How Travel Changed My Life

21 March 2020

Hello my sweeties fam! Welcome back to my blog. It's day 4 of movement restriction, I can consider myself as a rotten egg now. It's our very first time experiencing this due to the recent outbreak of Covid-19. This virus showed us how everything can be dangerous and stupid (if you read all the latest news then you get what I mean) at the same time.

Seeing people still going out and having big gathering during this serious outbreak period is just terrible. The best we can do it just Stay Home To Help! I hope each of us can go through this dangerous period and hope everything back on track soon. Our economy is pretty bad right now and I really can't wait to be able to walk out freely from home or just being able to travel soon.

I miss the time I can travel freely without worries but not this time. The past few trips in the beginning of 2020 is quite fun yet scary for me. I really afraid to be on flight with strangers, I worried about the virus and I just trying to bring as many hand sanitiser / anti-virus or bacteria spray as possible. I spray on almost every spot I touch, keep washing hand before I'm having a meal or wanted to touch my face and so on. I miss the time where we can freely touch everything and do whatever we want without worries on flight. 

Just wish we can go through this as soon as possible. All my work and job get postponed since last month. I'm sad hearing story from my friend who force to close down their business for a short period, I'm seeing myself need to be quarantine at home for 14 days every time I back from other country. Also being blame by some of you that I'm still traveling around. I don't have any work trip now after my last Perth trip (which I just landed in KL on 15th March). It's even sad when I get blame by friends. It's not that I can simply cancel my work trip, do they think I'm totally feel happy to travel in this period of time. They don't even know and I dont blame them because they're not in my shoes. 

But thank god no more trip after this outbreak period. Maybe only travel and start accepting job after government announce that it's safe to travel around or we have any solution to stop the virus. So I have more time to sit down and think / plan around since this year I plan to put more effort on producing video content and more.

While reflecting what I have done for the past few months and looking back all my travel content, it truly show that travel really changed my life. I start my travel life 4-5 years ago and just the past 3 years, I have been busy traveling to different places every month. It's so exciting and soon I realise travel changed my perspective of life, my personality, tolerance level and so on.

Its not about which country you travel to or how many time you travel from your homeland. It's about your experience you gain when traveling to a new place and people you met. This is why I always spend all of savings on traveling to a new country rather than buying my dream bag. I can never get my dream bag because once I get the enough saving to get it, at the end of the day, I will use the saving I save for my dream bag on a flight ticket. 

Just like people asking me if I will have a dream wedding dinner or celebration with Smelly, I just told them I used 50% of my wedding fund to have a 2 weeks trip with Smelly and bringing two of my friends to shoot our travel aka pre-wedding photo for us. I love creating memories and travel with people, having a great time and enjoying it. So I think I really spent quite a huge savings purely on just traveling around.

In this post, I'm going to share with you guys how travel changed my life and opened up my world. Hope this story can open up your world too. If you have an opportunity to travel outside of your homeland, just do it while you are still young, without much commitment and still can afford it. No matter it's just Thailand, Vietnam or any other country like Japan or Cambodia. Just do it and find your favourite travel parter to travel with you, or if you are brave enough like me, you can try solo trip to country like Japan / Korea or Thailand. It does the magic, to change the perspective of my life, to change how I see things differently, treat other differently and just purely changed my mind to be more positive.

  • Firstly, travel changed me to a story teller.
This is one of the very true facts that my friends used to told me. In the past I find that it's so hard to get a topic to talk with people that I'm not close with. Whenever we have gathering in the past, people especially girls tbh, we really spend a lot of time gossiping, updating and catching up what we are doing lately or just thinking what we gonna say next. But after people started knowing that I'm really into travel, instead of gossip about others, people start to ask me for recommendation and I became a story teller to tell them everything funny or things I experience during my trip to the country that they're interested in. Moving forward few years later, I spent less time to hear people gossip around, spreading negative thoughts and also I found that if I'm really not into that kind of conversation, I can simply just talk about something or straight jump to other topic easily.

It's no longer so hard for me to think of a topic or feeling hard to join into a conversation. I got more story to share, more things to tell but I believe it also means that I grow older, I could share more experience with my friends instead of just the usual old time gossiping topic. Whenever I talk about my travel story, people laughing so hard for my hilarious experience, things I met and we share more info with each others, showing some secret hidden spot on country that we like, and sharing some tips as well.

I found that after I have been really crazy about travel, even talking with a stranger it's no longer a problem for me. I'm so afraid to talk with stranger in the past but now whenever stranger come to talk to me and asking for direction in Japan or Taiwan, I can simply help them, talk with them, share some info with them and some even more fun that end up they join me to explore the rest of the place. 

