Discovering the world with relentless curiosity

Author: Deb

LIFE Questions I Ask When I’m Traveling

For me, travel is a big part of my life. I make time to travel, I save to travel, I work hard to make travel a constant part of my…

For me, travel is a big part of my life. I make time to travel, I save to travel, I work hard to make travel a constant part of my life not because I’m an idealistic dreamer or a vagabond of sorts, but because it enriches my life.

Every time I go on a trip, I feel a surge of excitement, a longing anticipation and quite literally butterflies in my stomach. I’m not referring to just the long extended trips to New Zealand, South Africa or to Europe, but those short trips to neighbouring states or provinces or even exploring my own backyard.

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Every time I embark on a new adventure, I bring with me a sense of curiosity, a new wave of wonder and a greater sense of appreciate for PEOPLE – different cultures, varied ways of living and delicate social fabrics that make each people group unique and for PLACES – changing landscapes, awe-inspiring views and a varied scenery. Places always reinforce my appreciation and justifies my awe for the Creator who made them all.

So, many times, I purposely and intentionally disconnect myself from social media just to appreciate the moment. It’s okay if I don’t get the perfect Instagram shot or the ‘in-the-moment’ Facebook video because I’m on journey of growth. When I travel, I’m observing, learning, pondering, penning and hence I’m growing.

I’m a better person for the travels I’ve done and will be a better person for the future travels that I’d be doing. I’m on a mission every trip, with an aim to GAIN and to GROW.

I’ve scribbled some questions that I reflect on while I’m on the road. I don’t necessarily answer all of them on every trip, but they are at the back of my mind. And for different times and seasons in my life, these questions produce poignant answers. I’m sharing it for the first time here:

  • What am I more appreciative of? What matters most to me?

  • What is happiness? What can I learn from the smiles I see around me?

  • What can money not buy?

  • What is the difference between living and existing?

  • If God made the whole earth and I’m seeing only a fraction of it – there must be more, right? I want to see it! Where next?

  • If not now, then when?

  • Are there things that I can simplify so that my life can be more simple? Am I holding on to something that I need to let go of?

  • When was the last time I stepped out of my comfort zone?

  • What do I have in common with the different people & cultures that I see? Can I celebrate our similarities and appreciate our differences that make this world so unique?

  • Life is sometimes unfair (some have it easy, others have it harder) – but what do I make of it?

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Featured on Zafigo: What New Moms Need To Know About Traveling With Baby

Back by popular demand, I decided to expand on my baby travel checklist and share some lessons learnt from my first ever trip with Seth when he was just three months…

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Back by popular demand, I decided to expand on my baby travel checklist and share some lessons learnt from my first ever trip with Seth when he was just three months old. I have been talking to some friends who have recently become new moms and they too had a string of questions, similar to when I was about to embark on my first trip.

In the article in Zafigo also has a step-by-step guide on how to set out on your first trip with you bubs. Truth to be told, a lot of it is common sense, but sometimes we just need a bit of reassurance. Now that Seth is two years old and have travelled more than five countries, I can honestly say that it gets easier by the trip and a few things are as rewarding as seeing the world with you child.

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From Zafigo: 

Endless screaming in a confined airplane seat, uncontrollable crying while waiting in line for some cheap burgers because you simply did not have the time to eat, terrible tantrums in the middle of a shopping mall and food stained clothes, the mark of a true parent. All these horror stories are enough to cripple your grand idea of walking out the door with a suitcase packed for a holiday.

I was determined to prove my fears wrong. Read full article…

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Magic Fingers: Dusun Massage

Sabah, on the magical island of Borneo east of Malaysia’s peninsular is clouded with magnificent experiences such as rainforest escapades, underwater marvels and rich biodiversity. Still, the most intriguing are…

Sabah, on the magical island of Borneo east of Malaysia’s peninsular is clouded with magnificent experiences such as rainforest escapades, underwater marvels and rich biodiversity. Still, the most intriguing are the 39 ethnic indigenous groups that are still thriving and of these, some minority groups are still unknown to the outside world.

