Tag Archives: travel

LOTR moment at Tongariro National Park

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A seagull checking on me while I was staring at the view of the Wellington Habour

I am in Wellington at this time being. Accompanying my daughter for her first-year University registration here in the city. Spent 2 weeks here with her, exploring the city and its surroundings while at the same time trying to make her comfortable with this new place where she would call her second home for the next 3 years.

Well, I got bored with CITY easily, flipped through the Free guide to NZ Arrival magazine that I took from the airport … the turquoise color of a lake in South Crater valley of Tongariro National Park caught my attention. But … naaaah! 8-hours walk of a total 19.4km would kill me instantly … so I think.

Then … I got really bored and kept thinking of that National Park. The view of the mountains … Mt. Tongariro 1967m, Mt. Ngauruhoe  2291m (Mt Doom in the Lord of the Rings filming locations) and Mt. Ruapehu 2797m … make me more curious as I can’t hold it anymore and I purchased my Intercity bus ticket from Wellington to National Park station for the next day trip and booked my 2 nights stay at YHA hostel, National Park. I said to myself … fine, I just have a look at that place and walk around the easiest walk while enjoying my favorite air … the mountain air, hmmm nice … it feels like home.

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View in front of the hostel where I was staying. Well, look at that … thick clouds covering Mt Ruapehu. Not a clear weather to do the crossing

I don’t mind travel alone as I don’t have the urge to talk or even binge talk to anyone because most of the time my mind is always fully occupied with my own thoughts and imagination. I tend to forget about my surroundings too. My first time in NZ … ohh I love New Zealanders as they treated me more as a co-human than as a strange Muslim lady with a head covered wandering loose alone.

New Zealanders are super cool and very helpful too.

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The view of Mt Ruapehu without the thick clouds

The weather was not very good on the day that I arrived at the National Park. Raining with thick fogs surrounding the valleys. While contemplating either I want to do the crossing or just hang around and breath-in the natural ‘mountainous’ air, a group of people popped into the hostel front desk returning their gears. They just did the Tongariro Alpine Crossing in the rain and the thick fogs … and with their red and cheerful face even when they were soaking wet. Damn it … I said to myself.

And this guy from Thailand with a wide happy eye just bluntly tell me … hey! have you done the crossing? If you haven’t, you better just do it … even if the weather is like this … it would be worth every single second.

And guess what … I paid the 40 NZ dollars for the National Park return transportation and rented a waterproof boot, a walking pole and a raincoat. I fixed my mind … I am all in. I need to see what the havoc is all about. Well … well … well … bare in mind that I hate trekking, I am not well trained and I am not even sure which box to tick in as Lucy … the front desk lady passed me a form to fill in … which level of mountain trekker am I? should I tick the beginner box? As I am not even a beginner lol coz I am the type of person if given a choice where to park my car at the shopping mall … I would always choose the one very very very near to the entrance door.

Well … done with that. Lucy asked me … what makes me want to do this? And I said … hmmm, I just wanna get over this. This curiosity bugs me … and she laughed.

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The park signboard … I had a goofy feeling while looking at this

Omg … It was a beautiful sight as I first stepped in the Mangatepopo car park but as I looked at the signboard (above) I got scared again. Urghh I am gonna die … I told myself lol.

Overall, the Tongariro Alpine Crossing is worth every second of the 8 hours walk despite the thick fog and the occasional rain. I managed to click a few photos with my iPhone while struggling to keep up with the trails.

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The beginning

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Moving forward with the running water sound coming from the stream along the way

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The moody and wet surrounding has that calming effect on me

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And the horror parts came … the trail starts ascending

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And this view as I looked down at my trails

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This is the point where we start descending and trolling along the longest 11.3km in my whole entire life. Honestly … I never walk this far in my entire life

As I continue for another 11.3 km trails to Ketetahi Carpak the weather started getting irritated. The fogs thicken, the temperature started to drop further down (9-12 degree) as the raindrops started to clouds my glasses … omg, I was standing on a narrow trail between 2 very steep craters while my feet were shaken due to lack of sugar aka energy and my glasses was clouded. The sulfur smell filled the air.

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This is the turquoise colored lake that I saw in the magazine, the one that makes me want to visit this place

I was tired … near to the ‘I want to give up’ mode. But this place even in its worst weather is uniquely beautiful and I couldn’t help wondering to myself … how would this place look like if the weather is beautiful?

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Passing a flat crater before trekking up again in thick fog

It was all foggy and raining the whole journey down towards the carpark and I didn’t take many photos as I was super-super exhausted. This trail is not for beginners but maybe for intermediate trekkers. You need to be well prepared if you decided to do the crossing. It was so hard for me and I still have sore muscles all over my body now (after 3 days).

