Friday, January 4, 2019

Mid-life crisis.

HAPPY 2019. 

This was meant to be written as a birthday letter to my self, one that I always write every year from me and to me. But looking at the time frame, I thought it would only be wise to safe this for the new year. 

So, on what term would I pick up such topic that most of the people are dealing with and try to overcome and put it together as the beauty of mid-life crisis? 

'Well, she's bullshitting because there is simply nothing beautiful from midlife crisis'

But, have you ever had a moment in your life 
when you felt so lost?
Have you ever felt like what you did was a failure? 
Have you ever felt like your so confuse and anxious of the future 
that you don't know what to do?
or where are you going with your life,
or what's your purpose or what you actually wanna do?
and out of a sudden you realise how unhappy you are,
you just sit there and cry yourself out? 



Ladies and Gentlemen, oh dear millennials

As a part of evolving homo-sapiens, you and I ought to feel the dynamics of life where it takes you up to cloud nine and drop you into the deep ocean where you feel like you can't breathe. From what I have realised about this generation is that we want things instantly, we want to have things immediately and we barely appreciate the art of patient and waiting and delayed and whatever you call it. I myself get angry when the A&W queue line in Jakarta Airport took so long to clear and it was only 3 people in front of me. I am so used to the fast pace life that 5 minutes wait got me tempered up even though I am not in a hurry. 

In my opinion, there are so many things that are wrong about this generation. We tend to compare our own achievement to other people's success. We tend to look at other people's beauty rather than taking care on ours. We tend to over-analyse, over-think, and we tend to worry too much about what people think about us or about what they are going to say about one thing or million things that we do.

But what if I say it is normal if you and I are anxious of what the future holds? What if I say that it is okay to be at a certain age or certain point in your life and still confuse and still worry about what it might take to reach your goals? Or what if I say that it is OKAY to be 30 and single?

First of all, society sucks. That's all you need to understand.
The society sucks for having their own standard whatever it is, wherever it is. People are tend to be labeled as a failure if they reach certain age without certain achievements. And certain society, especially if you live in Indonesia, you are labelled as "nggak-laku" if you are 30 and single. And with all those long list of society standards (you-name-it), you will be judged, with or without your acknowledgement and for people who can't take it, they tend to overthink about it and it turns out as a mental problem. 

Some people that we know battle things that we do not know about. The worst thing is they could have the biggest smile and look like the happiest person alive but they might be the people who suffer the most and they are good at hiding it. But if you are that type of person (as what I have just described above), you need to reach out for help. Start a conversation with basically any of your close friends or family and tell them what's going on. Or even if you are dealing with anything, reach out to people and start a conversation.

I wouldn't say midlife crisis happened to everyone, but people in their 20s are the ones who are mostly confused about where their life will lead to. Confuse about what they are gonna do or if the decision they make is the right one. There are really no math calculation to solve this, but really it goes back to you on how you wanna deal with this so called 'mid-life crisis'.

As the beginning of the new year, it maybe a good idea to take a step back and re-analyse your goals instead of making a new one. 

Stop comparing. Yes, it is easily said than done. But I really mean it. Comparing what you just started with what other people have achieve only lead you to achieving what THEY achieved not what you wanna achieve in the beginning. Your goal and your friends' goal are two different things even though it looks the same. Your path of achieving your goals and your friends' path of achieving theirs are already two different paths. Do you get what I am trying to say here? When you compare, you lose focus on your own goals, you lose confident and you stopped believing in your own capability. If your friend achieved X thing in X months, it is good on them. But if you need to take longer in achieving yours, it is okay. As long as you do it 100%, with good intention and put your heart and soul into it, you'll see a difference mentally and physically. Remember that you are achieving your goal for you, not for other people to praise you. 

Start small, one step at a time. Good on you if you can start big, three steps in one jump. But if you are scared about starting something and worry more on failure, maybe all you need to do is start small, one step at a time. Let's say you have been wanting to travel to your dream destination. In the bigger picture, you need to have X amount of savings, etc. But what if you start a little holiday project on your own? Start small by researching how much the return ticket would cost, or list out the places you want to visit in that city or country, then you are able to work out how many days you actually need. Then all this little steps will lead you to work out how will you save for it and if you're 100% committed to it, eventually it will lead you to visit your dream destination, be it in couple months or even years, but it will take you there. Everyone you see at the top started small at some point in their life, but perhaps they never give up no matter how hard it was. They fought through. But imagine if they never started those little steps? 

Don't look back. Stopped dragging yourself back to yesterday. Appreciate what you have done in the past when it was good, learn and grow when it was bad. My one go-to quote is this "If you win, you win. If you lose, you grow". I apply this mostly to anything now that I learn to appreciate any moment that happened in life. We can only do so much and turning back time is not something we are capable of. Rather than crying or stuck at what I have done in the past, I should carry on. Life is not waiting for you to catch up with your past, but it's waiting for you to build it and the decision is yours.