The Dusun tribe is largely spread across Sabah, once a hunter gatherer group and many were farmers. The Lotud Dusun group is especially distinct as they were mostly rice farmers from Tuaran, a district blessed with plenty of rain flow for paddy planting. The women from this tribe learned very early on massage techniques to ease back and shoulder pains from hours of strenuous work in the field. These strong, resilient women passed down the unspoken techniques from generation to generation. Today, these hidden secrets make ethnic massages not only magical, but exotic and distinctive from the otherwise run-of-the-mill spas.

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At Jari Jari Spa, I was ushered in through thick wooden carved doors and into a cozy lounge with comfy arm chairs lined on both sides. The soothing sounds of running water formed the centrepiece as gentle flute music played in the background. I had just returned from a trip to Danum Valley and was in need of a massage from hours of travel and trekking. I dozed off as my feet soaked in floral infused water but was gently awakened shortly after by the aroma of decadent coffee. Ocie, my masseur lathered on a thick, almost scrumptious coffee foot scrub and gave me one of the best reflexology experiences focusing on pressure points laced with firm strokes.

The award winning Borneo Dusun Lotud Inan Massage is followed by a 75 minute full body massage as Ocie worked on body, magically releasing the tension on my back and eliminating the knots on my shoulders. You know a good masseur when you experience one because all her movements were intentional, bringing relieve to my tired body. From the distinctive thumb movements to the consistent pressure, from the calming “Inan” oil to the luxurious drapings that kept me warm, the entire experience was seamless.

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What Makes It So Special?

It must be the people I thought. As a spa goer, I have tried numerous spa treatments ranging from mid-range middling centers to world class luxury havens in Kuala Lumpur, Bali, Maldives, Thailand, Australia, Greece and Budapest. Still, the ones that remain a great memory even though the knots have long returned on my shoulders are those that have left an indelible experience in body, mind and soul. And I conclude that it is probably authenticity that makes all the difference.

I later found out that Ocie (pronounced as O-Chee) is a local Dusun lady. She was introduced to the Jari Jari Spa Academy in 2012 by her neighbour and at that time, she was unemployed and was busy mothering seven children on her own. She lived on whatever little savings she had and was pining for a stable job. After her training, she got her first job at Jari Jari Spa but had to move to Kota Kinabalu to earn a living. She tells me that she doesn’t mind as she sees this job as part of her personal development and she now feels secure that her children’s living expenses and school fees are taken care of.

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Stories like Ocie’s are a great testament of empowerment, where women are often left to fend for their families not just to cook, clean and care but to earn a living enough to support the family. Ocie is fortunate to have stumbled on the spa academy, a school started by Datin Jeanette and Jennifer Chan.

The Borneo Massage Rediscovered

As modern day distractions continue to chip away rich traditions and cultures, the challenge of reviving the art of ethnic massage is a real feat. Not only did the dynamic duo, Datin Jeanette Tambakau and Jennifer Chan successfully reintroduced this dying tradition, they through Jari Jari Spa have breathed new life and is retelling the story to the world around at international trade shows and workshops.

Jennifer is from a Dusun descent and Datin Jeanette married a Murud-Dusun man before settling down in Sabah. In mid-2000, they both realized the rising trend in health and wellness but massage centers were unheard of. It was the weary of society where hanky panky activities took place behind closed doors. Venturing into this industry meant having to pioneer the route while clearing the image that have long tarnished it.

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They took the plunge learning from massage therapists in Bali and attending workshops. What was to become the start of a Balinese themed spa center soon took a turn. Datin Jeanette had an ‘aha! moment’ while listening to wellness leaders speak at a conference and realized that authenticity is prime for this business.

