard shell, thinking there wasn’t any other way beside my salary and financial freedom does not exist. If I had and still keeping this mindset and wouldn’t bother to learn about a lot of stuff, I won’t have any survival skills to brace myself if something goes down. Donald Trump and Richard Branson are among the great examples. These people stepped out of the shell and walked opposite to the mainstream direction. It’s not pure luck. Lots of hard efforts and skills were being put into it.

How many schools that actually teach financial education as part of syllabus. How many families that teach their kids to have financial intelligence? Most parents want their kids to be doctors, lawyers or other professional career and as for me, an engineer. But, I’ve learned that even the top student in medical or engineering class doesn’t guarantee that one is smart financially. With higher salary among the average ones, the temptations to spend on liabilities are much higher. With having low or zero financial IQ (as what Robert Kiyosaki quoted), it’s a ticking bomb for one to realize that things are about to go down the drain.

Just open your eyes and realize the temptations that keep seducing consumers to keep spending their money until no more left. No need to get a new phone for every new model that comes out, buying branded items just because the columnist from a fashion magazine told you that it’s a must-to-have item because Jennifer Lawrence is wearing one now, or simply watch movies every weekend even the rating is low and terrible.

Wake up from the consumer world and step out from it. Doesn’t matter what are you going to do. Step out, learn to do something and don’t be at the bottom of the “food-chain”. 

“If everybody is following the rules, nothing will change. Without change, there will be no progress..” – Richard Branson

Fun Fact:

Did you know that Donald Trump spend 90USD for chairs at his office after made several phone calls and try to find the right vendors, even though his staff mentioned the chairs were intially sold at USD1,500?

Next Post: Things That I Will Teach My Kids In the Future

What Can You Expect Before Conquering Mount Sorrow, Australia

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I reached Cape Tribulation Beach House from Cairns at 11am and found out that there was a trail-hiking route. After settled down with my stuff at the beach house, without hesitation, I packed my headlamp, a full bottle of water, blanket, mosquito repellent and some ID. After 20 mins walk (because my steps are tiny), I reached to the entrance at Mount Sorrow Ridge Trail. Hear me out, learn from my stories.

1. Get yourself some first aid kit. – I had it but left it in Brisbane
2. Never hike alone – whoops!
3. Tell someone that you’re hiking the trail – double whoops!
4. Ensure you bring enough water because there’s no water refill station.
5. Wear some waterproof clothing and wear sport shoes – Got it!
6. Beware of the venomous snakes and cassowaries – I was being cautious but can’t do anything much!

11012037_10153303158783874_4599965122001545379_nI started at noon and actually, it is recommended to start the hike at 10am because it will require you six hours return. Looking at the watch, it was close to noon, which was why I brought my headlamp and blanket with me, just in case I got lost in the middle of the night. The first 1 km, wasn’t so bad. It’s a typical route of hiking trail. The trail started to get challenging after 1.5km till the top. Between 2-3km, will be the most challenging one because the trails were extremely steep. Some of the area, there was a rope provided for you to climb to the top due to its steepness.

IMG_0528It took me several stops and to think whether I should turn back because it was so extremely steep and by that time, I can ensure I was the only one left hiking up, when some people had hiked down. But I was so close to the top, so I pushed myself to proceed. 3 kilometres till look out, there will be a steep trail but not that much compared to the previous one. Be careful with any weird sounds that you’ve heard and ensure your surrounding is safe for you. I bumped into cassowary bird on my way up about 1.5km – 2km trails. I had no chance to take the step back because behind me there was a steep slope. So I had to hide behind a tree until it disappeared. For somehow at the moment, I felt like I was Indiana Jones. Haha!

Once you reached to the top, the view was spectacular. And a little advice for you, after I told the local that I just got back from the trail, they asked me whether I went over the platform at the lookout. Because the view was much more amazing compared to the one where you stood on a tiny platform which used for the lookout area. So if you’re at the platform, jump over the fence and go a little bit further.

IMG_0521The challenge didn’t stop there as I had to race against time to reach the ground before dark. Yes, I had the headlamp but still, the fear of getting lost alone in the middle of the night, I’ll be lying if that didn’t cross into my mind at all. And in addition, because of the extreme steep slope, I did fell a couple of times because my feet was not stable in position as I was trying to hike down. So yeah, good sport hiking shoes are highly recommended. I’ve got a good one, though.

