Why Spending Some Time Being Alone is a Good Thing

“What? Why being alone? It’s no good being alone like that”. That is what my friend said when he was told that our other friend preferred having some time alone to hanging out with us. That kind of response did not surprise me at all. Often times, people tend to see this “lonely time” as a really painful and unbearable time.

I read this one amazing book titled “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking” by Susan Cain. I discovered a lot of things about the personalities of people who are introverts and extroverts. Our society tend to see introverts are the kind of people who are shy, socially awkward or even antisocial. And extroverts are the fun ones; they laugh a lot, like to be the centre of people’s attention, dominant in conversation or simply the life of the party. Before I read this book, that’s what I believed too.

But after I got deeper into this book, I learned that those common views on what introverts and extroverts are, are wrong. Well, not entirely wrong in the sense of, yes, some introverts may be shy. But not everyone who can relate to be an introvert are shy. So, what is it then?

What differentiate introverts and extroverts is the way they recharge themselves. You don’t get what it means? Ok, so you have a cell phone. There will be time or times in a day when you’ll have to let you phone being charged and you may not be able to use it. People are just the same. We need some time to get recharged.

Introverts recharge themselves by being alone. Introverts enjoy that. I, for one, am an introvert. Thanks to that book I mentioned earlier, I can say that I am not crazy cos sometimes I like to spend time being alone; reading books/articles, listening to some music or simply staying still enjoying my free time. Because I am built like that therefore I don’t see being “alone” as a problem. It’s something fun for me because I get to recharge my battery before I get back to my activities.

Extroverts are different. They recharge themselves by being on the crowd, meeting people. They are the people people. You may have friends who will always ask you to accompany them to go anywhere. Oh, wait, that’s me, you said. Extroverts like people in most of the circumstances. Unlike introverts who may get tired when they spend too much time around many people, extroverts don’t. They relish that! So now you see what I mean. As extroverts will feel tortured spending their recharging time at home reading or watching something, introverts will feel tortured when they are forced to spend all their time with people and not given any time to recharge themselves.

But just because I think I am introvert doesn’t mean that I am gonna spend my whole time glued to a book or go to some place secluded to be a hermit. No. I believe that no one is built to be fully introvert or fully extrovert. We’ll have moments that we are more of an introvert and moments where are more of an extrovert. A balance in handling that is needed.

Now, let’s go back to the question on the title. So why is being alone actually a good thing? This is not to say, it’s only a good thing for introverts because you know, they enjoy it as recharging time. No, not really. It’s good for everyone regardless of the personality.

Why spending some time being alone is a good thing? Because it’s the time to recalibrate with our inner self. It is the perfect time to recheck if we have the right priorities in life. It is the time to see if every thing that has been going on is in line with who we are, with the values that we have. It’s very noisy these days. Mobile phone is that source of noise, most of the time. We don’t have time to have an internal conversation with ourselves because there are way many notifications or timeline to check on Path, Line, Facebook, Whatsapp, BBM, Twitter, etc.

“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail”, that quote from Benjamin Franklin says it all. If we don’t stop and block the noise to start talking and listening to ourselves, we are walking ourselves into failure. Failure to what, you said. Failure to live our life to its full potential.

 

 

Fear of Missing Out?

FOMO.

Recently I discovered that word. Fear. Of. Missing. Out.

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With this age of instant connection to media and social network, I am saddened by how quickly we get attached to all of that. I am an addict to all things related to technology or self-hack or music or so many other things that if I write down, this space won’t be enough. You get my idea.

How many of you feel left out if you don’t know what your friends are up to or what is happening around you at the very moment? I know it’s not bad to be updated on things that matter to our life. But sometimes it gets more than just “keeping updated”. It gets us to a feeling like “I can’t miss out on anything. No I can’t”.

I have been there. It sucks. It gets me dizzy because I have to keep on checking all social media I have in order to keep up with the world around me. Not to mention, the RSS I subscribed to and some other newsletters. Many times I end up feeling bad with my life. I notice that I compare myself with others mostly when I have the fear of missing out and constantly scrolling through the timeline. Not good.