When I'm traveling to Japan like my recent trip I met two old couples during my trip, they will ask where are we come from and then I can talk with them, tell them about our country, show them our steamboat isn't like the one we had in their restaurant. Their winter steamboat is so so so yummy and then I can simply take my phone out, show them the places we gonna be visit tomorrow and get some local tips as well. 

Honestly, it's something that I wouldn't expect from myself. I started to have so many story to tell, I can talk basically in any topic also get invited to so many different kind of workshop and sharing session. Whenever I talk about it, I see sparkles from their eyes and it makes me so happy to share more and all of the sudden, I become a person with lots of topic in my mind which I can simply jump into any conversation HAHAHAHA. I'm no longer anti-social like the past or feeling lonely and become more brave on speaking out my mind.

  • I eat vegetables now
For those who followed me since the day I started my blog, you must be knowing that I seriously freaking hate of vegetables. The only vegetable I eat is just ladyfinger. The rest of vegetable as long as it's green I will just pick it up and put it at a side.

The funny things is no one can change this until I start traveling around. I can't be picky sometime when I'm having a trip with my friends or even work trip. Slowly, I try on and curious on trying vegetable dishes that been putting on my table. Although I'm still picky on some veggie like bitter melon, but the rest I can really put into my bite and eat it lol. 

Like the first experience that force me to try on the vegetables is 3 years ago. I remember I went to a restaurant in Japan and the place is super duper luxury, nice and comes with a peace ambiance. I thought I'm gonna be surviving with rice, just give me rice and I'm done. It's one of my work trip with client, then they slowly introduce the dishes on our table and then I spot ZERO MEAT. Like everything was so well cook but it's all vegetable. It's pure vegetable like green dishes everywhere, only one is tofu dish. I secretly sweat on my armpit and head lol I was like wtf what to do.

Then only I realise the restaurant owner actually home grow all the vegetable, the farm they owned and it's why we visited to a farm earlier before we arrive to the restaurant. Then I look at my friend, they all enjoying the dish and I was like, OKAY THEN I TRY IT. Not every vegetable dish is bitter, I think. So I put it into my mouth and start eating it.

WTF, it was so freaking delicious. Like how the life the restaurant and veggie dish in Japan is so yummy. Then I have a circle of friends who are purely vegetarian / vegan. When I'm traveling with them, I start to try on vegetable food and wtf, it's really pretty good tho!!!

Then slowly, whatever in front of me I will give it a try and if it's really something I dont like that I will say it out or sometime when I'm so shy to say about it I also might just eat the whole thing because I'm freaking hungry ahhahaah! 

Soon until now, I realise I no longer as picky as the past. Smelly's mom is so good on cooking, now I eat every veggie dish she cook and I drink 'green veggie' soup as well. HAHAHAHAHA Smelly always say I'm being forced to eat when I'm having my work trip (because I really don't want to trouble others to change my dish or look for other restaurants maaaaaa :p). But so happy now I start to be able to try on new dishes everyday and to be honest, vegetarian food is not bad as well. I also tried daikon with Cheesie. Was so impressed how Japanese cooked their veggie. 

Then after that no matter where I'm traveling to, whether it's Vietnam, Cambodia, Australia, I got more food option and I can try their local vegetables dishes with my friends as well. Maybe I'm still picky but I can now accepting 70% of vegetables. Bitter melon is still a no no for me HAHAHAHAAH!

  • Multi Language.
If you ask me what's the benefit for being a Malaysian. I guess this is the first few thing I will be proud of. I never thought I will feel this way until when I met with people from oversea, they all told me they are so surprise to see me understand and speaking Mandarin, Cantonese, Native language like Hokkien, Teochew, 台語, English, Malay. At first I was like, I wish to speak and being pro in only 1 language like English maybe?

But they was telling me like 'nahhhhh~' Multi language especially knowing how to read and understand Chinese word. I was like 'Really?'

I remember the first time I travel to Bali. Those local taxi driver thought we can't understand Malay(although I hardly speak it fluently but I still can understand most of the word), they are chatting in Malay negotiating the price and talking about extra charging us since we might come from China just because we look asian lol. 

Then I freaking so angry and talk to them in Malay and saying that we can understand it so just charge on this amount of money and I wont even give them extra tip lol. Then you know what the driver open his eye with a mouth dropping expression, he be like 'oh, you can speak malay?'

wtf, being a Malaysian is really useful HAHAHAH. That's the first thing that came into my mind. Then when I'm traveling to Taiwan, I can also understand their language and even traveling to Thailand, they can understand my broken English. HAHAHAHAH As long as they understand it, that's the main purpose of being able to speak.

