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To Fall in My Sleep: Personal Thoughts

To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” 
― Ralph Waldo Emerson

The world constantly moves faster than you last remember, it’s as if time is high on ecstasy and yet here we are ever ready trying to catch up.

The trick to actually catching up with the world and life is that you should take a breather. Know when to do so, where to do it and who to do it with and for some unknown reason you’ll know you’ve got it all figured it out.

Maybe that’s why I love taking a drive in the early morning (it used to be late night too but it’s becoming quite dangerous as we move forward). At times, taking it with someone else but it’s always about the drive. About the sensation of just moving, going anywhere the road may take us.

Sunset in Kuala Lumpur

A lot of the times I think of myself as a loner of some sort or at the very least socially inept person. Then I read this post from facebook and it all just made so much more sense about myself, answers almost every freaking thing I’ve been wondering about myself.

GuideToUnderstandingTheIntroverted-87361

 

I tend to worry about how others would react knowing that I do like my space and I don’t mind people not coming to me, making themselves more awkward trying to make it less awkward by talking to me. It’s ok, that if you don’t feel like talking and I don’t want to talk.

Maybe it’s the experiences I’ve got myself into in the past that made me this way. I used to be this person who makes sure everyone is ok. Everyone I know feels comfortable. In some twisted kinda way, I want to be liked so much, I put myself out there for them only to get a few burns in return.

I went into recovery mode, reanalyse myself and see what was the core issue considering the web I’ve spun and got stuck in. Slowly, I discover doing things on my own gives me a certain kind of fulfillment that I’ve never felt before. Then eventually, that needing everyone to like me feeling disappears.

Learning to make your own energy is important, it’s kinda like a survivor’s number one must have swiss army. When the going do get tough, that’s when you’ll have to dig deep..at times deeper in fact and then magic happens. Perhaps, this thing I’ve been building up might not bode well with many but those who do – I’ll go to the end of the world if you need me to. That’s just who I am and that’s also kinda my weakness I try to shield away.

This week has been a week of reawakening about the shortcomings I have in me that I need to work on more. Things that are not impossible to overcome and achieve, things that if I overlook will be the death of me. So, while it’s been a bittersweet week, a heartbreaking one at one point; I got out of the funk in 10 minutes after brooding. Back on track, back to making things happen. I’m thankful for these shortcoming I have, more than ever, it’s becoming my compass right now. Adjusting to the wind and heart.

So maybe there will be a new adventure coming in the next couple of months. But for just this short frame of time, I’m going to take a break from life in reality and go away for a bit. 6 days to go before I get to go Sydney after 17 years since my last visit.

Life is life. Not taking it seriously can be a waste but taking it too seriously can also be a jeopardy. Find your balance, find where you heart sings and dance. That’s the place you’ll know you should have your feet stay grounded.

 

Video
0

Zack Arias & A Sense of Charm in Photography

No matter what I do, I’ll have to inject some art bits in it. Maybe if I can’t do it bluntly but I try to add an art point of view here and there.

To me, art is the essence of life. The x-factor to the things we do on daily basis. Maybe you might not see it that way, but horning your skill, even by sweeping the floor, getting a certain routine formulated .. that is art too.

But I’m not writing about art.

I wanna talk about my fear of going up to people and asking their permission to take photos of them. I have done in the past, sometimes just to challenge myself. And I find joy in knowing that people don’t mind actually. However, I’m still intimidated to go up to people.

Watching Zack Arias doing his thing like it’s no big deal is an inspiration I hope to harness in June. There are two reasons for this,

I: I’ll be heading down under for a break but also to finally come back from the dead in taking street photography with my new sidekick.

II: Enrolling myself for 3 days street photography workshop with Chemat (a living legend in Malaysia) in Penang for Obscura Festival.

So, either ways, I still have to get down on my knees and work on my photography. I’ve been told that Chemat is one guy who takes no-nonsense. Which is good for me but I better know my shit!

I like that Zack Arias isn’t intimidated by people and people are just as fond of him. There’s that connection, that extra zing to capture because he makes them comfortable. Something I want to work on from now onwards.

In a way, it helps build my self-esteem which once upon a time was almost non-existent.

But activities like this, people like him, friends I have make me want to be better for myself. Build myself up because I deserve it, because He obviously has a plan for me for sticking around this long despite me not knowing what it is.

