What Colour Are You?

Double rainbow at Lake Matheson, Fox GlacierDouble rainbow spotted at Lake Matheson, near Fox Glacier

If you were to choose a colour to describe yourself, what will it be? Will you choose red as you lived your life with passion and energy? Or will it be blue to reflect your calmness in even the most stressful situations? Perhaps, you might prefer white as you have purity of thoughts and seek high standards in life? Or, could it be black to symbolise your stoic and unnerving personality? Or are there no appropriate colours and you consider yourself to be colourless – void of any identity and ordinary in all aspects?

In Murakami’s book, “Colourless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage”, the protagonist Tsukuru is colourless amongst his colourful friends, whose names all contain a colour in it. On the surface, his childhood friends have vivid personalities in-sync with the colours in their name: Aka (Red), Ao (Blue), Shiro (White) and Kuro (Black). Only Tsukuru (Colourless) is dull and unremarkable. However, as the story goes along, you discover contradictions and perceptual differences, which to me are the central themes of the novel.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Fresh (Bergen fjords)

Snow-capped mountain, Bergen

The Bergen fjords were one of the first places I visited in Europe and it captivated my heart the moment I set my eyes on it. Steep, pristine mountains protrude out from both sides of a narrow body of water. The crystal-clear water reflects and creates a mirror image of the snow-white mountains in its icy blue water. Simply majestic!

To me, the snow-capped mountains represent freshness. At the end of winter, the snow begins to melt and flows down in streams, where it can be collected and bottled into fresh mineral water.

My Virgin Hike: Mount Merapi

The Virgin

“Hiking?!?! No wayyyyy…” I have never been an outdoor-sy person, and although I am by no means out-of-shape, I am not in-shape either. So, I have never thought that I will someday go hiking!

So, when my friend pitched to me the idea of hiking Mount (Gunung) Merapi – I surprisingly said yes. But at the back of my head, I kept thinking “well, If I can’t do it, I could just stop halfway up the mountain and enjoy the view from there”. (PS: Little did I know, the view is actually obstructed by trees all the way, and it’s only at the summit that you get a clear view)

View of Mount Merapi from the village, JogjakartaGunung Merapi – standing at 2,930m – is one of the deadliest volcanoes
in Indonesia, with the last major eruption in 2010 killing 38 people.

So, at 2am in the morning, this virgin hiker wore his winter boots (the closest substitute to hiking boots!), carried his backpack (stuffed with 1 litre of mineral water, 1 litre of energy drink, two packets of biscuits and a few chocolate bars!) and started to climb Gunung Merapi with his friend, 2 German tourists and 2 guides.

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Changes in travelling alone (Part 3)

“I did it all, I did it all
I owned every second that this world could give
I saw so many places
The things that I did
Yeah, with every broken bone
I swear I lived”
~ I Lived by OneRepublic

(In Part 1, I covered the worries and apprehensions prior to undertaking solo trips and that transitioned towards Part 2, where I listed the reasons to why I love solo travel.)

After travelling alone numerous times, I realised that there have been changes in my approach towards solo travels and I have grown from an “uneasy” newbie to a “confident” traveller. And the more I travel alone, the more changes there are in my behaviour during such solo trips. Hence – in Part 3 of the travelling alone series – I will like to detail how my travelling patterns have changed throughout these solo travel experiences.

1. Becoming more comfortable with myself (introversion)

The first city I travelled to alone was Paris, and I can still remember the experience of watching the sunset over the Eiffel Tower. Being alone afforded me the serenity to savour the moments of the sun slowly setting into the horizon in such a picturesque and world-renowned landmark. Yet – although there was calmness in me, there was this lingering sense of melancholy in my heart still. As throngs of couples surrounded me, I (perceived and) envied them for being deeply in love when I only had the company of my own thoughts.

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3 Close Shaves while Travelling

Murphy’s Law: Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. To all travellers out there, don’t you agree? Things go wrong all the time while travelling, and we start to pride ourselves as “spontaneous” and “being able to deal with the unknown” :)

Regardless on whether you are a ‘plan-in-advance’ or a ‘go-with-the-flow’ traveller, shit always hit the fan at any available opportunity. Below are a few close shaves I have had while travelling, some due to my own stupidity and others just due to Murphy’s Law!

1. Almost missed a crucial ferry from Fethiye to Rhodes 

Spending just 11 days in Turkey and Greece (I know, even 11 days in Turkey alone is short) meant a hectic schedule with no room for errors. Especially with the recession and strikes going on, as this led to even more infrequent ferry schedules. Hence, missing one connecting ride would create a domino effect and affect the rest of our Mediterranean adventure!

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Converge (Millennium Park)

Jay Pritzker Pavilion at Millennium Park, Chicago

The Millennium Park, located right at the heart of downtown Chicago, is the perfect place to relax. Its location presents an interesting juxtaposition between greenery and towering skyscrapers.

In the centre of the park lies the Jay Pritzker Pavilion. Radiating from the pavilion are criss-crossing pipes that converges and diverges from each other, creating curves that accentuate the odd-looking bandshell centrepiece. Besides being a venue for music concerts (of various genres), it is also an ideal location for you to lay on the lawn and take a breather from the stresses of life!