Life without working in the corporate world can be slow and comfortable. It is easy to slip into routine and become complacent. If I haven’t homeschooled my child or become a freelancer, I won’t have many goals to accomplish or to aim for. Then my existence is plainly for survival – to eat and sleep and repeat the routine. That to me is one dangerous territory that I never want to find myself in.
With the current pandemic situation, I found myself slowly but surely veering towards complacency. I couldn’t volunteer just yet because my organization (mainly made up of moms and young children) haven’t given the green light to go ahead with playgroup activities.
The freelancing business has been steady but slow. And the biggest push to make me do something really epic and challenging is that this year taught me to be grateful to be alive and healthy, that I have taken everything for granted: nature, freedom and relationships.
While I can’t cross the country border to go back to Singapore to visit my loved ones. I treasured the precious time I have with my loved ones in Malaysia but most importantly, I want to love myself.
With that in mind together with my goal to break my complacency status and in line with my aim to get in touch with both freedom and nature, I decided to take an epic adventure all by myself.
Epic Adventure, Here I Come…
Yup, you’ve heard it right. All by myself.
The last time I travelled by myself was in 2015. In 2015, I was single, travelling for business (expenses paid by the company) across China where I am fluent with both the language and the culture.
Read More: People’s Republic of China here I come
Forward to 2020, I will be travelling alone (on a budget) all night across Malaysia on a night bus where I don’t really understand Malay (I’m still learning). This is to achieve a tick on one of my long-standing items bucket list. I wanted to get my Advanced Open Water Scuba Diving license.
For those who don’t dive, for you to scuba dive, you need to obtain an Open Water license and that is the first step you take towards recreational diving. I have already taken that in 2012 and since then, I haven’t been back into the wetsuit, meaning I haven’t dived in 7 years. Scuba diving is a high-risk recreational sport however, when following proper safety procedures, risks can be minimised, even eliminated.
To sum it up, these are the odds stack against me:
- Female solo traveller
While there are plenty of female solo travellers these days, we cannot ignore the disadvantages and dangers that may present to us. Besides, I haven’t been travelling solo for 5 years, it is a big hurdle to cross for me.
Read More: Overcoming my Fear of Traveling Solo
- Travelling in the night
It was the most convenient and efficient (not the safest) way to get to Kuala Besut jetty as the journey is 7 hours bus ride. So I get up on the bus at 11 pm, slept on most of the journey and reach my destination at 5 am.
I didn’t want to attract anyone’s attention to the fact I’m travelling solo at night so I kept my profile low, made no eye contact and look nonchalant.
- Language Barrier
Although I have been living in Kuala Lumpur for 5 years now, I haven’t managed to pick up Bahasa Melayu (their national language). This is due to not actively communicating with people every day, holed up at home with my little one and working remotely with English and Chinese speaking clients.
Even though, Perhentian islands are a popular tourist spot (where English is a common language), getting into Kuala Besut (where the jetty locates) is a different story.
Everyone I spoke to in Kuala Besut only speaks in Malay so in spluttering Malay, flailing hand signs and throwing desperate looks, I managed to find the jetty, flag down a cab and get to my destination and confirmed my ferry booking at the local agency.
- I haven’t dived in 7 years
With no one I know in Perhentian, I did all the research I could via the Internet. Found a reputable dive centre (diligently comparing between TripAdvisor, Google and Facebook reviews). Watched more than 10 Youtube videos to refresh my diving memory and took a week to revise on my Open Water textbook.
At any point, I could have given up and just admit it is too hard a hurdle for me to cross. I could have chosen to stay dry, safe and comfy in my home with my family. I could have used any one of these excuses running round and round in my mind:
“I am not well equipped to travel alone.”
“I’m already a mother, I don’t need adventures.”
“I’m a wife and a mother, I can’t be selfish and take a trip on my own.”
“I can’t speak Malay, what if I run into trouble?”
“What if I get lost?”
“Single female travelling in the night is just asking for trouble.”
“Diving is a dangerous sport, I have a family now, why should I take unnecessary risks?”
“Am I sure I want to pursue an expensive sport that I haven’t touch for 7 years?”
No! With every one of these excuses, I countered with this: “Is this something you need to do before you die?”
March Forward, One Step At A Time
I persevered. Pushed away all negative thoughts. I told nobody (except my husband and daughter) that I am doing this trip because I don’t want anyone to discourage me.
I’m thanking myself that I persevered. I got my Advanced Diving License! I made a lot of new friends at the dive centre. Plus future plans to dive together in a group.
Read my TripAdvisor review on my dive centre here and you can totally tell that I am very happy when I wrote the review.
I have never felt so accomplished for a long time. Pushing my own limits is refreshing and satisfying. The joyous and proud moments as I recounted my story to my friends and family when I came back as I witnessed their shock and surprise that I could be so daring.
I reminded them of the old Kally they used to know. The Kally before marriage and child. The girl who relishes on creating epic adventures and rode tough challenges like she rides the waves. I left my home as a worried wife and mother but I came back as a free-spirited and rejuvenate woman.
Safe & Sound At Home
Today, I’m penning this article down and sharing with you my rewards. If there is something you have to do, do it. Don’t hesitate. If you hesitate, it means you aren’t desperate enough to want this. You have to want something so badly that you use this urge and turn it into strength to push through your boundaries. The boundaries that you drew yourself, that you said you can’t do it and you allow others to agree so.
So what is the next item on your bucket list?
Want to read more about my personal adventures? Check out these:
Why Traveling is The Best Thing to Do Now?
* New Updates * Lockdown from Covid-19: From an Expat’s Point of View
Relocation Blues I’m Having Right Now
Best things in life are meant to be shared, start spreading MiddleMe around, after all, sharing is caring.