Take note and be alert on every marking tape that they put as the marking trails. It wasn’t that shiny at night but with headlamp, it helps. So to future hikers that plan take this trail, good luck. Oh yeah, difficulty level for this trail is indeed DIFFICULT.Hey, it’s not coming from me but it comes from Department of National Parks of Queensland Government!

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What To Do During Solo Trip: Australia Edition

Hey folks! Nice to see you guys again. Last May, I did a solo trip to Australia. To anybody that is considering Australia as their next destination, you can check the requirement before entering the down under here. Initially, nobody bought the idea of me going on a trip to Australia, alone. Some even raised their eyebrows, with indications of doubts and thoughts of me bluffing. But guess what, I did! For this time, Brisbane & Cairns were the chosen travel destinations. Choosing on what to do during the time when I was there, was so hard. So much to see, so much to do but kinda lesser time. But here are the stuff that I did during my solo trip:

  • Southbank and Brisbane city – I’ve been living in the city for so long, I wasn’t really keen on checking out the Brisbane city and Southbank. But, since I was already in Brisbane, might as well check it. But it was my first and last day in Brisbane. Here, there are a lot of stuff that you can do and check out. You can do some shopping in the city and check out the museum, cool cafes in Southbank. Typical city stuff, though. IMG_0623
  • Lamington National Park – Approximately about 2 hours drive from Brisbane, you will reach Lamington National Park. You have two choices when you’re there. You can choose to stay in O’Reilly’s which is commercial resort if you prefer a comfort hospitality with a nature view. Another choice that you can choose is the Camping Area near the Green Mountains area. You can book the camping area site online but with fees apply. For more information on the fees and permits, you can check out here. When you’re in Lamington, you will be given a brochure, showing several places that you can go for a hike. There are hikes at beginners level, intermediate and difficult. There are general store and cafe if you need to buy some snacks or a hot coffee to warm you up in a windy and chilly weather. 11017541_10153291626683874_4239092470351078193_n11214080_10153293490293874_4974664148872766660_nIMG_0330
  • Kamarun Look-Out Point – A very beautiful scenery to enjoy. Because of its peaceful and calmness, I almost fell asleep for a nap on the grass. IMG_0437IMG_0435 IMG_0429
  • Cairns – It’s a like Bali but with so much things to do! If you have problems or time to find the best price for an activity around Cairns, Daintree, Fraser Island etc, not to worry, there are a lot of agencies that can offer you the best price there. Even some of the activities that you hardly find online! More review on Cairns to come in the next postit's bungy time mate!
  • Great Barrier Reef – You can’t come to Australia and not to see the Great Barrier Reef. It was so beautiful! You can snorkel, dive or even chill out and enjoy the view! A little hint, check other islands and scenery other than Green Islands. It’s not worth the trip. Nothing much special that you can do much there. 11261218_10153295603773874_8191479760538623369_n11193317_10153275544118874_4979748787777034625_n
  • Daintree – Approximately 2 hours drive from Cairns, you will get to Daintree. From unique flavour of ice cream, national parks to bumping the cassowary birds crossing the street without given any cares to the world (It’s ma road, I can do whatever I want! Deal with it).
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  • Cape Tribulation – I stayed at Cape Tribulation Beach House, and guess what? Away from any network coverage! A perfect spot of an escape getaway from the life in the city. Because of there wasn’t any network coverage at all, you finally can enjoy the beautiful nature, sunset and sunrise at the beach, bonfire at night or simply get to know other friendly backpackers that stayed there too. If you’re seeking a much challenging trip, you can try to hike Mount Sorrow Ridge Trail. I’ve done it! And I’ll share the dos and don’ts, plus tips before you’re proceeding with the hike.IMG_0503IMG_051911012037_10153303158783874_4599965122001545379_n
  • Crocodile Sightseeing Tour – Yeah I see some crocs but they were pretty lazy and sleepy! Hahaha
  • IMG_0594IMG_0610Myrall Beach – A short stopover before heading back to Cairns. What a beautiful and lovely place! I bet for sunrise and sunset, the view will be so spectacular!
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  • And, my most favourite things to do when I do the solo trip, making lots of new travel friends! (me with the pink Power Rangers shirt!)11289515_10200625141747593_265984740793949252_o

What Can You Expect Before Touching Down Australia

Hey folks!

