The Thing with Travel

Ever since re-entering working life, I realized my social life has plummeted drastically.

I have less time to travel, less time to chat with friends online; and even though when I was staying in Melaka, I didn’t go out much, at least I was still socializing with most of my friends on the net, so whenever we do catch up, I don’t feel that we have not kept in touch for a long time.

Working 8:30am – 5:30pm is a sad life. But it is life. At times I wonder what it would be like to let go of everything and just leave, at times I was really tempted to do just that. But then my parents came into mind, and this sense of responsibility as a daughter churns up and I am brought back to reality.

“I can’t, I just can’t. I have no choice!”

THAT is the MOST COMMON excuse everyone, especially Asians, not to be racist or anything, use.

I call it an excuse because, well, it is. Think about it. Did anyone literally force you to stay, as in, tie you down with a rope to a chair and ask you to work 24 hours. No right? If yes, well, you have my condolences; else to most, no right? Right??

“I am far too busy with work”, “I have a business to run”, “my parents need me”, I have commitments”, etc.

Yes, they are very reasonable reasons, or excuses, whichever. But you choose to be that way. You choose to work, you choose to start a business, you choose to be a good son or daughter, and you choose to have a commitment.

Now, before you start flaming me for being an inconsiderate asshole. I am not saying that it is a bad thing. But it is a choice you made, good or bad, a CHOICE nonetheless.

Life is full of choices. For me, I choose how I wanted life to be, I choose to work so I can support myself and hopefully one day, my parents. I choose to be bonded by heck loads of commitments so one day I can actually own properties. It is a choice I made. Saying “I have no choice” is irrelevant and selfish. It’s an excuse to push all YOUR inability to take that risk and step out of your comfort zone in order to venture further.

Tell me, why is it a dream to travel the world, at one go. Whoever said it is impossible?


Since my appearance on national television TV3 “Wanita Hari Ini” last Monday, I have received hordes of emails on how people are amazed, impressed and envious of my ability and courage to backpack as a female traveller, to many parts of the world, alone.

How do I find time? How do I find the money?

My answer to that is “there’s a will, there’s a way.”


Seriously, who ever said women cannot travel alone? Did the law state that? You said it is dangerous, have you tried it? Sure, there are many crimes on the newspaper where this girl is raped and that girl is kidnapped and killed; come on, there are crimes everywhere. Crimes happens everyday, every hour, every minute, and it can happen any where! Who ever said staying at home is safe?

And since when money is an issue for those who spend at least RM50 on alcohol and clubbing every weekend, or more than RM20 on meals every day?

Do you know, if you stop clubbing on weekends and cut your food cost by RM5 per day, you can save up to RM75 or more per week? In a month, you can save up RM300. With RM300, I can go on a 3 days 3 nights trip to Koh Samui, Thailand.

Hey, no one asks you to stay in a fancy hotel or fly there. If hitching is not your cup of tea, take an overnight bus or train. It will save you a night AND it is cheap AND you get to see sceneries along the way!

Then they will ask: “but why alone?”

My question is “why not?”


Maybe I’m a loner; maybe I have few friends that share the same passion in travelling as I have; maybe whenever you arrange a trip, everyone will bail out in the end due to work commitments; maybe no matter how many people you invited on a trip, you will end up being alone due to unforeseen circumstances. There are so many reasons I ran out of breathe just thinking about it. So why not alone?

Maybe because you think that going alone won’t be as enjoyable? Maybe because you think that it is dangerous? Maybe… maybe…

I can only say, the most outrageous trips that I have embarked so far are those when I go solo. On these trips, I met people around the world, and they are there and then my friends, my food-mate, my clubbing-mate, my hitch-hiking mate…etc. Three years ago I met this Dutch girl who was 19 years old back then, and both of us hitch hiked our way through Isle of Skye and from Kyle to Fort William in Scotland; we rented a bike and cycled through the most beautiful glens in Europe and cycled back drenched in rain, it was wild, but it was fun.

I was hiking up the third tallest mountain in the UK with a 21 year old American guy whom I just met a day ago on the bus, and we celebrated our conquest over a glass of (and my very first) self-brewed ale at the foot of the mountain.


I met this remarkable 17 year old girl of what nation I have forgotten and of what name I couldn’t recall in a small hostel in Westport, Ireland who had been travelling for 3 years then and decided to continue travelling for the rest of her life. And then I met this adventurous Australian divorced woman in her late 40s who had last spent each of her 6 months in Ireland, Germany and the UK and had this crazy wild relationship with a 21 year old Irish boy. They were in love, so deeply they parted the day she left Ireland because she knew there were better girls out there for him, and they cried.


There are so many things one can experience when one travel alone. And these people I met throughout my journey are the people that have my deepest respect and envy. Because they took risks like none other, they are the ones that made their choices in life, despite their sacrifices; they proceed to pursue their dreams. How are they different from the rest of us? We are, after-all, human beings.