After returning from the conference, they both set out to trace the roots of their own tribe, the Dusun people. They visited rural indigenous families, spoke to grandmothers and home makers and watched how they massaged with care and precision. The journey in itself was a discovery of pride, joy and belonging.

They hired four local Dusun ladies to join them and there on Jari Jari Spa was birthed. Today, the signature Borneo massage is on the world chart as Jennifer is a certified, accredited trainer from the Federation of Holistic Therapists Association (FHT) in the United Kingdom. The organization is not only profit making, but is also empowering local Dusun ladies with a specialized skill to gain employment. The Jari Jari Academy has trained masseurs that have gone on to work at internationally acclaimed spas such as YTL’s Spa Village and is continuing to grow within Sabah.

Still the best treasure that Jari Jari Spa has given to the Dusun ladies and community is the value and uniqueness of one’s trade. Each masseuse has her own special way of working on the body and so, in that sense, every massage is unique and every masseur is unique. It is this uniqueness that perpetuates the tradition.

Sabah has many stories to uncover, and it’s not just about her verdant landscapes, azure blue seas or teeming wildlife – but her people, their traditions and culture.

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Coffin Cliff At Danum Valley

Climbing up the trail amidst towering rainforest trees with fig twines and epiphytes snaking on branches forming beautiful stringy sculptures, the dense canopy providing shade from the blazing heat and…

Climbing up the trail amidst towering rainforest trees with fig twines and epiphytes snaking on branches forming beautiful stringy sculptures, the dense canopy providing shade from the blazing heat and the gentle chirping of birds make an ideal jungle hike. My guide, Muhammad Salehuddin Jais, better known as Dean stopped dead in his tracks. He motioned us look up as we caught the sight of rustling leafs as the sun illuminated the red-orangey coat of a male orang utan. He was busy snacking on some young shoots and unperturbed with our presence. Next to us, we saw bushy giant squirrels hopping from one tree to another.

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This is the Danum Valley – 43,800 hectares of endless rainforest dating back 130 million years ago. Ironically, not many, not even Malaysians know about. One of only three virgin forest lands in Sabah, Malaysia, Danum Valley is home to over 300 bird species, 110 mammals, 72 reptiles, 56 amphibians and 57 fish. My second visit here has rendered me speechless (again!) as I marvelled at the serenity and beauty of how the rainforest ecosystem works – untouched of course, nature as is.

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I was on an upward trail to Coffin Cliff, where remains of an ancient burial ground is found and the highlight of this gradual climb. I arrived at an enormous limestone boulder ridden with holes on one of its surfaces and a trail leading around it overlooking the forest. This ancient burial site was discovered some 20 years ago before the only commercial accommodation was built in 1994. Borneo Rainforest Lodge (BRL) was set up as part of a commitment from the Sabah state government to protect and conserve this forest while promoting it as a nature-based haven for education and research. Although the masses know little about Danum Valley or BRL, the lodge continues to attracts the likes of National Geographic scientists and professors, well-known wildlife researchers, Britain’s Prince William and his wife Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge and even Martha Stewart.

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Staring at the hole-ridden limestone wall, I saw planks of broken wood covered with moss on a flat stone surface. I thought nothing of it until Dean pointed out that these were the remains of an ancient coffin. Several meters away from the coffin were some bones and a skeletal jaw with several teeth intact. Indeed, the Sugpan tribe that once traversed this forest considered this elevated ground a sacred place.

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The Sugpan group is a sub-ethnic Dusunic group that are nomadic in nature. They depended on the forest for food and cover and would later trade with Chinese from mainland China along the Segama and Kinabatangan River. Today, the tribe has evolved from their way of life and is intermarrying, but many still hold on to their animistic roots. Today, descendants of the tribe are living along the Kinabatangan River and are known as Orang Sungai.

“It is thought that the higher you bury your loved ones, the closer you are to heaven. The Sugpan people would carry the deceased in coffins made of Belian (ironwood) and they would find holes in limestone caves to lodge the coffins,” Dean explains. This was a baffling story of strength, tenacity and grit.

