ANOTHER YEAR IN TRAVEL

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Morocco, Essaouira, December 2016
Wearing Raye Kate Embroidered Slides available on Revolve

I know it's been awhile but I've spent the past two months in all sorts of places and also working on a couple of pretty exciting things! I'm concluding my year of travels with my recent trips to Morocco, I went twice within a month because I simply couldn't get enough of the culture I experienced and it still is to date one of the most beautiful destinations my eyes have ever seen.

I've missed writing here, it's sad I've neglected this space just because I've had so much on my mind in terms of what I had intended for my own work creatively. Many may not know what exactly I do but now that I am home I am definitely going to start work on my project to make it all happen. I've spent the past few months being disappointed with my work and my travels have changed that, I've gained new perspectives, met some amazing individuals who have come to make a huge impact in my life and frankly speaking, lived the most I've ever lived in my past 23 years of being. It's been a fantastic year despite it's shortcomings, I found myself hitting rockbottom earlier this year when I saw my dreams crushed in front of me and it's taken awhile, and a lot of travel to get myself back on track but I am happy to say that I am!

Here are some of my favourite moments from the year in terms of travel:

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Milan, May 2016

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Paris, May and December 2016

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Thailand- Chatanburi, Pattaya, Bangkok & Koh Kood, February and August 2016

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Indonesia- Jogjakarta, Jakarta and Bali, August, September, October and November 2016

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South Korea- Seoul & Jeju Island, April 2016

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Hong Kong, September 2016

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Dubrovnik, June 2016

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London, always there, always will here.

Thank you again for a year of following me on my adventures!

WHEN THE SUN GOES DOWN

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After a month of intense back to back travel, I'm back in Singapore for a month. The travel bug hit me last week, I found myself mentally and physically exhausted. I'm supposed to be in Jakarta this weekend but I simply couldn't bring myself to make the trip because I just didn't feel well. A lot has happened in the past 2 weeks since being back from Yogyakarta, I found myself stumbling back into my old ways which made me feel very low- struggling with my addiction to alcohol and having to face certain consequences. I have been spending the past week trying my best to get my balance back, to get my head and my heart in the right place but it's been difficult. I don't know why I've chosen to so candidly talk about it here, and on Instagram (stories!) but the things all of you wrote to me to encourage me, to keep going forward, melted my heart. 

I remember this day clearly, I had a rough morning and decided to meet my friend, Faiyaz for a couple of hours, drank two glasses of wine and sunk deep into my own pity party. The events leading up to the past two weeks have given me a lot of new perspective into things and though these photos have clearly nothing to do with how I'm feeling or what I am going through emotionally, it's a reminder that we all have good days and bad days. We stumble and we fall, but we only have to pick ourselves back up and go forward. While like many others, giving advice is no problem for me, but applying it to myself is another thing. It may take me longer than most to feel myself again but I am confident I am making slow progress day by day. 

And on days like these, I wear my favourite things, just to feel a little better. 
In this case, I am carrying a Seagrass Tote from Hat Attack and these adorable Indian pom-pom slippers from Figue (I'm absolutely in love with them!)- all available on Shopbop

ON CONTENTMENT

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I hope everyone had a good Christmas because I sure did! It was my first time celebrating the festive season properly, not that I never did but growing up, a lot of Christmas was carolling with Church and staying home on the actual day watching the telly. I was so glad to have been able to have an authentic Christmas this year with some of my closest friends. From roasted turkey on a beautiful table set-up and drinking wine by the fireplace, singing along to some crazy tunes, I couldn't have asked for a better past 2 days. I am so so so blessed to be here in London, and everyday it hits me how privileged I am and I cannot be more grateful to God for seeing me through, for allowing me to be here and to live and breathe in this city amongst the best group of people I could ask for. 

It's hit me a couple of weeks ago that I've been busy..being happy. I remember I was saying a prayer and I was mad at myself for always drifting off to sleep without finishing, after all, conversations with God are very important and personal to me. Then I realised, I drift off to sleep with a smile on my face every night recently because I live each day as it is and in every moment there possibly is, that I go to bed feeling like I've served my purpose for the day and I am ready for rest. While I still make sure I live in gratitude and continue to give thanks for every little thing, I have finally reached a point in my life where I feel really content. It's nothing fancy, I didn't strike the lottery, I didn't get my dream job, I just.....live. I have an amazing group of people in my life. I have a roof over my head in a place I love being in. I have food to eat. I have a lot of fun. I get to do fun things for work. It's a scary thought that for the first time I feel some sort of comfort and happiness, it comes with the fact that I now have something to lose. 

