Monday, September 30, 2019

Ten Years

This time 10 years ago I packed my bags, left Jakarta for Bali with a dream to see the world and work in the entertainment industry. Club Med Bali offered me a part-time job for a month in 2009 and I thought oh this could be my stepping stone. I remember I went to the airport by myself with so much excitement, only later I found my girls were waiting for me at the departure gate with a bouquet of flower, love, and endless support. My girls have always been my biggest support system from day one. I love the way they inspire me to be a better person every day, push me to do better. They believe in me, in my dreams, and how far I can go even sometimes when I doubt myself and feel like giving up. Lady Gaga said there can be 100 people in a room, and 99 of them don’t believe in you, but all it takes is one and it just changes your whole. In this case, I am really lucky to have a bunch of beautiful souls who believe in me, open up the doors for me, give me stage to shine and room to grow so I can be the person I am today. 

I had no idea what was waiting for me in Bali but I knew it was the beginning of a bigger chapter. It would change my life forever. After working and learning so much for a month, my first manager - a great person, she extended my contract. But when she left and a new manager came to replace her, I learned when someone disrespects you, treat you really bad, make you unhappy and work until 2 even 3 am in the morning for days…you have the right to walk away. I spoke to my HR manager and told him I wasn’t happy, I wanted to go back to Jakarta. They let me go and in less than 2 months they offered me a better opportunity to work in Malaysia. Still, every time I think about that day I decided to quit my job in Bali, I had no idea where I got such courage to leave. I was very young, had very little money, but the biggest lesson I guess whenever I find myself not happy maybe at a certain situation or with some people, I know I have to change it. Happiness has always been my first priority, especially been living ( and going through lots of things ) alone for years, I can’t rely on anyone but myself. I’m in charge of my own happiness. That was probably the first time I learned when you let go things that no longer served you well, you make space for better opportunity and people. Well, fortunately, my Bali adventure was sweet and short. In three months, I found a home, a new family, I learned so much from my colleagues, my choreographer, and our guests from all around the world. Then life brought me to Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Florida, Singapore, and so many places I just couldn’t believe I get to see the world. In the last 10 years, I’ve moved around quite a lot. I landed a couple of dream jobs, discovered new passions, failed a lot. 

Sitting in my bed trying to write this post and think about my journey in the past 10 years, I ask myself if there’s anything I wish I could change or do it differently. Nope, nothing at all. I have no regrets. I am grateful for things happened the way it was, for every ups and downs, delays, failures, experience, heartbreaks and I get to do meaningful things I love every day. And if I had to choose the biggest highlight, it would definitely be the people I met along the journey. In life, you meet people who break you, support, celebrate and love you the way you are, listen and truly understand you. Those who have invested so much in me. Give me a stage to shine, take care, and believe in me… They are the biggest treasure and blessings, also my motivation for me to keep going. While money, jobs, opportunity can come and go, it’s very important to have such a strong, big support system and surround yourself with amazing people. 

Isn’t it amazing how one decision can take you to where you are today? Ten years have passed and I still have so many dreams, goals, honestly no idea how to get there but I hope I am still the same fearless, brave girl who left home 10 years ago with confident, passion, and faith things will eventually work out.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Sapa, Vietnam

Sending everyone love and few postcards from Sapa, Vietnam.

I had no intention at all to visit Hanoi this year until Facebook reminded me this time 4 years ago I made it to Hanoi for the very first time after 30 hours bus ride from Laos ( trust me you don’t want to go through what people say ‘the night bus journey from hell’ ). I thought oh well it’s been a while, let’s go back to Hanoi and visit Sapa.

Sipping my coffee in my hotel room in Sapa, I couldn’t help but comparing the way I live and travel 4 years ago to the person I am today. Some things change, some things stay the same. Still curious, brave and adventurous, I love how I left a bit of myself in every place I visited. I grow stronger and more confident in my own skin. With each day gives you another opportunity to begin again and write a new story, I want to fill my pages with good memories, adventures, progress, love and portraits from all around the world.

How to get to Sapa from Hanoi:
Train from Hanoi Tran Quy Cap station (B Station) to Lao Cai. I purchased the ticket from for USD29/one way

From Lao Cai Station, exit the station turn left and catch a minivan for 30000 VND/one way to Sapa

Where to stay:
Sapa Centre Hotel ( USD 25-30 for standard room )

Where to eat:
The Lizard Restaurant

Le Gecko Cafe

Good Morning Vietnam

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Cusco Peru

Cusco is definitely one of my favorite cities in Peru. There are so many things you can do here. From a day trip to Salineras de Maras, Chinchero, the Sacred Valley, Vinicunca Rainbow Mountain to of course Machu Picchu. If you have extra time and craving for adventures, you can go trekking for a few days exploring the Inca Trail, Salkantay Trek and many more. Unfortunately, I had to skip trekking all the way to Machu Picchu this time because honestly I wasn’t prepared and I don’t have any hiking gear with me. But I’d take that as an excuse to come back to Peru. In Cusco town itself, there are a bunch of museums and other places you should visit like Plaza de Armas, my favorite San Blas, market, etc. Trust me even one week in Cusco isn’t enough. 

This country has been nothing short of amazing from day one. I am extremely grateful to be able to visit and experience so many wonderful things I never thought I could in my life. Everywhere you go in Peru, you’d feel the love, kindness, and magic. The other day I was just sitting at the hotel lobby and my security guard suddenly came up to me with a cup of warm eucalyptus. He said eucalyptus is good to keep me warm especially during winter like this. A simple act of kindness that never fails to make me smile and grateful. Being alone in a foreign country is not always easy, but I’m glad I always meet good people. From travelers I met on the bus, to people I went trekking with, hotel staff who made my bed and waitress at Creperia La Bo’m who greet me with smile and know my favorite crepe, all I can say is Peru has stolen my heart and I know one day I’m gonna come back. It feels like as if life taking care of me, but also I do believe good people attract good people and a little kindness does go a long way. 

Where to eat?
Cicciolina ( Peruvian & international ), La Bodega 138 ( Italian ), Creperia La Bo’m ( Crepe ), Kintaro ( Japanese )

Museu Del Cafe, Creperia La Bo’m

Where to stay?
Selina Cusco