“Berlian wood is so dense that it doesn’t float in water – it sinks. It is termite free too and is known to be indestructible. I can’t imagine how they brought it up here and even lowered it into the limestone crevices,” Dean adds.

I examined the skeletal remains and Dean tells me that according to carbon samples, the remains were at least 250 years old. “So do you know if this is a male or a female?,” I asked. “This is definitely a male. It is told that within the Sugpan tribe, male hunters would pull out their two front teeth to gain more force and precision when using the blowpipe to hunt. ” Dean explains. “Apparently, the Sugpan ladies find it very masculine when men lose their front teeth,” Dean supressed a laugh as I chuckled at the thought of a tooth-less hunter.

DSC_5932DSC_5922More was promised on this trail. We walked around the boulder and on a narrow trail along the ridge. There lying on the sandy ground were huge blocks of wood, one as a base and the other a cover. The wood was in better condition than the first plank we saw on the limestone platform. Its grains were so defined and its patterns so intricate. Perhaps this chunk of wood was strategically positioned to receive sunlight thereby preventing rotting moss. It also commanded unobstructed views of Danum Valley.

DSC_5972DSC_5962I was told that the coffin was that of the chieftain’s. His family carried his coffin up to the ridge and placed it there together with his blowpipe which is still seen inside the coffin. They later removed his body and sat him on top of the coffin so he can oversee his village below the cliff, where the lodge is.

DSC_5892Suspended coffins are not unusual as people continue to discover and visit hanging coffins in Philippines, China and Indonesia. The coffins in Danum Valley was only discovered some 20 years ago and it proves to show that this natural haven is not just for environmental and wildlife protection, but to preserve a culture and heritage that otherwise would not have been told.

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Flying High In Queenstown

New Zealand’s landscapes are nothing less than dramatic, from towering mountains to dense lush forests to majestic seas with abundant sea life. Imagine flying over these landscapes and appreciating the…

New Zealand’s landscapes are nothing less than dramatic, from towering mountains to dense lush forests to majestic seas with abundant sea life. Imagine flying over these landscapes and appreciating the beauty from a  bird’s eye view. It is a bit of a splurge but the experience in itself is a lifetime memory. Here’s are some shots that captivated my soul and fueled my grand appreciation of the Creator.

We started our journey from Queenstown flying over the vast Lake Wakatipu with mountains rising from its surface and over secluded alpine lakes bypassing rugged peaks.queenstown helicopter line  7lake wakitipu helicopter Queenstown helicopter ride deborah chan

At some point our entire view were just spikes and jagged peaks as we passed through waves of barren mountains. We saw the grand Bowen Waterfall cascading from a crack on a mountain peak, flew past fluffy (almost edible) clouds and landed in Milford Sound. The entire journey from Queenstown to Milford sound took about 30 minutes, but it felt like eternity (the awesome kind of eternity!)

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We landed in Milford Sound for a meander around. Known as Piopiotahi in Māori, Milford Sound is a fjord in the south west of New Zealand’s South Island, within Fiordland National Park and the Te Wahipounamu World Heritage site. Its spectacular sheer cliffs, mountains and thundering waterfalls left us in awe – but we didn’t do the cruise this time, as we have visited Milford Sound a few years back.

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milford sound helicopter ride
After a short walk, it was time to go. We put on our mufflers and headed back into helicopter. The blades spinned as the engine cranked up and we were soon flying again.

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We spotted some white patches on rock mountain surfaces, we flew over some snow capped mountains and then we flew face on with a glacier patch that our pilot named “Puddle”. The closer we got to the “Puddle” the larger it got and soon without a flaw, our helicopter made a gentle landing on the glacier. The doors swung open and a gush of chilly wind blew in. It was hard to believe that we were stepping on glistening snow.

