This is how I finally found my purpose in life

24. It is the age where you are independently capable enough to purchase things on your own as compared to when you were 16 – when waiting for your birthday every year seems like a 10 year wait for your parents or loved ones to fulfil your never ending wish list. Now that I’m 24, I realised that I had everything that I have ever wanted and most importantly, I knew I had everything that I was suppose to have.

But there is no deny that at this time and age, we have also evolved into creatures of habit. We stocked up on things that we don’t really need. We buy another pair of shoes just because the other pair that we owned no longer seems fashionable or fit the current look that we’re going for. Overtime, we tend to buy things for the sake of buying – it becomes a habit that no longer creates a value to an individual.

I’ve always been the kind of girl that isn’t materialistic enough to appreciate an expensive handbag or needed the most expensive items from the product range. I am relatively simple in that materialistic sense. It was went my best friend shared with me a quote from Yasmin Mogahed’s book, Reclaim Your Heart that made me think twice about my materialistic position in life.

“I thought I’m never the materialistic person, because I’m never into branded bags, high salaries, expensive items. but I realised materialistic is not just about things…its about emotions, people…anything related to Dunia. And it was then I realised that I AM materialistic, I was too attached to people.”

This quote made me realise that the word materialistic meant more than what I thought it was. And that my friends, was the catalyst that made me embark on this journey of self-transformation particularly with regards to any forms of tangible and emotional attachment towards worldly affairs. For a start, my journey began with me deleting my 4 year old Instagram account (a huge emotional attachment for me) which you can read more about here.

From there, I moved on to address the most obvious tangible attachment in life – cleaning out my room of items and clothing that I barely used. For a start, I googled and began to get more interested about the whole ideology of being a minimalist. My search engine often includes phrases such as “How Do I be a Minimalist? Ways to declutter your room? What is minimalistic?”

I asked myself the following questions every time I hold an item in my hands while I was clearing out my room.

  1. Does it spark joy to me now?
  2. How long has this been in my wardrobe/cupboard?
  3. Do I even know when was the last time I wore this or use the item?

If the answer to any of the questions above are either a no or don’t know, it either goes into the donation box or into the recycling/throw away box. And with that, I managed to clean out my room within 2 days – talking about efficiency guys!

For a while, I’ve always thought that being a minimalist means owning lesser stuffs and in some sense, being a decluttering expert even when you have other professions in life. If I were to summarize it, it was all about stuffs – dealing more with the tangible objects in our life. But that was just the beginning.

Over the next few days after cleaning out my room, I became more conscious that being a minimalist is more than just decluttering what’s on your counter top. I realised as a Muslim and in the spiritual context, being a minimalist is also about purifying your heart into reconnecting back to the reasons you are living in this time and your purpose in life.

I soon began to search for new spiritual knowledge and who would have thought that even if I’m still now at the beginning stages of this continuous learning process, God has shown me the path that has led me in ultimately finding my purpose in life. And there it is. My Gap Year has just gotten more interesting because now with this new found purpose of life (which I’ve yet to share), I am setting out on a new venture to make a change in the community which I’ll probably get around to share over the next few posts.

Here’s a quote from a recent documentary that I’ve watched about minimalism (Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things) to summarize how I feel about being a minimalist.

 “The people you bring into your life – we should always be hanging out with people who have the same values and that is what really being a minimalist is all about. It’s about living deliberately. So every choice that I made, every relationship, every item, every dollar that I spent – I’m not perfect obviously – but I do constantly ask the question, “Is this adding value? Am I being deliberate with this decision?” – Josh

screen-shot-2016-12-31-at-1-34-44-am

Mount Bromo, Indonesia

31st January – 3rd February 

My friends and I have been talking about this trip for ages and when we finally made our first mountain climbing trip as a group happened, I was pretty impressed with ourselves for sticking through the decision. But for many reasons, Mount Bromo wasn’t what we expected.

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset

We first arrived in Surabaya city in the afternoon and because of our adventurous travel spirit, we decided to head down to the mountainous area through a slightly longer route – via a 3hr train ride to Probolinggo followed by another 2hr car ride to Cemoro Lawang, the base of Mount Bromo. After almost 5 hours of being cramped up on the local train and a bumpy car ride, we finally arrived at the mountain base in the evening.

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset

And here came the first thrilling part of the trip that we didn’t come prepared for. We totally did not anticipate the weather change that will vary from being in the city (Surabaya) to the mountainous area. We experienced the sunny Asian humid weather that we were used to, to freezing 2 degree cold wind weather at the mountainous area. The windbreakers/jackets that we had in our backpacks were not enough to protect the fatty layers of our bodies!

We knew it was going to be cold, but we didn’t know that we were actually embarking on an adventure in one of their ‘bad weather’ season. But like how tourist places are, the locals are always there to save the day. We had no choice but to rent out thick jackets and bought gloves/scarfs and beanies to protect ourselves throughout our stay in the mountainous area.

