We are what we repeatedly do – Aristotle

2000 something years later, this statement still holds true.

I’m used to going to bed late at night, then feeling completely plastered in the morning.

I’m used to doing things last minute, because of poor planning.

I’m used to misuse of my imagination over worrying for worst case scenarios.

I’m used to being cynical and stopping myself from doing what I really want to do out of several types of fear.

I’m used to misusing my energy, because of inner chaos.

And I realized, all of these unnecessary fretting really doesn’t help at all.

The older I get, the more I know myself – through experiences and retrospective observations – the outlines of what I ultimately want are getting clearer.

 

I know that what I’ve been repeatedly doing is detrimental, but when you’re caught in a never ending loop without much hope for change – because everything is the same – you’re in the same city, doing the same job, seeing the same people, thinking the same thoughts – it’s hard to break out of a rut – truly.

We are what we repeatedly do – Aristotle

So I rebelled.

I said “no” to all that bothered me.

I did something different.

I went somewhere different.

I met new people.

I tried new things, had successes and failures in various aspects of my life – the highs and lows – I didn’t shy away from either – but the thing is – things weren’t perfect, yet I made them work – I realized, I could handle so much more in my life than what I had thought to be possible.

Namely:

  1. Being uncomfortable: Ever been to a party where you knew practically no one? Check.
  2. Swallowing pride: Starting a conversation with someone whom you thought was ignoring you, but it turns out they’re just busy. The old me would never do this…the old me would’ve let those worries run amok and shrivelled up in my shell of self doubt.
  3. Making things happens: Surprising your friend and yourself by your party planning skills.
  4. Bounce back from fatal mistakes: Having a little too much fun in club and being helped home by a friend. Opps. Don’t ask me to party for the next 3 months…
  5. Stand up for what I believe is right: Helping someone out even though it makes little sense to other people, but for you its the righteous thing to do.
  6. Letting things go that doesn’t serve the bigger picture: Realizing fully that I’m only behind the wheels of my own life, and not anyone else’s. Therefore, I am completely detached from anything that doesn’t concern me and my attention directly.
  7. Spending time with people who matter: because these are the moments and the memories you will cherish and remember.
  8. Turn thoughts into action a priority: but all in all, taking all of this experiences and recognize that if you didn’t take the initiative to be creative, or put your thoughts into action in time, then none of the wonderful and not so wonderful things would’ve happened – for better for worse, you should continue this adventurous streak even when you’re back in the other city.

The past month was about experiences. It was about doing things I would never do normally and breaking through barriers, regaining confidence, and a sense of balance despite all the chaos.

And that’s exactly the most invaluable thing about the trip, the experiences that I’m taking home with me and knowing that across from the ocean I have not only promises to fulfill, but bigger and better projects, and magical moments waiting for me for when I get back.

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How to be Amazing

Recently, I’ve had the pleasure to have a truly inspirational person visit me for a week in the Netherlands (cue to my MIA status on here).

And in that week’s time, I’ve learned so much, not only about myself, but about life in general – you could say I was inspired to no ends.

Now, let me explain a little bit on the background story with this quote by Bill Murray:

Friendship is so weird.. you just pick a human you’ve met and you’re like “yep I like this one” and you just do stuff with them

And that’s sort of what happened in October last year.

You meet someone by chance.

They’re on your frequency.

You soon start exchanging not only words, but your hopes, fears and dreams.

This person then inspires you to no end, because they make you curious about the world again – they challenge your world views, sometimes shaking up the already established status quo – they make you do a double take on the world, a double take on yourself and a double take on the relation you have to the world.

They make you want to be a better human, not even for superficial reasons.

And yet, you then look at them and realize that they too are just human.

Flaws and all.

 

And for that reason, you are both baffled and intrigued when you glean into their day to day.

Despite your admiration.

You know what you’re seeing is not perfection, but it’s a lot closer than what other people (you included) have achieved thus far.

Still, they’re like a mirror – reflecting back that it’s possible to achieve what you want to achieve.

And of course, this led me to wonder – if I should gather all of my idols and put them on a common denominator – what is it about these great figures that I absolutely admire?  I started the exercise in my mind. Listing out all of the qualities that I truly admire from them and how much of it only took practice and perseverance.

So, in short, how to be amazing?

Know that it is possible to achieve what you want for yourself and go achieve it.

Amsterdam: The perfect city and what it all means.

Yesterday, I had the pleasure to be out and about in Amsterdam once more. One might expect it was all a fairytale moment, with the sun peeking through the clouds and the birds singing and in the distance there’s Prince Charming galloping on his steed to meet me…or something along the lines of that.

It wasn’t as if I haven’t anticipated this moment enough.

Stepping off from the train at Centraal, I was excited. But I was also aware that it was dark, gloomy, and raining. There has been several thunderstorms over the weekend in the place I’m staying, just a little under an hour away. So, I wasn’t exactly expecting any different. Oh and of course, it was also windy as hell.