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We watched as other helicopters made their landing, just a gracefully as ours did. The dramatic view was breathtaking to say the least. It was very humbling to be surrounded by mountains and to realize how (really, really) small we are.

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Our little son slept through most of the 90 minutes experience. I reckon the sound of the helicopters engines lulled him into deep slumber.

Want more? Watch this video and catch a glimpse of our unforgettable experience in the air. Helicopter Line fly from Queenstown, Milford Sound, Mount Cook, Franz Josef Glacier and Fox Glacier.

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Perfect(ing) Heston

What do you get when you mix science and food? A revolutionary dish that is bound to invigorate your senses. Heston Blumenthal is the creative genius and his playground is…

What do you get when you mix science and food? A revolutionary dish that is bound to invigorate your senses. Heston Blumenthal is the creative genius and his playground is his kitchen. I was privileged to meet this culinary genius and learned what it takes to be a Michelin Star chef. 

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Described as a culinary alchemist, food scientist and perfectionist, Heston Blumenthal has definitely piqued the interest of chefs, gourmets and home cooks all over. His award winning TV series “In Search of Perfection” is mind blowing yet simple, which makes for an interesting watch. He makes poaching eggs and roasting potatoes somewhat of an experiment with meticulous instructions that entail specific temperature and precise technique. All of which results in a perfect dish – tried, tested and approved by the perfectionist himself.

Ironically, he looks less of a geek than I thought. Clad in a casual dark blue tank top, jeans and his famous thick framed glasses, Blumenthal, 47, exudes a childlike enthusiasm and perpetual chattiness when it comes to conversations about food. His excitement is contagious and his inquisitiveness is infectious. When describing how to make spaghetti bolognese, he chimes, “Did you know that whenever you’re making a meat-sauce using onions, you should add a hint of star anise? It reacts with the sulphur compounds and increases the flavour of meatiness?”

One would think a guy like him would have aced science in school, but that was the contrary. “I’d been intrigued with food from a young age but had failed science at school, though I got an A in Art so there was some creativity there.”

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Heston Blumenthal is often referred to as a culinary alchemist, food scientist and perfectionist. Credits: www.telegraph.co.uk

This enthusiasm coupled with creative genius and lots of hard work is what propelled him to culinary stardom. Blumenthal made his name when he bought over a 450 year old dilapidated pub in the small unsuspecting town of Bray, Berkshire. He transformed this teeny weeny, one door kitchen pub into a restaurant initially serving French bistro type dishes into a three star Michelin restaurant in just five years. This award winning restaurant is known as The Fat Duck and takes reservations up to two months in advance with a string of eager foodies on the waiting list.
Blumenthal is arguably Britain’s most innovative chef of all time. “We eat with our eyes and our ears and our noses. Eating is the only thing you do that involves all senses.” He recalls some unusual foods he has eaten and cringed adding “reindeer kneecap in Siberia, leeches fed on goose blood sautéed with parsley and garlic and freshly milked camel milk where you have to pick the hairs out of my mouth” to the list of nastiest food experiences.

Convinced that dining is a multi-sensory experience, Blumenthal toiled with the idea of creating food that stick in your memory. “Diners listen to an iPod placed in a shell that plays the sound of the waves lapping up against the shore, along with the occasional call of gulls, while eating edible sand, foam, and various food from the sea.” That’s ‘Sound of the Sea’, a sought after experiential treat on the tasting menu at The Fat Duck.

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The very famous “Sound of the Sea” served at The Fat Duck. Credits: www.cnn.com

As news caught on, Blumenthal’s list of credentials grew and so did his cache of restaurants including Dinner, The Hinds Head and The Crown. He has a number of very successful TV series that has fascinated viewers all over and gain growing followers. He has written seven cookbooks to date and even had the honour of cooking for the Queen of England, not once but numerous times.