My dream, is to travel the world.


56 kissed Nicole

  1. haha nicole who doesnt wanna to travel around the world.i wanna travel around the entire japan.the big question is always MONEY.if i have money i can fly straight to japan to have fresh sashimi,i can fly straight to HK for authentic tim sum,i can fly to italy to have ice cream topped with truffles,i can fly to russian to taste fresh caviar lolzz u mentioned about 'when there is a will,there's a way'. well nicole we must always b realistic,there is smth we humans cant achieve no matter how hard we try. the malay saying goes,berpijak di bumi nyata(u can translate that to cantonese)

  2. misha loves to travel too .. :) i would like to travel to europe to visit the museums, art galleries and many many more!!

  3. Good going nicole

  4. Go Nicole go!!! (scream kau kau lat)

  5. Of course you need money to travel! But the point is that you dont need THAT much! My friends travelled from Switzerland, through Eastern Europe, Russia, China, Vietnam, Cambodia to Australia and guess how much the spent on the entire trip? AU$4000 each! That covers 6 months of travel, including all transportation, food, lodging, etc... That is not a lot of money! By comparison, my rent for 6 months costs close to that amount!!! The catch of course is that you dont stay in a 5-star hotel, you dont fly first class, you take public transportation and you stay at backpacker's.

    Nicole, I have always had the impression you were the Msian equivalent of Paris Hilton (minus the home-made video bit!) but I think otherwise now!

  6. aza aza fighting..!! nicole the traveler :-)

  7. If you need a travelling partner, I'm him! :P

  8. I also hv the passion to travel whenever possible. Like to see your travel log though. I'm gonna learn from you... travel the world!!!

  9. Nic ol' Nic,

    Love it when you give every single being here the power to dream about globetrotting, I mean who doesn't love travelling? Everyone loves it to bits! Everyone! However, I guess you must have come from a well-off family that you have genuinely(I hoped) forgot all about those who needs to fight for their own tuition fees to get thru uni, those who need to take up 2 parttime jobs just to put food on the table, those who got the 6 or more younger siblings waiting for them to sponsor their UPSR textbooks and much much worse situations.

    Yes I totally agreed with your "when there's a will, there's a way" thinking as I really believe nothing can really stop us if we put our mind and soul to it. However, for those stucked in situations mentioned above, isn't it wise for them to save up for rainy days ahead?

    As for the "chicken" asian mentality, it's mostly due to the inadequate efforts done in eradicating poverty and providing sufficient basic needs to those that required them.For ex. Australians get free money every fortnightly if they're jobless( Don't believe me? Go ask Kenny). Australians get equal chances to qualify into their local Uni base on their year12 exams. Now have a thought for a Malaysian Chinese. Moreover, western countries have a much proper and organise way to help and take care of those golden years citizen. Who is taking care of your grandpa and grandma(Sorry if they aren't here already)? Whose fund are they utilising? Literally, we, ASIANS, got a lot more to worry about than those ahmohs hence "the chicken mentality with lotsa excuses". Physically, we, ASIANS, will die of hunger if we don't find moolah to feed the mouth and accumulate some for our future needs coz our government can't give a damn about us yet. They are too busy build the tallest skyscraper or the widest bridge or the mega-est city. Good luck to them.

    Nic, every single one of us would love to be you. Carefree, beautiful, globetrotting, enjoying life, dating Kennysial. C'est la vie. However, life can be cruel sometimes. Very cruel. So it's not to say that we, the poor people, have lotsa excuses to deny our own well deserve break, it just that with those heavy burdens around our waists, we just can't afford to take a risk albeit it's just a small one.

    Lucky you, Nic. Wish you can obtain the means to complete your dream thrice(Do it twice for me!!!)! However, please spare a thought for us, poor folks who can't afford all these luxuries. And yes, even though, we are poor, we read blogs too. After all, we are, well, emotional human being too. Oh and all our excuses are genuine too. Touché.

    Yg Benar,
    pengemis jalanan

    p/s: btw, working 8.30am - 5.30pm is NOT a sad life, Nic!OH NO, not at all!

  10. 830 to 530 is sad? what does that make me? 800 to 600(usually 800) and 6 days a week! i know...i know....i go die.....sob sob

    i hope one day (soon), you will achieve your dream. traveling is also one of my hobbies, but its not my passion.

    let us all pursue what we enjoy safely.

  11. wow i respect you
    you are the best

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  13. wow...I love travelling too and i travels quite a bit. what I would normally do to save cost, i travel with budget airlines and stay in budget hotel. and i find helpful. you can find friends and contacts using this website. and yes, I hitch hike and travel alone too.