I have started something new in my life. I have stopped checking my Facebook regularly. And my regularly, I mean several times in a day. Now, I check only once in every 2 to 3 days. And news too. I am addicted to news. It doesn’t have to be about serious stuffs happening in Middle-East or Ebola. It can be anything I don’t know. I am addicted to knowledge. I am still trying to control myself in news consumption. Not being glued to my screen checking what is new in music or movie or literature world.

I have been trying this out for couple of weeks now. Honestly I don’t remember when exactly I started this. But now, I can say that I am feeling better. When I am waiting or have nothing to do, FB (or any other apps in my phone like Instagram, Path, Flipboard, Alien Blue) is not the first app I open. Instead, I try to soak in what is happening in my surrounding. Lemme tell you, it is not easy task. But I am trying.

Fear of missing out. That is one of the symptoms of having unhappy life. Fear of being left out of something that we are not even sure the value is for our life.

I am still trying to deal with this. I have seen the improvement in my life. I am happier 🙂

So my friends. Are you seeing what I am seeing? Do you have the fear of missing out? If you do, deal with it before it takes over your life 🙂

The Very Reason Why You Should Turn on “Find My iPhone”

This post sounds solely applicable to iPhone. But actually it doesn’t. Android users can relate to this with the equivalent application you have on your phone. I am sharing this story with you now so you’ll be able to see the reason why that feature is a must.

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On August 2014, I was on a trip with my best mate, Wayne to Indochina. We had a lot preparation prior and it included making sure we turned on this “Find My iPhone” in both of our phones.

I will cut all the fun parts in the trip to get to the point of this post 😉

One morning we checked out from Hoang Hai Long Hotel in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam to catch a Mekong Express bus to Cambodia. The check-out process was annoyingly long, considering we’re gonna be late for our bus. By the time, we got in our taxi to the bus station, Wayne realized his phone was gone.

We went back to that hotel. He turned the room upside down and found nothing (of course, I had a strong feeling someone must have taken that). It was so hard since the trip was just starting and this happened. When we got to the bus station, I got to the office across the street to print out our tickets (we ordered the tickets online). Wayne couldn’t find his phone in his backpack and suitcase (he checked in case he forgot that he had put it in there before). He insisted to stay in the city until we could recover his phone. And then, it just clicked to me to check Find My iPhone!

I explained the situation to the lady at the office (she is super super nice. She asked the bus driver to wait for us while we were dealing with this) and she allowed us to use her desktop computer to check the location of the phone using http://www.icloud.com.

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Wayne logged in using his Apple ID and then he clicked the Find My iPhone thumbnail on the screen. We located the lost phone from there. We were not sure where it was so we asked that super super nice lady and she informed us that it was our hotel.

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The Three Musketeers

                       The Three Musketeers

We turned on the Lost Mode and Play Sound. Through Lost Mode, we sent a text message to the phone notifying that this phone was lost and asked the handler to call my phone. I was pretty sure that we’re gonna be able to get the phone back because if you turn on that Play Sound, that phone won’t stop ringing until it’s stopped and with Lost Mode, the phone is practically useless without the password for Apple ID. And no one will be able to circumvent that but the owner.

We called the hotel back and guess what? Surprise, surprise. They found the phone under a furniture. Wayne then took a motorbike taxi to collect the phone.

So, I hope after reading this, you, yes you, will go to your iPhone setting then go to Privacy, Location Services (switch it ON), Find My iPhone (switch it ON). You’ll notice that if you want to switch it back off (which you shouldn’t do), you’ll be asked for your Apple ID’s password. Great isn’t it?! No one will be able to stop you when you are looking for your phone!

And as I mentioned in the beginning of the post, Android users can totally relate to this story too. You guys can use Find My Phone or other anti theft apps on PlayStore. The purpose of the app is just about the same: Find our phone when it is lost from our sight.

Please introduce this feature to anyone you know so they won’t need to mourn over their lost phone. You can just use the share button down there for less of a hassle 😉

And this concludes the post. Later! 🙂

4 Reasons Why You Should Start Journaling

Before I start telling you all the reasons why you should start journaling, I think we should be on the same ground on what a journal is. In French, the word jour itself means day so to my own definition, a journal is something in which you record your daily activities. 

