8

Airborne-sick

So here I am.
8 months later. I am so sorry.
While it seems like I’ve abandoned Wanderlust Theories, I really haven’t. In theory, it has always been in my mind. It was just never translated from brainwave to words. 
And that makes a lot of difference unfortunately. 
It’s not that I don’t want to write or that I had lost interest in this; I just went away discovering myself and then (hopefully when I’ve figured it out) share my theories about whatever I’ve been experiencing. So this entry is dedicated to everyone who’s been reminding me to start writing (David of MalaysiaAsia, Fie, Alid & Wilson of PlacesandFoods) and those who happened to read this. Seriously, I can’t imagine why anyone would read my rants but yeah, do know that every reader is special to me πŸ™‚
Life has been quite the roller coaster ride; physically and (especially) emotionally. The thing is, I realized I haven’t set foot in an aircraft since My Selangor Story started and I *think* I have forgotten what it feels like to take off. 
Dramatic right? I know. But it’s the truth. Really. 
Honestly, I do miss flying away to places I deem my escapism. It could be the schedule or something else. Somehow, I just never got around to getting onboard. I have sent and picked up people to/at the airport many times tho..
However, I am having fun doing what I never thought is possible. 
Not in a million years.
Then again, I have went on a trip with Johan Farid Khairuddin (or affectionately known as JFK) and Fie in his Cessna around Selangor & Kuala Lumpur back in April. That was probably the closest thing to flying I suppose? ‘Twas amazing!
When I said “I’d like to make Selangor as part of my journey”, I never thought that my feet will be planted deep in the ground of Selangor! It’s so deep, I feel like I’m the information counter for all things Selangor sometimes. Not that it’s a bad thing actually πŸ˜‰ It’s just that, this experience, this job (if you may call it) has truly changed my perception of traveling. 
I’ve learned so much about myself as much as I have been researching about Selangor every single day. A journey I’ll forever cherish. 
Perhaps this quote by G. K. Chesterton said it best – β€œThe whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.”
And in some twisted kind of way, maaaaybe that’s what He’s trying to tell me; that as much as I love traveling wherever, whenever, it is something else to discover your own country (or in this case, state).
I can’t imagine thinking back that I’ve been to places, seen faces and listen to stories which I wouldn’t be able to do without being part of Tourism Selangor. People who would just take me out and show me around Selangor as if I’m a foreigner. I can’t say how thankful I am for having such awesome people supporting my dream.
The best thing is that, my friends are now even more excited to go on an adventure in Selangor with me like they’ve never been before. That alone I think is an achievement itself.
It has been a humbling and cool journey thus far.
One I keep learning and growing from experience to be a better person. 

Here’s a big hug to everyone! Muah πŸ™‚
Advertisements
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!

5

TΓͺte-Γ -TΓͺte

 It took me half the day to decide whether or not to publish this entry purely for links to my previous entries for MySelangorStory. I went back and forth and finally made up my mind. While the MSS Campaign is still running until end of this month, it’s probably good to have a directory for all 11 (I actually wrote that many!) articles for the MSS tour. After all, sometimes when one have to scroll to the bottom of the page to no end can result to the person skipping the whole thing altogether. I think it will be a convenience for Wanderlust Theories’ readers πŸ™‚

So here it is!

MSS Day 1 – Introducing the Colourful Insanities, Part 1 (read / vote)
                    – Like Qings and Kueens, Part 2 (read / vote)

MSS Day 2 – Certified Knockers, Part 1 (read / vote)
                    – Very Insane Personas (VIP), Part 2 (read / vote)

MSS Day 3 – The Root of the Matter, Part 1 (read / vote)
                    – The Light Root, Part 2 (read / vote)

MSS Day 4 – Concrete Desert (read / vote)

MSS Day 5 – The Medicalis, Part 1 (read / vote)
                    – Devil May Care, Part 2 (read / vote
                    – Guten Nacht, Part 3 (read / vote)

MSS Day 6  – The Beginning (read / vote)

2

A Medieval Fairy Tale Affair

While writing for MySelangorStory for the past week like a train determined to send it’s passengers from one destination to another, I felt a certain surge of aware. I was in the zone, relieving the journey I was in and rather than feeling the stress going up to my head; I was enjoying writing instead. I could say I work best under pressure, but it also has a lot to do with the fact that I was writing about my traveling experiences. It didn’t feel like a chore. If anything, it was like a therapy in it’s own remarkable way.