So I think, everything is planned out the way it should be. Just received my new sidekick and it’s time for one heck of a bonding session baby!

8

MySelangorStory Goes Off The Record

Despite it being 24 hours since MySelangorStory results were out yesterday at Delicious@Marc Residence, I still can’t really form sentences to describe the whole event.

So here I am, sitting and fingers ready to type but the brain just does not want to cooperate. Still blank.

Still staring.

What did I end up doing? Recording myself using iSight for the first time. Hah! I may not know how to word it but I managed to say a few words (more like a thank you speech) regarding the MSS.

// KK and Chia Li, I dunno what possessed me while recording it and slipped my mind, I ALSO WISHED YOU WERE THERE WITH US. I’m so so so sorry!! //

Oh! I must not forget.

For everyone, and I mean EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOU..

Thank you so very very very very very very very much for being part of Wanderlust Theories and MSS while I was on this amazing journey. If it weren’t for you, I will never know what it feels like to be a winner, what more a Grand Prize winner.

Holy crap!

Instead of telling that to myself. It is much easier to accept the reality by knowing that this win is everyone’s win too. I only made up possibly 1/4 of it. The rest are you readers, supporters, friends, acquaintances, sponsors, organisers, partners and people I don’t know. Ok maybe that’s 1/8.

Yes, this win is ours. Not mine, not his, hers or theirs. We won this together and I hope I’ll do a good job being Tourism Selangor’s ambassador for you guys as well as other unwritten conditions I’ve yet to be made known of.

Perhaps it is time for me to step out and buck up everything I can be. Perhaps, this is my way of making the better version of myself. Honestly, it could be anything.

One thing’s for sure. I’ll do my best to make it as fun and awesome while never lose sight of reality. This journey is only just the beginning that we made together. One I hope I’ll have the support from all of you to guide me through this unknown path I shall walk through.

For without any of you, I would never see this coming. Actually, I never saw it coming yesterday.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

Thank you for everything.

As I was staring blank earlier, I came up with this which will forever be embedded in my mind.

In darkness you find light. In weakness you find faith. In downfall you find you.

Don’t give up for what you believe makes you, you.

And before I forget, here are the other well deserved 7 winners for MSS!

Chen Tian Chad (First Runner Up)
Thristhan Subramaniam(Second Runner Up)
Nicole Chua (Msxeroz) (Most Creative Blog)
Iman (Eyriqazz) (Most Interactive Blog)
Dylan Phuah Zheng Dong (Best write-up)
Norman Ng (Best Video)
Firdaus Feeq (Best Photos)

Truthfully, all 26 of us are the winners. We’re all in our own league and each one deserves a win just as much as the rest of us. So part of my win is also dedicated the rockstars of MSS2010 πŸ™‚

Took this from Tian Chad. Sorry!

Bravo! We are awesome!

6

Hidden Acrobats.

Just when you think life is all about routines and schedules, just take trip to Pulau Ketam (Crab Island in English) which is situated at the other end of Selangor. Take my word for it, this is one trip that’s worth your time and soul.

It’s been a long time coming this one. Me and my ultimate gamer friend Hafiz had planned this trip for a very long time and finally got our heads together to go last Saturday. It’s usually the last minute plans that works for me, I just don’t know why.

Quite surprisingly, not everyone knows the existence of this island here. Which adds an air of mystery even more to this little place.

We decided to start early (what with the unpredictable weather and all), as early as 8.30am and instead of driving to Port Klang like we would to any other place, we decided to throw ourselves out there with the locals. That means, ditching the car at KL Sentral parking lot, take the KTM train to Port Klang and the speed boat from the jetty to the island.

I always believe to get the best stories, one should be a part of the society, which means taking the public transportation. Taxis, buses, trains, .. you name it. These are gold mines for great inspirations!

KTM ticket from KL Sentral to Port Klang is RM8.60 per way and it takes about an hour to reach to the last station (depending on the train speed, it’s inconsistent).

Be prepared to stand because every train is usually pack with passengers. On average it’s pretty cool inside, unless if the air condition is down .. that’s not going to be a pleasant ride. While we were inside, I was happy to see many of the passengers were reading to kill the time. There were many printed materials on the panels for one to read too. Jokes were among the most common one you’ll find in the train.

