Showing posts with label lifestyle. Show all posts
Showing posts with label lifestyle. Show all posts

Turning the (Passport) Page: my 2017 Travel Review and my 2018 Travel Plans


Before I turn the page to a New Year, here is a look at my show reel of 2017, followed by the upcoming attractions and my travel wishes of 2018. 

BROUGHT TO YOU BY THE IRREPRESSIBLE (IF SHORT-LIVED) "CAN-DO" SPIRIT THAT SEEMS TO DO THE ROUNDS EVERY FIRST WEEK OF JANUARY AND INSPIRED BY THE FIRST #TRAVELLINKUP OF 2018


LAKE BLED, SLOVENIA'S MOST FAMOUS AND ROMANTIC BEAUTY SPOT.
2017. 12 months. 14 Countries. 34 Cities. 
A carbon footprint the size of Bigfoot.

You just can't keep a wanderluster down. You can take away her passport while dragging your feet about whether to grant her Indefinite Leave to Remain, but she will pull some strings to get her application approved in neck-breaking record speed even in the wake of all the post-Brexit immigration scramble. Not even a tangle of Home Office red tape couldn't hold me back, let alone recovering from cosmetic surgery. Less than a week after waking up from going under the knife, my year of travel kicked off. Seeing friends in Australia...conquering Hong Kong in 24 hours...a Mother's Day weekend in Prague...the failed detox program in Chiang Mai that we shall never speak of again...my epic 3 week road trip across the Balkans...Autumn in Japan...Winter in South Korea and Cambodia, and finally; ushering in the New Year in Singapore.

Oh, the places I've been (in 2017)...

๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡พ  1. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (several times in 2017)
๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡พ  2. Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia (twice in 2017)
๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡บ  3. Sydney, Australia 
๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡บ  4. Melbourne, Australia (twice in 2017)
๐Ÿ‡ญ๐Ÿ‡ฐ  5. Hong KongHong Kong 
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฟ  6. PragueCzechia 
๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ญ  7. Chiang Mai, Thailand 
STARI MOST, THE ICONIC BRIDGE OF MOSTAR, BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA.
CONTEMPLATING THE COLOURS OF CINQUE TERRE IN ITALY.
FEELING THE HAPSBURG YELLOW FANTASY IN ZAGREB, CROATIA
๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡น  8. ViennaAustria 
๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฎ  9. MariborSlovenia 
๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฎ  10. LjubljanaSlovenia  
๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฎ  11. Bled, Slovenia 
๐Ÿ‡ญ๐Ÿ‡ท  12. Zagreb, Croatia 
๐Ÿ‡ญ๐Ÿ‡ท  13. Plitvice, Croatia 
๐Ÿ‡ญ๐Ÿ‡ท  14. Trogir, Croatia
๐Ÿ‡ญ๐Ÿ‡ท  15. Split, Croatia
๐Ÿ‡ญ๐Ÿ‡ท  16. Dubrovnik, Croatia
๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ฆ  17. Mostar, Bosnia-Herzegovina 
๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ฆ  18. Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina
๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ช  19. Kotor, Montenegro 
๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น  20. Florence, Italy  
๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น  21-25. Manarola, Vernazza, Corniglia, 
Monterosso, RiomaggioreCinque Terre, Italy
๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น  26. Portofino, Italy
๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น  27. Pisa, Italy
๐Ÿ‡ฏ๐Ÿ‡ต  28. KyotoJapan 
๐Ÿ‡ฏ๐Ÿ‡ต  29. Tokyo, Japan
๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ท  30. Busan, South Korea 
๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ท  31. Seoul, South Korea
๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ญ  32. Siem Reap, Cambodia 
๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ญ  33. Phomh Penh, Cambodia 
๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฌ  34. Singapore, Singapore

_____________
A SLICE OF WILDNERNESS ON LANTAU ISLAND, HONG KONG
LEAN IN - I'VE GOT SOMETHING TO SHOW YOU IN PISA, ITALY...
THROWING SHAPES IN YOYOGI PARK, TOKYO, JAPAN.

Upcoming travel stories...

I have a back catalog of travel photos and travel stories from Japan, South Korea, Cambodia, and Singapore that I really ought to get cracking on with. Expect in the New Year: a review of Japan's best new luxury hotel The Four Seasons Kyoto, as well as 24 Hour Guides to Kyoto, Tokyo, Busan, Seoul, Singapore, and Phnom Penh. Siem Reap's many beautiful temples gets their own series, including tips on how to beat the crowds at Angkor Wat for the perfect souvenir photo. 