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset

Knowing that we wanted to hike up the crater of Mount Bromo with our legs, with no tour guide and jeep to transport us up, we decided to stay at the closest guest house (Cemara Indah) that has an easy access to the start of the mountain base hiking trail for our early morning start at 3:00AM in the morning.

And here came the next thrilling part of our trip. Imagine this – it was totally pitch dark and the only lights we had were the one shining from our average joe torchlights and the light shining from the ‘thousands of jeeps’ that drove past us. I could certainly bet that the drivers were wondering anxiously if these 5 little kids knew where they were heading to. Well they guessed it right, we didn’t know where we were heading to. We thought we will be on the right track if we followed the direction of the jeeps but we thought wrong. The jeeps were basically heading towards the mountain opposite Mount Bromo called Mount Penanjakan where people usually sit at the summit to watch the sunrise over Mount Bromo.

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset

By then we were already walking on flat asphalt land, but of course due to the darkness around us we could still not see where we were. And by the Grace of God, we were saved by a local on a motorcycle whom out of nowhere appeared beside us. He assured us that for a small fee, he will guide us to the base of the Mount Bromo crater. The five of us gathered in a circle, had our shortest and most productive discussion ever, and agreed to trust the local to lead the way. Till today I truly believed the local was God sent at the time when we really needed Him the most.

Due to the bad weather, we were practically the only ones on the crater of Mount Bromo together with another hiker, waiting patiently and optimistically for the sunrise that never arrive. The sandstorm was pretty bad and till this day, I still didn’t know why we were holding on to that optimism over our safety.

Processed with VSCO with hb2 preset
Here we are waiting patiently for the sunrise that never arrive

But despite the cold, dusty lungs from the sandstorm and freezing sleepless nights back at the guesthouse, we made it work around our optimism and laughter. Here is something that I truly believe in – it is not where you are but who you are with that really matters. Till the next crazy adventure guys!

P.S Check out more photos from the trip here.

screen-shot-2016-12-31-at-1-34-44-am

For a start..

whatsapp-image-2017-03-27-at-1-27-56-pm-e1490597045877.jpeg

This is it – I finally did it. 

The past few weeks have been filled with graceful conversations and learning lessons with people that truly matters to me. As we progress into becoming the better version of ourselves, we became more conscious and realise that living as a human in this time is in fact the most challenging tribulation of our time.

We are surrounded by many distractions that concluded its path in leading us astray from our true purpose of living – which is to serve God and prepare for the Hereafter.

Making sins (especially unintentional sins) are more prevalent and easier in this time. A time where social media may lead you to be more subconsciously arrogant in portraying about your life to others. A time where our niat (intentions) in doing certain things is no longer sincere and is no longer because of God but is to please others. A time where you no longer realise that fighting the Dajjal within us is more difficult than waiting for the physical Dajjal to arrive – a sign of the End of Time.

Lately, I’ve had numerous discussions with a group of friends about truly being more present within ourselves and in the eyes of God, and here’s something that lingers to me for a long while. My best friend shared this excerpt that she read from Yasmin Mogahed’s book, Reclaim your heart.

“I thought I’m never the materialistic person, because I’m never into branded bags, high salaries, expensive items. but I realised materialistic is not just about things…its about emotions, people…anything related to Dunia. And it was then I realised that I AM materialistic, I was too attached to people.”

For that very reason, I felt a deep sense of urgency and importance to identify the materialistic attachment I had towards certain emotions and addictions, and to eliminate them from my life right now. And the first culprit on my list was my Instagram account.

Instagram is no doubt a great tool to be connected, get inspired and reach out to a wide range of audience. And as a visual person, Instagram was a sentimental medium for me to share my love of capturing moments through photographs and at the same time get inspired artistically in that area.

But Instagram was also the reason  I can find myself either consciously or subconsciously comparing my life to others, spending undocumented time scrolling through the feed, sharing things for other unintentional reasons and not for the sake of God, and also the reason where my niat is constantly tested whenever a new post is up.

And lately, I felt that our society and even myself at times have lost touch in connecting sincerely as a human. We are losing the element of being involved in each other’s life that we fabricate it with mediums like Instagram to portray the spirit of human connection but in reality, it doesn’t work.

To be honest, it was tough for me to delete my Instagram account as it was a medium that I actively documented my memorable life moments. But you know what, after scrolling through my Instagram feed of 4 years and making peace with the fact that I’m doing it for myself and for the sake of God, it wasn’t a tough decision after all.

This is all for a better and clutter free life, and until I find the real purpose and niat to create an account again, I will not have an Instagram account as of now.

Here is my journey to a minimalistic life. InshaAllah.

screen-shot-2016-12-31-at-1-34-44-am

Why you are chosen to live in this time?

Have you ever thought of why you are chosen to live in this time? A time where mass destruction is at its peak, a time where the rich becomes richer and the poor become poorer, and a time where not even the brightest light could light up the darkest of room and hearts.

Tonight, my question was answered.

