Sunday, July 24, 2016

Why I Don't Travel Alone

If you are one of those who loves to read the blogs of other travellers around the world, one theme that is always common between them, is that they almost always travel alone.

Besides the point that as a Muslim, I am not encouraged to travel alone there are other reasons why I usually don't travel alone.

For one it is more fun travelling with friends or friend. Travelling alone would mean being in the 8 hours flight and not having someone to talk to. Sure, you can always start a friendly conversation with the stranger sitting next to you, but in most situations, people just like to keep to themselves and prefer to sleep than entertaining my excitement of seeing the place that we are heading to. I realized nobody really cares to share with me their travelling plans like I do.

That happened to me when I was flying solo to Melbourne last December, and the solo traveller sitting next to me just pretended that I did not exist. I tried to make eye contact, and smile the brightest smile I could muster but she just shut her eyes and went off to sleep.

The only communication we had was when I was already asleep,  and the girl woke me up just to ask me how to fill in the visitor's country entry form. Geez, thanks girl for being so friendly.

Sometimes you are lucky and there are people that you meet for the first time, that you can instantly strike up a conversation with. But again you are not always lucky.

Having friends travelling with you makes you feel special because you have other people to share your experience with. The memories do not only belong to you but it also belong to your other friends. From time to time, it will be fun to revisit and reminisce the memories together. If that experience changed you, there is a possibility that it had changed them as well. Wouldn't it be sweeter for you to face the changes together.

Another big motivation to travel with friends is that you can share the travelling costs. Although there are more ways to do budget travelling nowdays, having friends reduces the costs tremendously.

You can easily get a nice apartment, with 2 bedrooms, a nice kitchen for a price of below than RM100 per night each in New Zealand if you share with 4 person. Now, isn't that sweet?

Having conversations with your travel buddies and planning your itineraries before your next day of travelling before sleeping is already in itself a novelty. 

Two heads are better than one. Sometimes in travelling, it requires a lot of planning and strategies. People take months to plan for a certain trip, often causing inevitable stress and sleepless nights depending on the scale of the trip itself.

From choosing your travelling dates, to booking the flights, to calculating the cost of the trip, to booking accommodations, to applying visas (to places that require visa), to making itineraries and choosing places to visit can cause quite a headache. But having friends going for the same trip, can save you a lot of time when you know how to delegate tasks to each person.

I always prefer to check out the prices of each places that we want to visit and calculate the distances of each place of interest and the logistics of each accommodation rather than booking flights and accommodations. So hence, this is the time when each individual in the trip would illustrate their strengths.

Another plus point for this would be during the trip itself. Each individual has their on strengths and weaknesses. Travelling together means we can utilize the strength of each person in different ways.

Take me for an example. I am no expert in cooking. I just know how to eat food. But often there will be friends of mine in those trips that will know how to cook. So I would always volunteer to do the dishes or chop some onions at least rather than cook.

Another advantage of having friends is relying on them during the trip. Knowing you are always surrounded with friends gives you a sense of security. If you fall sick, you can be sure that someone in the trip would care for you or provide you with some medicine. 

During my trip to Beijing in April last year, there were 2 very significant incidents on which both incidents demonstrated how much I relied on my dear friends. The first one was when I got lost in the middle of the chinese market, and had no idea where were the rest of the tour group. I got separated for a good 30 minutes (I honestly felt it was only 10 minutes). Hadn't it been for my friends searching for me, I would probably have been lost by myself and end up starving the whole night or worse.

Another incident was also the night when we spent in the cool chilly air, feet and hands were numb from the cold, despite our termal wear and layers of warm clothings, abandoned by our Mongolian van driver in the middle of Beijing, not finding our hotel location. It was really a pretty scary night. Not understanding Mandarin, not finding any taxi available to send us, (we were offered by a mischievous stranger to ride with her) and just standing there praying and keeping faith of Allah's protection. But luckily there were a four of us, and we took turns to figure out our location and eventually found our hotel.

Point is there are many reasons why for me travelling alone is not my thing yet. Some  might argue that there might also be some disadvantages to travelling in a group such as being way too comfortable and not making new friends but I find that not to be true. I managed to make friends when visiting a friend in Australia, granted the friends I made were her friends, and I also made a new Canadian friend during our trip to Madinah recently while travelling with my sister, aunt, uncle and cousin.