When we arrived at Port Klang, armed with very little information about our destination, we came up with a strategy – to follow this particular traveler who we assumed was also going to Pulau Ketam. Hafiz who did his research prior to this trip had mentioned that on average, there are many photographers who visit the island for some photography sessions. I guess last Saturday wasn’t in their plans.

Soon as we got out of the station, we saw this building with big sign “Jeti Pulau Ketam” and immediately headed for it. Much to our chagrin, that wasn’t the place we were suppose to take the speedboat/ferry to the island. We managed to ask one of the lady staff and she instructed us to walk on the other side where the actual jetty is located.

So here’s how you get to the jetty from the train station:

As you walk out of the train station, turn right where you’ll see an empty land with blue panels blocking the sea view. Keep walking until you’ll see an opening/entrance with the ferry/speed boat sign board. Then make a left into the entrance and go straight ahead. Voila!

Apparently there are two ways to get to the island, you get to choose either a speed boat which takes 30 minutes to arrive for RM7 per way or the ferry. And the boat ride ends at 6pm on Saturday, Sunday and public holidays; 4pm on weekdays.

No worries as the attendants are friendly and the seats inside are comfortable. You could even watch WWE matches throughout the journey. Along the way, you’ll see many fishing boats, villages and mangroves. Something you won’t see while you’re in the city, that’s for sure.

The salty air is one that you have to get used to and when you do, in an instant the air smells like normal. So for the very sensitive nose, this one can be a challenge for you but hey, it’s au-naturale. Can’t beat that!

When I found out that photographers who visit this island love to take black and white photos, it just doesn’t register in my mind. Why? Because everything about this island is just so colourful. It’s vibrant colours from one person to the other, one house to another. So it makes more sense to capture the lively spirit in it’s original state.


I knew people in this island are used to tourist going in and out of their territory but I didn’t know they were as friendly and warm. The first person to talked to us was Miss Na, who was on her bike and dressed in vivid colours. She probably represented Pulau Ketam to the core.

Oh yeah, besides walking, your only other mode of transportation here is bicycle. That’s RM5 per bike for rental πŸ™‚ But we preferred walking, just because we wanted to experience this area without missing a spot. Besides that, you might wonder if there were crabs around the island since it’s named after this creature and I’m glad to say yes, they were crawling sideways everywhere on the sand. Heck, I got to see salamanders crawling too. Not too excited for that one actually. :/

I love the wind. It was breezy. It was also hot. But not as humid. Or maybe I was to stoked about being in the island for the first time? You’ll be the judge of it when you get there.

If you feel like staying for the night or more, there’s only one hotel called Sea Lion waiting for your presence. And it’s just a short walk from the jetty. About 2-3minutes? If you’re a fast walker, you could even do it under one minute πŸ™‚

Only been there for a few minutes and I already loved the things I experienced. Not only was this island quaint and charming, it’s full of character. You can find good food (naturally) here, that is a sure thing.

Don’t forget to bring long lenses as well, you might never know when it comes handy. Actually you’ll need at least two types of lenses, then you’ll be satisfied with what you capture.

As we walked deeper inside, we discovered the many little things that were not around in the city anymore. Those old school junk food I used to buy when I was a kid can be found here. Such a joy! I was ecstatic to find my childhood chewing gum, Marukawa’s Fusen Gum, that still costs 10 sen per piece, fish/prawn crackers and fried ice cream πŸ™‚ It’s like a mini food land here.

Cheap yet very good food land.

You might be surprised when you enter the island, it seem quiet and lonely but when you get to the market, you’ll find the rest of the population hanging around there. I cannot stressed out how friendly these people were while we were there. It didn’t feel like a Malaysian thing (sue me for saying this but I’ve always grown up knowing the unfriendly people) and suddenly it felt effortless to put on a smile or say hello. In fact, you can wave all you want too. Which I did and was reciprocated πŸ™‚ Hey, I really like it here.

If there’s one thing I could say to describe Pulau Ketam is that, it’s a kampung life, a much more basic (not to mention super bright) kampung life than the ones on other parts of the country. How basic is basic? I realised as we were walking along the path, many houses didn’t have big furniture like sofa or coffee table. There’s cabinet but I think that’s one of the necessity ones. Then I wondered why and figured it’s probably due to the fact that it’s hard to bring it in. It could get to the jetty but the rest of the way, you’re on your own carrying it in the narrow streets.