Shitty weather? Check.

Still, I was excited as ever.

After all, I was here in April? Hah.

I skipped off the train and headed into the city. The central station is as I remembered, as is everything else – except it was covered up all in a shade of clammy greyness from the weather – I went ahead and started to run errands in the city I was just reacquainted with, then I found a work-cafe I’d been eyeing online and went there to caffeinate, followed by some shopping and then some post-shopping falafel eating at one of my favourite falafel places before going home.

It was a very productive day indeed. Then I went home and turned on social media, seeing posts from my friends back home tagging familiar places which I don’t miss – it was as if seeing those places gave me more motivation to work hard to get out (oddly to the inner monologue of Rose in Titanic, “the same boring people, the same boring endless conversations until eternity.” ) And that’s exactly what I DON’T want in life.

And yesterday, I realized, it’s gonna take a lot more work to achieve just what I want, but also a city doesn’t have to be perfect – the reasons why you think a city is perfect, or perfect for you, is at your discretion. After all we give meaning to the narrative in our heads. What makes sense to us internally might not make sense to others externally. Yet, if that narrative in your head gives you purpose, then it is up to you to give that purpose a go and see where it leads.

Because really, what is life?

Is it destiny?

Is it destination?

Work-caytion 2016 begins now!

I have the next twenty days to myself.

Meaning, I have the next twenty days (480 hours) to be completely in control of my own life, my schedule, who I see, where I go – I don’t think I’ve had that level of freedom in a long time.

It is currently some ungodly hour on GMT + 1 and I’m bubbling over with a sugar rush from chocolate and the sheer excitement of being here (okay, so maybe I’m a little bit jetlagged too).

I have great things that I have planned, both alone and with friends. And for the next twenty days I will see those plans to fruition and go home refreshed.

Here’s what’s different about this time rather than the past number of times I’ve been to Europe.

I will be stationary for the next 20 days (for except day trips to other nearby cities).

I wouldn’t be moving around as much.

Why?

Because traveling too fast is exhausting – for both your energy levels and your bank account.

I can only speak for myself, but I can’t possibly get anything worthwhile done, when I’m going around different cities in a whirlwind – as I’ve found out last time, by the time I stopped for 3 short days in Amsterdam then went to Vienna for a week, all I had wanted to do was to sleep. Not only did I not have the energy to do anything in Vienna, but it’d feel like that time was wasted – and I’m not a fan of time-wasting.

Not only that, cluttering your schedule with tasks and sights takes the enjoyment out from the traveling experience (and this is another reason why, I almost always do solo traveling, as with others, compromises will have to be made).

So now it’s 4:12 AM. I’m making up a day’s plan and delegating tasks, a great start of the day I’d say.

Search for Meaning

No matter your undertaking, you should be clear as to why you are partaking in your work.

I am very clear, in my case, currently, this is the best way I know how to put food on the table and fulfill my other ambitions, such as traveling and seeing the world.

I am very clear, that aside from the aforementioned, there’s very little meaning in what I do – sure, I do come across the temporary feeling of job done well and pat on the back from accomplishing everything in due time, but that in itself is not meaning, and by no means am I living the dream life I imagined for myself.

The dream I have for myself is living every moment consciously and by choice.

Consciously: awake enough to enjoy every moment – I want to be in the moment and feeling it every moment without a stop.

Choice: making decisions and making them my way – or have more freedom in my life where I call the shots.

Ultimately, I want to live passionately, a life of my own choosing. I want to live daringly, rather than playing it safe. I want to make mistakes I end up being proud of. I want my life to be an adventure. I want my life to be the one on the unconventional road.

And for that reason – I do what I do now, to build the future of my own choosing.

Cut the bullshit, there’s nothing you want here.

I’ve been back for a week and if I was very honest with myself.

Aside from monetary compensation, to say that anything else keeps me here would be a lie.

Nothing appeals to me about this place.

Not sure if it ever did.

“If you be good, then good thing will happen.”

That is a lie.

If you be good, and do what you’re told – you’ll be good, look good in other people’s eyes. But is that what you really want?

What about what you truly truly want deep down?

You’ll never have it here.

Looking through Facebook memories, I’ve began to realize, this was already an issue on 2011.

The daily grind and the “sameness” I’ve grown to detest. It just never changed. I never had any frames of reference that it could be any different – I was stupid, and I still am.

I tell myself at least I’ll be home for Mother’s Day. At least I’ll spend that time with my mother. I honestly don’t know how many more Mother’s Days I’ll be willing to spend here and how meaningful it’d all be since I wouldn’t cherish my time here.

I’m doing what I have to for the time being. However, when I think of coming back again in coming months, I can feel myself cringe ahead of time.

Good times always end – but does it have to?

No it doesn’t.

It doesn’t if you give your all to build the new.

Quite frankly, I’m at a point where it’s more favourable to learn 2 new foreign languages and be in Europe for the rest of my life.