“Naivety is one of the best friends of creativity. The first time you see something you get incredibly excited. When I first opened the Duck, I had no idea how hard it was going to be. There was good and bad. The naivety meant that I could question everything. The downside was that my organizational knowledge was rubbish.” He now looks back at the years spent establishing The Fat Duck as foundational years of his success.

“I was working 120 hours a week probably for the first 8 years. You get to levels of delirium that you never thought possible.” His creative gastronomical innovations are not plucked from the sky or fished out of a magician’s hat. Blumenthal is firmly rooted in tradition.

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Heston Blumenthal’s (soil) garden salad with sauce gribiche recipe. Credits: www.theguardian.com

“You’ve seen all the crazy stuff that I’ve done, it is really heavily bedded in a technical foundation which starts off with classical French cooking and then from there you need a very deep understanding of classical French cooking in order to question it. And when you start questioning, that forms the building block for something new.”

“I’m basically a big kid and I ask lots of questions. I’m not a scientist, but I am endlessly curious. The best advice I can give to anyone is question everything. You have to respect tradition but prepared to question everything,” that was his advice to young emerging chefs and enthusiastic home cooks. His tenacious probing for the next new thing has kept him going.

His success did not come without sacrifice. In 2011, Blumenthal went through a rough patch having separated from his wife of 20 years, with whom he has three grown up children. It was also around the same time that Blumenthal lost his father. Adding to the upheaval, he had to juggle the opening of Dinner, his newest restaurant at Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park in London.

“Things like that, you have to deal with deep. Really deep. It’s much easier now, but of course, anything like that is going to affect focus,” he said in an interview with Good Food. Blumenthal’s persistence ploughed through.

When he was awarded the ‘Chef of a Decade’ Observer Food Monthly 2013 Award by The Guardian UK, Blumenthal humbly reflected on the last 10 years of his career and said, “With all the knowledge I have now, I still feel I’m just scratching the surface.”

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Visually intriguing “Oak Moss” served at The Fat Duck Credits: www.londonfoodfreak.com

When asked what’s next in his culinary journey, the sought after VIP guest at the recent Margaret River Gourmet Escape, a gastronomical extravaganza in Western Australia’s food mecca cordially replied, “I have no fixed plans but hopefully, the next restaurant I open outside of the UK will be in Australia.” To which he received thunderous applauses from his passionate fans. There is no stopping a perfectionist who is (still) in search of perfection.

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Let’s Chat With: The Red Bohemia

A lot of us love to travel, but only a few take it to the next level of being a part time traveler. I had an interesting conversation with the gorgeous…

A lot of us love to travel, but only a few take it to the next level of being a part time traveler. I had an interesting conversation with the gorgeous lady behind Red Bohemia, a down-to-earth, heartwarming travel blog and got a low down on what it means to be a part time traveler (with a full time job) and why Kavitha started the Red Bohemia alongside her pursuit to see the world.

Ardent Traveler (AT): “Red Bohemia”. That’s a rather interesting name you’ve chosen for your site. Is there a story behind it?
Red Bohemia (RB): Believe it or not, I actually came up with it in the middle of a football match. I was watching my team Liverpool ( YNWA!) play erm, some other club when half-time came about and I thought I should incorporate “red” into my blog name – fire, passion, strength and all that good stuff. Bohemia or the bohemian-lifestyle has always been something I’ve loved for its freedom, creativity and wanderlust qualities. I already had the “bohemia” bit in mind for some time, but nothing seemed to gel with it, until “red” came along. That’s how Redbohemia was born and I’ve stuck with it ever since.

AT: So you have a regular job and you live to travel. That makes you a part-time traveler… why not go full swing?
RB: Yes, I am a part-time traveller – for now. I intend to make travelling a more permanent fixture in my life sometime this year. I have been working for the last 15 years or so and I think it’s about time I took some time out to do different things and for some much-needed slow travelling. Wish me luck!

