Adventures in Asia: Langkawi, Malaysia

As mentioned before, because of the lightning strike, Langkawi was an unexpected addition to the cruise itinerary. I remember when the captain first announced that we would be going to Langkawi, I was instantly puzzled and asked, “What’s that?” I had never heard of the island before and had no idea what there was to see and do there. Given how last-minute everything was, we decided to just minimize stress and book a tour with the ship, like we had done for every other port on this cruise so far. This is our first cruise in Asia and I’m finding that for many of the cruises, in order to reduce hassle, it’s easier to book a tour just because everything that you want to see is usually so far away from the port that the ship is docked out. For example, with Bali, many of the sights were an hour…

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Adventures in Asia: Penang, Malaysia

On what looked to be a sunny day, we arrived at our next port of call: Penang. We arrived after having spent three full days at sea on the cruise – something that was not in the original itinerary. Our second port of call after Bali should have been Kuala Lumpur; Penang was scheduled to be the third stop. But then came the unexpected: a thunderstorm at sea. On the second day at sea after having left the port of Benoa on the island of Bali, there was a huge thunderstorm at sea. I remember sitting indoors, on the ship’s 18th floor, watching it all unfold outside before me. The skies started to turn a darker shade of grey with each hour and then slowly, the rain came and all the people outside tanning and swimming retreated indoors. Then, with each passing interval of time, the storm picked up and…

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Adventures in Asia: Bali, Indonesia

This first post is coming much later than planned but if there is anything that exchange has taught me so far is that you can’t always expect everything to go according to plan. What you should plan for is room to be flexible and to adjust to new things given the circumstances. And so, here’s the first post to kick off the exchange series. A month late, but definitely one to mark a long series to come.             I’m currently a month into my 4-month long exchange in Singapore, which I’ve discovered is the perfect hub for Southeast Asia travel. The first month is always a period of transition – getting used to the public transit, making new friends, getting used to a new residence, and figuring out the lay of the land when it comes to a brand new campus and brand new classes. This transition – moving 15,000…

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you can’t regret the life you didn’t lead

My friend and I love following those types of accounts on Instagram that feature beautiful prose paired with visually pleasing photos (@latenightsinthecity is a great example). It’s the type of stuff that’s easy to read and digest, yet makes you stop in the middle of mindlessly scrolling on Instagram and really think about life, love, friendship, or fate (they all usually revolve around one of these topics). The other day, she sent me a post that had this as the caption, and it’s something that I haven’t stopped thinking about since: “There’s an alternate reality where today would be your wedding day if you didn’t break up with your ex or you went to your second choice school. There’s a life out there that you could’ve had where you live in a beach town or you married your high school sweetheart or you’re a professional horse rider. The point is,…

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people want to help, so let them

Throughout high school and the early years of my undergraduate career, in particular with the recent launch of my book’s pre-sale campaign, I have realized one thing: People are willing to help you, oftentimes expecting nothing more than a smile and a grateful “thank you”. A lot of the experiences that I’ve had has taught me this, and I decided that it was time to sit down and put them all into words, as I felt that it was the least I could do. From grades 10 to 12, I was actively involved in a lot of clubs, both inside and outside of school. For a few of the clubs, I took on a big sponsorship role, which essentially involved having to “beg” local mom-and-pop stores and local company chain stores for monetary donations or in-kind donations, and in return, we would promote their business within our ecosystem and basically…

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