Letters from Post-Vacation Blues

Letters from Post-Vacation Blues

London, June 4th, 2022

As I typed these, I was sitting at a very unusually quiet corner at London Gatwick Airport, waiting for the first leg of a series of long-haul flights that would bring me home. After 32 days of being away from home for my “ultimate solo bachelorette pilgrimage,” a.k.a. post-pandemic solo revenge travel, my reality slowly brought me back to Earth.

That day felt much quieter than the previous 31 days. My eyes were still a little damp from all the sobs that lasted for hours last night. I was definitely sleep-deprived, and also felt bizarre – in a couple of hours, I would be leaving all the faces and places that have provided me not only a shelter to sleep at night in the past month, but also to build my own temporary nest among the foreign and unknown.

The past month had got me high on life and love – and it had been way too long since the last time I recognized those feelings of appreciation of what life could serve and offer. I forgot how much joy one can absorb and digest. I did not remember that there were a few better parts of me which had been asleep for quite long that I barely recalled even existing – and they had awakened again in the past month. There was a spectrum of emotions and feelings I hadn’t experienced in a while, and it was such a lovely pleasure to welcome those rainbows, butterflies, and even thunderstorms again. It was everything but numbness, unlike the preceding two years of surviving the strangest years of everyone’ life.

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UK & Ireland, 2022: A Month of Serendipitous Occurrences

UK & Ireland, 2022: A Month of Serendipitous Occurrences

Came for the places and the chance for a month-long quality time with myself, but stayed for all the serendipitous encounters and happenstances that I never anticipated to happen.

That is perhaps how my recent travels to the UK, Ireland, and other British Crown dependencies in-between in May 2022 were best summarized.

It was the first time I solo travelled after a long-overdue five-year, also the first in my late twenties. Perhaps the title that is most fitting to label the trip was an “ultimate bachelorette solo pilgrimage,” considering this might have been the all-in journey that uplifted me emotionally and spiritually in a way, almost like a personal pilgrimage, and also possibly the peak of travels I’d be able to do in my unmarried years considering my hectic daily 8-to-5 job in that would most likely stay so in the next few years.

I remember that my younger self used to consider solo travelling as an outlet to be fully alone with myself – a time where I would allow my introverted side to shine unabashedly.

However, it was a much different one this year. Being 28, I had approached the chance to wander around a foreign territory all by myself differently, without even realizing it in the first place.

To start, I met and connected with dozens of interesting souls that I’d definitely lose count of had I not jotted their names down a list in my private notes. I witnessed how my best personality I had forgotten to possess bloomed and lingered given the right circumstances. I experienced a handful of surprising, even to some extent life-altering occurrences that I hadn’t even thought about ever coming about. I also had a few moments of deep ponders and contemplations about life that led me to revisit my childhood dreams, ask myself about what rings the truest to my heart, and notice all the different spectrums of emotions I could be immersed in had I just allowed myself to sense and absorb them mindfully.

It is perhaps impossible to include all those stories about rewarding and meaningful occurrences within a blog post. A whole book is what would be needed to elaborate all the intricate details – the tiny bits that led to the bigger picture of recalibrating my north star, redefining my core, and rediscovering joy and love. And I certainly did not expect a month trip to lead to this much of serendipitous encounters and findings.

But this post will be the start – the prequel that perhaps serves as an epitome to the thirty-day journey, which to me meant way so much more than just visiting and seeing new places halfway across the globe after years of deferral. To me, it’s the people, and the compassion from them and the universe that had made all the differences.

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That Heathrow Morning Scene; May the Fifth

That Heathrow Morning Scene; May the Fifth

It followed a seven-and-a-half-hour flight across the terrain, where the last one-third of a night slowly shifted into a dazzling sunrise from above the clouds, followed by a sunny, lukewarm morning on a different continent.

The woman could particularly recall a pair of hazel eyes and coiffured, well-groomed hair of a similar shade from that morning. Fair skin in contrast to her tan. Sharp-edged nose underneath a black-coloured face covering. An approximately six-foot tall man in his white tees and beige sweatpants. A black carry-on duffle bag. A two-hour conversation and shared chuckles, that led to zero names, let alone trails of any sort.

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Not a Review: The Worst Person in the World (2021)

Not a Review: The Worst Person in the World (2021)

i. Julie

Julie was most of us. Or perhaps, we were all a Julie once. But most ridiculously for me, Julie is me.

It might be long overdue, but my boyfriend and I finally watched the movie the other night. After five minutes of processing the prologue that somehow felt a little too embarrassingly familiar, he broke the silence by saying, “Why do I have a feeling that this woman is essentially you?”

And he was right. Julie is me – a more reckless version of me, the kind of person I would become if I deliberately let my truest colours shine unabashedly and allow my impulses to redirect my life to all territories I was always too afraid to venture into, and a more satisfied one, perhaps.

From quitting a presumably prestigious program because it did not resonate with what poked her curiosity, deciding that she’s now attracted to how human’s minds responded to all sorts of stimuli, only to end up choosing photography and writing over a well-respected and promising field, also getting scared of not being able to navigate her own steering wheel in her own life that she cut off the stability that felt like gluing her foot to the brake pedal – I could go on and list every single act she did in the movie but the underline was that, I found myself (and a lot of us) in her.

It just so happens that my upbringing of mostly values and principles shared in eastern cultures anchors me and grounds me to never dare myself enough to make split-second decisions as bold as hers. I was taught to always have a degree of self-control to constantly make logical and conscious decisions to suppress my itches and avoid chasing something on a whim, for better or for worse.

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Excerpts from Unarticulated Monologues

Excerpts from Unarticulated Monologues

—to friends that are perhaps no longer.

Maybe it’s something in the configuration of the sky and celestial objects floating in it, or simply hormones – nonetheless, lately I’ve been drawn a lot towards the feelings that come from every interaction, or the lack thereof, between myself and human beings surrounding me.

I’ve particularly been lost in thoughts during several occasions where I was made to reminisce about the connections I made in the past. Friends, mostly. People who used to rub off on me the way I rubbed off on them, mainly because we shared so many mornings, afternoons, evenings, and maybe even nights together. And the things we said or did not say. Unspoken dialogues that could’ve perhaps glued together the cracked walls, one-way monologues that might’ve been a much-needed icebreaker, or overflowing questions to imply that I still care – if they’d let me.

To you, friend, whom I once knew, who used to be;

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The newly unlocked kind of joy you didn’t know could exist.

The newly unlocked kind of joy you didn’t know could exist.

It’s fascinating, the things you discover as you age. Things you never necessarily learned from anywhere, nor previously heard of, and yet they somehow come about unabashedly – and that you get to experience them firsthand, which is also the sole reason why you come across them in the first place.

Certain states of mind, emotions, and feelings – they materialize out of sheer serendipity. Sometimes, it’s unannounced. For better or for worse, they may change you inside out. Even if it’s just a temporary surge of happiness, or ache, or anything in between. Even if it dies out immediately. Sometimes they show you things you didn’t know you had the capacity for, or they help you search through the depth and range you’ve been carrying with you the whole time. And that is perhaps all that you ever need out of it.

I don’t know what it is, and I don’t think I have the interest in figuring it out either. Let it be undefined. Let it remain unchallenged. Let it just live. Grow. Nurtured. Linger. Become. There is no need to guard one. It may last, or it may not. Whichever path it chooses to roam over, I am embracing it. It may fail me, or it may enliven me. There is no anticipation or expectation, just leaps of faith in believing its sole intention.

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