Posts Tagged “blogging101”

The Question of Why: How I Got a Step Closer to My Life’s Purpose

The Question of Why: How I Got a Step Closer to My Life’s Purpose

Pairs Well With…Slight Changes in Course + Mind Benders + Deep thinking + Self Reflection

You know that feeling you get when you read something that doesn’t sit well with you, for whatever reason?  Maybe an article or an idiotic tweet, and it makes your blood boil? You’re fired up and your first instinct is to fire back, but instead, you eye roll to yourself, move on and perhaps think about it here and there throughout the course of the day.

But then there are times when what you read strikes a cord and forces you to think a lot – because somewhere deep down it hits home.  And you can’t stop thinking about it.  And you wish you’d never read it in the first place because somehow, it got you rethinking your actions.

Here, I’ll tell you what I mean. It all started in March back in Hanoi, Vietnam….

la long bay Vietnam

Ha Long Bay Views

 

I had just landed from Ho Chi Minh City and was about to embark on my first big paid content assignment for a global client. This job was big time, as far as I was concerned, and though I feel like a storyteller extraordinaire most days, I was still a bit nervous.  The company was even paying for my round trip flight on their seaplane, and that isn’t cheap either.  I was starting to get this freelance thing down nicely if I do say so myself.

 

seaplane ha long bay vietnam travel

A rainy day return flight

 

Just when I thought I had my life all figured out…

I was in my cab catching up on my morning social medias. My scrolling came to a halt as I began reading this lengthy Instagram post. This excerpt, pulled from the larger message, is the part that got to me:

“The more ‘why’ questions you ask yourself, the more you move towards your real life project, which is what do I conceptually want to leave behind.”

First of all, this was a very mind bending question for 9 am and not being caffeinated. Secondly, what was this post even saying?  Why are people trying to make my life on the road harder than it already is?  I mean, isn’t it enough that I quit my job to figure out my life’s purpose, let alone this extra pressure? I reread the post a few times, and I started questioning myself, something maybe I don’t do often enough. I’m a “just do it” kinda gal.

And so, mainly because my cab ride was obscenely long, and I didn’t want to anticipate my death watching these crazy Hanoi drivers, I started the why exercise. (If you do try this, prepare for where it takes you. Just sayin’.)

I asked myself a multitude of questions:

  • Why am I here?
  • Why did I decide to travel for an entire year?
  • Why did this company fly me out to write for them?
  • Why didn’t I have coffee on the plane?
  • Why do I always gravitate to the non-traditional path of life?
  • Why is it raining today? I didn’t bring warm clothes. (Get back on track Carin…focus!)
  • Why isn’t wine more readily available in Asia? (Now, you’re becoming that Askhole kid from Home Alone! Pull it together.  You want these answers.)
  • Why do I feel I that my biggest success stories will come from running my own business?

 

(You’ll see from the questions in my head, there’s a theme song that pairs well with these type of thoughts. It’s called Circus Theme, and it’s the worst when one thought triggers a thinking spiral. Ya feel me?)

The list goes on and on. The most frustrating part was when I realized what was firing me up. Many of my answers were “I don’t knows,” and that’s not a good sign because you should always live with purpose. For me, it was an indicator that I had a lot to think about and many hours of goal setting and reflection ahead of me.  Another thing for the endless to-do list.

Pause. Fast forward.  A few months later, I finally had answers to those questions:

  • Why am I here? To build a business outside the confines of a cubicle.
  • Why did I decide to travel for an entire year? To fulfill my dream of living abroad, meet some amazing collaborators along the way, and maybe even test my own capabilities, both personally and professionally.
  • Why did this company fly me out to write for them? They see my talent – and if they do, others do, too.
  • Why do I always gravitate to the non-traditional path?  I refuse to settle for less than I want, even if it means busting ass day in and day out for the perfect work set up.  To me, traditional is boring.  Anyone can do it.  You can choose to reach high or you can choose to coast.
  • Why do I feel I that my biggest success stories will come from running my own business? Because when you invest in yourself, you tell the world that you believe in yourself. You believe in your talents, capabilities, creativity…all while leaving fear behind to continue making forward progress and writing the next chapter in your story.

 

Storytelling is a talent of mine, and it’s something you’ll continue to see me do more of, both for myself and for others.  In regards to content…well, the good stuff leaves a lasting impression and causes you to think more deeply.  So, the person who created this post got his job done (and his point across) well.  So much so that I devoted a considerable amount of time thinking about it.

So, what’s on YOUR mind?  As always, feel free to drop me a line.  You know I love hearing from you while I’m on the road.

seaplane ha long bay vietnam carin

Ready for takeoff: My first seaplane experience

Same, Same…But WAY Different (My European Welcome)

Same, Same…But WAY Different (My European Welcome)

Pairs Well With…Getting it together + Cultural Adaptation + New Continent

I’m happy to report that after one week of hiding out, stomping feet, being yelled at by little old ladies and on the verge of a major breakdown in Belgrade, I’ve survived and have resurfaced.  No, really. Last week, it felt like the world was ending, and it was unbearable to think that I’d be living in Belgrade for the next five weeks. Five weeks. Why five weeks here when every other country had been four?  Was this some sort of punishment?

