A travel hack

How do you prepare your travelling?

For any travelling, I always prepare myself especially the things I have to pack. I don’t want to have something left behind that probably will ruin my traveling.

For this, I always make a list of things I have to bring considering the purpose of the traveling, how long and also how far including clothes. The longer the traveling, ussually the longer the list becomes. This list shows the details. I put them categories :
1. Travel documents
2. Clothes (tops)
3. Clothes (buttoms)
4. Clothes (inners)
5. Clothes (underwears)
6. Footwears
7. Electronics
8. Luggage and bags
9. Books and pen
10. Cleaning products and cosmetic products
11. Medicine
12. Food
13. Misceleneous like umbrella, sun glasses, tumbler and many more

The list can become really long. The longer the stay, the longer the list. It depends on each individual and also each one’s priority.

This list really helps my memory, it doesn’t have to think unnecessarily. The longer the trip, the earlier I prepare the list.

I remember I jumped out of the bed in the middle of the night remembering I had not put a pen refill in my luggage and my flight was the first flight in the next morning. It was a vacation trip. I prepared myself to write during that trip so enough pen refills was essential for this trip.

My roomate in the retreat program recently was amazed when I told her that I made the list three weeks before the date of our departure and I packed my stuff a week before. She only did her packing one day before the date of her departure. She became more amazed when I showed my list. It showed the details.

She said to the other roomates that I had everything including umbrella, kettle for boiling water, cable extension, coffee, scissor, trekking stick, envelope, knife, ginger candy etc. Until in the last few days of our stay one of them asked if she could borrow a weight scale from me to weight her luggage and I replied: ‘Probably one thing I don’t have here is a weight scale.’ 😊

I also remembered when a friend offered me for a staycation with her last year. It was in new year eve. We stayed in one of 5-star hotel in the middle of the city. I did my packing one day before. I arrived at the hotel at 11 am and I called my friend to tell her that I had arrived at the hotel. Our plan was to do an early check-in so we could explore the hotel to know what facilities and what programs they had that we could participate. To my surprise my friend was telling me that she had not packed her stuff in her luggage. She was just about to do it. She was still at home and she didn’t have any list.

I waited for her at the loby of the hotel and finally we checked in at 2 pm. It was fine with me. I went around the reception area and found a ballroom which had a table tennis and I played table tennis with a teenaged boy who was happenedly there. I enjoyed it. We actually had a pleasant and memorable stay.


How much words can work

It has been a week I am here in a retreat program. I planned to join this program a month before. I prepared myself before leaving. My roomate here said that I am a good planner. I also planned what to do and what not to do during retreat. I want to take benefit for myself from this program as much as possible. I want to learn as much as possible, not only from classes and lectures but also from sharing with other participants and also from observation.

One of my favorite corners in this retreat place for my reflection

I put a limit for myself in accessing internet and social media platforms. This is what I can not do in my normal day where I always carry my smart phone with me. It seemed like I cannot live without this device even just an hour. I want to prove for myself that I can live without a smart phone for several hours a day.

Ussually I read one quote as a thought for today for myself. I do it in the morning. Then I also post it on one of my social media platforms. Quite often my friends or my contacts get inspired also by reading the quotes. Some thanked to me for posting it.

It is amazing how words can work really positively on people. This is a very easy way to inspire others probably also to uplift others. How do you feel when you are reading an inspiring quote? Does it give you a positive feeling?

A few days ago I got a message from my little friend, a 10-year old boy called Marvell. He wrote to me why I did not post any inspiring quote anymore these days. I felt so sorry about it. I told him that I am in India and I am too busy to read and to post one. Probably I should make time for this today or tomorrow knowing at least someone is waiting for the post out there.

We never know what one quote can do to someone’s life. We never know if it can relate to someone’s situation and probably become the answer for their questions.


Miss Baby Corn

Do you easily get bored? What do you do when you get bored?

My friend was telling me how she played a song in her car while driving on her way to or from work many many times. She loved the song. She told me that the lyrics was so beautiful. When her older sister was happenedly going with her in the car and she played the song and kept replaying it, her sister expressed her amazement that she had not get bored listening (problably also singing it) “again?!”

Actually I tend to do the same with song or music, but also with a short podcast or audio classes. I can play it again and again and again.

Some years ago I played an audio record of someone giving a lecture. I like the topic and also the way he was delivering it with so much fun….and so honest sharing on his experience. It was recorded in a compact disc. I remembered that I kept the CD sitting there in the player in my car for at least the whole year. I had no idea how many times I had listened to it. I was quite sure more than a hundred times.

I do the same in eating. I have been eating same food (menu) for the last two months at least for my breakfast and my lunch. I cook baby corn mixed with other vegetables and have it for breakfast and lunch. A simple dish actually, probably too simple. It just needs a very quick preparation. This is one of the reasons why I choose to cook this dish. I skip dinner most of the time. I noticed that by having this menu everyday I never have any problem with my digestion system.

“Miss Baby Corn”

My colleagues knew this and they start calling me ‘Miss Baby Corn’. They are amazed how I can have it everyday without feeling bored. Each time I have it, I enjoy it, especially when it is still fresh and hot.