Yes, I’ve been away for so long! I know right! Life has been such a roller coaster. Had a rough start for 2015 which caused the silence in blog for so long. I apologized for that. But I’m back now, with a new spirit, drives and motivation to look ahead in life.

Let’s get it started again, shall we? This time, apart from sharing my travel journey, I’ll be sharing reviews and tips during travel. I just got back from the down under last April, before heading to Perhentian Island, Malaysia a month after. For a first timer that is planning to go to Australia, here’s what you need to know:

  • You need to get yourself a visa – depending on which country you are from, you need to get a visa prior to your arrival in Australia. You can either do it yourself online or do it through travel agent. The usual one is Electronic Travel Authority Visa but it is only applicable to several countries that listed in the eligibility list. You can check it here under Electronic Travel Authority applicant section: https://www.border.gov.au/Trav/Visa-1/601-
  • Prior to your touchdown, you will be given a Passenger Card (image), instead of Visa-on-arrival card like the ones for South East Asia. In the card, you need to fill your personal details and the next section of the card, will be a tricky and confusing one especially for the first timer. Whatever you’re bringing with you, (I mean it, whatever!) such as first aid kit, medications, sports shoes, snorkelling gear, milk powder, instant noodles etc, you need to declare it at the customs. Make a list, for their own convenience. Why? If you make it easy for them, they will make it easy for you.
  • When it to comes declaration of the items that you bring, if you’re unsure with your items that need to be declared or not based on the passenger cards, just tick YES. Don’t be afraid if you’ll get into trouble by ticking YES. You’ll be in trouble if you’re ticking NO but it’s the item that you’ll need to be declared. Better safe than sorry, hey.
  • Make sure you’re ready with the address details, contact number and your return flight ticket details. Travel document 101, hey
  • For traveller without check-in luggage but with backpack, you’ll need to put all the travel kit toiletries in a clear zip-loc bag or any see through bag with a small piece of paper in it, listing all sorts of your toiletries. (image)
  • Don’t forget to smiles!

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I’ll share with you after this, couple of things to do when you’re in Australia.

Until then, toodles!

#7dayswithoutcomplaints, Are you up for it?

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Hey folks!

Starting today, I would like to challenge all of my beloved readers out there for a game challenge.

Here’s how. There are only two rules in this game:

  • 7 days without whining and complaining
  • 7 days with sharing, posting or spreading positive message and inspirational quotes and posts. End it for each message with #7dayswithoutcomplaints

The dateline for this challenge will be until next Tuesday (20th January 2015). The winner will get the biggest life changing experience! Spread the message around the world to keep our world filled with positivities that could inspire people to do extraordinary things!

Let the games begin!

Top 5 Bucket List for 2015

It’s getting near to the new year folks!

Hope you have such a wonderful year for 2014. Are you ready for 2015? Or are you still hiding under the covers, hoping time will pass you by much more slowly? What about your wishlist for 2015? Are you wishing for a new job, new and healthy relationship, or simply more time with the beloved ones? Regardless what it is, let’s start the new year fresh and with a bang, shall we?

Here are my wishlist for 2015 and I’m hoping and trying to make this happen for 2015.

Trekking in Nepal-Tibet
After conquering the Grand Canyon, it’s time to test my body strength again for another trekking. And this time, I’m planning to go for trekking in Tibet/Nepal while enjoying the view of Mount Everest. After living in a concrete jungle, it would be so wonderful to be away from it and enjoy the breathtaking view of the majestic mountain. Plus, I can cross off another list in my bucket list, unplugged from social media/technology for 48 hours. Still couldn’t cross that off until now, am too attached to my phone now, haha!

Comic Con
How cool is it when you can be whatever you want, even portray your favourite comic or gaming character in an event where thousands of people are sharing the same interest as yours? Like TomorrowWorld, this would be another awesome event that need to be crossed off from my bucket list. I’ve been surfing for the best ideas, and right now medieval characters like Skyrim or LOTR are my main options right now. I do like dress up but, in a much more unique kind of way.

Skydive
Can you believe that I haven’t done any skydive yet? This was supposed to be crossed off this year but, fate has intervened and it still hasn’t been done yet. Which I really want to make it happen for this year! Want to go for tandem first, before trying to get a skydive license. Isn’t it super cool to have both dive license for underwater and the sky? Your adventure would be endless!

