Hello 2016

As the clock strikes 12, bringing us to a new year, we reflect on what we have done in 2015. Well, at least I did. Having to study full time in university and work on non-school days is really demanding. Many had told me to quit my job and just focus on my studies. Wouldn’t it be much easier and less stressful and tiring? Definitely! But I am willing to put myself through this to earn enough money for my hobby – that is to travel! If you want something so badly, you can always find a way to do it! Traveling has always been an escape route for me to temporary leave behind my hectic lifestyle.My 2015 started off with me flying off to Medan, Indonesia for a friend’s wedding. It was held in Marriott Hotel. I had the privileged to stay at the second highest floor which gave me a pretty decent view.

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Of course, as a fellow traveler, I took this opportunity to explore other parts of Medan with my girlfriend and my traveling buddy, Silalahirfan. For those of you who love nature, Sipiso-Piso Waterfall is a must-see! It is also a popular spot to snap wonderful photos. 

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This 120 metre tall waterfall is located in North Sumatra, on the North side of Lake Toba. It took us about 30 minutes to trek over 600 steps to the bottom and close to an hour to get back to the top. For those of you who are planning to go, make sure you have proper footwear. The steps can be really steep!

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After we came back, life for me return to its usual routine. To keep myself motivated, Joel (my other travel buddy) and I came up with a plan to fly to Bangkok, Thailand after our finals in May. The plan was to leave a day after the last exam paper. Little did we know that we have to re-sit for an exam paper as we were not given any statistics table for our statistics paper. As the examiners were not able to mark our paper, we were scheduled for another. Thankfully, it was scheduled after our Bangkok trip.

We stayed in Banyan Tree during our stay. It was extremely convenient for us to travel as it was in a centralized location. We visited many temples, tried many local food and pampered ourselves with a good massage. Here is a dazzling landscape of the sky floor of our hotel. (You can check out our post to find out more of what we did in Bangkok).

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Before the year come to a close, Joel had planned a trip for his family to Phuket, Thailand. Guess what?! On the day before they flew, his brother realized that his passport was expired. There was no way he could have renewed it in time for the trip. So Joel gave me a call (while I was at work) and offered me to replace his brother since all the accommodations and activities had been booked. On one side, I REALLY wanted to go; on the other – how do I get off work with such a short notice? I hurried with my work and called my boss. He actually said yes. How lucky was I? That feeling of spontaneity and excitement gave me the boost to pack through the wee hours before taking a 4 hours sleep and heading to the airport.

We took a local cruise tour to some of the famous islands such as James Bond Island and Phi Phi Island. 

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At the last stop, we were allowed to kayak or swim in the open water. Joel decided to kayak for a little while. I was waiting for my turn to jump off the cruise from the top deck. As I approach the edge, these scary thoughts of drowning and what not consume my mind. After a long pause, I threw myself over the edge. Fear conquered! I swap places with Joel on the kayak. As Joel was swimming to the shore, it started raining. Thunders were roaring! I paddled hard towards Joel but he just could not get on. So he tried swimming back to the cruise but the current was just too strong. None of us were wearing any life jackets. He then grabbed on the the back of my kayak and I paddle back to the cruise. What a near death experience!

But all these are but one thing – memories! We travel to step on new borders – try things we never try before, experience things that we never thought we would have done or expect like jumping off a cruise and swimming for our dear lives. Traveling also give us a new perspective. When we return home, we transform these experience into memories and this will only increase our thirst and hunger for more of such trips. I guess this pretty much sums up my 2015. Was it a good year? Hell yeah!

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