I nearly cried at the very last 6.3km … as my feet could not take it anymore. Other trekkers passed by me one after another leaving me alone struggling with my incapabilities. Oh I hate that feeling of being left behind … but I kept my chin up and walk slowly imagining myself doing brisk walk at my most favorite park.

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Struggling even to lift up my iPhone, ohh I am not fit … something that I need to work on

Would I do this again? Yes … I definitely would do this again maybe in December when summer is here. I want to capture the beautiful landscape of this place in its most beautiful setting but I am gonna make sure that my body is fit enough to do this … so that I could see more and enjoy more of this place.

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I saw colorful plants along the crossing trail … very interesting

 

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The trail from my STRAVA 

 

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My shaky feet with that rented waterproof boot after the 8 hours journey. Yaaay! I walked 19.4km for 8 hours … victory!

I took the next day bus to Wellington with a victory and blessed feeling. Alhamdullilah, thank you oh Allah for giving me the opportunity and the will to do this. I love it …

I plan to explore more of NZ during this 3 years, taking it slowly and meaningfully. Learning to improve me … while inspiring my children and people around me to do more in life than just merely living. Anybody can do this … just do it, no excuses.

Bye for now

 

 

Cheers,

MM

New Zealand: Tongariro National Park February 27th to March 1st, 2018

 

 


Street thrill in Dhaka

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A woman we met at a village outskirts of Dhaka

It was all about capturing moments of human interest when I was in Dhaka, Bangladesh recently. My first time and like always, I have a zero expectation of this place … I was like ok Dhaka surprise me, please.

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Friends shading from the early morning rain on the street of Dhaka

It rained cats and dogs during the first 3 days of my 6 days stay. But being a hardcore wanderer … the rain couldn’t subside my curiosity. I was out wandering along the markets and back lanes of Dhaka … in the rain.

My first impression was that the street smells pleasant.

Surprisingly Dhaka is way cleaner than India, 10 times cleaner than India … I shall think so. At least the street is not treated as the public toilet by the 18.2 million city residents. People everywhere seemed busy and fully occupied here.

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A peak from the train window in Dhaka

My second impression is … the food is good.

It tastes about the same as in India, Pakistan and Nepal.  And my taste buds think that the biryani here is very delicious and I had mutton biryani for almost every day here too. Sharing a clip video ↓ of my obsession with mutton biryani … obsession lol?

We traveled in a big group this time around … 15 of us scattered around the street yet we saw completely different views. How awesome was that? When I saw my friends posted their version of ‘the street of Dhaka’, almost always I would pound my head and asked myself about why oh why I did not see it from their angles.

It is proven then … every each of us is unique in our own way.

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Hard life for an honest living in Dhaka

As I strolled along the streets, villages and some back alleys I saw hard work and hard life here … yet the people of Dhaka is rich in hospitality. Walking and talking with strangers has never felt a burden here … some even invited us to their homes for a cup of cha or tea.

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A boatman trying to make an honest living in Dhaka

To be honest, there are hundreds and probably thousands of Bangladeshi working here in my home country Malaysia. I see them everywhere and every day too. When I posted my whereabouts to a group of friends … they jokingly teased me on why the need to be in Dhaka when I can just hang out at Pasar Borong Selayang (a wholesale market in the heart of KL) or the famous Chowkit road and just be surrounded by them?

It is normal to have that tendency to treat foreign workers at your country home differently ( I guess I am guilty too)  but being in Dhaka … experiencing just a few days living in their home country does change my perspective.

I see them in a different way now … a more human way of looking at fellow humans trying their best to survive in the high-density human populated area on our one and only earth.

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Boats at Buriganga River in the middle of Dhaka

Would I recommend Dhaka for your next trip? Should I repeat for another round of trip exploring Dhaka?

………. absolutely, yes!

Thanks for dropping by here at my space… on the last day of 2017. Resolution time … resolution … resolution. Bye …

Cheers

MM

 

ps: my January article in NST bots on ‘People at Work’ with Dhaka as the background story. NST 01:18

 

 

 

 


Yes … the street of India

IND_9528Re-visiting my India’s photos for my latest NST assignment to celebrate Deepavali or Dewali. All these photos bring back memories of me surviving India and I think its time to repeat India again.

I am yearning to experience another round of emotional burst … in India maybe in 2018.

Sharing a few more photos of the bustling street of Old Delhi, New Delhi.

And my article on India for the NST readers is turning out well too, alhamdullilah. I am sharing it here for my own future reference.

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Bye for now.

 

Cheers

MM

 

ps- buzzing head … need to stay focus!


Secret Hideout in KT

IMG_2322I found a new secret hideout in Kuala Terengganu, Terengganu, Malaysia.