I see colleagues often do not know what to have for their lunch. They take a bit of time to think and decide what to have for lunch. They keep changing their menus. Rarely same menus for several days in a row. I save so much time in this.

It does’t mean that I never get bored. I do. But at least not in the areas I shared above or in what I like.

Is it really a problem if you don’t get bored very easily? Or getting bored very easily is more a problem?


Valentine’s Day

February is special,  known as the month of love. It has Valentine’s day in it. Every 14th of February people celebrate Valentine’s day. Love is the breath in life. It is the oxygent. It is needed by each and every living being. I cannot imagine how life would be without love.

I don’t remember exactly when I knew that February 14th is Valentine’s day and who is Valentine and the story behind it. It is not in our culture here to celebrate Valentine’s day. Especially many many years ago when internet and social media were something not popular. When people were living with news papers, radio and television.

I remember a friend was telling me a sweet story of her with her daddy when she was still a young teenaged girl. She is the only daughter in the family, very much loved by her parents. She lived in a small town in North Sumatera called Tarutung, not far from Toba lake.

Say it with chocolate!

I don’t know exactly what happened in her school that day on the Valentine’s day. But when she arrived home she excitedly told her dad that it was Valentine’s day. In those days Valentine’s day was only popular among young people. So he asked his young daughter ‘What is Valentine’s day?’

I guess it was the first time he heard it. And my friend explained that valentine day is when a boy gives chocolate to a girl. A quite simple definition from a young teenaged girl.

In the evening her dad brought home chocolate for her. I can imagine how these two people expressed their love to each other in that moment. My friend was ofcourse surprised. So lovely and so sweet.


A note to myself

I have shared in this blog that I had my personal projects going on. 3 projects at the same time. This is my personal projects. It has to do with noone except me. I called it a 100-day project. Literally each project was for 100 days.

First one was on spirituality, how I wanted to see myself made a progress in this.

Second project was on health, how I would be more conscious and focused on health, physically, mentally and also emotionally. And this refered to a book I read. I wanted to put more attention and also time on what I learned from that book. I wanted to understand what was written on the book more deeply and if possible I could put it into practice. So it did not only please my ears but also my soul. Or if possible, it could change my soul (my self).

And the third project was on finance. If I wanted to become free from any worries, then that would be free from money worries.

Now those 3 projects are completed. Have I reached my goal? Am I satisfied? Probably I have not reached my goal yet, but I am sure I have made steps towards the goal. I am not standing at the same point where I started. I am not satisfied either. And this is what keeps me going.

If I have to write a note to myself, it would be ‘Thank you for being so honest.’


When do you follow your feeling?

When you have to make an important decision, do you always need someone’s opinion?

A friend of mine planned to buy a new car. Buying a car for many people is considered as an investment. It needs quite a lot of money. She is an unmarried woman. Being unmarried means having no partner to discuss with and in her situation is on automotive updates. She said to me “If I have a husband, at least I have someone who can give me a view of what car I should buy.” She needed someone to discuss with.

Probably this is one of downsides of being a single. Of course it is not always the case.

I remembered a colleague when she was going to take her car ownership program for her, she discussed it with her husband who happenedly worked for Toyota for many years. He was very much exposed to technology updates in automotive. He gave her his opinion on this and probably too much for her. They ended up with a conflict. The husband was very strong with his suggestion while my colleague wanted him to give her a bit of freedom to decide.

It is very interesting how two people have a completely different perspective for the same situation, for buying a car. Both are female. This automotive world might belong to males more than females.

Is automotive world more for males?

I remembered my own situation a few years ago. Actually I knew what to buy, a brand with road assisstant services. This was my number one criteria for choosing a brand for a car. As a female driver, I am aware that I need this assistance in case of an emergency. Just out of curiosity, I went to a show room of another brand. I had a test-drive there. It was a good experience driving that car, very comfortable. A test drive can really give an experience for the driver. And it can change someone’s mind. And I changed my mind. I made a very quick decision to choose that brand. I did not need anyone to discuss with. I followed my feeling. I even compromised to the criteria I have put earlier.


No-Buy List

If you have to make a list of no-buy stuff this year what would be in your list?

Just before the year 2022 ended, I made a no-buy list for 2023. A quite long list. Almost 50 items in the list. These are all items I do not want to buy in 2023. I said to my self ‘I have it enough. I do not need anything extra’.

And it included footwear, shirt, jeans, bags, luggage, some cosmetic items and also utensils.

No buy challenge

This is what a minimalist advises to simplify life, to give your resources including time, energy and money only to what matters.

I told my friend about my list. It was like a commitment to myself. When I shared it to someone, I feel like I declared it.

Only a few days before new year, I and my friend went to a shopping mall. My friend wanted to buy sneakers. We went to two different shops and she bought 2 pairs of shoes from these shops. She took a while to choose the shoes for her. While she was giving a try some shoes, I was also giving a try to a new released one. It looked very pretty on my feet and super comfortable. I liked it.