Surround yourself with your people. Your people refers to those who supports you, who always have your back. Who are not afraid to criticise you in order for you to grow. Surround yourself with positivity. As you grow you don't have time for unnecessary talks anymore and you should also find people who root for you, doesn't matter if it is a stranger. Surrounding yourself with positive people helps you grow.

Put yourself first. Always. One of my life motto : always put yourself first. I started to give zero damn about what other people want or what their demand or expectation on me. If I am not happy about it, then I am not happy about it. It is about the goddamn time you need to start taking care about yourself and your mental health. You may deny that you have a 'mental' problem, but baby girl, stress is also mental-related in the medical book, so there you go. Start asking yourself if what you are doing right now is making you happy or if it is what you REALLY wanna do. Start asking yourself what was that one thing that made you happy or if you haven't really figure it out, go on a trip or start exploring your interest. You never know what will you discover tomorrow, next week or even in the next couple months. Then start working on it. You will see so much difference on how you let things circulate around you.

Lastly, this may not be related to any of the discussion above, but I hope you'd start asking your close friends and family or anyone you know or even strangers, start asking them "Are You Okay?". Looking at the trend of this generation, we might be lacking communication and/or asking personal related matters. R U OK? is a suicide prevention charity in Australia, reminding people that having meaningful conversations with mates and loved ones could save lives. R U OK?'s vision is a world where we're all connected and are protected from suicide. Their mission is to inspire and empower everyone to meaningfully connect with people around them and support anyone struggling with life. And I am not quoting this because of marketing purposes, no. But I have the same vision with the organisation that "starting a conversation can save lives". 

It doesn't have to be anyone, it can start with you. Start a conversation, ask people how they are going with their lives. It can be an eye-opening conversation, it can be anything. 

I hope in this New Year, you will be able to achieve things you planned for. I hope you start small to get to where you wanna be. I hope you keep your circle right. And lastly, I hope you love yourself more.



Lots of love,



Lenny xx



Saturday, November 17, 2018

Planning your first South Korea trip : what you need to know.

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"South Korea? Interesting... but why South Korea?"

That is the most common response I got from customers at the cafe I work at when I told them my next trip is to South Korea. They gave me this interesting look and often asking, why not Japan? Hong Kong? or etc.. 

Well, I understand most of my readers are probably from Asia region which for us Asians, South Korea is one of the country that we have to visit. I mean, if you're into KDrama like me or KPOP like my friend Vivien, you might've dreamt of visiting Korea right?

So last June, I thought of traveling to South Korea. Then I randomly told Vivien about it and who would've known that Viv has been wanting to visit too! Long story short, I'll get into more details about each city we visited and how did our trip went down in the next few articles but on this one, I'd like to list down things you need to know before you plan a trip to South Korea, especially if you're a first timer like us.


VISA
First of all, VISA is really crucial when it comes to travelling. Make sure the passport you're holding is eligible to enter your destination country. For me, I am holding an Indonesian passport, therefore I need to apply for a visa to enter South Korea. But for Vivien with her Australian passport, she can enter VISA FREE. To know your passport restriction, visit South Korea visa information guide HERE to check your passport eligibility. (PS: I am going to write another article as a guide for Indonesian passport to apply for South Korea visa)

WHEN TO VISIT  
I believe each season has its charm when you visit a country, especially a country with four seasons. But a trusted-local (aka my friends who are Korean) told me the best time to visit is in April-May (mid spring) or October/mid November (mid Autumn), because the weather wouldn't be as extreme as it would be both in Summer (extremely hot) or Winter (extremely cold).
It all goes back to you and your preference on what kinda weather you would prefer. But our visit (October 1st- 13th) was given such good weather. It was perfect weather in Jeju, a little storm in Busan, sunny in Jeonju and chilly but sunny in Seoul.


CURRENCY
South Korea uses KOREAN WON as their currency. In paper form, the money are 1,000 KRW, 5,000KRW, 10,000KRW and 50,000KRW. In coins, you'll get from 500KRW all the way to 10KRW.
Here's an important tips : Exchange your Dollar in Korea!
I exchanged a little bit AUD in Sydney and I got 760KRW for AU$1 then when I exchanged in Korea a week later, I got 795KRW for AU$1. Trust me, you get more in Korea :)
I would recommend WEXCHANGE in Sydney, they have slightly higher rate than bank and they are trusted.