Day after day of my first week in Belgrade, I faced minor annoyances that compounded into what felt like a catastrophic problem until one day I found myself unloading tears of frustration on the corner of “sign I can’t read” and “sign I can’t read.” I think it’s safe to say that Belgrade and I got off on the wrong foot because I’m (finally) starting to enjoy my time here.  But last week, all I was thinking last week was, “How do I buy a ticket out of here?!

(more…)

20 Must-Have Experiences in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia

20 Must-Have Experiences in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia

Pairs Well With…Traveling + Adventure + Discovery

When moving to a new city, it’s easy to start exploring, beginning with the sights you should see.  Petronas Towers, check!  Batu Caves, check!  It was in Kuala Lumpur, the city of skyscrapers and lookout points and the first one-month stop within my Remote Year journey, where I pledged to be more than just a common tourist and immerse myself in unique experiences.

But what happens when you think you’ve seen it all?  

You put on your Dora the Explorer gear and get to gettin’, finding those local city gems others wish they had found.  Combined with some of the best tourist attractions, here are the most outstanding local finds and things to do in the fine city of Kuala Lumpur:

  1. Enjoy a drink on a helipad at Heli Lounge Bar.  A helipad for landing by day, and a rooftop patio by night, Heli Lounge Bar offers spectacular views of the KL sunset.  Grab a glass and sip into the sunset.

Photo Credit: Jay Harrison

2. Dine banana leaf style.  The banana leaves serve as plates in an effort to reduce waste.  Instagram-worthy in and of itself, you begin with a base meal of banana leaf rice and vegetables topped with sauces and proteins to your liking.  The best part of this meal?  No silverware required. You eat with your hands.  Monkey see, monkey do, follow suit and eat like the locals do.  Check out a few of my favorites around town: Raj’s Banana Leaf, Restoran Sri Nirwana Maju Bangsar, and Vishalatchi Food Catering.

3. Hike Broga Hill.  An easy 45-minute drive into nature outside of KL’s city limits – and every minute worth it.  Set your alarm early as you won’t want to miss the beauty of the morning sunrise. If you are going for sunrise, prepare for the hour long, beginner-intermediate hike by bringing water, bug spray and a flashlight or headlamp.

4. Feast in the “Food Dungeon.”  Buried below the bustling streets, this multi-heritage, 30 vendor deep food fest offers something for everyone.  With highly affordable, authentic meals, you can taste your way across the globe.

5. Savor a symphony.  Lyrics lover or not, the shows at the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra are music to the ears.  The orchestra hall is a showstopper and a sight to be seen.

Photo Credit: Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra

6. Feel the beat.  As a dancer for many years, I am always in pursuit of new dance studios, styles and classes.  Geetha Shankaran Dance, offering a variety of classes, from Indian to Hip Hop Fusion, provides instruction to both youth and adult audiences.  Yoga classes are offered as well.

7. Peak from the Petronas Towers.  Visiting Kuala Lumpur and not seeing the dynamic 88-floor skyscrapers wouldn’t be right.  Almost the tallest in the world at just under 452 meters high, these two towers symbolize Malaysia as an up and coming global presence.  The former Prime Minister’s vision for these towers was to reflect “courage, ingenuity, initiative, determination, energy, confidence, optimism, advancement and zest.”

Photo Credit: Jay Harrison

8. Love your latte.  There are many cute and quaint coffee shops in the city that offer a nice, quiet break in the day.  Whether catching up on emails or cranking through a page turner, these coffee shops offer up some of the best lattes, sweet and savory meals, and enchanting atmospheres.  Best latte in town?  Check out Coffee Amo for hand-crafted delights.

9. Affinities for Infinities.  Kuala Lumpur houses some of the best infinity pools you could ever imagine, with Capri by Fraser being a front-runner favorite.  Make sure to switch up your scenery, get your shine on, and soak up your daily dose of Vitamin D – all with a breathtaking view while in the blue.

Photo Credit: Capri by Fraser

10. Be awestruck at Batu Caves.  This Hindu temple houses the iconic Murugan statue, perfectly positioned for a photo opp prior to entering the caves.  You’ll walk up 272 stairs to get to the top, but the walk through the caves and to the picturesque opening is worth every step.  (Beware of the thieving monkeys!  No, seriously.)

Photo Credit: Jay Harrison

11. Eat street meat.  Yes, I understand this may sound odd, but it’s everywhere. Quick to get, convenient to eat, and pretty to look at, your street meat varietals easily serve as dinner de jour. Keep your eyes out for these street meat vendors (really known as Lok Lok) who serve not only meat, but also many other skewer assortments.

12. Kick it at the KL Tower.  Another KL must-see landmark, both day and night.  During the day, you can head to the top of the tower and scope out the scene from above.  At night, the tower sometimes offers a musically synced, can’t-miss light show.

