Ibn Battuta – a famous Moroccan traveller once said:
“Travelling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.”
Travelling has always been my passion. Travel is the way to meet new people in your life and make connections and share stories. Travel is seeing the natural wonders created by God and admiring their magnificence. Travel is not just relaxation but also hardship – there will be obstacles in your way. Travelling is an expression of life – life is a journey that one must undertake and the paths you take in that journey decides your future.
So far, I have lived and visited a total of ten countries, including Malaysia. Countries I have lived in are coloured in dark green, while countries I have visited for a maximum of two weeks are coloured in light green.
As an expatriate, I have lived in Oman, Russia and is currently living in Egypt. I consider ‘living’ as staying in a country for more than a few months at a time. In Oman, I resided in the capital city, Muscat, for six years. After that I returned to Malaysia to live in a hostel near Kuala Lumpur for three years, but I spent my long holidays during spring, winter and summer in Sakhalin Island, Far East Russia. My family moved there after living in Oman, and they stayed there only for about a year before moving on to Cairo, Egypt. I moved to Cairo in August 2014 after graduating from secondary school in Malaysia and I am currently undertaking an International Baccalaureate Diploma in New Cairo British International School.
Living as an expat in these countries make it easy for me to visit neighbouring countries close by. I have had the pleasure of going to the United Arab Emirates several times, Saudi Arabia for ‘umrah, and Turkey when I was living in Oman. In addition to that, when my family returned to Malaysia for holidays, we also visited Singapore (twice) and Medan, Indonesia. (I visited Thailand when I was a toddler, so I didn’t remember anything. Still counts though!)
I have big plans for the future – I am planning to visit 26 new countries marked in light blue. In addition, I’d love to visit some of the countries I’ve lived in before as well.
In my mind, Europe had always been associated with its fascinating history. The reason why I really want to go to Europe is to experience its past through visits to famous landmarks, monuments and museums. I’d love to go to Berlin (Germany) to indulge in the history of the once-divided city, Warsaw and Krakow (Poland) to experience glorious medieval architecture, Vienna (Austria) and its glorious imperial palaces, Budapest (Hungary) with its royal heritage, Sarajevo (Bosnia-Herzegovina) and its melting pot of Ottoman, Slavic and Austrian cultures and the list goes on.
I wouldn’t dream of forgetting East Asia – a place that is close to my heart. I wanted to go to Japan so much that I have done so much research about where I should go. Serene temples and its delightful traditions make it a truly magical place. I’ve visited South Korea before, actually, but only the airport (and that doesn’t count!). Korea is a fantastic place for a history buff like myself as not only the country has a rich imperial history, but also it is still technically at war with the North. A visit to the DMZ would be like travelling back in time, when two world superpowers were at each other’s throats enforcing the ideas of democracy and communism on smaller countries. Both of these countries are reachable from Malaysia via a number of airlines offering cheap fares, so realistically travelling there is a piece of cake.
ADDENDUM (1st of April 2015)
Very recently, in fact only about a month ago, I was able to mark another country with light-green, thanks to my school arranging their Duke of Edinburgh International Award Expedition in Cyprus! I am proud to say that now the total count of all the countries I have ever visited is at eleven. To read all about my experiences in the Island of Aphrodite, please click this link!
And FYI, I also visited Turkey for the second time in the end of February. Three years ago, I visited Istanbul and Bursa, but this year, I went doun south to the coastal paradise of Antalya! To read more about it, please click here!
ADDENDUM (16th of April 2015)
Also very recently, I went on a brilliant vacation to the Netherlands. In addition to staying in the canal-capital Amsterdam, I had the opportunity to visit other Dutch villages, towns and cities. Here I was able to experience several aspects of Dutch culture and history for three full days. If you want to know more about my first landing in Western Europe, please click this link!
Comprehensive To-Visit List (Including Countries I’ve Already Visited)
- ASIA-PACIFIC REGION
- South Korea
- China (and Hong Kong)
- Indonesia (again)
- FORMER SOVIET REPUBLICS
- MIDDLE EAST
- Saudi Arabia (for pilgrimage)
- Syria (once peace returns)
- Palestine (once peace returns)
- South Africa
- EUROPE AND NORTH AMERICA
- United Kingdom
- Republic of Ireland
- USA (specifically New York City)