That was also why I started Wanderlust Theories earlier. To recapture the sights, sounds and touch of my journey.

MSS was like the force to continue my passion and a reminder of what I love the most.

So today, I decided to write about Ludlow, Shropshire, England. I had a few places to write about, somehow Ludlow piqued my interest to start this early morning with.

I remember having a cuppa with a cousin who’s been living in London for most part of his life and when I told him about my trip to Ludlow during my Euro backpacking trip, he had this big question mark on his face; one I saw coming long time ago.
“Of all places? LUDLOW?!” was all he said.
See the thing is, I’m an easy traveler. Because I live to travel, you throw me anywhere in the world; I’m sure I’ll bound to find something outstanding about it. That’s how much I love traveling. I won’t deny I have a romantic idea about traveling – meeting new people, learning new cultures and going out of the box but that is because that’s what I have been experiencing, what I have been implementing in all my traveling. 
Therefore, I held Ludlow like I held the bull’s horns. I went and I had the time of my life.
Since I stayed in Tooting, London for a few days with a friend before heading over to the rest of Europe, I found out a very old friend is living nearby. Well 3 hours nearby. Puan Khalijah, or I’m more familiar with calling her as Puan K but told me to address her as Khalijah or her novelist name Iris Ixora, is a family friend since I was in diapers and was my tutor for 6 years before she went to UK to pursue her masters. I never heard anything from her after that. 
Five years later, I got to know she was in Ludlow and so happened to be free while I was figuring out what else does UK has to offer. 
At that point, I was bored of London (possibly because it reminded me too much of Kuala Lumpur). I needed to get out of the hustle and bustle of the city.
Called her up, bought the next ticket at Waterloo Station to Birmingham and Shrewsbury and off to Ludlow! There’s a detailed travel route to get to Ludlow here. Check it out!
To be honest, when I heard the name Ludlow, I wondered what it was about. Never heard, read or seen this place before and that was enough to convince me to go. What’s a curious cat to do when it’s curious? Investigate!
Meeting Khalijah (she requested me to call her by her name but after knowing her for so long, it’s not a habit that’s easy to be chucked away) at Ludlow Station around 4 in the afternoon, we walked to the city(a medieval one) within minutes and the entire surrounding was a 180degrees opposite of what my stay in London was. I would say it was the perfect anecdote during that time.
Ludlow is a medieval area where the buildings remained the way it was 500 years ago. The sad news was that, I had missed out on it’s 500th year celebration the day before; much like how I missed the GLBT festival in London that happened the day before I had arrived. I guess lady luck wasn’t on my side then. Would’ve made an even bigger impression to my backpacking experience with those events.
There was this weird craving I had throughout the journey. I wanted to drink soup so badly. Good homemade yummy chicken broth with fresh herbs and vegetables (most importantly celery). Just thinking about it is enough to make me drool. Slurp.
So when she asked me what I wanted her to make for dinner, I instantly requested for soup. A whole big pot of super duper yummy soup! She was surprised at first as she expected me to say along the lines of Malaysian food but the only thing I crave while I was there were soup and pasta. No idea why.
A good thing too that I could go without rice while I’m away.
We stopped at the nearest Tesco on the way back and it was pretty neat because the layout in Ludlow did felt medieval; quaint and original the way it has been. Thank god I didn’t have a trolly bag to drag on the cobble stones as it would’ve made the journey difficult. I even managed to post some postcards to some of my friends along the way too πŸ™‚
Obviously, being the biggest chocolate fan in the world, the first thing I went to check out was..the chocolate aisle. Lo and behold how cheap these yummy goodness were! I was contemplating of buying everything there (Wait till I go to Belgium..that’s another story) but managed to hold myself back. The only thing I bought was probably car magazines.
So off we went to her flat. This was yet another godsend place I tell ya! Since her flat is on the first floor, the smell from the chocolate shop below us was just too tempting not to try. Heck, that particular shop even make it’s own ice cream!
Sigh.
It’s like a devil’s place this one. I freaking swear it was. Every time I enter and exit the flat, it’s all I smell. -____-
Her house was a different case altogether. See, I’ve known her since forever and to be able to meet her here, now in a different perspective was quite a shift for me so to speak. I was 21 and in a way, we’re more friends now than just a teacher-student relationship therefore the things we talked about were relatively more matured? Then again I’ve always had a different relationship with her.
As you can see, a BIG bowl of Cadbury roses were laid on the table for me to see (and eat) and next to it were big bowls of strawberries and cherries. Up to that point, I’ve never been to a place with that many chocolates and berries waiting for people to eat! Such a brilliant idea!
Then I found out, she did it because she remembered those were my favourite. Aww, I was on cloud 9 that very moment. Couldn’t stopped myself from smiling ear to ear and .. munching those delicious tidbits.
You can imagine what a big dork I was πŸ˜‰
To enter this spectacular home was like entering a castle. A bathroom with jacuzzi and LCD screen? What?! I’ve never been pampered with something this luxurious. We finally catch up with her new life after she left Malaysia for UK. Things are definitely looking up for her since πŸ™‚ She deserves all the good things that’s coming her way. With a new family by her side, I think it’s more than she had prayed for πŸ™‚ Oh wait, publishing her own novels too.
I’m very much happy to see her this way.
While she was cooking the soup I was craving for (this reminds me of my younger days when she used to cook for fun with her other daughters at her old place back in KL), I wandered around the place, asking a lot of questions about Ludlow and how she was able to pick this place among other places.
So we started chatting about how she and her husband, Jeremy was charmed by Ludlow and when they went to visit the showroom(which is this very house), it simply took their breath away and he gifted her this flat as a present. I had gathered that they live in many places around the globe. 
I finished the pot of soup in the end. Heh.
Ludlow being a very quaint city, I expected nothing less. We walked during the late afternoon and I got to see where her first book took place. There was this cottage house down the river and she pointed out how Ludlow has been an inspiration for her to write her book. She’s an accomplished Malay writer indeed and I’m happy her dreams are finally coming true, one by one. So it was a nice personal tour this one.
Then she told Jeremy about our presence in their house and he was excited to meet us. He flew all the way from DΓΌsseldorf the night after and came together with his son, Ben who was on the other side of England. I didn’t expect such a warm welcome from her entire family and loved every moment of it too. I had a long (albeit funny) debate with Jeremy about needing visa to go around EU that night when the rest were having fun laughing at us by the fireplace. Cozy and charming, this is my seventh heaven.
During the day, the first view I get in the morning from the window was the square.
With the crystal blue sky to start my day, I couldn’t imagine being in a bad mood while being here. Personally, Ludlow is like a page taken out from a fairy tale book. Really. The hill overlooking us and the panoramic view were divine. Made me want to roll myself over with a herd of sheep. 
It was that captivating.
Yup, I’m a sucker for a place like this. A place for me to escape.
We walked further and went to the other side of the river, where they had boats to go around but when we were there it was closed. We ended up throwing rocks and decide who could throw the furthest. Obviously I lost.  Yet another way to release myself; things I could only imagined, actually came true.
Sometimes it feels good to have some places that never change with time. A place like Ludlow. Around the world, we have cities with tallest buildings, making it feel like concrete jungle. To have something like this, mother nature in all her glory was truly a breath of fresh air. I always imagined myself walking in the woods having to grow up with Mark Twain and Hans Christensen; this was a gift I will never forget even today as I write this again. It’s as if it had only happened yesterday. 