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Ok. So we are now settled with the definition of a journal! Let’s get going 😉

When I mentioned to my friends that I keep a journal, all of them raised their eye brows.

“What? Journal? You mean a diary? Like a dear diary thing?”

“Dude, that’s for chicks!”

“So you keep a notebook with you everywhere like old people?”

“What? Now you plan to make an autobiography out of it one day? Who are you?” 

Yup, I got all those responses. And I believe you too will get at least one or you had one of those in your mind when you read the title of my post. There is nothing wrong with that. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. 

I first encountered the idea of journaling back in 2006. I can’t recall specifically where I got that idea but I do remember that I wanted to improve my English and writing skills. Writing a journal was an exercise for me. I started doing that religiously and then I discovered that writing a journal is actually a therapeutic activity. Why?

First lemme answer a question with another question (I know someone’d hate this haha): How many of us spend a good quality time with our inner self on a regular basis? With all the activities and the rising trend on social media, I doubt any of us can actually spend time just sitting still and talk with ourselves. Oh well, if you manage to have time to do this or even meditate, that’s good for you! But I honestly think not everyone can do that and this is where journaling comes in. 

1. To evaluate your day

You can spare 10-15 minutes per day and rewind your day on a journal. By having that process, you will be able to spot some things that you missed or took for granted. And the next time you are on it again, you can make a better situation out of it. 

2. To keep track of things

I often have trouble remembering when a certain occasion happened in the past. I am pretty sure I am not the only one haha. But since I keep track of activities or important moments of my life in my journal, I can just check. I am using digital journal so it’s easier to search using keywords. 

3. To keep your emotions in check

Do you realize that as human beings we can’t hold all emotions to ourselves for a long time? If that is what you are doing now, beware my friend, you are a ticking bomb. You may explode at any given time. I understand when you have something in your heart that’s been bugging you for a long time but you have no one to talk to. Whether because it is very personal to you or because at the very moment, no one is available for you. You know what? Use a journal to let out all sorts of emotions. You will feel much better afterwards. Trust me, by letting it all out, you will see things more clearly afterwards. 

4. To keep on the right track

I believe each one of us has goal in life. It can be a short or long term goal. But sometimes there are many distractions out there to keep us focused. I think you will agree with me on that. But, hey, guess what? Journaling can help you to keep on track. You will feel more responsible about reaching your goal by logging in your process on a regular basis. It just works!

I used to have a binder to keep a journal. But then, thanks to technology. Oh well, thanks to Apple haha. I have been using my iPhone to keep a journal. If you want to start journaling, I’d recommend you to use a digital/electronic journal, like on your phone/tablet. It’s portable and you can fill it in anytime anywhere. 

So what are you waiting for now? Start journaling! 🙂

Jonn

Tips For Accommodation

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After booking your flights, the second most important thing to do is ensure you have a place to stay. We found that the best prices were from hotels.com and agoda.com. Both had a wide selection of hotels to choose from and provided helpful reviews and discounts. When you’re booking accommodations, you should do it as soon as you book your flights because you can often get a discount for booking a room a certain number of days in advance.

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One thing to note is that different websites offer different benefits at the hotel such as breakfast and free wi-fi. Often you’ll see two identical rooms but the prices are different. Click on the “amenities” link if there is one next to the room and read the description. For our trip, if the room price was not too different between the breakfast and no-breakfast package, we spent the extra few dollars and got breakfast. Many hotels just had the breakfast included as part of the room price. For the hotels we didn’t book breakfast for (Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam, and Bangkok, Thailand, it wasn’t too hard to walk down the street and find something to eat for breakfast, so don’t feel obligated to get a room package with breakfast. We did find it more convenient when there was breakfast, but it wasn’t essential.