AT: When you plan your travel journeys, are there specific things that you’re particularly interested to discover? Tell me a story of such a discovery.
RB: The architecture and design aspects of a city are usually something I fall in love with very easily. So many cities have impressed me in the past, but I have to go with the first one that blew my expectations out of the water – Amsterdam.

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Love the charming ways of Amsterdam

It was the first European city I visited and I was duly impressed by how all the buildings by the canals were so full of character and charm – the quirky doors, the pretty windows, the colourful window displays, the cosy cafes.
Add in how organised the streets were (with trams, bicycle lanes and walkways co-existing), it sure was a wonderful feast for the design-lover in me.

AT: Why travel and write?
RB: I grew up reading Reader’s Digest and magazines such as LIFE, Time and National Geographic. Thanks to such stellar reading materials, I was constantly enthralled by tales of adventure and photographs of faraway lands.

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Still getting inspired by National Geographic to this day

It seemed like a different world, almost unreal. Coming from a small town in Malaysia, I constantly dreamt of visiting those seemingly magical lands. I want to do for others what those words and photographs did for me – inspire them to see the world, learn from different cultures, to love and respect one another.

AT: In the flurry of travel blogs in the online space, have you found a few travel bloggers / travelers that you can connect to? Why and who are they?
RB: Flurry is indeed the right word! It was hard in the beginning, but I was a little more confident of myself once I met some amazing travel bloggers at AWE Asia 2013 in Kuala Lumpur (hey, that’s where I met you too).
That is where I met the awesome Jeannie Mark from NomadicChick.com. She may be one of the top travel bloggers around, but she was so down-to-earth and kind. I was scared to even talk about my teenie tiny blog, but she encouraged me to continue and keep reaching for my dreams.

Aggy from DEW Traveller is another blogger I met at the conference. We keep in touch often and I just love her positive outlook on life. And, thanks to her, I got connected to Vlad from Eff It, I’m On Holiday. He’s been such a great supporter of my blog and we plan to travel together someday *fingers crossed*

More recently, I connected with a lovely blogger, G. Maria from Travel With G. Her love for food, photography and travel inspire me. Not only is she a wonderful writer, she is kind beyond words.

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Kindness is a quality I find important in travelling

All these bloggers constantly inspire me to do better and most importantly, to be kind to one another. It can be very competitive out there in blog-land, but these bloggers prove that it doesn’t have to be like that.

AT: Do you have a travel buddy? Or do you usually travel alone?
RB: My travel buddies tend to change from trip to trip. But I usually stick to a pool of close friends, so I know what to expect when we eventually travel together. I tend to travel alone for shorter trips, but I’m sure that will change sometime this year.

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My close friend (and travel buddy) in action on the Tower Bridge

It’s nice sometimes to have that one other person – for company, to help carry your bag when you’re tired, get directions when you’re lazy or just around for some much-needed laughter and fun.

AT: What are your travel plans for 2015?
RB: 2015 is going to be the year I finally venture out solo. I have a shiny, new Lonely Planet guidebook to Great Britain, so I might as well put it to good use 😉

Actually, I’ve wanted to explore this part of the world for the longest time – get to know the people, how the cultures differ from one country to another, try Haggis (I hope I don’t chicken out at the last minute), immerse myself in the moors of Wuthering Heights (pretending to be Kate Bush), educate myself on organic farming and drink tea all day long. Seems like a tall order, but I intend to go for it. If not now, then when, right?

AT: All the best, Kavitha! Stoke that you’re following your dreams and taking a route that’s often seen as against the grain. Happy travels babe! 

*Follow the Red Bohemia as she takes the leap to make travel a constant in her life on her website, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter space. 

Let’s Chat With is a new series of light hearted, down-to-earth, personal interviews with people I’ve met or connected with along my journey as a traveler. These are people who have piqued my interest and have an amazing tale to tell. I hope that my conversations with them will inspire you, challenge your perspective on life and feed that wanderlust within you.
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