My favourite dish to make when I’m away from home – Nicole’s vege-tomato pot of heaven

I learned this recipe from My Green Roots back in university and it has brought me nothing but comfort and envious glances from other backpackers – a great way to make new friends, really.

The recipe uses tomatoes that keeps the broth light, while adding turmeric, ginger and cayenne pepper which gives it a slightly spicy kick and a warmth that’s perfect on cold summer nights.

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An honest travel guide to Barcelona

I spent Christmas week of 2016 in Barcelona and it was a Christmas like no other. It was the first time I spent the holidays not surrounded by friends and family. Instead, I was surrounded by other travellers and backpackers from different continents who were just as curious about the world as I was.

Unlike the rest of Europe, it was sunny and warm in the day with the city bustling just like any other. At night, a little cooler and quieter, it’s only when you turned into a small street off La Rambla that the feistiness of Barcelona’s nightlife hits you. Even over Christmas, the Catalans were committed to long nights out, singing and dancing along to Spanish or Catalan songs I’ve never heard of.

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Porto: How I accidentally (on purpose) spent €200 in 45 hours

After spending my first week in Lisbon attending the Web Summit, I made the impromptu decision to join my friend on a trip to Porto, 3 hours away by car. I spent almost €200 in the short span of 45 hours and I’m not proud of myself. I’m ashamed and I feel terrible. It feels like a horrid hangover that will take ages to go away.

To justify my behaviour, here’s a breakdown of what I did and how much fun I had.

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The amazing women of Tupche

Tupche is situated in Nuwakot, a district 4 hours away from Kathmandu. Just like all the other days in Nepal, we jumped into a 4-wheel-drive at 7am and began our journey.

The village is situated on top of a “hill”. Our Nepali partners promptly corrected us when we called it a mountain. They were affected by the 2015 earthquakes and a year on, they’ve been given goats by Heifer International, as well as training on how to take care of their livestock. TECH Outreach funded the project last year. Continue reading

Microloans: How TECH Outreach helps single mothers

*The title of this blog post has been changed from Women of Will to TECH Outreach due to new communication strategies of the organisation. TECH Outreach focuses on projects in Nepal and Sri Lanka while Women of Will work solely on Malaysian projects. 

My flight tickets have been booked for the 9th of May 2016. We, people from the organisation and I, will leave at 18:10 from KLIA 1. This leaves me with 5 days to reach my fundraising goal of RM2000.

I’ve collected RM598 so far and have been amazed by the generosity of friends and family around me. You guys are amazing, you know who you are. Continue reading

I’m going to Nepal with Women of Will!

I think voluntourism does more harm than good, but I’m going on one anyway. Here’s why.

The organisation I’m going with is Women of Will and they aim to support women who are the sole breadwinners of their families, usually caring for three to seven children. These women are single mothers, war widows or women whose husbands are disabled. They help women in Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Nepal.

Women at Bhiman

The organisation equips these women with entrepreneurial skills and develops them to become the core pillars of their families and sometimes, even their communities. After going through the training programme, the women are given micro-loans to start their businesses, accompanied by mentors throughout the process. The loan is repaid within 12 months at 0% interest and the money is recycled into the system. It can now help another woman and her family. Continue reading

Bali part 3 – Lessons learnt ala Eat, Pray, Love.

Today is the 50th day since getting robbed and I’m glad to let everyone know that things have been put back as it should be. I’ve got a new phone, I’ve replaced my IDs and driver’s licences and sorted everything out with the banks. The only irreplaceable items are my student card from university and a deep purple Rimmel eyeliner which they no longer sell (oh my first world problems).

On my first day back in KL, I ended up having dinner with another solo traveller extraordinaire. After telling him what had happened in Bali, he responded with a nonchalant “Well, none of this will matter in 3 months”. To my surprise, it took less than 50 days for the incident to stop having its effect on me. Continue reading

Bali part 2 – On almost drowning, literally.

I think about it for a second and do it because the waves are pulling me out and I’m scared. “HELP!!”

Ooh, what a juicy start to this story. Let’s rewind a little to give you more context.

It’s day 4 or 5, it’s so easy to lose track of time here. I’m better now, I’m not scared. Plus, I’ve moved to a quieter part of Bali called Seminyak and everything is lovely. I’ve been to the beach a few times already, and have even watched the sunset while a local band serenaded me.

I wake up bright and early and make a beeline for the beach. I want to swim in the ocean today. I’ve admired it from afar for a while now, only going as far as my thighs. I’m short so when the waves hit my thighs, I’m really not that far out. Continue reading

Bali part 1 – On getting robbed on my first night out

The plan was simple. I arrive on a Friday afternoon, I party over the weekend, I move to a quieter part of town, I work by the beach, maybe sign up for yoga and attempt to eat healthy. Simple. The week ahead was supposed to be simple. Instead, this happens.

I get up on Friday at some ungodly hour to catch my flight out and arrive in unbearable heat. Trust me to wear sneakers and jeans to Bali. I arrive at the hostel, 150,000 rupiahs poorer but a lot wiser. My taxi driver teaches me that bak is used instead of encik. I tell him I might fall in love with Bali and never go home. He tells me to not fall for javanese boys because they’re not good. I tell him not to worry, I don’t think they’ll find me attractive anyway. We laugh.

The hostel is in the heart of Kuta, near Sky Garden, the busiest club in town. I check in, change, grab a map and wander the streets. I start to sweat and have not stopped till today, six days later and only because it’s been raining. I soon find an alley that all the bikes seem to turn into and follow suit. It’s quiet, a welcomed relief. I find my first warung and devour my first meal at 3pm. It was the tastiest soto I’ve ever had. Continue reading