Quality over Quantity

In this age of the competitive social media humblebrag, clocking 34 cities and 14 countries in a year of perpetual travel comes across as #GOALS but honestly, beneath the glossy facade the cracks are showing. Travelling all the time is exhausting, especially when you realise you've spent more nights in hotel rooms than you have in all of your homes combined. So, this year I choose quality over quantity. To give myself room to breathe, I'm going to limit myself to no more than 12 countries and 24 cities. 



SUNRISE IN BAGAN, BURMA (YES, I STILL CALL IT BURMA)
My New Year's Travel Resolution for 2018:
South East Asia & Malaysia.

Look, here's the tea - it is the height of bourgeoise to make your gap yah in South East Asia  a point on your resumรฉ, be it LinkedIn or Tinder. Nothing reeks of pretentiousness more than the multiple photos of wearing the same beads in your hair, dusty pair of flip flops, and elephant-print pyjama pants for months on end while you wax lyrical about how the locals helped you find your spiritual awakening ("They are sooo poor and have sooo little but they're sooo happy!"). Especially if you're a white person on a "poverty tourism" binge. For a Malaysian who grew up in the '90s whose sensible upbringing verges on pearl-clutching hysteria, the rest of South East Asia* are our less-prosperous neighbours whose only notable exports are cheap domestic help (yeah, nobody does casual classism like Malaysia). 

*all of SEA except for wealthy, modern Singapore - their best-known export is their bastardised, overly sweet version of Malaysian street food. Sorry 'bout it. 

For the affluent Asian back in the day, the travel destinations of choice were usually European countries - what we deemed to be exotic and faraway. Naturally, a lot of the beauty in our backyard went ignored, which is a bloody shame - one that I fully intend to rectify in 2018. 

THE GATEWAY TO HEAVEN IN BALI, INDONESIA
IN THE LAND OF GODS AND MONSTERS IN LAOS
BEING A ROYAL PAIN IN THE ANGKOR AT PHNOM PENH ROYAL PALACE

Of the 11 countries in South East Asia, I've already visited 5: Singapore, Cambodia, Malaysia (my native country), Thailand, and Vietnam. This leaves me with 6 countries: Indonesia, Philippines, Burma, Laos, Brunei, and Timor-Leste (East-Timor); the capitals of which I hope to have traversed by the end of 2018. In keeping with the "closer to home" theme, I'm also hoping to get to know my own country outside of the metropolitan bubble that is Kuala Lumpur. I've visited (and blogged about) 9 of the 13 states in Malaysia, which I'm terribly chuffed about, but I'm still 4 states short. No matter, it's a new year, begging to be filled with fits, foibles, and passport stamps!

My 2018 Travel List

South East Asia:
1. Bali, Jakarta, and Yogyakarta; Indonesia
2. Manila, Cebu, and Boracay; Philippines
3. Nyapyidaw and Bagan, Burma
4. Vientiane, Laos
5. Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei
6. Dili and Atauro Island, Timor-Leste

...and in Malaysia:
7. Mulu Caves, Sarawak
8. Alor Setar, Perlis
9. Kota Bahru, Kelantan
10. Negeri Sembilan

Here's wishing you a bigger, better, brighter, and more well-travelled New Year. x
January 01, 2018

Turning the (Passport) Page: my 2017 Travel Review and my 2018 Travel Plans

Before I turn the page to a New Year, here is a look at my show reel of 2017, followed by the upcoming attractions and my travel wish...

Honey, I'm home!

Life, lately: Why I took a break from blogging and a look at my new London home



(DON'T LET THE TWEE PINK CURSIVE FOOL YOU; I'M BACK AND B*TCHIER THAN EVER) 

LIFE, LATELY: WHY I TOOK A BREAK FROM BLOGGING, WHAT'S BEEN KEEPING ME BUSY, & A LOOK AT MY NEW LONDON HOME 


August 25, 2017

Honey, I'm home!

(DON'T LET THE TWEE PINK CURSIVE FOOL YOU; I'M BACK AND B*TCHIER THAN EVER)   LIFE, LATELY: WHY I TOOK A BREAK FR...

Tiny Traveller: Little Girl vs. World, a 7 year old's Europe road trip

Little Girl vs. World, a 7 year old's Europe road trip throughout Brussels, Rome, Florence, Venice, Disneyland Paris, Lucerne, Bavaria, and Holland

The wanderlust is strong in this (little) one.