Being the last few days of 2015, I've been thinking a lot about this and where to go on from here. I know I should keep doing what I do but sometimes I just can't help worrying that it's all going to go away. I don't want to keep living and then simply forget... start taking it all for granted. My life here, my friends, my family, the work that I am so lucky to be able to do everyday. I can safely say that I am genuinely in a good place and there is nothing more I need at this very moment, this is a first of many firsts. Having something to lose. Embracing the here and the now. I'm kind of lost for words. But I guess maybe it's a good thing. This entire 'epiphany' has made me realised that when you let go of certain expectations and just live each day as it is, step by step, you get so much more and we are able to grab pretty unbelievable opportunities or perspectives from these very moments. This christmas, I celebrated the present and I will continue to do so for last the next few days of the year and this is exactly how I will welcome 2016 into my life. So I just urge anyone, if you're going through uncertainty, embrace it. If life's going good, embrace it. It's all about the present.

So here is my list on how you can be content too:

Practice. Even when the going gets rough, think of every thing you can be grateful for. Survival. Your nose. Food on the table.

Love. Wholeheartedly, genuinely. Keep loving. Breathe love, give out love, and celebrate love. You'll find yourself truly happy.

Embrace the present. If you're going through uncertainty, embrace it. If life's going good, embrace it. It's all about the present. It's about the NOW. Deal with your feelings and embrace every bit of it.

Take it easy. I can't emphasise how important it is that so often, we human beings are the hardest critics on ourselves. If there is anything we should do, take it all step by step. You simply are better at things. You're more alert. Do it at a good pace. And if you're having a hard time, embrace it. Then go on, start your day afresh and come home after you've served your purpose for the day. Rest, and start over. Step by step, day by day. Don't be so hard on you, and put the weight of the whole world on your shoulders.

On a lighter note, I moved to a new place last week, got my room dolled up with my! dream! chair! I've always wanted one of these. Vj and I ran to the flower market over the weekend to buy so much plants for the new place and it was so much fun. Moving has been exhausting but I am so glad my little cozy corner is done. With the chilly and gloomy winters in London, I love that I am able to wake up in a room that feels warm and be reminded of summer. So I still put on my denims and crop tops at home and run around in my strappy heels and have dance-offs while pasta is cooking with my friends. I am wearing the Mia Heel from RAYE and the Finn Top from Tularosa courtesy from Revolve. From the 27th of December (for one day only!) there will be up to 75% off. I absolutely cannot wait to get my hands on some of my favourite brands like For Love and Lemons, Frame Denim and Zimmermann. 

Merry Christmas again and thank you for the continuous support from you guys, I am nothing without you! 

IN THE SPIRIT OF LONDON

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Photos by Mikko Puttonen.

Just an update on what's been groovin: I've been back from my travels in Santorini, Paris and New York for almost a month now and London is my current home base where I am continually seeking opportunities for work, meeting new people and having a jolly good time. Everyday I learn new things about this city. Awhile ago, I revisited St Paul's Cathedral and it was one of the many landmarks in London that made me fall in love with this city. We had spent a night at a hotel right across the iconic cathedral and I jumped at the opportunity to be able to run around before life started to happened at the wee hours in the morning. That was 2 years ago. This time around, I remember it being such a good day spent with my friend, Mikko, after a really good curry night and sleepover before a day of exploring. So I guess I can say that St Paul's is a place that radiates a lot of positivity for me.

Having been travelling in and out of London this past year has made me have a love-hate relationship for this city but it's really it's contradictions that have made me come back for more. It may not have the best weather, the tubes always go on strike and everything seems to be double the price from back home but I love the people I've met in all parts of town, places I never thought I'd ever step foot on like Peckham where I had the best Motown parties and danced my heart out. Or hanging around at the most ridiculous house parties. Reuniting with old friends and meeting new ones. Discovering the new in the old in this city I feel so blessed being able to wake up to. The future is still uncertain, I am still unsure of my next steps, where I'm travelling to next or where I'll live a year from now but the energy in this city has kept me positive and hopeful that there are better days to come and that surely, one day I'll be able to call it home. 

