Freedom|Nature|Survivor|Timeless|Wild|A Backpacker’s Story

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Freedom

Getting tied up to the society, it was difficult for me to express myself. I comply and be disciplined, never ever rebelled in my life. I followed every rules until one day, I realised that it doesn’t work for me. I decided to my routine. Suddenly, I was lost in the deep end and didn’t know how to move on. That’s when I knew I am free.
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Nature

Once being freed, I feel like I have become the weird one. Everyone is heading to the city for jobs, but I hated the idea. Friends want to work in a high profile company and be comfort. I refused. My parents used to be very poor. They wanted me to have a smooth sailing life. I know. But, I was an extremely stubborn kid. I want to experience the nature. I am totally afraid of it, but I love it. My parents thought I was silly, but we compromised. One year, they said. So, I took the chance to flee my home. My aim – to become part of the nature.
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Survivor

I was a Bonsai in the glass house. I was protected with extra care by my family. When I was exposed to the real world, I was fragile. I have never had the instinct to stand up for myself, let alone have the chance to do it. When I was in Australia, everyone thought I would be destroyed. I wasn’t. I adapted. Now, I a cactus.
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Timeless

Travelling made my world timeless. I was in control of my life and waited for nobody. I woke up at random hour when I was jobless, had my meal when I was hungry, drink when I was happy and slept when I was bored. However, as the end was getting closer and closer, I was starting to be aware of the time again. The past will fade out of my memory, like a dream.
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Wild

Living in my comfort box, I always wanted to do things that I do not dare to do. I dream and I forget. Living as a nomad for more than a year, I have managed to build many tents and sleep in them. I have made bonfire, met interesting people from different walk of life and lost in the middle of nowhere. It was wild and it was awesome!
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Me

Solo backpacking can be lonely at times. In my mind, I would speak to myself to keep me company. Am I crazy? Anyway, I doesn’t have to pretend to be anyone anymore. I do not long for anyone’s expectation. I am just me.
Caitlins reserve

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Whales watching us in the Pacific Ocean

Pacific Ocean

“Do you want to take the seasickness pills?”, my mom asked.
“Um.. No, thanks. I think I am fine.” That’s what I thought.

We were on our way to the Marina Mirage, the place where we were going to take a cruise to the open water to see whales. Yes, WHALES! Finally, we have decided to do what could be a once-in-a-lifetime-experienced activity. It was such a guilty pleasure to see our money got dumped into the deep ocean, literally and figuratively. That day, we ended up eating only breads for brekkie and lunch to pretend as if it could make up for what we had spent. – continue reading

Unfinished business with Mount Kinabalu #throwback

Mount Kinabalu

It was the early October of 2013. I remember the sky was raining cats and dogs when I was hiking Mount Kinabalu. The monsoon season had just started in Borneo not long ago. Strong wind had been blowing at me constantly and brutally from every direction. Everywhere I looked was blurry, I could’ve slipped off of the mountain at any point. My jacket was useless, my body was soaking wet. I was shivering non-stop fighting the cold while my legs were cramped from the start. “God, I don’t want to die here..”, never in a million years had I thought that these words would come out of my mouth. I waited patiently for the nature to show me any mercy, but this is not how it works apparently. – continue reading

Gold Coast: Us v.s. The Seagulls

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Few days after coming back from Sydney, my family and I made an impromptu decision to visit the Gold Coast for a night. We had not really thought of going there at the beginning because I was scheduled to work. We had decided to spend time together in Brisbane. Also, it was winter.. So, a big no? But, plans didn’t go as expected. I lost my part time job in Brisbane. Since we were all free then, we were like, “Why not?”

We gathered some information online, booked our hotel, packed our luggage and, of course, had a good night sleep and looked forward to the next day. Early in the morning, we took a train straight from Brisbane city to Nerang station. – continue reading

The many visits in Kota Kinabalu

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Mount Kinabalu

Two years ago, I was sitting in a campervan with three friends, crossing the Autralian outback to witness the grand epic Uluru. Fast forward to today, I am just passing my ordinary day waiting for my next adventure to come.