So in short, it depends on what your preferences and your choices are. There is no harm in travelling alone as it helps you to rediscover yourself, but I do still wish I could continue exploring the world and rediscovering myself with my travel buddies, always.

Read On >>>

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Quiet Time Alone

I must say I have been pretty quiet these past few weeks. I am less interested of social media, and just trying to settle and finish all my cases as quickly as possible. I am also less in contact with friends currently.

July is a busy month for me, besides celebrating Eid for 4 days, I have been then working non-stop ever since. Although I may seem quiet on the internet, truth is I am running around, juggling between my legal work, social work and personal life.

All blessings to Allah, July has seen me taking another step further in my social work. I have been appointed as the officer, sitting together with the main council of an NGO that I am involved in. I really love to be part of that NGO where their mission is to help people for the sake of Allah. Under the same NGO, I am still assisting to run our refugee school Al Ansaar along with another 2-3 other school committees. I am humbly grateful for the trust they have entrusted me with.

July is also the month where we will have the 1st Regional Breastfeeding Week under BIB. Since the conference is only next week, working as part of the said organizing committee has left me quite busy as well.

I am also currently taking my time, thinking and strategizing my next steps in my future career. A few offers and opportunities have cropped up. I am still trying to pull my inner strength out. I know it is there somewhere.

I am currently in the process of convincing myself of the decisions that I am about to make or might have to make. It is not easy especially when it will be a drastic change in my life. Sometimes your dreams do not align with the expectation of others, and it will disappoint them but I have personally learned that I don't have to adhere to the expectation of others except for my mom and the Lord, because at the end of the day it is me living this life.

Hoping that this month will be the beginning of something new and special, Insha Allah.
Read On >>>

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Around Auckland 2015

It was our second day in New Zealand. We only had another half a day more to spend in Auckland before having to make a move to Cape Reinga, the most northern part of New Zealand. Read about Cape Reinga here. I will write another entry on Cape Reinga, Insha Allah.

We left early in the morning and headed to the Auckland city. Auckland city is vibrant like any other cities in the world. What sets Auckland apart are a few things. First is of course the weather. Masha Allah, it could be so awkward in Auckland. Trust me when I say you REALLY, REALLY have to read the weather forecast before you head out for the day.

One funny incident happened to me on that particular day. We were coming back from the Auckland tower and noticed it was raining. I was so busy opening my bag and fishing out my raincoat which took almost 1 minute. I was about to don on my raincoat when suddenly I looked up the sky and noticed, there was not even a drop of rain anymore. The rain stopped as quickly as it started. I totally looked silly with my full raincoat on and no rain :)

Another incident about the rain was when while we were walking, just at one moment, rain was drizzling on my head. I took a few steps more, the clouds shifted and it was all sunny again. Subhanallah, what an amazing experience.

Auckland is also a melting port of culture, races and ethnicity.  There are so many Asian races there, that you almost forgot that you are in New Zealand instead of Malaysia. This is due to the number of university students studying in Auckland.

Life is city means everybody is rushing, either for classes or for work. And comparing the behaviour of the people in other parts of New Zealand, where they are calmer and more courteous. City people tend to be more impatient and less courteous. Not everyone of course.

Another funny incident also happened to me while in Auckland. I was paying some stuff I bought in one of the stores in Aucky, (the terms used by most Kiwi's when referring to Auckland), when the kind and sweet cashier told me to fill in a promotional form. I smiled at her and took the form and was about to fill it in when I saw the word 'New Zealand resident's address'. I quickly told her I was unable to fill in the form and told her I was just a tourist, and she immediately looked shocked. She apologetically told me that she thought I was a student. Guess, I looked young huh or probably blended well with the rest?

Auckland also consists of old and new buildings, a balance between globalization and colonial era of England. And with every growth in cities, there must be urban poor people around somewhere. A phenomena quite common in most growing cities :(

Other interesting points to visit in Auckland must be the Auckland sky tower where one can observe the overview scenery of the whole of Auckland. It cost around only 28nzd to observe this spectacular view.

Looks like a scene from CSI Miami right?

Since we had a short stay in Auckland, we didn't have much time to explore other points of interest in Auckland, but do stay tuned to my next entry on 'Why I Fell In Love With Devonport'. Till next time...

Read On >>>
Header Background Designed by Freepik