A lot has happened since the last time I was here. Most of the time I was occupied by office workloads, but there were also exciting times where I got to explore new hobbies and interest – which you’d have noticed from the title of this post, and I will share in a bit as well.
We’ll get to the fun and colourful part in a jiffy, but before that, I kind of wanted to share the more *depressing* part of these past couple months as well. Only as a reminder that behind all these pretty pictures you’ll see in a bit, I didn’t always have good days. My working hours, for example, have practically doubled – which is thanks to the combination of my crappy time management, my perfectionism, and the increasing workload. I also skipped so many French classes and didn’t continue to B1 level since I didn’t even have time to study for the final exam. I bought a piano keyboard and planned to learn how to play it but it has been three months since it’s only sitting awkwardly in my bedroom, since I do not have the time to learn. I don’t exercise, the amount of times I’ve left the house since March (even to convenience shops) is countable by fingers, and I haven’t met A or any of my friends since March. It’s stressful, but I’m hanging on. Oftentimes by a thread, but at least it’s not torn apart (yet).
Like many of us, I’ve been searching for a coping mechanism amidst these insane times. Especially one that is doable from the comfort of my own home. And like many people out there, the answer is: houseplants!
It barely feels like a year has passed by since I signed with my current employer to officially land my first full-time gig.
With all that had happened for the past year, in this particular occasion, I’d like to reflect a little bit on this very short amount of time that I have invested in building my career as a geologist. A position that truthfully, I never really knew would fit in or not, that I was never too confident about. Not because I thought I sucked at it, but because I personally never thought that I was exceptionally good at it.
I didn’t graduate cum laude on my undergraduate, unlike many of my classmates did. The ability to find an interesting research question in this field does not come quite naturally for me. Any geology-related achievement that I ever made was more of a result of being scared of failure and becoming a disappointment, instead of a purely natural drive out of passion and curiosity. I’m lucky that I seem to still do pretty well in the past eight years which was mostly thanks to my innate perfectionism and commitment, I guess, but truthfully, I just never expected to really succeed in this field.
Maybe at least until a year ago.
(This title will be split into two-piece articles since apparently I had refrained so much from writing about my career, hence I’ve got so many thoughts to be poured now. This first part will mostly talk about my process of finding my entrance into my first full-time job. Buckle up if you decide to follow along, because this post isn’t particularly a short one.)
Back in my undergraduate years, my galaxy-printed tee and pink chevron-patterned tee are the kinds of clothing I’d pick to go to my university classes. Along with my peach-coloured Jansport backpack, a chevron-patterned wooden necklace from a local brand, and a pair of textured plastic flat shoes with ornamental ribbon which I didn’t hesitate to wear to my geology classes. I loved splurging my money on fashion items, and loved wearing them even more. My particular preference was probably anything that did not typically scream “basic.”
As I grew older and finally discovered more meaningful means to allocate my money to, I decided that one of the best ways to effectively put more budget to those things is by reducing my spending on clothing. I’d still be into fashion, but from that moment on, I would try to support my passion in different, hopefully more responsible ways.
Despite being still way too far from living minimally (and hopefully, more ethically, consciously, and sustainably someday), I decided that at least, getting rid of my clothes from those fashion-holic eras was a must-do, in order to convert my wardrobe into a capsule one. I also started collecting mood boards on Pinterest, such as here and here, to help myself choose some modest basic styles that would still bring pleasure when I wear them.
But what is a capsule wardrobe?
This article defines capsule wardrobe as “a limited collection of clothes that coordinate well and can be worn in a number of different ways to cater for multiple occasions.”Essentially, the idea is to keep only the most essential pieces of clothing that would go along with each other regardless of the occasion, therefore keeping the number of your clothes to a minimum. It also typically includes only items with earthy colours, since these tones are the ones that can be easily combined with each other.
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.
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!
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.)