Bungee Jump
What a great extreme sport to check if you have trust issue with yourself or not. Tandem would be okay, I guess as you’re attached to a professional and experienced instructor. But bungee? You’re going down there alone. Okay, I’m gonna stop messing up my head now and just close my eyes and for God’s sake, do it!

Watch a game from English Premier League/Barclays Premier League
It used to be English Premier League when I was in high school and until now I still called it as EPL even though right now the name has been changed to Barclays Premier League. I’ve been wanted to watch the football game or Champions League game since I was in 15. Not sure about the tickets availability but hey, checking about it wouldn’t hurt right? But enjoying the game of your favourite football team would be super awesome!

So what’s yours? Do let me know if my adventure friends out there would like to embark the journey for 2015 with me. The more the merrier! Let’s rock 2015 with a bang!

2014: The Bucket List Year

It’s reaching to the end of the year, folks!

How’s your 2014 so far? Better than last year or there’s still need to be done with your life? Either way, time has passed so quickly that we’re reaching to the new year in about two weeks time. As for me, 2014 would the most happening year in my life. I have done lots of new things, made a lot of self-discovery and lots of risks were taken this year. I would say, even though I had some ups and downs (well everybody does, right?), 2014 would be the first year that I could say it as a year filled with adventures. Here’s my bucket list that I’ve done for 2014:

Hiking the Grand Canyon
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Went for TomorrowWorld 2014 in Atlanta
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Visit Bali

One of the attraction - Tegalalang Rice Terrace and happened to be at the same spot as the world-renowed DJ, Ummet Ozcan
One of the attractions – Tegalalang Rice Terrace and happened to be at the same spot as the world-renowed DJ, Ummet Ozcan was

Visit Miami

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I also checked another bucket list here – got my scuba dive licence!

Visit Thailand

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Experience opera in Chicago

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Visit Shedd Aquarium in Chicago

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Did Sea-walking

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Ride an elephant

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Watch a football game in a stadium

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There are lots of things that I’ve missed this year. Too much adventures caused my body to send signals to me to calm down and have a break. It took me a week and now probably till the end of this year to give my body a chance to have break that it deserves. New stuff, new adventures hopefully for next year as the plan for 2015 have been started. How about you, my adventure friends? How’s your bucket list for this year?

Feel free to share with me and everyone your bucket list, don’t be shy. I won’t bite. Haha!

How I survived the Grand Canyon

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Before flying off to the States, Grand Canyon was part of the plan of the trip. But, I had no idea what to prepare. I did prepared myself with good hiking shoes, sport attires, sunshades, sunblocks, anything that I felt it’s necessary for the prep before hiking. But I wasn’t sure if that’s enough preparation. Was my body fit enough for the hike, am I strong enough to endure the 3/6 miles hike? 3 miles hike down won’t be a problem, but 3 miles hike up back to the canyon, now that’s a different story. With that solely preparation that I had, we went to the Grand Canyon. We went to Cathedral Rock a day before for the Canyon pre-hike. Thought it was enough, but I can’t never be so wrong. 20140127_005800

Due to the pre-hike at Cathedral Rock a day before, we overslept on theday of the Grand Canyon hike. We supposed to wake up at 630am, so we can be at the canyon around 8am. But, fate intervened, we woke up at 9am instead and reached the canyon by noon. What we have prepared ourselves with that time apart from the sports attire was a 1.5 litre of bottled water, cookies, energy boosting snacks, chocolate covered raisin (yummy!) and smartphone that was 80% of battery left at that time. There wasn’t any headlights, sleeping bag or blanket and not even power bank that we brought with us.
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We started the hike at noon, it was pretty hot and less humid. I even can see my skin was so dry that I can see my skin was like cracking. I brought a bottle of lotion with me but apparently, to avoid from us getting exhausted quickly for carrying so much weight, both of us decided to leave the lotion in the car. It’s not really a big mistake but it kinda freak you out when you saw your leg looked like a cracking porcelain. Anyway, it was so hot and we managed to reserve enough water until we reached to the first rest house.

It was 1.5 miles away from the top of the canyon, the spot that you started the hike. Lots of people were at the first rest-house. And you started to see lesser people as you reached to the second rest house. The view was so breathtaking that I slipped several times while hiking down because I just can’t stop looking up, enjoying the scenery of the canyon. Once we reached the second rest house, this will be the major turning point. There was even a sign stating..