I have so much passion for that continent, compared to the lack of desire here.

And for that reason I must persist.

The things you take for granted, someone else is wishing for

I didn’t know what I expected when I found myself back in Amsterdam.

Though there were things on my to-do list, I had very little expectations in the process of crossing them off – in the beginning, there wasn’t all that much motivation. Not really, for one reason or another, I was hoping my love for this city would wane over time (wouldn’t that be easier? If I had nothing to try for? ).

However, Amsterdam, a city I’ve had the pleasure of visiting for almost half a dozen time now, looks as gorgeous as ever.

I’m lucky, it didn’t stop being sunny since I got here, my friend tells me. And I reply that I have great timing. Every single time.

Between chic cafe visits and photography, I had time to squeeze in a date on the patio. It was one of the most memorable dates I’ve had, not just as of late, but kind of in the Top 3 category, though I know I shouldn’t really give it too much weight or meaning, even though I just did.

Yes.

And it’s more than just that.

It’s kind of the bits and pieces of everything that comes into the peripheral and into my consciousness. It’s the bits and pieces of everything that remind me how life could be, if not a blurry outline of what I already know I want…

Yes.

It all then became a reaffirmation.

That I was standing in my own way, dithering away, telling myself I shouldn’t, even though everything else points to I should.

I tell myself it’s not a big deal.

I tell myself I don’t want to see you again.

I tell myself a lot of things.

Then in a crowd, I always look for you.

And when my mind’s blank, it always drifts back to you.

Even though I tell myself that’s not what I want.

And it loops.

Amsterdam.

 

The unlikely job offer that I turned down…

Recently, I was offered a job.

This job however was not like all the other jobs which I’d been offered.

Geographically speaking, this was very different because this job is located close to one of my favourite cities in Europe.

Yes, Europe.

At first I was ecstatic of course, who in the right mind wouldn’t want to go work in Europe (where they’re constantly surrounded by beautiful architecture, great culture, history and people) but after the excitement died down, I started a little number crunching game with a side of Googling my potential employer. So is this all feasible?

First things first, I realized this relocation call was abrupt, not to mention with all that I have planned for myself in the next three months, it is difficult for me to jump right in with the offer, not only that, there’s no telling where I will be, not to mention want to be in 6 months time. What if I suddenly change my mind and jet off to Australia or Thailand?

Of course, it’d be a great experience. However, could I really see myself commit to it?

The answer came down to ‘no’, I couldn’t commit, especially with this contract lockdown that’ll make me feel like a failure if I bail half way. I just couldn’t see myself commit to a position that I don’t believe in 120%, and when I thought about it, the only good parts of this was the location itself but that’s about it. And I know, while it is great that I get to be there, I have other ideas on how to get there, and for what reasons I should stay.

I should move to a new place because I genuinely have purpose, rather than move because that’s the best option outside of worst case scenarios.

All in all, this is a signal in the right direction. However, a move itself would be premature.

Travel Hack: Book 2 one way ticket instead of round trip!

I dont mean to brag but

I don’t mean to brag, but I sort of also do. What you’re looking at is an one way transatlantic ticket, booked at the decisive moment by yours truly. I don’t know about you, but when I saw that price, a non-stop flight too, I thought many…many things.

One of them was, damn, that’s practically free!

And of course, ‘take my money, take my money right now!!!’

$214 wouldn’t even cover half the cost of this leather jacket I have my eyes on…less than the price of an unlocked iPhone 5s…less than going out for two weekends…less than a lot of things. But look at this, London is now officially happening! How fun!!

This is the first time of me booking an one way ticket (gasp!) and I have never done that before…cause I always thought I return at a set date ‘x’, however, booking only one leg of the journey gives me unimaginable freedom over when, and where I chose to return from.

Not only that, this open flight also opens my mind up for different ideas. Should I go to Germany, get a job and apply for a work visa when I get there? Or should I go do some extended volunteering work somewhere in Europe? Should I go rent an apartment somewhere and figure it out for the duration of my stay? Should I flock to where my friends are and where my interests lie? The possibilities are endless. And it’s so freeing to have them be so endless.

So take away point: say fuck it, and go do it!

New clothes or another plane ticket? Well, that’s easy.

It’s a bit funny how I got the news just a mere two days after I penned the piece, Travel Hack: make traveling affordable for yourself. So I have some good news and bad news. Bad news is, icky extended relatives are visiting at the end of May – good news is, that’s a good reason to get out of here…Yes. This plan is backed by even my own mother to say the least.

That would make that I’ve been to Europe how many times now this year alone? 3? Wow. This is really fantastical isn’t it. It’s almost as if I’m fulfilling a dream one step at a time, because, I always had that dream of splitting my time between continents anyways and this year…it’s happening (though not exactly the way I wanted it, but it’s happening!)

So this definitely makes the coming two months the busiest in a while, but I’m confident in making things happen. Like I always do!!

Let’s do this!