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.

 

 

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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 🙂

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!

 

. . . is Present

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Any of you ever heard of Marina Abramović ?

Frankly speaking, her name never crossed me until recently I found out about the collaboration that happened between her and Gaga. I then headed to Wikipedia to look into her. I was intrigued to check on her art performance on YouTube. I watched some of her performances and found myself aghast. I was a total noob for this kind of art performance. Up to this point, I considered her actions as pointless and very odd (I watched the videos where she bumped herself into the wall, pressing herself to a big mirror, some people masturbating and a very disturbing animation video of woman inserting fish into her vagina). Then came another big collaboration of her with a rapper, Jay Z. That got my attention so this time I decided to put aside my initial thought on her and tried to understand what someone like Marina’s actually doing.

I watched this documentary about her performance in MOMA. I was very skeptical when I first tuned in to this documentary. Some cuts were pretty graphic and inconceivable. I did not get what her “performance” had to do with art. But then, I got to see a glimpse of her early years with her companion and a tiny part of her childhood. I saw a link and reasoning there.

But what really gets into me from this HBO’s documentary is her art performance in MOMA, called The Artist is Present. It is the exact title that’s used as a title for this documentary. Those of you who reside in US might have heard of it since it’s pretty controversial back then. People getting naked in museum being treated as art and Marina herself was the main attraction of the crowd. People were lining up nights before only to be able to sit in front her and stare into her eyes. At first, I did not get the whole point of this, at all. I thought it was pretty odd, sitting in an big plain room with many people watching. Then I got to see that many visitors sat down and felt the kind of affection from Marina’s eyes. She was present. She sat there and simply being present towards her visitor. She smiled, she cried, she looked deep into the person sitting in front of her.

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An interesting comment came from one of MOMA’s people (I think so, CMIIW). He said Marina always gave the impression that she’s in love with the person she’s interacting with. It’s her full presence that made it so.

No wonder many had the tenacity to wait long hours only to be able to sit in front of Marina. Even from a screen, I could feel how warm and fully present she was towards the visitors. She looked deep into each pair of eyes, felt every emotion, letting out smiles and even tears along with the visitors. And I agreed with a commentator mentioning how Marina made the person she’s interacting with, felt as if becoming Marina’s lover because of the full attention she’s giving out.

But it is sad to see that in the society, we as human beings are losing our grip on our life.

With these days’ technology, everyone is always seemed to be attached to some gadgets. Be it the increasingly omnipresent smartphone or tablets or computer or television or anything else. You can always find a group of friends or family hanging out and some seem real busy with their gadgets while ignoring the other bunch who are interacting.

And not only that, as a human being, we are accustomed to deal with everything in a brisk manner. We constantly forget to be there during the whole process. What we want is always the final result. This whole thing is slowly making ourselves become a robot.

With Marina’s art performance, I learned that we can get ourselves back to the right track. Back to the way it’s supposed to be. How? By being present whenever and wherever we are. It is to make us appreciate more and be more responsive to what is happening at the present time instead of just chasing the wind with no clear direction.

Be present and make a difference. Be present and spend more quality time with our loved ones.

That’s why I keep “. . . is Present” as a title of this post. Fill in your name in the blank space and utter it to yourself, “. . . is present”.

Ready to see yourself evolving to become a better you 🙂

Crayon and Human

Each crayon in a box of colouring set has its own colour.
Every single one of it.
There is no exception one to another.

Crayon and Human

Each stick has its own colour as well as its own job.
And in order to create an exquisite picture of scenery, an artist would need mostly every colour suited with the picture.

So, the green one will mostly go the grass or trees. The blue one will go right with the sky or the water. And so on.

It comes just like a living.

Human is created with his/her own ‘colour’.
Every single one.
No exception.

Every human being has his/her own ‘colour’ and part of ‘scenery’ to complete.

There is no way that one human can replace another one. He/she got his/her own ‘part’.

Let’s complete our ‘part’ and make the best out of it. 🙂