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Have it occurred to your mind why I make it a point to travel once in two months (originally it’s once quarter year)? Have it occurred to you that I travel still even though my monthly salary is slightly similar to you with equal commitment? Answer: I travel cheap and I am determined. I have a job that allows me to travel as and when I like provided that I block my dates from court attendance. In fact, when I put down the resignation letter and said I wanted to travel a bit before finding a new job, my boss’ response was don’t quit, just take unpaid leave for how many days you want.

What makes me brave myself and start travelling alone, you asked?
Answer: Ordinary woman like me will definitely enjoy company of another. During my previous relationship I had thousands of plan of what I want to do together, thousands of places I would love to visit together and thousands of god-knows-what that were most enjoyable to do with someone I loved. When he drifted apart, it ripped my heart into pieces and shattered my dreams. So I told myself, love and affection are not lasting. I need to wait for hundred years for the right person to come by and waste precious time for I don’t why how long I will live.

So that dream of travelling the world together, I modified it to be just travelling the world (with or without you).

How would I describe my first time travelling alone?
Answer: It was a cold-hearted 7 days breakaway in Cambodia. 4 months after the break up and 1 month before I was called to the bar as a qualified lawyer. I had not really gotten over the bittersweet relationship I held on for dear life. Travelling alone in a foreign land with language that I could not understand gave me the deafening silence that was reflective to my self-enhancement. There were few silent moments, just me and no one else. Bit by bit, I gathered myself and became collected. I rose to higher podium with greater perspective. It worked like a theraphy. I finally let loose and free myself from the hatred, sadness and detached feeling that were taking over my body and soul. I came back as a greater person.

How do I choose my point of destination?
Answer: This is truly subjective. Some people prefer to go to Europe, dismissing Asia countries as disgusting, not interesting, dirty and not safe. Even my housemate was an annoyance when she kept bragging about the buildings in Prague, the huge rocks in Grand Canyon and openly said oh that temple in Prambanan looked similar to Batu Caves temple!

It boils down to your definition of travel. Do you travel just to see the magnificient places? Do you travel to learn the culture? Do you travel to experience every bit of journey and grasp the reality of life that you often take for granted along the way? Do you travel because it’s a luxury? As the Malay old folks say, “Tepuk dada, tanya selera”.

My travel is not only about being to point of destination, it starts from when I step out of my house until I get back safely into my house. It is about appreciating the nature, history and monuments and understanding the way of life, however different from what is mine. It is about living like a local; only this way that I can understand their lives more. All the objectives are best achieved when I drop off my comfort belt and enter into reality territorial.

Sleeping and cuddling my backpack in a train station was not fun. I fretted when I ran out of money in Bali and had to walk the shore to reach the airport. Having a cat-sized rat jumping on me when i was sleeping gave me the hell out of the night spent in Lovina, Bali. I panicked during road closure and ceremonial Karbalah day in Delhi, with armed police all around. Getting lost in Bangalore at night was a nightmare. Being cheated in India was as if we asked for it.

But I still have in my memories the friends I made during my journey, the Balinese boys who taught me Balinese language when I took a rest on my way to the airport, the joyride when Ketut Fenny brought me on his sepeda motor in Lovina for which he did for free, the dangdut koplo on the ferry to Gilimanuk which most people on board sang along happily, the strangers who offered me helps (many of them).

All that made my travel complete.

I choose Asia over Europe because I need to see what is there in my own backyard before I venture farther. It does not make sense to travel to the end of the world when one has not even bothered to check what are there in his/her backyards. As of now, my priority is to see places which can easily be damaged especially those that lie in pacific ring of fire. Further, budget is a determinant because I travel once in two months not once a year. I need sustainability on my travel living.

I have no further Q&A sessions, you are free to ask any questions and share your views which might differ from me.

Agra, India