Besides these things only takes up more space and it’ll only feel crowded for them. Therefore, they apply the minimalist concept, which I highly agree. For convenient sake, that is.

As we were exploring, we found a few attractions that one could never missed out on. There’s a Buddhist temple and a very pretty police station with mountain bikes parking outside. It’s possibly the prettiest police station we’ve ever seen. For the Muslim, the surau is called Balai Islam (I initially thought it was some Muslim station) when it’s a community hall instead. So I learned something new.

From my observation, I find that the community here are very tight. Just about everything in this island involves the community. They were the ones painting the buddhist temple garden or have a chess club for people to play.

Now, that’s one thing the city lacks and could learn from. I’m pretty sure everyone knows everybody here too.

It was so easy to be ourselves and take in the peaceful mood Pulau Ketam exuded. The docks were available for anyone to chill out and simply experience how simply life could be. That was what I learned from this trip. To simplify our life is to know what’s essential and what’s not. In reality, we could do so much without the things we have now but because we were so consumed with materials in this world, many a times we are blinded by it.

I love when a place I go strips down my belief to it’s core and show me the importance in living. And I like it the way Pulau Ketam is; secluded, mysterious and charming all wrapped in one. I wouldn’t want it any other way, and hopefully it will remain the way it is.

I thought I’ve seen it all while I was in Delhi with a small motor vehicle crammed with half dozen people. I didn’t know we have our own version of acrobats too! πŸ˜‰ Amazing eh?

As we walked further inside, we were welcomed with an array of dried fish. I’ve not seen this one before, I mean the process. I’m so used to the after product that it didn’t occur to me to know how it looks like before it was fully dried. The smell was overwhelming the first few seconds, and then eventually I got used to it.

It is a kampung life this one.

But we could only do so much walking for 3.5 hours that we needed to get something to eat. And behold, the best seafood in Selangor..well one of them. I like to believe to enjoy the best crabs, one should go to the island of crabs to be feasted πŸ˜› So yes! 

This chili crab is 1kg for RM40! Ours was RM48 for the extra weight. Look at that! I’m drooling as it is. Bah! For that price, you can’t get it anywhere else in the city. Yeah baby!

We wanted to order deep fried battered squid and butter prawns but..we decided to devote our life to the crabs instead. And wouldn’t you know it, Fish gave up 1/3 of the way. Thank god I’m a massive crabs fan (especially since I don’t have my braces on anymore)..so I managed to wipe it clean for the two of us! That was some hearty meal alright. Possibly the best. It’s just finger lickin’ goooood.

Thankfully, we still have space for dessert and I promised that we would eat the fried ice cream before we head out back to reality. So we did!

If you grew up to Japanese comic Doraemon, you might recognise the look of the fried ice cream looking like Dorayaki. Only instead of red bean paste, it’s ice cream πŸ™‚ It’s just yummy! While walking back to the jetty, we managed to witness people unloading things from the boats.

To watch them work with smiles on the face as they sing song or make jokes was a breath of fresh air to me. I’d love to apply that to whatever I do. It shows the spirit they have and it was such a precious moment to capture.

On the way back to the train station, we found a lady selling fresh steamed corns πŸ™‚ Oh yes, this has always been one of my favourite street food to purchase. I grew up going to night markets for this! And now, after so many years, I finally get to relive it. Walking while indulging in the sweetness of the corn. Yeah, the perfect end to our trip indeed.

I love every minute of it.

2

Think Tank Traveling Post Mortem

  

Travel and change of place impart new vigor to the mind. – Seneca 

We all love things the way it is, most likely because comfort zone gives us a certain contentment. Something like a safety net. What we tend to forget is that, comfort zone tend to make us complacent, accept things as static as the Statue of Liberty.

Even snails make a point to move, no matter how slow it takes to do so.

Change challenges ourselves to get the best of what we can do. It gives us better understanding about ourselves and build our confidence even more.

