I just recently stumbled upon something I wrote almost a year ago before I went on my first solo trip. It’s always so interesting reading something I wrote in the past because it’s almost like I’m digging up old feelings or even watching a scene from a movie in my life. Sometimes it’s embarrassing because you realise how much of a deal you made over nothing but sometimes it’s nostalgic. I guess it depends on how you judge yourself really.
My feelings haven’t changed from the time I wrote it. For me, this entry simply gives me flashbacks of that moment and reminds me of what I did and how I felt when I was in Malaysia last year with my family. It also reminds me of the time when I had no experience doing solo travel.
19 February 2018
It’s almost been a week now since I’ve arrived in Malaysia and I’ve had a bit more time to digest how I feel about this place. On the one hand, I’m loving that I get to spend some quality family time, but on the other hand, there are so many things about the lifestyle here which truly doesn’t gel into my lifestyle…and I’ve realised that I like experiencing culture…but culture which aligns more with what I value.
So far, we’ve visited many relatives, caught up..went on a day trip to En soon…visited a few temples, one in a cave and one in a tourist hotspot by the sea..and today we went to Pankor Island by the beautiful seaside…where we were transported on these fun boats and dropped off on Monkey Island where we saw some wild monkeys and swam in some beautiful water.
From what I’ve seen and what I can remember, coming back to my home town feels like I’ve walked back in time and the place hasn’t changed. It’s almost akin to a sleepy country town city with late night eats to cater for the large appetite in this city, bar some developments. The place is weathered and dated and when you walk or drive around, it feels almost like the people in this city are clinging onto the past so deeply that things still won’t change for many years to come.
One thing that is driving me absolutely insane is the inability I have to walk here. We are driven everywhere here due to the lack of public transport and my family’s fear of my safety. It literally feels like my legs have been ripped out and I can no longer walk. I can only eat. I can feel myself putting on weight and I am very unhappy about it considering I’ve worked so hard to get where I am. This part of the Malaysian lifestyle is definitely not for me.
And on that note…I also feel like my wings are ‘clipped’ here and I have no autonomy to do anything I want. I feel like my parents wouldn’t even trust me to walk in a shopping mall on my own, even though I live by myself in Melbourne and will be traveling solo to India very shortly. This part of Malaysia also is driving me insane and I can’t wait to leave because I feel suffocated…the concept of personal space does not exist in this country for me…and it’s something I long for when I’m here, especially because I’ve recently discovered the beauty of being alone and have really been enjoying or embracing it lately.
Despite this…there are many positives too…and things I am really glad about many things as well.
I’ve learned more about my family history, re-visited many places of the past which have formed a large part of who I am today. I’ve re-discovered many new places. I’ve been able to catch up with my family since eight years ago, especially my grandmother. I’ve been able to re-emerse myself back into Chinese New Year after all these years and most importantly to me, I’ve been able to bond and almost form new ‘friendships’ with particular relatives of mine. I’ve been able to eat amazing Ipoh food, especially the home cooked food from my relatives and Grandma.
Also equally as important – I’ve been able to properly rest and not do anything.
All in all, there’s only 5 days until I leave – I cannot wait to go…but at the same time… I’d like to stay longer.