  14. Hi Nicole,

    I am planning to go on a budget travelling to Vietnam from 2nd Sept to 18 Sept, absorbing the richest culture. Wanna go?

  15. And I was just thinking about it - can I just leave and let go of everything but then the commitments I have is setting me back.

    Yeah, I guess we made those choices. It is a choice. And excuse... sigh..

    Whoa, so cool~! Can go globetrotting around. Guess, nothing is impossible if we want to do it :D

  16. monaro, my name is not Kenny Sial and Nicole is not dating me.

  17. kennysia: ahahahaha....i didnt see the question in monaro's comment.

    monaro: nice one. summary is, everybody has their own unique set of priorities.

  18. Priorities do change very often as we walk through the life-maze. And, fear is what usually shackles people.

    With that gust and passion like yours, I wouldn't want to be in your competitor's camp in anything you do :D

    btw, not waiting for hawaii to be shifted to japan liao kah? it's easier to travel then :P lol

  19. yeah absolutely agree with u!

    if only i have the determination to plan and save up 4 a trip...always wanted to do that but never got around to it. there are simply too many excuses for not taking that step haha

  20. everyone got his/her dreams. Nothing wrong as in to achieve it or even dare to dream about it... GO GO JIA YU!!!

  21. hey i will teach u how to remove the navbar in your blogger page (to make it look professional) and also how to get a free domain name ... all this if u give me a link back to my site ...on your main page

    look me up on my free domain name . thanks .

    p.s : your lucky to have givin u loads of linkbacks and stuff ... but honestly u deserve it ... keep writin :)

  22. Wow. That, was awesome Nicole...

  23. Well said. How I wish I can do that too.

    Really awesome!

  24. Kennysia: My bad Kenny, my bad. It should have been Sia. Typo bro. As for the dating issue, was trying to add more ooOoomph to ma point. Everyone was speculating since those Ipoh photos were published in this blog soooo I was just going with da flow. My bad again. I should have called you to clarify it first. Oh, what was your mobile number again? *wink*

    Chang Seong: Glad you like my point. Dont get me wrong, I personally think Nicole's dream is an excellent one albeit not too realistic for certain people.

  25. i agree, some of the weirdest trips i've had has been solo. it seems that when youre not tied down to someone else youre alot free-er to explore and take wrong turns and eat weird looking things cos you absolutely refuse to go to the macdonalds.

    on the other hand going with someone just as nutty as you does up the fun factor alot :P

    dreams are pointless unless you pursue them. alot of commenters bitch about no money,... well fucking save up then!

    no time? take a goddamned sabbatical!

    there really is no excuse cos at the end of the day any excuse means your still a scared lil kid afraid of the big big world that mommy and daddy warned you about.

  26. I personally love the idea of nic, I even wanted to try it one day. but honestly, I really wanted to know how you get the money to enjoy this life? I mean did you save up before you go, or you work along the trip?

    anyway, I still don't have the ability to travel the work... Still young...

  27. monaro: you have a problem with names, don't you?..... hahahahaha

  28. Hey Nicole, I saw you in mid valley today, I wanted to call you, but don't know what to

  29. i admire your sense of adventure and aspire one day to travel the world too ....

  30. Pursue your dreams !

    Go for them Nicole.

  31. know i kinda admire you for going on backpacking alone :)
    you need a company? lol...i'm backpacking to Vietnam next year...advices?

  32. Sounds inspiring...and what u said are right!

    Travel to different parts of the world, different places and different people with diverse backgrouds...those are things that we'll never experience if we are too afraid to take risk and decide to stay back!

    It is my dream, and im realising it slowly, bit by bit..


  33. have been reading your blog for sometime and i must leave a comment for this post.

    i'm a malaysian studying in India. and during our last study break, i went backpacking around india with few of my friends. and gosh! it was fun!

    yeap! travelling must not be expensive. what we did was, we packed some clothes and a copy of lonely planet and we're all set to conquer india. we stayed in budget hotels, bargained until our tongue when twisted and so on

    and along the way, we met up with alot of backpackers from all around the world. got some tips from them, listened to their travelling stories...

    backpacking is just great!

    any plans to come to india?

  34. Melvin: money huh? true also. save up save up

    Misha: europe is beautiful, i love it there

    Stellix: thanks!

    Kenny: yea yea!

    M: errrrr.... thanks???

    iwan c.m.n.: haha.. funny u r

    Ashraf: where do u like to travel to :)

    Jeremy: haha... no need to learn la... *shy*, just travel and tell me your story :D

    monaro: whoever said I am rich, but true... god bless those souls who choose to be a responsible man despite having to let go of their dream. Touche indeed

    chang sheon: awe... so what is your passion?