The same thing I noticed with blogs of this new era. I come from what I would like to call the dinosaur era of blogging. Back in the ’00s, blogs were personal window to our souls. We make friends through blogs because we were truly connected with each other through opening up our minds and hearts. We had such a personal relationship with other bloggers to a point where we would write to each other, send packages; heck, one time an old blog friend was a victim of the Katrina Hurricane and all of us supported each other by doing whatever we could to help. We were like a family in our own world. At times, they know more than we tend to let out to others in our lives.

That was what blogs has meant to me. A personal experience, a personal life I’ve built with strangers.

While participating in the MySelangorStory, it opened up my eyes to accept how different the blog world has become today. It’s so different, I felt like an alien. Despite blogging for 7 years, what blogs of those days and today talk about are so varied, it’s like being in another lifetime.

Whenever I meet blog friends of mine, we’d catch up about each other like any normal friends would. Bloggers of today talk about which event to attend, what competition makes good write up or how ads help increase income. Of course all these are good but I just felt so..out of place I guess?

Being paid to blog was unheard off then, now; so many people are such, to a point I felt like blogging is an extension to advertising. Well, in a way it is.

So it was an eye opening experience indeed to learn about what people blog about today or how they got to know each other. πŸ™‚
One thing’s for sure, I still want to keep that personal feeling intact in anything I do. That way, it feels genuine and a ticket to be connected with other people. Losing this part of me will only make me be like a robot. It didn’t matter what my blog idea is about, at the end of the day, you’ll be able to intercept bits and pieces of me in every entry I write.

The traveler sees what he sees.  The tourist sees what he has come to see.
– G.K. Chesterton

10

The Beginning

The Future may seem terrifying if we are to ponder it right now. It is less intimidating when we make the most of the present and embrace the future for whatever it is. People tend to worry about the past and future. They rarely think about being in the moment.

The future belongs to God, and it is only he who reveals it, under extraordinary circumstances. – The Alchemist

What happened in the past 6 days has been the result of that. Of living in the moment, freeing myself from any ridiculous expectations of how people should be, what the places are like or why we do things a certain way. The future to this is up in the air and to be honest, I forgot it was a competition from day one. All we did was enjoying ourselves, opening our minds and hearts to new things, experience the dream we never thought of and laughed because that’s how we were feeling.

If it’s any consolation, the entire MySelangorStory trip itself is like a grand prize on it’s own. One you’ll have rare opportunity to have again. So, whatever I wrote in my previous entries were purely how I felt not because it was competition and I had to do it. Instead, it was my way of giving back to others and hope it keeps spreading around. That way everyone will be able to have their own version of MySelangorStory.

Since Amelia extended a little bit of time for all of us to finish up our posts, I had some time to experiment with iMovie after 6 years of not touching after college ended. Indeed, I had to go through the tutorials to learn how to make one. Ah, the noob in me has finally emerged again.

I used the theme from iMovie thinking it fits with the look I’ve been achieving and I must admit, it is cheating so it’s ok that I don’t qualify for a video category πŸ™‚ I had a blast going out of my comfort zone making it for fun anyway.

I tried (and failed miserably) at keeping the video under 3 minutes. This one lasts 3:18 minutes instead. Ok so this is the result of a noob’s work. You’re welcome to laugh XD

Day 6 actually ended after our dinner in Haven because the morning after, everyone didn’t get to say goodbye to each other as one was sound asleep *stares at Victor* or have an early flight to catch like Alid, Kemal and Citra. Followed by Chia Li, KK, Fadli and Sy. Others were either hitching rides from their family, friends or Tourism Selangor‘s crew. So there wasn’t much to report except for feeling somewhat sad for MSS to end.
Oh, Chia Li stayed up late making origami stars (I used to love collecting when I was a kid) with a message inside. That was really sweet of her, this roommate of mine πŸ™‚
Quite the eccentric bunch we all were during this tour. A giant family moving about together. One that will be told for many many many years to come I’m sure.
Somehow, I feel this trip is only the beginning to something more.

And it would’ve have been what it was without Tourism Selangor, Amelia, and the many sponsors who supported us throughout this journey. Everyone deserves a bigggggggggggg hug πŸ™‚

Voice out, I’m all about sharing thoughts and if this deserves a vote – simply click MySelangorStory/TheBeginning.
4

Hello World.

Everything in life has a beginning and an end. We’ll start with the beginning (and just enjoy the ride while the end comes; whenever it wants)..which will be Kuala Lumpur, my birthplace.