13. Find unfamiliar foods. One of the most exciting things about visiting a new place is trying new foods.  Kuala Lumpur offers a large dose of Indian, Chinese and Malaysian foods, among other styles of dining.  Wander along Jalan Alor, also known as “Food Street” and indulge in items such as fish balls, drunken noodles, Lok Lok….and meat floss.  (Mark my words, I will see to it that I have a full understanding of what meat floss is before leaving the country.)

14. Trek through the tiniest rainforest. The Bukit Nanas Forest Reserve, living in the heart of KL, is a piece of peace in the middle of the city.  Take a nice stroll through the scenic forest and embrace the lush greenery among the concrete jungle.

15. Temples & Thaipusam.  If you’re lucky enough to be in KL during the once a year Thaipusam event, you must attend.  Thousands of spectators line the streets in an effort to observe the sparkling chariot making its way to the Batu Caves.  Not in town for Thaipusam?  No problem!  KL has many temples to visit and meditate in.  Practice mind over matter in these beautiful buildings.

Photo Credit: Jay Harrison

16. Fancy a foot massage.  Those long days of walking will get to those tootsies.  With most of the foot reflexology shops being open until the wee hours of the morning, it’s easy to take a load off, day or night.  Make sure to swing by D’Care where a 60-minute foot rub is $12 USD.  It doesn’t get much better than this.

17. See street art.  Mural, mural on the wall, which one is the best of them all?  The right answer?  All of them.  Lining the streets of KL lie many story-filled visual masterpieces designed by local artists.  Some of the best pieces are lurking in the most unexpected places. Looks are free.

18.  Nosh at Nagasari Curry House.  Food shame me if you must for my weekly repeat visits, but let’s not fix what’s not broken. Right?  Plus, there’s something to be said when your favorite neighborhood restaurant nails it – every time.

19. Bob your head at No Black Tie.  Love live music?  Well then, this joint is the place to be.  With a jazz vibe and good wine, it’s the recipe for a perfect Saturday night.

20. Dine differently.  Whether Dining in the Dark or in the sky at 164 feet in the air, you’ll enjoy the luxuries of 3+ course meals with a unique, sensory experience.

Departing March 4th, 2017 for Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam & March 6th for Hanoi & Halong Bay!

My 4th Grade Lesson on the Power of Words

My 4th Grade Lesson on the Power of Words

Pairs Well With… “Words.  So powerful.  They can crush a heart, or heal it.  They can shame a soul, or liberate it.  They can shatter dreams, or energize them.  They can obstruct connection, or invite it.  They can create defenses, or melt them.  We have to use words wisely.” – Unknown

In fourth grade, I learned one of the best and most impactful lessons of my life: I learned the power of words and the lasting effects they can have on others.  I learned the difference between right and wrong many years prior, but it was with my teacher’s delicate illustration of how words can weigh on or weigh down a heart that got through to me.

How do you teach a child the impact of words?  

Upon coming back from recess, our class was instructed to rip a piece of paper out of our notebooks and draw a heart on it.  From there, we were told to crinkle up the piece of paper into a ball…

ball-of-paper

…and then open it back up and try to flatten out the wrinkles to the best of our ability.

heart-paper-crinkle

Crinkle and smooth out ten more times, noticing the creases with each round and the texture of the paper.

Our tiny child minds were confused and skeptical about what was happening.  By the end of the tenth round of paper smashing, we were quiet and looking bewildered at one another.  Each of us touched the softened, wrinkled paper, some tracing the heart shape with their pointer finger, and looked to our teacher for answers and insight.

“Take out a brand new sheet of paper and draw a heart on it, but don’t crinkle it,” said my teacher.  Set it next to the wrinkled one and compare the two.

heart-paper-comaprison

What started out as harsh, jagged creases on crisp, solid paper slowly became many thin, but permanent, lines on worn down paper.

“Words are like weapons.  They can hurt, and they can leave permanent scars.  No matter how hard you try, you will never get your wrinkled piece of paper back to its original condition.  It’s impossible.  Those creases symbolize mean and hateful words.  While they can be overcome and forgiven, they may not be forgotten.”

Thinking back, I don’t know that this lesson was part of any school-approved curriculum.  It’s too bad schools don’t teach kindness as a class – they should.  This lesson has stuck with me throughout all these years but holds more relevance than ever today both in what we are teaching today’s children and also in how we carry ourselves.

I still have that piece of paper.  I’ve chosen to keep it as a memory of kindheartedness I suppose.  Maybe, deep down, I knew one day I’d feel compelled to share my fourth-grade kindness lesson.

Our words are our most destructive weapons.  They have the potential to leave scars that can’t be removed and creases on the heart that can’t be ironed out.

We have a choice between hurting with them or healing with them.

We can’t always change minds, but we can change hearts. One at a time, we can.

 heart-paper-crinkle-final

Go Top
Page generated in 1.181 seconds. Stats plugin by www.blog.ca