    Chan: thanks

    GraceSupang: tq

    doulos: cool.. u must be a fun person to travel with

    queerbarbie: weird name u have, but yea, i think kenny sent u an email, we'll be flying to hanoi in sept, shall we meet there? :)

    Swee Ping: haha.. we think the same i guess

    kennysia: i am not?? awe.... hahaha

    whisperingshout: if only i can live that long for it to move even two inch closer

    Korshovaster - Tarino Monster: then maybe it's time to throw away some of the excuses? :D

    Michael Song: yea!!! go go go.. i want krispy kreme

    igizmore: ooo... that could come useful and thanks! :D

    eve: hoho

    PatG: hehe

    AmazeOther: u can!

    skunk: oo... nice isn't it? addictive isn't it? you are hooked!! haha!

    Grooveman Ivan: 18 should be of legal age to work... no worries.. there is no age limit in travelling, as long u can carry a bag

    Frank: oo.. u should have called out to me.. haha

    KA@: when when :D

    Seizhin: thanks! i will!

    jiahun: next year? i'm going next month, will tell u once i'm done :D

    *My Fortress of Life*: well said! i like your spirit!

    niCk: OMG.. i wanna backpack in india! take me with you!!!!

  35. Hey if u're still interested in travelling after 3 years, ring me. i wanna go too!

  36. my passion? errr.....getting my ass in mega construction projects?, seriously....i love to build things.......i'd go anywhere permitted by nature to build things..... :)

  37. Nicole, Hehe...ya i know, i should have but chicken out as you walk closer. Anyway you looked great, just like a film star! *wink*

  38. Wow, Nicole, I really admire & respect your guts & drive. You truly have a passion for travelling and are determined to do it.
    I think a lot of people are actually afraid of do something they havent done, and should not critisize till they have actually done it! So dont be offended or detered by them to live your dream. To venture beyond they comfort zone and take risks is sometimes the only way to achieve things. Not doing so wont get a person very far from where they are now.

  39. this post inspire me somehow...

  40. All i want to say is keep on doing what you do as we need more people like you who are passionate and doing what you want to do...
    All the best

  41. Dear Nicole,

    Been reading ur blog for sometimes now. Love reading your blog, it's very light-hearted and comfortable=) We have the same dream too - to travel around the world. Too bad now I cannot pursue the dream yet cos I'm still a student with a tight financial budget. However, I really believe in the saying u said, "whenever there's a will, there will always be a way". All the best to you and may you continue to pursue this wonderful dream of yours to more wonderful places around the world. You are indeed one of those gal who never fails to impress others ;) May God continue to guide you through and through =)


  42. hey nicole!personally, i love backpacking as well! me and some friends have backpacked all round europe and russia. keep on travelling nicole! im not rich myself, but when theres a will, theres really a way!=)

  43. awesome entry!!! very well said, and spendid pics... certainly had an urge to backpack at least once before i age further ;)

  44. hi nicole. your post touched me.
    My friend raised their eyebrow or giving the expression like " you're loner" when i said i want to travel solo/when i traveled solo. You said everything i wanne said to them. I shall refer them to read your post in future ^^

  45. I hope you don't get fatty with all the chocolate you're eating.

    Need a hotel next time, visit me
    Hotel Booking Pro : a unique tool that searches multiple hotel reservations website instantly. Also flight and car rental

  46. hey nicole, i totally agree with what u said...I am really glad to hear that there is another asian who thinks this way. I love to travel too. travel in the way u did. Tried it a few times, it was fun. While, if there is a chance, we might meet each other on a trip. Who knows...

    Here are some of my trips photos which I would like to share with travel lovers:

    Meanwhile take care and keep travelling....

  47. I've been on trips overseas, but never out of my own initiative. My family/friends plan, I just say Aye or Nay. Everything is taken care of. Lately, I've been toying with the idea of traveling alone but never took it seriously until I read this post.

    I admire your courage to do things most people wouldn't dare dream of. I hope to be like you some day and break away from mundane routines.

  48. I like the way you express yourself.

    Nicely done =)


  49. You are great Nicole!

    I wanna be like you next time!

    best wishes!

  50. Love this post! U are right

    Been following your blog on and off for some time, full of envy, finally backpacked Cambodia and it was fantastic though short

    Flew back and forth alone but had a friend waiting for me there

  51. stumbled upon ur blog when i was searching for ppl's krabi ure so inspiring!

    me n my girlfriends r going to krabi this dec n we're so excited coz its our first trip together. i love ur guts n courage as a female traveller, uve inspired me to travel more..u rock! XD

    P/S: I hope u dun mind me bookmarking this page as a reminder n inspiration of why its so awesome to be a female traveller :)

  52. Good post

  53. your dream and mine ((: except i think there's a better way to combine working and traveling and it's something i'm striving (leaps and bounds) for. at any rate, i really agree with you on solo-travel. the best things happen when it's just you against the world. :D thanks for being an inspiration. stay gold.