NEW YORK, I LOVE YOU.

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<i>Wearing Klarra Overalls, Free People top, Celine bag and Miu Miu sunglasses and shoes. Photos by Henry Bae. </i>

We shot these images in Times Square during my last few hours in New York. While it’s every other New Yorker's and my own nightmare, it made sense for me to revisit the classic ‘concrete jungle’ backdrop. It reminded me a lot about my love-hate relationship with the city, while it's amazing being surrounded by all these billboards, people and feeling like anything is possible, it was a place you are and feel incredibly small in. 

I was partly in New York for work and to visit one of my best friends and while I would sum it up as a good time, I felt like a complete mess while being there. I guess this could be partly because the last time I was in this unforgiving, fast-paced city was when I decided to travel here solo and found it to be one of the most depressing weeks of my life although I came out from it stronger and motivated. This time around, there was that constant fear of being alone and it was the last thing I wanted to do. Henry and I argued- I was being a complete brat at times. We were both so insecure trying to make each other feel vulnerable. 

The week returning from my 3 week long adventure was a hard one emotionally and mentally. I pretty much lost myself. Travel for me is my escape and the moment I return to some sort of familiarity and routine, I seem to fall apart a little. I’ve realised that I am constantly trying to run away from the present. It’s been a lot of ups and downs this year, but recently I’ve found myself to be an emotional wreck due to finally coming to a realisation after so many years why I behave the way I do. It made me so sad that, that was it. And it was something that I simply couldn’t run away from anymore and had to deal with everyday, no matter how long it took. 

While New York City is known for it’s relentless energy and being the city where dreams are made of, where anything is possible, it is the one city I’ve found myself to be in a literal nightmare more than once and I really do question it. Why this amazing city- I really don’t know. But if going back has made me learn one thing, it’s simply to love. I think going back with a fear and kind of negativity was just a bad start. So many times I’ve told myself to do all things with love, and to think love, breathe love and live love. But I was mostly frustrated with the city. Angry, determined to not allow it to beat me up like it did two years ago. We all have scars, and the ones that remain shouldn’t have to haunt you when you’re revisiting a place or a time, it should only remind you to get yourself together and be stronger to turn it all around. If I had to sum it up, New York had won again but by turning the last few hours around into magic, I knew that I came out of it stronger than I did before. So thank you New York, for being so hard on me. You always seem to be the most real to me.  

TILL TIME GOES FORWARD

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I’m back in Asia for a quickie after one of the best vacations of my life in Morocco and Amsterdam. Singapore is my home and even though it’s only been a few days, it’s already been a whirlwind of emotions. I’ve come to question a lot about my achievements in the past year and wondering if I’ve lost myself in the process of ‘keeping the dream alive’. It is no doubt the dream has always been London. I’ve come to a point where I’m risking everything to see how I can make it work. There is a lot of stake and I find myself realising how tired I am- tired of living, tired of uncertainty and trying to embrace it. I’m normally one to share experiences, how I’ve come out of it or sharing the process. Today, I’m just lost. 

I’m happy to be reunited with familiar faces and catch up but I also want nothing more but to lock myself indoors and hide from the world. It’s confusing. I don’t know how ready I am for my next steps but I am so determined that I am just diving right into it, no questions asked. Morocco’s landscapes were some of the most inspiring I had ever seen and I am determined to get creative again, maybe the work I will get myself into will change my perspectives and allow me to embrace this circumstance I am in and I’ll be able to make something worthwhile out of it. I need encouragement, motivation and very simply (and so badly) some kind of stability. I’d love to hear if you’ve ever felt this way and how you came out of it. For now, I’m going with the flow and taking baby steps, getting through each day.

Photos taken by my dad, it was fun going on road trips and food adventures again with him while making him to take my photos. It's what I do best. 