So beautiful. So untouched. So calm. It’s just so Ludlow.


We entered a mansion of a famous poet (I think) and as usual, it’s not Dian if I didn’t trip and fall. I did and I captured this in that brief moment. An accidental shot it was and it is still one of my most favourite shot of all time.


My other favourite things to do is picking up fresh flowers without a care in the world. It’s so cheap, I’d buy flowers everyday! Unlike in KL, buying flowers is like a luxury. The fact that I could pick up any freshly squeezed fruit juice was another thing I love. You could drink it and know it’s 100% natural juice. No doubt about it. The aroma of fresh pastries running across the pathway charmed me even more. There was this lady who made one of the nicest fruitcake I’ve ever tasted with homemade marmalade jam. Oh boy.

To top it off, there was this part of the hill which overlooks the entire area that Jeremy loves so much, he usually makes a point to walk into the woods and up the hill to this particular spot.


It was also by the river further down the hill where I caught this photo of this boy before he jumped around to throw rocks (apparently it’s everyone’s favourite past-time?)


Yeah I had a lot of fun getting to know this new old friend of mine.

By the time moon and stars came up to shine, the entire place turned silent. Everyone’s getting some good quality family time indoors. So did we with indian food to fill our tummies. That was the first time I was introduced to Chicken Vindaloo. Something the Brits love I think? Outside, it was so quiet you could hear the sound of a pin falling to the ground. Infact, I could lie on the road and pretend to be the only human in the world and don’t have to worry about getting hit by a truck. It’s a peaceful deadly night.
The stars! Oh what remarkable creation God has made of you!
There were too many stars, I didn’t even bother to count (obviously I could count stars with my fingers here). It was beyond anything I have ever witnessed before as I observed Ben capturing the night with his camera patiently while the rest took in the view like it was the best thing they’ve ever seen.