“It’s optional for you to go down, but it’s MANDATORY to go up..”

Yeah, they highlighted so much on the mandatory part. Most people will start to turn away and going back up before it gets too dark. But we, as the most confident pair at the canyon, decided to proceed for another 3 miles, with a goal to reach for the cliff. We didn’t feel any exhaustion at all. We were hiking down and we didn’t realize what have we got ourselves into in the next several hours. We kept hiking down until we reached at the bottom of the canyon, before the Indian Garden. It was 3pm that time and we already heard a rattling noise, suspected coming from rattlesnake. More interesting stories to come when I touched about the hike up adventure later.
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Once we reached the Indian Garden, we saw lots of tent were being set up there. This is the place where you’re going to stay if you decided to camp at the Grand Canyon. By the time we reached the Indian Garden, our leg started to feel sore, at least my legs were. We rested about 15 mins, refilled the water and continued towards the cliff. I kept filling my mouth the energy snacks and chocolate covered raisins to supply the energy. I was already hungry at that time and my mind was torturing me by showing the image in my head of medium rare lamb steak with mashed potato gravy and salted asparagus with iced cold Dr. Pepper.

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I was between the bottom of the canyon and the cliff
Before reaching to the cliff. No trees, not even rocks for some shades
Before reaching to the cliff. No trees, not even rocks for some shades

If the weather was so hot for you, you can find some rocks as shelters but not when you’re heading towards the cliff. When we were between the bottom of canyon and the cliff, it was 3:30pm and it was so hot like I can feel like my head was cooked medium rare the same as the image of the lamb steak in my head earlier. I couldn’t get any shelter, there wasn’t any tiny trees or rocks to give you some shades. We had to make several stops for water before reaching to the cliff and finally we did!

The view at the cliff
The view at the cliff
Sitting at the cliff, enjoying the view of Colorado River
Sitting at the cliff, enjoying the view of Colorado River
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The breathtaking view

We managed to take an hour nap at the cliff before heading back up. Now, here’s where the interesting stories started. We started to head back to Indian Garden at 5pm. It wasn’t hot anymore but it started to get cloudy. It was so quiet when we passed the Indian Garden. We didn’t really see a single soul there until we heard some footsteps not far from us. It was so quiet that you can hear somebody’s footsteps heading towards you. It turned out it was an old man around mid 50s who was hiking up back to the canyon much more faster than us. We managed to see a sunset at the canyon and enjoyed the nature, but we did not aware enough the amount of trouble that we’re going to get for ourselves.

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Starting from the location of the photos above, we can hear multiple sounds from the rattlesnakes. Apart from that old man that we bumped into, we saw some hikers were preparing some headlight for the night hike. With all the preparations and timing that we had, we were about to do a night hike back to the top of the canyon. And guess what? My phone was at 70% at that time. That will be our only headlight for the night, shared by two people. Yeah, I was reserving the battery of the phone since I used my camera more than the phone (thankfully!).

We started off the hike without the phone and we felt good because we can see how far more to go to the top. As we reached close to 7:30pm, it was so dark and quiet that I had to take out the phone. Wouldn’t want to fall down from the high canyon, would you? I had some concern that the battery might not last as we can’t really see how close we were to the top. The night was starting to get chilly and windy, and yet, we didn’t have any blanket or sleeping bags to stay at the rest house in case our only light source was running out of battery. We had to hike up back to the canyon no matter what. It’s a race against time and the battery life. We wished we could hike up faster so we won’t have the concern of losing the battery life but we were extremely exhausted.

We were so happy once we reached to the checkpoints such as the rest house and ‘the gate’ as what we called. It was like a big hole between the rocks that we called it as gate and there were two gates to be passed. It’s like Frodo & Sam were heading to Mordor. Tired, but still heading for it. Once we passed the final gate and saw a light coming from the cabin nearby, we were extremely happy and thankful that we made out alive! We reached to the top at 930pm. It was 9 hours and 30 mins in total for the entire hike and while most people are chilling in their cabin, enjoying the comfy bed, we have to endure another an hour an half back to the hotel in Flagstaff. It was indeed such an emotional victory for me to conquer the Grand Canyon!

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