I have been back home for more than a year, having an 8-to-5 job and working in the office mostly. Two weeks ago, my boss asked me to go to Kota Kinabalu, where his office is located at, to present the work that I have been developing for weeks. Finally, I get to catch some fresh air in Borneo! – continue reading

Four days in Sydney

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Day -∞ to 0
When my sister came to Brisbane in July to complete her final year of undergraduate study in QUT, my mom came along for two weeks to make sure that my sister could handle everything by herself. Prior to arriving the city, my mom had contacted a close friend of hers who had been living in Sydney for years. They planned to meet up with each other and asked if I would like to join them. As much as I would like to experience this backpacking journey by myself, it was always tempting to have someone I know by my side once in a while. So, I decided to tag along.

My mom and her friend, Aunt Lan, used to be neighbours back in Malaysia. She is married to a Cambodian husband way before I was born. Her husband, Uncle Kam, was a refugee at the time. He was staying in Malaysia while waiting for the UN to assign him to a new home. In the 80s, they finally moved to Australia. It has been their home since then till now. – continue reading

The Koalas in Brisbane!

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Koalas in the sanctuary

I visited the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary in the winter of 2015 twice. The first time I was there, I was with my friends that I met in Bundaberg and Brisbane. Then, I visited the place again in July with my sister, who was studying in Brisbane at the time.

The entrance ticket was not cheap, it was $36 for an adult. I managed to get into the sanctuary twice by paying student price, which was $24. Actually I shouldn’t have done that because I wasn’t a student anymore. Anyway, just like the time when I was visiting the casino in Brisbane, people automatically thought that I was underage. It was a bit annoying at time, but it was great in this situation. Though I felt kind of sorry that I cheated. – continue reading

The end of autumn in Queensland

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Back in the early April, when I was still in Melbourne, the weather was already quite cold even in daylight. Oftentimes, autumn wind would give my skinny bones chill. It was quite the opposite in Bundaberg, the land that belongs to the sunshine coast, Queensland. Bundaberg was always warm and sunny. I was getting quite tanned due to my job working as a cherry tomato picker. Everyday, my skin would be kissed by the sun mercilessly for at least 7 hours. It was painful at first, just like the pain on my legs, my backs, my shoulder and my neck, but they were all gone eventually. I wonder if my muscles were too numb to feel.

There were a lot of backpackers in Bundaberg. I guess the sunny weather was quite a good sell here. When I first arrived the hostel, I met quite a few French, Italians and Germans. The Europeans that I met in Bundaberg like to sing, dance, cook, bake and smoke joints. Everyday, I would hear them singing and smoking in the tomato field. Every night, they would cook something for us to try. It was fun, but it didn’t last. Most of them left the farm after two weeks of work due to the unfair pay wages. – continue reading

Enjoying the quiet Brisbane

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People having sunbath in South Bank

It seemed that it was always quiet in Brisbane. I wouldn’t have guess that. Maybe winter had taken a toll on everyone’s emotion. Still, the sun was shining brightly everyday.

I visited the man-made beach at South Bank almost everyday on my first week of arrival. I had been here with friends, by myself, during the daytime and at night. It was a good place to hangout, chill and have lunch. Sometimes, I would just sit there for hours to use the free wifi. Even though it was winter, I could still see people having sunbath on the sand or taking a dip in the water. It was amazing. – continue reading

Becoming a fruit picker in Bundaberg

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Every year, while Australia warmly welcome youngsters from all over the world to witness its beauty, only 100 Malaysians get selected to live and work in Australia with a working holiday visa. Basically, if Australia represents the world, the Malaysian with working holiday visa will be the endangered species. Out of the city, its nearly impossible to trace us in Australia, let alone knowing about our existence.

I have only met four Malaysians with working holiday visa throughout the whole year and that was considered as winning the top prize in lottery. A lot of people wonder why that I felt so grateful when I met someone that comes from the country I grew up in. Why? Having a connection in Australia is actually quite important in order to make a living here. To many, the easiest way to get a job in the country is to know somebody who knows somebody that could provide a job. Without knowing anyone except my friend, Arnold, who was still studying at that time, I was having a hard time looking for a job. The job advertisements were quite limited, the legal ones, of course.

It had already been a month since I first set foot in Australia. I had spent quite a lot of money on travelling and daily expenses. I needed a job. – continue reading