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Escapism : Japan + Turkey

This year I went to Japan for the third (or forth?) time and I also went to Turkey for the second time. 


We went to Japan again for Midsummer Design Festa, our first summer and typhoon experience. It was all about the bad weather. We had to stay indoor a lot, we didn't explored as much as we wanted, the mini hikes we did were tough, the typhoon attacks were super scary. So we were pretty much disappointed because Japan was not as friendly as we remembered. 

But we made a zine out of this trip, called Summer & Typhoon, a collaboration of Af and I. The pictures he took on films and the doodle notes that I did during the trip.

This is a picture of me with the umbrella that Af broke because of the super wind.

Huge reminder : Don't go to Japan during odd season. We went there during the transition between summer and autumn, so a lot of too hot to function and random windy scary typhoon attacks. This was in August. 


Things I wrote in August :

About the 8 hours bus ride from Tokyo to Osaka :
There are many ways to travel from Tokyo to Osaka, one of the most affordable one was an 8 hour bus ride. The ticket was 7,200 yen (RM 260), we booked it 5 days before the date at Shinjuku Bus Terminal with a guide from people working at the bus station.

The bus ride was super fancy, we each got dedicated private and comfortable seat, with thick blanket (it gets cold), personal space (with private curtains for each seat), can lower down the seating, and rise-up the legs section, individual USB charging deck, free unlimited WIFI and toilet (AirAsia seating is far from comfortable - the 8 hour afternoon ride in the bus was much better than the 6 hours night flight).


About mini hikes in Nara & Kyoto :
Apart from the bad weather, we had several fun times in nature, we did some mini hikes away from the hectic crowds and summer heat. I did planned to do nature walks in the forest (in Japan), but the weather was not friendly throughout the week, so we had to cancel most plans. 

These mini hikes weren't planned, it was just something that happened during our trips. It was a nice surprise. The first one was when we arrived in Nara, and we already visited all the listed places, so I suggested that we visit the farthest point in the given map, that is Kasugayama Primeval Forest. We had a nice several hours walk, no one was around, just the calm forest silence and old tall trees.

The second one was in Uji, Kyoto.
We hiked to the Daikichiyama observation deck. It was a fairly easy mini hike, I was trying to avoid the sun and suggested we walked towards the place. Not sure how long did we took to hike up because we stopped several times for photos. The observation deck had a nice panoramic view of the Uji City.

In nicer seasons, you can also enjoy lines of sakura (spring) and maple trees (autumn), among all other tall old trees.  


In Nov, I went to Turkey, just less than 2 months after the Japan trip and without Af.

This was with a Muslim group tour along with my older sister and her friend. Although Turkey is a friendly country, I don't really feel like it is possible for me to do a backpack travelling in Turkey (and those random riots are normal there). Turkey is a huge country with a lot to offer. It even takes up to 12 hours bus ride to reach to the next cities during our trip. So although I hated the group tour experience, I enjoyed the cities we went to during this 10 days trip and it was only for RM 3,250 including flights, hotels, foods and transportation. The last time I went to Turkey in 2014, the flight ticket alone was RM 2,700 :F

I like this photo because I look tall - I am short in nature. 

We went from Istanbul - Ankara - Cappadocia - Pamukkale - Kusadasi - Bursa - Istanbul, covering around 2000 km area on bus. So there was a lot of sitting for long hours in the bus. It was also the starting of winter (again, about the weather - I can't function in cold weather). Most days were below 10°C. I'm thanking God for the decision I made in buying my own winter coat (so I have at least 3 layers of thick clothes all the time). 

We also survived long flights. The worst one was on our way back home, we went to the airport on Sunday morning (at 10am) and finally arrived in Malaysia on Monday morning (at 10am). That is one whole day ! So around 3 hours from Istanbul to Iran, around 6 hours transit in Iran, and around 8 hours from Iran to Malaysia, missing around 5 hours in between continents. 

Lesson : Don't go with a group tour again (I hated the experience) and don't leave your husband (it was tough on me - I never left his side for the past 3 years :F What is the meaning of these travel trips and escapism without my own travel partner? )


I think I spent less than RM 7k in my 2018's international trips :F

Books : Thing I learned from reading more than 100 books in a year

I read more than 100 books in 2018. 
I never thought I would reach that many books in a year - the last time I read that many was probably when I was still a student. Although this year I got a lot of help from Scribd (listening to audio books while working) and rereading my all-time favorite books (it's easier to read books that you know you'll enjoy). 