An inner battle was happening whether I should buy that shoes or not. I knew it was a very tough battle. Because they were just new released, probably somebody would purchase that shoes very soon if I did not buy that shoes right away and next time I would not be able to find that same shoes again with my size.

I told myself that I have got 2 pairs already. One pair is actually running shoes and the other pair is the casual one and they were enough.

To be honest, I forgot my no-buy list at that time, until my friend reminded me about the promise I made with a reasoning ‘It has not been 2023 yet!’ She said. I won the battle that day. I kept telling my self that 2 pairs  were enough.

Another advice says if you are conflicting inside whether to purchase something or not, pause for a few days, think it again. If after a few days the urge is still very strong, you can go back to the shop and buy that item you like. You might need it. Very often I don’t want it anymore after a few days for thinking about it again. It works.

This last few weeks I have been thinking about buying footware that more water resistant and comfortable for traveling  during the wet weather.

The urge is getting stronger. And I know I still need this kind of footware. So I plan to break one promise.


My to do list

How do you manage your time? Time is one of our resources in our lives. A very important resource. Other resources would be health, wealth, talents, thoughts, network, relationship etc.

I am going to talk about time here. Time is life itself. To be living means to have time.

A big different between a successful person and unsuccessful one is on how they manage their time. There is a difference between these two.

Successful ones ussually manage their time well, because they value their time, their every second. They know how to use it in a worthwhile way. An important person ussually has a to-do list. It is actually a list of tasks to do. They schedule everything and make sure their priorities are carried out and no task is missed.

Why do we need to do the scheduling? Each one of us has tasks to do everyday, personally and professionally. Our time is limited. When we put them written we tend to do it well because we make time, put our attention and energy there. We keep our focus. We won’t miss it. The schedule will remind us to any task needs to be completed.

How do you make your daily schedule? Do you make it on a digital device? on your smartphone or laptop? This device is really smart, and it will remind you on timely basis with no fail if you are on screen most of the time. But for those who consider themselves need to reduce their screen time, it might not be the best way. The screen will pull your attention. It might become a distraction of your focus instead.

And I realized I am on this second category. I prefer to make my to-do list on my book. I write them down. I bought a very nice book for this. Its pages are blank, no lines and also no dates printed, so I can freely write anything, draw anything too. Ussually I write the list only for that particular day. I put some on a little sticky colored paper if the schedule is still a few days ahead or not yet fixed. Then I stick it on the following blank page.

Every time I put a sign to a completed task written, it gives me a feeling of an accomplishment. A very good feeling. This feeling gives me a direct impact on my life.

I said to a friend that this book was my self-reward for the new year. Probably you also do not need a fancy self-reward, but something that practically change your life though in a small amount.


A Gift Exchange

When you go to someone’s event or your friend’s like a wedding, birthday party or any other event probably they give you a gift or souvenir. This souvenir is a token for you.

Many people are so creative with interesting ideas for souvenir and gift. I remembered long time ago a friend who had her wedding party gave a souvenir for each guest a little fruit plant. I think it was a brilliant idea. It gave people idea to plant a tree. It encouraged people to take care of the environment.

But most of the time, people do not really care when they give souvenirs for their programs. Many many times I brought home a mug or a glass, a folding cloth bag, folding fan, lunch box and many more.

When you get these souvenirs what do you do then with those stuff? Do you use it? Do you keep it and collect it? Do you give it to someone else? Do you donate it? Or do you throw it away?

A gift exhange

Rarely I got a souvenir that I really need it. To be honest I would be happy if I get a souvenir or a gift something I really need. It doesn’t have to be fancy. I do not care whether it is just a simple stuff or something very cheap.

I remembered a few years ago we had a gift exchange in the office. Each one had to write a gift she wanted to have and also write their names in a little folding paper. Those who got that little folding paper should prepare the gift as written inside. I wrote a little knife for cutting fruit. My colleague happily gave me that gift. I was so thankful to her. Another time I wrote to have a gift of pen refill. I also remembered a colleague wrote to have a gift for her a baby turtle. It sounds unussual, anti-mainstream. Luckily I didn’t get her request. 😊

The gifts from each one for our gift exchange recently.

I hate collecting souvenirs. They just clutter my space.


Mount Abu

I think I have to be thankful to my colleagues. Deep down in our hearts we are supporting one another though superficially we sometimes look like Tom and Jerry to one another.

Our communication has been so open that anyone can say anything about any of us. No one should get hurt or probably ‘should learn not to get hurt’. We learn one another’s personalities without any judgement and learn to accept them. If we are full-time working probably we might spend our times with our colleagues more that with anyone else. So when your relationship with those who work with you should be enjoyable.

When I became a bit more reactive, some colleagues said to me “I think you need ‘namaste’. You have not gone to a retreat for several years.”

I have been practicing meditation and they call it ‘namaste’. They are very funny. They understand meditation helps, at least what they see in me. When I began to be a little bit reactive to a situation in the office, a colleague said “You have become like us. So you urgently need a ‘namaste’.” They were aware of me being different from them and they wanted me to stay different. It is intereating to know this.

They even asked me to get the nearest schedule for a retreat for me. They encourage me to go and I have planned to go to Mount Abu India.