FIRST, AN EXPLANATION FOR MY DISAPPEARANCE...

Hello, it's me...before I invite you to dive into my archive (arc-dive?) of some of my earliest travel memories, I feel like I owe an explanation for my absence of late. It's relevant to this post, I promise. For the past 3 weeks I've been so uncharacteristically silent on social media that a worried Aftab showed up at my house to make sure I wasn't dead and had my face eaten by cats. I've been sort of in a bad way, mentally and emotionally. Without going in to too much detail (have to keep my head doctors in business, eh?), for almost a month I've been struggling to keep my head afloat in the mire; a perplexing mix of ecstatic highs followed by extreme lows and then apathy, despite having exciting new prospects to look forward to. All of this wild oscillating between both ends of the emotional spectrum have been overwhelming to say the least and not helped by unrelated daunting tasks at hand. As always, I choose isolation rather than burden friends and family with my feelings until I 'sort myself out', so to speak. How very East Asian. 

Little Girl vs. World, a 7 year old's Europe road trip throughout Brussels, Rome, Florence, Venice, Disneyland Paris, Lucerne, Bavaria, and Holland
Me in a more innocent time and with far better eyebrows.

One of the places I've been retreating to is memories of my childhood: a simpler time, carefree and untainted by troubled thoughts, when my greatest fear was not being able to take my favourite stuffed toys - I had 2 plush turtles: a small one with a yellow, red, and blue shell; and a oversized pastel pink one - with me to dinner. In the spirit of #THROWBACKTUESDAY (is that still a thing? I wouldn't know, I've been AWOL from the internet for, like, forever) here are some photos from my earliest travels which might be the catalyst for my serial wanderlust, and also proof that I've been throwing shapes since before social media was a thing. Are travel bloggers born or made? Take a look at 7 year old me, then decide.

June 06, 2017

Tiny Traveller: Little Girl vs. World, a 7 year old's Europe road trip

The wanderlust is strong in this (little) one. FIRST, AN EXPLANATION FOR MY DISAPPEARANCE... Hello, it's m...

Melbourne, Australia: St Kilda, Matcha Mylkbar, Luna Park, & more

Melbourne, Australia: St Kilda, Matcha Mylkbar, Luna Park, & more


With family living in Melbourne including an aunt who lives in St Kilda, it’s a given that I spent many a childhood summer there. During my recent visit to the seaside suburb, which ensued in an observation of characters best described as straight out of a Ginsberg poem, the extend of a parents’ ability to shelter their children became apparent. 
   
For beyond the Victorian mansions and fairy penguin-watching of my childhood, St Kilda is what Lonely Planet dubsMelbourne's slightly tattered bohemian heart” - an amalgamation of families, punks, drunks, and hipsters.  

A jumble of contrasting architecture styles - Moorish apartments clash with Art Deco theatres while colonial houses that line leafy residential streets almost seem to disapprove - dot the landscape of what started life as a 19th century seaside resort. A crusty junkie wanders out of a seedy side street to jump in on a ladies' Zumba class on the promenade before being chased away to the nearest crumbling pub. Instagram-worthy vegan cafรฉs and Pinterest-perfect wine bars with their perfect culinary creations threaten to break the internet. Buses and trams spit out tourists, day tripping families, and teenagers on dates into the open mouth of Mr Moon, where the hordes will descend upon the creaking rollercoasters of Luna Park. It’s brash, it’s bohemian, it’s as chaotic as the gigs a young Nick Cave played at what was once the Crystal Ballroom (now the George Snakepit).  St Kilda is the best of the Mediterranean, Brighton, and Venice Beach - it’s all of these things and yet none of them, but rather a one-of-a-kind enclave with a thousand faces that inspired many a pop culture creation and captured countless imaginations.

May 07, 2017

Melbourne, Australia: St Kilda, Matcha Mylkbar, Luna Park, & more

With family living in Melbourne including an aunt who lives in St Kilda , it’s a given that I spent many a childhood sum...