BOOKING A HOTEL or AIRBNB
In Korea, they have different type of accomodations. What you need to know before booking your accomodation is of course its location, but in Korea they have guesthouse/backpacker/hostel, then hotel. I often get confused when I was searching for accomodation but I would highly recommend you to always read the review before booking.
If you are torn between Airbnb or Hotel, my tips would be this :
- Travelling solo
I would highly recommend looking for a private room on Airbnb (it turns out to be slightly cheaper for an own room, especially if you're on a budget) or if you wouldn't mind sharing a room with strangers or you're used to backpacker accomodation situation then totally go for it.
- Travelling with a friend or partner.
Hotel in Seoul are slightly cheaper than Airbnb, especially if you're travelling with just one friend. I compared the price for over two months and I always get cheaper hotel than Airbnb. Plus with Hotel, they often offer inclusive breakfast (always check the T&Cs before you book).
- Travelling with groups or family.
If you are travelling with groups or family, then Airbnb is your best friend. Because when you break down the cost, it goes cheaper and everyone can stay in the same house/apartment :)

For hotel, I highly recommend booking with BOOKING.COM, they offer cheapest hotel price. If you book through my link HERE, you will get $20 off your booking (and it helps me to get some $$ to grow this website) and here's my AIRBNB link :)



LANGUAGE BARRIER
Most people worry about language barrier in Korea. You will be fine if you're only staying in Seoul, because Seoul is a metropolitan city and most of their younger people are able to communicate basic English. But not outside Seoul, for example Jeju-do. On our first night in Jeju-do in a mission to find dinner, we found this random bbq restaurant near our hotel and none of the staffs speak English but their menu comes with English translation, and I never imagine I would use my basic Mandarin in Jeju-do because the staff speaks fluent Mandarin (I believe it's because 50% of their tourists is from China).  
I have to say knowing basic korean helps so much in getting around, such as counting number, asking direction, saying thankyou, etc. It would be a plus if you can communicate in Mandarin. Otherwise, hiring a local guide would be your alternative or any translating apps will be your best friend. 


INTERNET CONNECTION
"Do I need to purchase SIM CARD or Pocket Wifi?" YES! but thankfully we survived two weeks without none of those. What happened was when we arrived in Jeju-do (which was our first stop) we were spoiled by free wifi on the bus and on the entire island :p I've heard that you also get free wifi in Seoul but it wasn't that efficient. Free wifi in Seoul only covers at some places and you'll definitely need wifi to get around. 


NAVER MAP
You'll need Naver Map to get around. As you know, Google Map doesn't work in South Korea because nips and naps that happened within the system. As the replacement, locals get around with Naver Map and I gotta tell you it's much better than Google Map. 
Naver Map has every detail written in English. All you need to do is enter your destination and it'll show you direction.


KAKAO METRO 
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Seoul Subway Map shown on Kakao Metro

Kakao Metro helps so much in terms of navigating Subway system in Seoul. The app is user friendly too. All you need to do is enter your destination station then input your departing station. It also tells you where to transfer, which carriage, the cost of the journey, etc. 
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How to use Kakao Metro : enter a subway station. Then from that station, you can choose whether you are departing or want to go to that station (as what shown above on the picture) 



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for example, I wanna travel from Myeongdong to Hongik University (aka Hongdae). Then it will show how long the journey gonna take, how much it will cost me, which side of subway door exit and transfer carriage, etc.
Kakao Metro also operates in Busan. 



T-MONEY CARD 
T-Money Card is a transportation card like OPAL (in Sydney). You can purchase this card at any convenient store, the card itself cost 2,500KRW (approx AU$ 3.00) and you can top up at subway station or convenient store. It's cheaper to get around with T-Money Card.
Make sure you tap on and tap off. 


INTERCITY BUS 

Let's say you want to visit Jeonju (ps: I love Jeonju). It takes approx. 2 and a half hours from Seoul to Jeonju and you can get there by BUS.
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Busan Express Bus Terminal (NOPO)

I have to admit Korea has a really good transportation system.
The bus terminal is very organised and they are very on time. Our bus from Busan to Jeonju was scheduled on 8.10 AM and we left exactly on 8.10AM. You can go to the Bus Terminal and purchase the ticket on the spot, or you can purchase it online and even pick your seat.  
There are three grades for bus : economy, excellent and premium. To give you an insight, the picture below is our excellent class seat from Busan to Jeonju. The seat is comes with arm rest, and foot rest, it was so comfortable that I slept through the entire three hours journey. We paid 23,700 KRW/per person (approx AU$30) for one way journey from BUSAN to Jeonju.

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Excellent class Seat

Then from Jeonju to Seoul we rode the economy class, but even the economy class was comfortable. 
You can book the bus ticket one month prior to your travel period here : KOBUS.


I hope I cover enough on this first article about South Korea. I hope fellow travellers who have been to South Korea can add more tips below as if I miss some of the points but I'd cover more specific ones in the upcoming articles.



Till then, xoxo Lenny.


Saturday, August 18, 2018

24 Hours in BYRON BAY

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B Y R O N  B A Y 

New South Wales


"24 hours can not fully justify a destination, but you can always take in what a place has to offer 
as much as you want... Here's to spending my twenty-third birthday in Byron Bay."


Saturday, April 28, 2018

THE MULIA RESORT, BALI

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T H E    M U L I A   R E S O R T 
NUSA DUA, BALI 



A few years ago, the name "The Mulia Bali" surfaced to public, I wouldn't be able to provide you the official source, but I am sure it was mouth-to-mouth or Instagram being the absolute source. Then, it was when Conde Nast Traveler's named it the number one Beach Resort in the world in 2014, The Mulia Bali started everyone talking.