Let’s just say it’s Wanderlust Theories introduction to the world.

Kuala Lumpur is the capital city of Malaysia and it’s people are normally referred to as KLites. Tall buildings, food, shopping malls, haze, more glorious food, colourful culture, a lot of holidays and summer 24/7 pretty much sums up KL to it’s core. Oh, not to forget it’s traffic jam as well. But that’s another story altogether.

                                                        This was taken from the Observation Deck in Menara KL.

I used to think that KL is only most beautiful during the night or very early in the morning; for the obvious reason until recently, I rediscovered this city in a different perspective and it is a lot more fun/warm too. See, the thing about living in a city is that, the real face is covered with concrete all over causing the true life experience of what made it the way it is now left unknown to many people, even KLites themselves.

To me what makes a place appealing would be the raw emotions of it’s people. With the hustle and bustle of the city, one rarely get to experience it aside from it being just another city. Ok, Tokyo probably can get away with this. Never been there before, but one day some day soon I will.

So back to KL.

I’ll write about what KL is in general for now and delve into my new discoveries later on in new entries.

KLCC pretty much put us in the map, aside from the Sepang International Circuit for Formula 1. For the longest time, when you ask any westerner if they know where Malaysia is, they wouldn’t know, unless you say a neighbour to Singapore. It’s quite frustrating because Malaysia has so much to offer but was hidden from the world. Now though, it’s a different case.

I must admit, KL has a lot of energy. It caters to everyone with all kinds of interest. If you’re the running type of person, there are various hills you can go to – Tabur, Broga or Gasing Hill; heck, while you’re at it, might as well run up the stairs at Batu Caves. Feeling a bit more adventurous? Get your body work out with ATV or Paintball in the jungle. Hey, nothing beats being one with Mother Nature right?

Zorbing will turn your life upside down, literally. A tad crazy but it’s a once in a lifetime thing being in a washing machine-like enviroment. Of course those who suffers from claustrophobia are not advised to do it.   

The KL I grew up with is very humid during the first half of the year. What with global warming, boy, you’ll probably want to sleep in the freezer. For someone who does not like the air condition system, I sure as heck is tempted to install one in the room but once May-June comes, hello rain! Open your windows, welcome the cool breeze into your space and it’s just as chilly. I am amazed with women like them who doesn’t seem bothered with the heat.

As of late, we’ve been getting many more Koreans and Arabs coming over to KL either for holiday or to stay. Considering the conversion rate to Ringgit Malaysia(RM), KL is pretty cheap to shop, eat & stay. It’s no surprise the Arab/Korean restaurants are booming here; unfortunately the authentic good Korean restaurants (mostly in Korean Street, Ampang) are non-halal.

With so many races living together here, it’s no wonder our most popular question in everyday life is “What to eat ah today?” and most frequent answer to this would be “Anythinglah”. I mean of course we can’t think straight when it comes to food; God, look at the choices we have here! Let me assure you that, good ‘ole Malaysian food is best served in small stalls by the street or drains. There’s just something about it that makes the food extra delicious. You can spend as little as RM2 for Roti Canai and Teh Tarik or spend a bit more for noodles, rice or our local Burger Ramly. Let’s not even talk about the desserts!

If I can say one thing that we are rich in, it’s most definitely food. It doesn’t matter what your budget is, you’ll be guaranteed for a gastronomical experience anywhere in the city.

We’ve got some nice places to hangout during the night too. Whether you’re the clubbing type of person, lounge or just want to go out for the heck of it; KL’s got it all! From Zouk to No Black Tie to ehem..

people who constantly serving us day and night, the mamak stalls!

What would we do without those hardworking fellas making and serving our food when we crave for something to munch at 2AM? I can’t imagine a life without them. No wait, I could – something like London. That’s not even a compliment.

Yes, they are our unsung heroes.

Seriously. Food is KL and KL is food. There’s no other way about it.

You know what? KL is alright. It’s not mad. Albeit the crime issues are terrifying but it’s not so bad after all (also because of the new discoveries).

I didn’t think it would be this hard to write up a place like KL but how wrong was I?

Phewh. I can now stop looping Maroon 5’s Misery.

I can choose either to be a victim of the world or an adventurer in search of treasure
– Paulo Coelho