So never ever feel shame with your broken accent or any language, my friend can speak super duper good English but whenever she's traveling with me, I'm the one who can communicate with the rest of the local lol. I use body language, my broken multi language and all and taa-daaaa, I successfully get the right direction to my homestay or even order some extra dish. As long as you dare to speak it out, you will improve day by day.

I remember got once we walk to the market in Bangkok. The Thai girl just look at my friend and trying to ask like what we want. Then my friend answer her' just look around' but she seems like couldn't get it still waiting for our answer. At that moment, I just look at the Thai girl with my finger movement I told her ' JUST SEE SEE & LOOK LOOK' 

HAHAHAHAHAH Then wtf, she understand and just say okay okay. Then my friend was like 'wtf?! Chanwon what you say just now?' 

I was like you must learn to speak in simple English and bit broken. Main point is they can understand simple English. Like when I go to Japan, I see people suffering asking the counter something, all of them just standing there for 10 mins and I'm standing behind waiting to pay for my purchase. So I walk toward them and successfully helped a tourist from Europe to ask for the refund and passport thing AHAHAHAHAHAHHA. Yes, with my body language + broken Japanese language on number counting + broken English. Then I share with the tourist that must tell them the English keyword or the simple English word and keep pointing it only they get it. Then all of us just laughing with each others.

  • Being proud for being a Malaysian. 
To be honest, I always hope to migrate or move to other country other than Malaysia lol. I always think Malaysia isn't a safe country compare to Singapore and Japan. But after being travel to many diff country and speak to the local, I realise Malaysia is always their top 3 country to migrate and visit. I was like ' ARE YOU SERIOUS? '

They told me everything about Malaysia in their perspective. I finally know how they see things differently. They showed me the photo they are taking under the KLCC, Batu Caves, Sabah beach, tioman and Malaysia's food they tried in my country. I see the sparkles from their eyes and whenever they ask me about some to-do or to-visit in Malaysia, I dont know how to answer lol.

So last year, I have a brunch of friends and my team who really love cuti-cuti Malaysia, since we can't go far from that when we got so many work but still die die want to have fun. We traveled to Cameron Highland, Penang and many other places in Malaysia. I can finally see Malaysia in a completely diff perspective. To be honest, Malaysia's food is the best food ever. This is the place where I born from, the place that allows me to meet all of you, my friends, family, the beautiful culture and languages. 

Now when my friends visit me in Malaysia, I can easily think of the itinerary and introduce them to places to visit in Malaysia. Whenever I met people from oversea, when they asked about anything about Malaysia, I got more to share rather than just ' it's not a clean country or it's not a safe country'. I showed them some local food and describe how yummy it is and they are so interested on. Also I'm traveling to a new country and represent Malaysia, I must be proud of it and share the good side about it. But whatever on that I still somehow dislike the politic things that's happening in our country. 

But still there are always two sides to everything. Even each country. So I guess all of that wont making me feel unhappy for being a Malaysia. On the other hand, I should be proud that people from other country feel that Malaysia is beautiful country. Most of my friends wish to have their trip extend in Malaysia. I guess this is like how I always use to think that 別國家的月亮比較圓.

After all, it's just perspective that changed the way you see things. I started to see everything differently.

  •  I value experience over things
Once you started to travel around and really look into it. You will realise you start value experience over things. Just like what I mentioned just now Instead of buying a luxurious branded bag, I invest in what’s more important to me. I will ended up use the savings on buying things that could add value to my life. I choose to value things differently! It really open up my world and I never regret on that.

  • Beauty is not limit only there
Remember I have a terrible skin breakout in early of 2019 last year. During the time I still traveling around to Cambodia. I'm feeling so shitty about my skin, I feel so sad and ugly about it. But do you know how it feel when they are people who you meet in oversea still telling that you are pretty? Giving you compliments on your skin. I realise they really dont see my face that ugly and all of them just love our fair skin color.

After all, I realise each country has diff sense of beauty. In Cambodia, as long as you are fair skin like me you consider as a pretty girl. They dont freaking care whether your face is full of pimple as long as you look ok and with a fair skin, you consider as a pretty tourist lol. In Japan, they are so freak out why the hell in the world I need to put on the scary braces, for them cute tiggers and extra teeth is consider cute! So I remember when I put my braces on, all the local actually ask me about the reason and they dont even think I need to go through such terrible time as well. They keep on saying KAWAIII lol with my damn rabbit teeth lol.

The sense of beauty is really different in each country. I'm super skinny and I got once went to Italy few years back and everyone just feed me food. I guess I'm consider as a skeleton in their country lol. I have a nightmare to wear bikini in Malaysia but whenever I'm oversea in Australia, Thailand or even western country, I can just wear it out and walk like a queen publicly. Just not in Malaysia idk why. Maybe I feel secure and comfortable to embrace my body when I'm oversea? HAHAHAHA I feel insecure to wear it in Malaysia because it might look too much?  I remember when I'm having a beach trip in Boracay, I just wear my bikini walking on the beach like just nothing. Dont even afraid of people judging me but in Malaysia I just feel so shy to do so lol. 