Later, we chilled by the fireplace, another experience into my book. There’s no need for television or computer to be entertained if I have a family like them. Like any good storytellers, they shared many amazing stories, painting a picture of who they were/are. Warm and cozy does not even fit them any close. 

Oh, there’s this brown leather chair by the window I fell in love with, which I got to know later is Jeremy’s favourite go to chair. 

The people in Ludlow are an awesome bunch. I could go up to any random person and smile. Say Hello. Ask random questions. They treat you like any other local and it easily made my day everyday I was there.



At this point, the bell ringing from the church behind the flat has become my morning call. And as much as the duck feathered duvet were a calling to bed, I couldn’t spend any longer knowing it was my last day in Ludlow. I woke up, got out of the room and realised no one was awake. I took the house key laid on the counter and made my way out to the market square outside. It looked festive, like they were celebrating life everyday with music, laughter and smiles.

I was as happy as clam walking down each stall, looking through at the things they were selling. Old records, food, clothes, books, more food.. and then I remembered it being my last day, I had to get something for the awesome family who had welcomed me to their home. Then I saw this really joyous lady preparing her table and I inhaled the best thing in the world – double chocolate fudge brownie cake.
Jackpot!



I bought some for everyone of course πŸ™‚ Guilty as charged. I couldn’t help but talked to the great bake too. She was very friendly and happy when I greeted her. It took her since 4 in the morning to prepare this delicious sin. And was more than happy to share it with others. With gold in my hand, I spotted a drawing of a black kitten which reminded me a lot of Khalijah’s cat she adored so much. It was done in charcoal if I’m not mistaken. With one artwork on one hand and brownie another, I could say that I was the happiest person on earth. 

Then I received a text about breakfast being served.

Went up and presented my gifts to them πŸ™‚ It’s the least I could do really.

So that was my little fairy tale story that will forever be plastered in my mind. A place I’ll make a point to visit again (not to mentioned a little magical chocolate factory situated nearby in Birmingham :P). It was a great trip, despite it being a last minute one. A trip I needed to shake myself up.

Ludlow, thank you for having me around.
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

0

Physics of Lens

Pentax/DSC World had been so generous  to lend us their cameras throughout the MySelangorStory tour and it’s only right that I’d do a write up on the Optio P80 from my point of view.

To me this camera is perfect for those who wants a camera just to take photos. The same people who doesn’t bother about having a state-of-the-art newly released cameras. So Optio P80 is really for the fuss free people πŸ™‚ Besides, that’s what point and shoot/compact camera is all about. Letting the camera do the job for you rather than the other way around.

However, the photos tend to be noisy when there’s no sufficient light to feed the lens. Image quality is alright in it’s category. Of course, the higher end models are far better. I have no complains for the lens, it’s sharpness is fairly good.

It does have some cool settings that you need to experiment with like half-length portrait mode (you see this sort of style during the coming out of Facebook era), panoramic and wide angle modes which automatically stitches the photos together. There is this smile detection mode that I find interesting. It captures the photo the moment the camera recognises the smiles. Which is great on some level but I also realise, all of us smile differently and this mode only detects a certain way, I think it has to do with the way the eyes and lips moves up as one smiles. So it’s not an ideal mode if you’re in a rush.

With good lighting, I find it easy to use the 12x optical zoom but when the light starts to go dimmer, it struggles to focus but can do wonders in the club/brightly lit atmosphere.



Above all, I was impressed with Optio P80 HD video recording. Because it’s sets in high definition, it takes only 4:40 minutes worth of video in 1GB memory card. This changes drastically when you set the resolution lower. Not one to really use the video mode, I actually thought this was a good feature to use when the need arises πŸ™‚

What I like the most about Optio P80 is the slim design. It fits in my pocket easily during my night outing that I don’t have to worry about carrying it anywhere I go πŸ™‚ So that’s a definite thumbs up from the person who lunges her DSLR everywhere she goes.


I think this quote describes Pentax Optio P80 very well πŸ™‚

For every beauty there is an eye somewhere to see it. For every truth there is an ear somewhere to hear it. For every love there is a heart somewhere to receive it. – Ivan Panin

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.