Winter Wonderland

Winter Wonderland

Winter has witnessed me blossoming into a better version of myself, and the opposite. It’s the season where I got to explore new boundaries of what I was capable of feeling. Some of my best days indeed involved a sight of endless pile of white ice, but some of the worst did as well. It has seen some of my loudest laughs and some of my worst cries, and every confusion in between. It brought along some of the days that I’d miss a lot, and some others that I’d rather completely forget.

Winter, for me, was a time of forgiveness. Of independence, of figuring out what truly matters and what does not, of redemption. When there was too much emotion, yet too little space in one’s heart to process.

But it was a beautiful sight. Regardless of seconds, minutes, hours, days, which turned into weeks, which might turn into months, where I was aching; it was nonetheless always a beautiful scenery to remember those times by.

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10 tips from my solo travel as a non-Spanish speaking hijabi in Peru

10 tips from my solo travel as a non-Spanish speaking hijabi in Peru

This would be my last piece for #PeruMarathonSeries🇵🇪 that I wrote in the spirit of Peru’s upcoming 99th independence day, by refurbishing some draft posts that I made back in 2017 but never really got the chance to finish and share.

I first came up with this article because, at that time, I had been receiving quite a few questions from my friends regarding how I managed to dare myself to travel solo to South America, and also how I actually execute the travel. Most of these questions seemed to have stemmed from the fact that I am merely a brown hijabi female who does not even speak Spanish, and probably doesn’t even look as “adult” as I actually am (which truthfully does not imply that I don’t look as aged, it’s just that my 155 cm or *nearly* 5’1″ height is way below the average height of most 20-something-year-old females, lol).

Also, South America isn’t typically a common tourist destination for most Indonesians, and I guess for a large proportion of the Asian community as well. Even to some extent, for the western population too.

Therefore, I thought I should perhaps compile some tips on how I dealt with any uncertainty that might arise before and during the travel. Even though I realize that there are many way more experienced women who can talk about this topic better than I do, I think it just doesn’t hurt to share my experience. In particular, because I always felt that at least for Muslim communities, we only have a few hijabi solo travellers slash influencers whom we could look up to in reference to this topic.

Without further ado, here are some tips I’d recommend for your seamless solo travel!

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How to do a full day of Machu Picchu (with tips for solo travellers)

How to do a full day of Machu Picchu (with tips for solo travellers)

Most of us are probably familiar with that one specific photograph of Machu Picchu overlooking the rustic Inca ruins with the majestic mountain in the background. But did you know that the picture actually only represents perhaps 5%, at best, of what Machu Picchu site truly comprises?

Did you know that you could come down to and observe every single one of those ruins closely, hike the mountain in the background and also another mountain nearby, get 360 degrees panoramic view comprising that picture and all other amazing landscape from a short hike, and on top of that, chill with llamas on a green prairie overlooking the highlands?

In this post, I would like to share my experience that helped me to get the best out of Machu Picchu using the standard entrance ticket only – even as a solo traveller who does not have much experience in hiking.

My entire mountain-roaming journey is basically just hiking once in Indonesia’s Mt. Cikuray, then a couple more in Jasper, Banff, and Chéticamp of Canada, and that’s it. If you’re more experienced than what I seem to be, then you could also try out some other hiking opportunities in the Machu Picchu site that I will talk about as well, that I wished I had tried too. But you’re very welcome to simply follow my itinerary because I think what I did was already more than just sufficient to carry this as a wonderful once in a lifetime experience!

(This post is written as the second part of my three-piece articles on #PeruMarathonSeries🇵🇪 in the spirit of upcoming Peru’s 99th independence day this 28th of July. Read the previous post on my affordable 6-day full itinerary here.)

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6 days of best of Peru (in non-backpacking style & with slightly excruciating details) for under $650

6 days of best of Peru (in non-backpacking style & with slightly excruciating details) for under $650

…is entirely possible!

(This post is written as part one of my three-episode #PeruMarathonSeries🇵🇪 in the spirit of Peru’s 99th independence day on the upcoming July 28th.)

It has also been sitting in my draft posts ever since I came back from the trip in September 2017, and I just never really had the chance to finish it. But now that Peru will be celebrating its 99th independence day next week, I thought what would be a better occasion to wrap up the post and publish it?

Of course with the pandemic and quarantine mode still being around, it may not be the perfect timing to plan another trip. But I hope at least this post might help ignite the wanderlust inside us all to be hopeful for our next travel plans – whenever it may be. Also, if you ever plan to visit Peru, you can always bookmark this post so you know what to prepare once we’re allowed to roam around the globe again!

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Happy Birthday, A & Some of His Birthday Memento in Review

Happy Birthday, A & Some of His Birthday Memento in Review

My significant other of six and a half years (feels strange to type this, I barely realized this is how long we’ve been together) had his twenty-something birthday yesterday!

The spotlight of this post should probably be on him, but I’m afraid this won’t be the case. If you read this with the intention of hearing a story about A, be prepared to get disappointed. Mainly because in this post, I would talk mostly about some of the past birthday gifts that I’ve crafted for him throughout the years – thus this post is more about my crafting journey than A himself, lol.

Although in the past few years we’ve been getting each other more practical, functional, and long-lasting gifts – mainly because we’re way past the adolescent era where we still had the utmost need for attention, treatment, and so forth, and now we realize we could really use some useful “adult” tools to help each of us get through life – today I’m feeling nostalgic and just feeling like reminiscing the good old days where I would try so hard to shower him with those self-made pretty-pretties excessively.

Those who have known me since at least my undergraduate years may know that I’m a huge fan of DIY, designs, or basically anything that screams arts and crafts. So basically, I’ve been using A‘s birthdays as an excuse to nurture my passion about creating artsy-craftsy handmade knick-knacks – apart from the fact that he deserves the token of appreciation as well, of course. From the classic birthday card, birthday book, birthday lunch decor, and a couple of other things, his birthday has basically been a special occasion for me to experiment with papers and scissors.

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Recollections of Sanctuary

Recollections of Sanctuary

Ever since I took my first office gig in Jakarta last year, I’ve been moving across a couple of temporary housings in the city. “Kostan” is what we call those accommodations here in Indonesia, which is basically almost like a mix of a dormitory (but not only for students) and shared house (although some of them don’t quite look like a house, especially since some of them are not equipped with parking lot, living room, laundry facilities, or even a kitchen).

Funnily enough, none of them ever felt quite as “comfortable” as an actual place to relax and unwind by the end of the day for me. Although in the context of proper beddings, furniture, and facilities which help me to fulfil my basic needs of a shelter, they are indeed physically comfortable. It’s just that none of them ever feels like a “safe haven” that I would gladly spend a whole week inside, unlike some of my previous temporary bedrooms. (I was even almost gone mad the first two weeks of WFH and quarantine, before I decided to stay with my family in Bandung instead.)

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