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The way we selected rooms was by using Trip Advisor to check ratings and reviews, and then we took the hotel name and booked it on Agoda or Hotels.com because the pricing was better. When choosing hotels, we looked at the photos (be weary of hotels that have a lot of photos of the grounds but none of the inside of the rooms. Especially the bathrooms and the bed areas…), the rating of stars, the reviews, and the price. When it comes to reviews, the best thing is to disregard the reviews that have a “5” and the reviews with a rating of “1”. These people tend to be extremists in my opinion, they either loved all of it or hated all of it and everything was the absolute worst. What we did was read the reviews of “3” and “4” because I find that those individual tend to be more honest with their reviews. The 3’s are essentially saying “so-so” and they’re more likely to give you concrete reasons for being torn in their decision. They’ll typically give a good balance of the good and bad of the hotel unlike those who rate a “5” or a “1”. The reviewers who leave a “4” are also valuable because they liked most things, but there was something that made them hold back from giving it a 5, and they will likely be honest about it. It may be something that bothers you as well and may make you want to avoid that hotel, so be sure to read up.

Another thing with reviews is to read the most recent ones. Check the dates as some people write their reviews over a year after they travel and in that time the hotel could have gone through major upgrades and renovations (e.g., someone “travelled in” Feb 2013, but the review was “posted in” July 2014. Over a year has passed and some of what was said may have been resolved in that time, so just use caution. Lastly, take all reviews with a grain of salt. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. I think sometimes hotel staff go in and write reviews…

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One last tip, if you see a hotel where the management has replied to the recent reviews, that is also a good sign. I like to see that the management has taken an interest and is listening. It also helped me to avoid a few hotels because the managers were quite rude and condescending in their response to visitor comments/reviews. If they’re willing to be a jerk online, then how do you think they’ll act in person when/if you have an issue during your stay?

Lastly, remember to print the confirmation of every hotel you book because often you will be asked for it when you arrive at the hotel. They will also ask for your passport and the passport of all others staying in your room as well as the credit card of the person who made the booking (for incidentals) at check in. This was surprising to me at first, but I got used to it after the second hotel. Printing the confirmation will also allow you to have the address of the hotel on hand, and will help the taxi/tuk-tuk driver out when you use their services from the airport.

By: Wayne Thomas 

Indochina 2014

Indochina—I’d read many blogs and articles about this region, but it had never occurred to me before that I’d be traveling there! Now, I can say I have been to Indochina! And even better than that, I got to visit this region with my best mate, Wayne! 😀

The reason I am writing about this trip is to give you, the reader, some sort of a starting reference point. Yes, you. I know you have been searching Google for information on how to travel in and around Indochinese countries like Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia, and sights such as Phi Phi Islands, Angkor Wat, Choeung ek museum, etc. Hopefully this blog will help you with your trip Indochina trip planning! I will present this blog in parts so that you can find the section with the exact information that interests you!

Part 1: TRIP PREPARATION

We started our 2 week trip in Vietnam then hopped over to Cambodia and wrapped it up in Thailand. As a reference, I flew from Indonesia, and Wayne flew from South Korea. Initially, this is how we broke it down:

  • 3 days in Vietnam
  • 4 days in Cambodia and
  • 7 days in Thailand,
  • 14 days total

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Before I go into detail, first let’s talk about how we got there.

Flights

If you are looking to save some money on the flight, I highly recommend that you find a budget airline to get to Vietnam. Asia has many dependable budget airlines. I flew from Jakarta, Indonesia using a Singaporean based airline called TigerAir. Booking your ticket at least 2 months in advance for high season will be the best way to go about it. Alternatively, you can subscribe to their newsletter and wait for their promotional emails (just a head’s-up, you have to pay for seats on this airline so don’t be surprised. Or you can just skip the seat selection and avoid the charge on that. That’s what I did on my flight home and it saved me a few bucks).

Baggage 

BEFORE you fly, it is critical that you remember to weigh your suitcase AND carry-on backpack/cabin bag!

If your suitcase’s weight is close to your limited weight allowance, don’t play with it, head to their website and upsize your baggage limit. Why? Sometimes your suitcase will weigh more in the airport (I don’t want to badmouth any airline or airport here but I have experienced it several times). And if the weight is more than you are allowed to bring, they will happily charge you extra for that.