My Cosmetic Surgery Journey: Part 1 - Mastopexy (Breast Reduction + Lift) & Liposuction, 1 Month Post-Op


It's hard to believe that only a month and 3 days ago I underwent full-body cosmetic surgery when I've spent the past 3 weeks traipsing around 4 cities in 2 countries - Kuala Lumpur, Kota Kinabalu, Sydney, Melbourne, back again to Kuala Lumpur - all while eatsploring (eat + exploring) up a storm in my leopard-print Aquazzuras. Last month I announced my decision and my reasons to be as candid, honest, and informative as possible regarding my choice to go under the knife. I compel you to read that post in its entirety but the TL;DR is that there is the lack of transparency from public figures who've had a helping hand which is not only shameful but dangerous in a culture and society that promotes and rewards unrealistic standards of beauty and perfection. I may lack many qualities (for one: the ability to take a taxi ride without falling asleep with my dribbling mouth open) but candour has never been one of them. So in that 'inform, inspire, and entertain' spirit of Posh, Broke, & Bored; here is the 1st installment of my plastic surgery diaries - the first 4 weeks following a mastopexy (breast reduction and lift) and upper body liposuction...

THIS BLOG POST IS NOT SPONSORED IN ANY WAY OR FORM (HEHE, FORM). ALL OPINIONS ARE SOLELY MINE AND FROM MY OWN PERSONAL EXPERIENCE. NONE OF MY BLOG POSTS ARE INTENDED TO BE NOR SHOULD BE TAKEN AS PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL ADVICE.
April 21, 2017

My Cosmetic Surgery Journey: Part 1 - Mastopexy (Breast Reduction + Lift) & Liposuction, 1 Month Post-Op

It's hard to believe that only a month and 3 days ago I underwent full-body cosmetic surgery when I've spent the past 3 wee...

Fendi Birthday Lunch at The Majestic Kuala Lumpur

A Birthday Lunch hosted by Fendi at The Majestic Kuala Lumpur


BREAKING MY POST-PLASTIC SURGERY CONFINEMENT AND RECLAIMING MY SOCIAL LIFE 
WITH MUMMY'S FENDI BIRTHDAY LUNCH AT THE MAJESTIC KUALA LUMPUR
๐Ÿ’ ๐Ÿฅ‚ ๐Ÿพ ๐ŸŽ‚ ✨

Oh, the sweet, orchid-scented air of freedom! What a fragrant, welcome change from the antiseptic-tinged pall of hospital wards and stagnant shroud of self-imposed social fatwa following my cosmetic surgery. As per doctor's orders, I had spent a week convalescing at home with my social life* as existent as my stomach fat post-liposuction - in other words, none at all. It was my mother's birthday week and as you know, fashion brands love to throw birthday parties for their favourite customers (case in point: Dior and Louis Vuitton). I had to miss the birthday lunches/brunches/teas hosted in honour of mummy by Miu Miu, Prada, and Louis Vuitton for the sake of my health, but happily I was well enough to attend the last of her fashion birthday celebrations - hosted by Fendi at the orchid conservatory of The Majestic Kuala Lumpur

*I DID GO OUT TO GET MY EYEBROWS AND NAILS DONE THE DAY BEFORE, BUT PERSONAL UPKEEP DOESN'T COUNT - THAT'S JUST COMMON DECENCY...
April 03, 2017

Fendi Birthday Lunch at The Majestic Kuala Lumpur

BREAKING MY POST-PLASTIC SURGERY CONFINEMENT AND RECLAIMING MY SOCIAL LIFE  WITH MUMMY'S FENDI BIRTHDAY LUNCH AT THE MAJ...

Kuala Lumpur: Mandala-making, meditation, & an introduction to yoga with Yogatara

Kuala Lumpur: Mandala-making, meditation, & an introduction to yoga with Yogatara
GETTING MY MANDALA ON AT YOGATARA WITH LINA TARA
SECRET BANDAR UTAMA LOCATION, KUALA LUMPUR
March 28, 2017

Kuala Lumpur: Mandala-making, meditation, & an introduction to yoga with Yogatara

GETTING MY MANDALA ON AT YOGATARA WITH LINA TARA SECRET BANDAR UTAMA LOCATION, KUALA LUMPUR

Life, Lately: The Finale, and an Announcement

I am happy to announce that my application to settle indefinitely in the United Kingdom has been accepted. Read about my immigration process and plans for the future as a British permanent resident.

CHAPTER 5 of LIFE, LATELY: SWIM - IT'S ALL SETTLED
PREVIOUSLY: LIFE, LATELY CHAPTERS 12, & 3, & 4

I am thrilled to announce that my dream, after a decade in the making, has finally come true - my application to settle indefinitely in the United Kingdom has been accepted.