It is when things are at their worst that God will raise the best generation. God thinks you – yes you – were born for this time. The transitions of time and change didn’t happened just for the sake of time. The understanding of the changes and transitions of time seeks deeper knowledge about the signs and manifestations of the end of time.

When we become more aware of the signs of the end of time, we have to not get overwhelmed with the manifestations of the worldly news around us. In fact, this awareness brings about higher level of purpose within us to find solutions to be the change we want to see.

If we cannot change it with our hands, change it with our tongue, if not with our heart.

screen-shot-2016-12-31-at-1-34-44-am

I’m guilty

I’m guilty.

Guilty of being the creatures of habit we’ve become.

We shamble across oceans of worldly pleasures, when the ship sails down to the Hereafter.

We take out life’s greatest quotes to make us feel wiser, when in us there’s a disease of making everything seems easier.

We gravitate towards instant gratification, when patience in itself become a world of tension.

So where do we go from here? Where do we go when the heart is filled with oceans of worldly pleasure?

We dived further into these oceans, hoping someday the heart will bring us out.

But it never did. Because the heart knew where it belongs – not in the ocean of worldly pleasures but in the ocean of constant remembrance of the One.

screen-shot-2016-12-31-at-1-34-44-am

So what went down in February?

First and foremost, can we talk about how fast time has past and without realising its already the month of March? And not to the mention the fact that its been almost 3 months since I left my job. Phew, I’m just grateful that I’m still alive. I thought I should share a quick update on what I’ve been up to lately to keep the writing and blog alive.

So what went down for me in February? I had the best traveling month by far. I was spending most of my February on the airplane, cruising on the train and sleeping in bus rides that brought me to a different time zone.

In early February, I finally stepped foot at Mount Bromo, Indonesia after having talked about it for ages with a group of friends.

Processed with VSCO with hb2 preset

And a few days later, I was jetting off with my bestfriend backpacking around Europe for 2 weeks – pretty much an impromptu trip that we both couldn’t believe we actually went for it.

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

Came back home end of February feeling jet lagged and not surprisingly, finally feeling the tiredness from all the back to back travels since my gap year began in December. So here I am, taking a conscious decision to take a break from traveling for the month of March to focus on a project that I’m currently working on and to learn new knowledge as much as I possibly can. I’m calling the month of March “March More to Learn”

I’ll get around to writing more about my experience from the two trips in the next few weeks. Keep a look out if you are interested to read them. 

Have a good March ahead and don’t forget there’s so march more to learn.

P.S Ed Sheeran’s new album Divide is amazing – best start to the month of March. Check it out if you haven’t!

screen-shot-2016-12-31-at-1-34-44-am

36hrs in Bali, Mount Batur

19th January – 21st January

So here’s the thrilling part – Bali came right after my trip to Penang. Needless to say I had a pretty awesome traveling week last week.

My parents thought I was crazy enough to have the guts to take a midnight arrival flight and proceed to climb Mount Batur at 3AM in the morning. But I’d say, “Why not?” Because the sunrise view high above is beyond magical.

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset
Isn’t this view just spectacular? MashaAllah

But the decision to go to Bali just to climb Mount Batur alone didn’t come as easy. Here’s a little backstory of how this Bali trip actualized.

Technically, I’ve been to Bali before and the decision to go on this trip was triggered because of the fact that I could redeemed free return flights on Air Asia with my membership points – hello, come on let’s go. But here’s the catch, the timing was undesirable.

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset
Minutes before the sun start to rise pretty fast

It was a midnight flight. I had a little bit of anxiety issue when it comes to arriving in another foreign country at night. I mean who wouldn’t – its midnight, there’s a risk you might not find a cab, get cheated … and the list goes on. And the return flight was 7AM in the morning.

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

Not to mention, I haven’t climb a mountain alone before. Climbing mountain has always been a thing for my bestfriend and I, and it all started back when we were in South Korea for our student exchange in 2014. And well, technically that’s where the comfort of climbing mountain with someone else has always been there subconsciously.

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset
Spotted here a wild mountain monkey. There were a lot of them by the way.

I had a slight trust issue with the hiking tour operator even though it was recommended by a friend who had used their services before. I think there were a few factors that influenced this – the simple English language being used over the email conversations, and even though there was no payment made prior to arrival in Bali for the guide, the simplicity of booking confirmation made it too good to be true.

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset
Other hikers preparing for the trek down after sunrise. And the black landscape in this picture is the volcanic ashes of Mount Batur.

It took me about 2 – 3 days to be reasonable and figured that this is all part of the journey of traveling alone and the final straw hit me when my bestfriend said this to me:

Screen Shot 2017-01-28 at 12.34.44 AM.png

I knew then I had to go for it. And well it was the best decision I made within that week. So yes, my Bali trip was literally just to climb the mountain, go for a 4hr spa session after and fly home at 7AM the next day.

P.S Check out more photos here.

screen-shot-2016-12-31-at-1-34-44-am