I have a closed friend who are not the skinny type of girl, she love traveling to Australia and enjoying her beach trip there. She told me in Australia, there is nothing to feel insecure about your body size and she feel happy to just wear bikini and just enjoy her happy time there. 

My story is, your beauty really not limit only here. This is what I learn from my experience of traveling. I see how people from other country see beauty differently. Whatever I think is ugly, in other country, it's consider pretty fine. Whenever I think it's not okay but in other country that I have visited before, it's very okay 😳 

So it's why, dont let your beauty limit the way you feel about yourself. You are worth it, you are more than what you think. Accept your imperfection and soon you will realise, it could be your perfect imperfections. Which is the unique version of you. 

  • Be grateful and Thank You!
I learned how to be grateful. Even just a peaceful day when I'm traveling, at the end of the day I will take few min to give thank and be grateful for having such peaceful day in my life before my bed time.

All of these help to remind ourselves of the small, everyday positive aspects of our lives helps to develop a sense of balance and perspective that can enhance well-being.

Soon you will have less complain about your life and you can simply Thank you on the perfect weather for giving you a good travel experience.  Even losing myself once in awhile during my oversea trip could makes me bumped into something new or hidden spot / meeting new people. 

After knowing how to say thank you and feel that gratitude from the bottom of my heart, I know I wont take things as granted and in a way I started to see these little things that I wont see in the past.

The country that taught me and influenced me the most on how i see things differently now is definitely Japan. It's why I always go back there and wish to complete my 47 prefecture mission as much as I can. I went to those small town, seeing how they feel proud of their small town, how much effort they put on introducing those little town to us and show us the best of their country. How polite they are and I remember I thought I couldn't find the right way to back to my homestay, there is a old grandma came to me and walk extra 30 mins just to bring me to the right place even I can't understand a single word from her.

It's not that 100% luck I always meeting with good people, there are time I get scolded in foreign language just walking pass the street. Some awful experience as well, but those experience taught me how much I wish to be treated nicely from others. Also as a reminder for me to treat others like how I wish to be treated. 

  • Acceptance & learn to go with the flow
When I travel to a new place, I meet with new people, experience ew things and culture. Sometimes I get to embark on all sorts of adventures no matter it's good or bad. All of taught me the lesson of acceptance. 

Accept and embrace it. Acceptance simply means to be in the embrace of what is without resistance while the true acceptance is one of the most powerful and life-changing practices you can choose for your life journey. I only start figuring this when I'm in my mid-27. Like last year, but personally I think it's really powerful. Just accept it and less complain, and then let it follow the flow. It is what it is, sometimes complain couldn't make you a better person but accepting it and saying yes to grow with it, you will, and always will become a better one.

  • I'm more confident with myself
Before I start knowing the other side of the world or even step out from my comfort zone to travel around, I always worried about what other think about me. I worry whether if I'm now on the same track with others, whether my hair is on trend or not, whether my body shape or the way I dress up.

Now I'm comfortable with who I am. I no longer just purely follow the trend for having things I dont like. I follow my heart with whatever I like. I no longer bleaching my hair purely just follow the trend, I keep my hair in the color I'm comfortable with, the way I wish to be. 

Financial independent also making me more confident because I can do whatever I wish and live the life I want without rely on others. I get decision making power for my life and with all of this, I gain more confident about myself. I wont always question or doubt about my choice anymore because I know what exactly I want.

It doesn’t really matter  how I look like, the way I dress up or my skin color, now, I’m confident with myself and I only attract people who likes me for who I am.

  • Learned to be humble
When I'm travel to a new country, I'm completely a newbie and it's really exciting for me. I need to like start everything from 0 and there are so much more to see / to achieve. I'm just like NOTHING when I really step into the world and see the world.

Also meeting with new people and knowing how smart they are, and all the knowledge they have, I feel myself just like  just nothing compare to them and hence I learn how to be humble. When you feel that you are on the top of the mountain, you wont learn anything from other because you think that you are smart enough. But staying humble is completely a diff thing. It makes me want to improve and learn more from the rest. There are people who is always smarter than me, understand that I'm not always the best. 

That's how travel changed my life. It also can shape me into a better person. To live at the moment and after all I no longer did I hate the world. I cherish my life and be grateful for it. How about you?? Hope everything can back on track and all of us could travel freely again.

See you on my next post. Love, xoxo.

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