You know the story by now: sheltered girl from the Malaysian suburbs moves across the world to a cosmopolitan city to study at one of the more famous - if not prestigious - art schools; and in the process learns how to fend for herself, parties day and night with the international jet set and somehow manages to graduate with a pointless degree in illustration, then starts a satire blog which evolves into a not-unrespectable lifestyle brand with some influence. It's a character arc as old as Homer's Iliad and Odyssey (just replace jealous deities with bitchy bloggers and unreasonable PR reps).

Much like the siege on the city of Troy, my British invasion spanned ten years, the likes of which saw me staying in the country on four different types of visas. Last September marked the 10th anniversary of my long affair with London, so in November I submitted my case to the Home Office and asked them to consider this humble Anglophile's application for the right to remain in her beloved adopted country...forever.

Traditionally the application for this process - called 'Indefinite Leave To Remain' takes six months for a decision by the Home Office. Which is why I had resigned, with great heavy-heartedness, to be grounded in the country until May 2017. Surely, a small price to pay for my ardent dedication to the British Isles?

Therefore when my application was approved in half the usual time, it came as an enormously gratifying surprise! I found out two weeks ago, funnily enough; just a few hours after I blogged about how I was then bogged down by a sinking feeling: "...In the middle of this whirlwind of activity is the one thing I wish would move along - acting as the eye of the storm, ever still and ever impassive." This was the 'dream coming true at afternoon tea at The Wellesley London' that I alluded to, the big fat cherry on the top of the double scoop sundae that is the encouraging progress my life is making in 2017: one being my detoxing the remnants of my last toxic relationship and donating them to a charitable cause, the other being my moving into an exciting new home in Battersea Power Station...!

FURTHER READING:

"When you wish upon a star, makes no difference who you are...Anything your heart desires will come to you..."
- THE GREATEST DISNEY ANTHEM EVER, OBVS

Wearing my heart on my sleeve or rather, on my handbag...

Immigration is a hot topic now in the Western world, or at least in that web of nervous anticipation of what the future holds for the globalised, liberal generation of Britain and the USA. I said it in the wake of Brexit and I'll say it again - I would've never imagined that my right to remain in the UK would be more certain than those from the European Union countries. It's no coincidence that some of my friends; both British and EU expats (incidentally, why are white people expatriates but everyone else are immigrants/migrants? Food for thought...) are looking to move beyond the British Isles. Their reasoning was that, aside from the uncertainty of their right to remain when Article 50 is invoked, was that the potential process to apply for immigration status had made them feel unwelcome.



Of course, not being from an EU country I have never enjoyed that privilege of free movement, so I am somewhat accustomed to the strict, demanding, and complex process of immigration. Now, I am no expert on the subject even if my blog post on my understanding on how to gain PR in the UK is one of my most asked about/read (to this day I still get emails and messages about it). But...!

...If you'd like me to share my experience on how I obtained the next best thing to a British passport, let me know in the comments below and I'll blog about my immigration journey.
Ironically, the moment I was granted the right to stay in the UK indefinitely, I booked my flights out of here! Being a travelling blogger and serial wanderluster without a passport for 3.5 months had taken a serious toll on my mental state as well as work. This coming Tuesday, I'll be making up for lost time with two months of travel. My housemate, thrilled about having the place all to herself, has announced that she'll be doing all her work from home and will be turning my empty bedroom into her office (joke's on her, I've ordered about a thousand things for my new flat - including a HUGE sofa that will apparently not fit in my building's lift - to be delivered while I'm away, that she's going to have to sign for in my absence...)

FURTHER READING:
OH, THE PLACES I'LL GO!

Throughout March and April I'll be travelling to Kuala Lumpur, Sabah, Singapore, and Melbourne to see my friends and family, and for work; Sydney to see Luxy, and then we're heading to Hong Kong together before I head back to London in May to take delivery of my spanking new home! And just like that, half of the year will have gone by. It's insane how slowly time seems to drag on when you're waiting on something to happen, but as soon as it does everything seems to move at the speed of light. The saying goes "When it rains it pours" - I don't know about rain, but this turn of events is certainly the windfall of progress, achievement, and excitement I was hoping for. x

How has your 2017 been far? Any proud achievements, exciting plans, and upcoming travels to share? ๐Ÿ˜˜

February 22, 2017

Life, Lately: The Finale, and an Announcement

CHAPTER 5  of  LIFE, LATELY:  SWIM - IT'S ALL SETTLED PREVIOUSLY: LIFE,  LATELY CHAPTERS  1 ,  2 , &  3 , & ...