If you are the backpack type, make sure your backpack is not heavier than what is allowed. For TigerAir, it is 10 Kgs. For AirAsia, it’s 7 Kgs. For further information, I suggest you consult your airline’s website or give them a call. Just make sure that your backpack is at least 1 KG less than the allowance. Why? Again. You never know how that airport scale will work… If by chance, your backpack weighs more than the allowance, just purchase their additional baggage allowance. Here’s why…

In Phuket, we saw one unfortunate guy paying more than $100USD for his huge backpack which, of course, from the looks of it already passed the allowed weight. We were right behind him in the line so after he left, I asked the lady at the counter and she said he had to pay extra for for excess cabin baggage weight, it worked out to $18 USD per kg in excess of the allowance for AirAsia. So there you have it. Weigh. ALL. Of. Your. Bags.

After you book your flight, check if you have a layover somewhere in the middle. If you are like me and have a layover somewhere, I suggest you to bring some local money in case you want to buy food or souvenirs in the duty free areas.

If you’re flight searching and you see that the cost to fly directly to Ho Chi Minh is too expensive. You can take a flight to Bangkok and then take off from there to Ho Chi Minh City on your next flight. That’s what Wayne did and it’s much cheaper (less that $50 USD) than a direct flight from Seoul to Ho Chi Minh City.

After you finish booking your flight(s). You should make a checklist of things to bring with you. Aside from the usual clothing, before you go, I’d recommend you to download an offline map application on your phone. We used one called “Ulmon Pro CityMaps2Go” on our iPhones and it worked marvelously! If you want to use this app, you’ll have to download the map for cities separately (with no additional cost). What made this app great is the ability to use it without an Internet connection. You just have to enable location services on your phone and you’ll be able to see your current location. It helped us a lot when we’re trying to find places to see, food to eat, and get back to our hotel.

Ok. I think this is enough for one post. Next post I’ll be sharing about our first stop: Vietnam. See ya!

 

Why Worry?

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I think “worry” is a very common thing that happens in our lives.

I too worry, like a lot.

Recently, I spent way too much time worrying things I should not. It ate me up from within. No matter what I was doing, I’d worry about some things. No hearty laugh, just a hesitant smile here and there to complement the situation I was in. It’s hard to live every single day in that phase. I know you know this, too.

We’d worry about work or our career, we’d worry about our financial situation, we’d worry about the relationship we are in, we’d worry about our family members, we’d worry about our health, we’d worry about so many things. But you know what?

No matter what kind of worry that we have, all of them have 1 similarity. It’s about what the future holds for us. We are scared of that tunnel ahead of us. Be it professionally, financially or personally.

I thank God for His constant guidance and unceasing love for me. Despite all of the messiness in my head, He reminded me of something very essential and I want to share this with you, putting aside what your belief system is.

Be grateful for where you are now.

Remember that one time when you saw something in you and you decided to follow your heart to pursue something despite what your friends said. And then here you are today with the skills/knowledge/money you have way beyond your peers.

Remember that one time that you felt so lonely because you could not relate to anyone. You felt you were weird and out of place. And then here you are today, later in life, seeing all the dots being connected for good deeds.

Remember that one time few years back when you were out there looking for a job. What are the odds that you got the job even though you knew you were not even be able to compete with other highly qualified candidates. But, you got the job!

Remember that one time.

Remember where you were before you are here now, in front of a screen reading this.

We sometimes focus too much on what is to come. We spend way too much time on that instead of pondering the goodness and blessings we have had before.

Let’s say we start the day by thanking God for where we are today, I am sure we will worry less. Why? Because we’d push ourselves to remember the good deeds He had done for us and we’d know that He has taken good care of us for so long that we even made it here!

With all of that in our mind, why do you think He would stop caring for us?

We are in good hands. God is in control. 🙂

 

 

Fly

Centuries ago, who would have thought that human would be able fly like birds?

These are some of the views I managed to capture while flying from 1 city in Sulawesi island, Makassar to another city in another island, Java. Both cities are in Indonesia, my lovely country.

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Coto Makassar

Coto Makassar

Traditional Beef Soup from Makassar, Indonesia

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