I can't help but to ask myself, what did I learned from consuming more than 100 books in a year?  The truth is, I didn't feel like I've read that many, I think I've learned to become more aware of the things that will stay in my mind. Most of the things I read were probably books that I can't relate to, or not-so-important-in-my-life during this phase, or just things that I do not care - so I tend to forget those books. But some books stayed, some stories embedded in my mind. 

Probably when I'm discussing about the hardship in life with my siblings (especially in pursuing our passion), I can mention about Bryan Cranston's life experience throughout his early career, because I read his biography. Or I can mention about the high achievers (Elon Musk / Jack Ma), those stories when most people have doubts in them but they persevered and just pushed through the pain and  endless humiliation. I read Barack Obama's books (about hope) and Jane Goodall about the earth and the animals (I love), or Jon Krakauer's essays on self-exploration. A lot of biographies, essays and motivational books.

I have this library of stories in my mind with anecdotes, reminders, lessons, and personal thoughts. I'm not sure how to explain to people about the things that I've learned in bullet points. I just know that in certain phases when I need some guidance or reminder, I might probably remember these little stories from people all over the world. These books that left invisible marks in me. 

A reminder that I'm not alone, I'm not worthless, even how small it might be, my stories are worth your time. 

Pheww, what a nerd :F

Little Things 244 : Guess who's back ? 2018 Compilation !

I'm back for the yearly compilation !

I love this yearly compilation, of my own successes and failures :o This is a reminder of what I reached every year (because I'm a Capricorn - I tend to take notes and have yearly goals :F). So when I look back, I can track back what I did in my younger years (although I said I'm no longer updating my blog - I'm still crawling back to this site everyday. Or is it because this is the landing page for my browser? Hm)


1. Read 50 books in a year goal, upgraded to 100 books (Succeeded) 
I actually managed to consume 115 books this year, thanks to a lot of audio books on Scribd and rereading books that I already loved. Comparing this goal with last year, I only read 15 books - so I wanted to really pushed myself in 2018. I subscribed to Scribd for only 6 months and didn't buy that many physical books this year :D Read 'On More Books but Buying Less'.

But, I have a long lists of books I want next year.


2. Travel + Events (Succeeded)
We went to Japan for the third time, had our first event in Japan (Midsummer Design Festa), and I also went to Turkey for the second time (this time exploring way more cities than the trip in 2014). 

I also joined a lot of events from May - August, and did a lot of doodle workshops throughout the year. It helped me in funding my way through all these trips and paying off my loans. 


3. Work-wise, freelance life (still surviving)
I started working as a full-time freelancer and independent illustrator in April 2017, and it is already more than a year and reaching 2 years in 4 months. I'm proud of this, my super goal is to reach financial independence, payoff my loans - not to be working for anyone else but me :D

At this moment, I'm having a good time hiding in my apartment.


4. Having our own child (still trying)
Yeap, we are still trying. Our forth anniversary will be in 5 months and we are still trying to have a baby - but with no luck! But we are still in honeymoon phase (which is a bliss to be in love and be loved :F ).

Maybe we will consider adoption, I don't mind this. 

Random story : Yesterday I mentioned about telur pindang in our group Whatsapp, and just a few moments after, my sister already ordered those eggs and had someone send it to our apartment. Just like that. That's how serious they are taking about random food cravings that I have - even with no pregnancy in sight. Not sure whether I'm lucky to have 'very thoughtful sister + mom' or it's bad for  me for giving them such hope :D 


5. More shops and more self-published books (Yess !)
I'm now sending my items to these shops, so you can find my products all over the place :
  • Salt x Paper, Kota Kinabalu
  • Stickerrific, Petaling Jaya
  • MyPaperProjects, Shah Alam
  • Ikigai Shop & Smida Paper, Georgetown
I also self-published several books & zines this year : the Wander book (Japan Travelogue), the Doodle Journal mini guide and the latest one Summer & Typhoon (mini travel zine). 


A lot of I, how about YOU ?
Did you have a lot of fun this year ?