LEARNING TO LOVE MYSELF AGAIN



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This is something a little personal but also something I've been meaning to write about because I feel it's important. I'm going to make it brief, but if there's anything I hope that anyone reading this will take from, it's to be able to love yourself. I've been in the happiest, most comfortable point in my life in a long time. And it's simple, nothing compared to how I lived just a couple of months ago. I guess I can say I'm content with how life has treated me here although there are a couple of ups and downs. But recently, because of a couple of things that had been bothering me. I've started to question myself about a lot of things from how my friends here see me, how many clothes, shoes and bags I need to be able to validate myself, how I should show my love towards my friends here, how much I am worth and how sick I am to constantly just be in the position of 'having the potential' to do a lot of things but never living up to it. I've been feeling very discouraged. Still content but there will always be these moments. I came across an interview I did a few months ago and it surprised me so much to see how fearless I was then. I said, " I think I am at a point in my life where I have nothing to lose, so if there is anything I am living by, it is to always create opportunities for yourself. Life really is way too short for you to sit around and wait for the right time for things to happen. If you want something, go out and get it. Make the change you want to see." To think about it, everything I said still applies and is true. I still have nothing to lose so I don't get why I’ve been so scared in the first place. The past 2 years have been a whirlwind of emotions for me. I was struggling a lot learning how to be my own best friend. It felt like a lot of it was coming in and out of circles. I feel like my time in London has taught me a lot, made me a much different person and simply too busy to notice that I've forgotten to love myself again. Because I've been surrounded by such an amazing group of people here who have made me feel so loved. It’s made me realise you can sometimes lose yourself in the process of just being too comfortable, which is exactly what I have been. Now, the questions haunt me and I’m starting to expect more out of myself. It’s made me an overly sensitive person who over thinks every single situation and affects me way more than I want it to. I thought I could have solo days out at the museum, treat myself to fancy brunch at a nice restaurant, have chai while walking in the park but I haven’t had the time to do that. I’ve completely forgotten how to be my own best friend again because I don’t love myself at all and I’ve also stopped trusting. I rely on the love I've been getting from my friends and family to make me feel me. 
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Normally I’m used to sharing about how I’ve come out of each experience but now, I feel this is part of what I am going through and I thought I would share my goals here. I’ve learnt a lot about myself and people just from sharing my feelings here, it’s allowed me to deal with whatever I’m faced with because I know that this is public. So here is how I will aim to get out of this rough patch and move forward: 

 Always see myself at my best- I’ve been feeling discouraged like I said, and when I came across that quote I said last year, I realised how much I’ve been doing the exact opposite: Sitting around waiting for something to happen. Just because I am too scared and confident that all I’ll get is rejected. In London, I’ve seen myself at my best and many times I’ve completely, genuinely allowed myself to live in the moment. Smile like I mean it and go to sleep feeling inspired. I need to constantly be like that, have some faith in me and just always be the best version of myself all the time. A friend recently told me ‘nobody really cares when you fail anyway’ and I thought that was really true. The people that come out at the top of our heads are the ones we look up to, and the things they have achieved. I need to pick myself up again and remind myself I really do have nothing to lose. 

 Remind myself I am worth it- All of us are unique in our own way and I believe we tend to forget that we are beautiful and treasured human beings. Give yourself come credit, look at the mirror, treat yourself to a nice meal and new shoes. I find that whenever I talk about my strengths (and weaknesses) to my friends, I learn more. Except compliments and stop brushing them away! We all encourage each other and that is how we go forth. I am worth it and so are you. Trust myself Nobody is going to trust me if I don’t trust myself.Just the same as nobody is going to love me if I don’t even love myself. So I need to trust myself to be able to do things and to be able to love myself again. 

Make time for myself- It can even be going to the library to get work done but I want to start actually making plans to spend time with me, on a beautiful day out. Only then can I love me again. 

 Set boundaries- I need to be aware of the environment where I’ll thrive and also give myself the room to fail. But most importantly, not allow myself to swim in a pity party of fear, rejection and failure but pick myself up and start over when I need to. Taking more care of myself is also something I hope to be able to work on. When your body is healthy, you’ll be able to take on things with a clear state of mind and just feel good vibes all over in general. Eat healthy! Sleep more! Mask up! Feel good. 

 Do not be afraid to love- I was so scared to love the people around me because of the way that I am. Precisely because I am actually lucky enough to know who I am, I need to accept it and not run away from it. Just because I tend to love a lot, and I like to show it, doesn’t mean that I should have to question myself for it. And I think it’s time I need to apply this to myself too. I shouldn’t be afraid to want to love myself, like really ENJOY being me and being with me.