A simple, quiet and rusty place for an introvert soul, like mine … or let me rephrase it again, an OLD and worn out soul like mine. Lol … Selfish me, everything has to be like mine … mine all mine, no sharing and I do not want to share my soulmate either (if I ever have any) … gth! mental … oh yes!
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Pak Awi’s Yellow House located at Pulau Duyung, Kuala Terengganu

Kuala Terengganu has a few small islands in-between the mainland and Pulau Duyung (Duyung Island) is the largest island. I flew over the islands during a paramotor event last 2 years. Never occurred to me that there are interesting stories to explore down there on the islands.

 

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Well … Pak Awi didn’t pay me anything to promote his place so don’t get me wrong. I just love the place.

I found a new hidden place that I could stay for a few days or even weeks without creating a big hole in my wallet. A cool and safe place to go home to after hours and hours wandering around Kuala Terengganu.

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Lepaking at one of the bench 

What would I do here in Kuala Terengganu? Hmmm … I am going for a story hunting and I myself not sure what is the outcome gonna look like, lol.

I plan to hang around with the makciks (mid-aged ladies) around the villages listening to them gossiping he he he and the pakciks (middle-aged man) around the coffee shops or jetties reminiscing about life. Tengok berapa lama boleh tahan … the rest is a secret.

A few more photos of my new found hiding place before I end this post.

Last but not least … my all time favorite breakfast, Nasi Kerabu.  A blue colored rice mixed with fresh vegetables, salted egg, stuffed green chili pepper, a piece of roasted chicken and sambal (chili paste). Wallah … am hungry now … gotta run.

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Bye

Cheers,

MM

ps- sambil dengar lagu “kutuliskan kesedihan, semua tak bisa kau ungkapkan, dan kita kan bicara dengan hatiku” dan perut yang lapar


Keeper Moment

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The first is always the sweetest, right? Here is another first for me …

Yeszza! I made it to the front page. A baby step indeed but I feel honored. I am posting it here as a reminder to myself to keep on creating my craft … just the way I wanted it.

I am smiling right now … 🙂

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I haven’t posted anything yet about my adventurous moment in Mongolia and Lake Baikal here in my blog. The journey truly blew my mind … something totally new to me but I am still in a fermenting mood.

I am fermenting both my story and my photos during that trip to a perfection lol.

It’s an excuse … the truth is my mind is still preoccupied with something else right now. A mental block!

I am feeling sleep deprived lately and all that I can think of is just my pillow and my blanket. I am in the middle of adjusting my sleeping pattern … instead of being a night owl, I am thinking of switching to a lark. Waking up early before dawn preparing my grips.

Okay lah … I gotta go and get my beauty sleep.

Cheers

MM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


More Create Time

“Don’t think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It’s self-conscious, and anything self-conscious is lousy. You can’t try to do things. You simply must do things.” ~ Ray Bradbury

2017.03.27 – am at home recuperating. I was on the road for almost 22 days. 16 days backpacking with 2 of my travel buddies and another 6 days back home to my mom’s at Bachok, Kelantan (7 hours drive from Kuala Lumpur).

My head is full of stories now … stories about my traveling moments (which I intended to write about it in my next post), about my mom, about my loved ones, about my new kitty, my maid who ran off from home, my never ending sleep deprived etc … ahh and today’s post is just about my work this month. Well … keeping every each of it here for my own reference.

My article for NST on March 2017 is about what to shoot in the market.

And, that new kitty, Nala aka Lala is everywhere in the house. We have another adult cat by the name of ‘Chicken’. Being the only cat for 11 years makes my ‘Chicken’ a very dominant cat and we are having a hard time right now … to convince ‘Chicken’ that the new kitty is here to stay.

And my work appeared in a local magazine too. Well … I am honored. I hope that all this would be a stepping stone towards more opportunity for me to CREATE.

Off I go. Will write about my journey in Mongolia and Lake Baikal soon.

Cheers!

MM


Chasing The Monsoon

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My article in ‘NST bots click!’ on what to shoot during monsoon season. Google to read in details

It’s the end of February yet the monsoon season still refused to leave our shore. We still experienced occasional rain and thunderstorm here and there. I am not complaining … I love rain, rain reminds me of home … of my bed and my blanket to be precise.

I was with 26 Paramotor PPG pilot friends last weekend covering their story on XC Pantai Timur Feb 11-12, 2017 together with my Janjifly team. We planned to fly together along the shoreline from Sri 7 beach, Tumpat, Kelantan to Cherating beach, Pahang covering 3 states (Kelantan, Terengganu and Pahang) for 2 days but mother nature seemed to have its own plan.

Strong wind and heavy rain for the whole weekend during our XC event last weekend. We were basically chased away by the strong wind and the rain. Most of us failed to take-off from all 9 of our take-off points along the shoreline. And … moral of the story is … I have no thrilling ppg flying photos to show off for you peeps 🙂

Well … me and my camera … we go everywhere, we explore anything, rain or shine. Jom … sharing my monsoon photos taken during our ‘chasing the monsoon’ moment.

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Batu Buruk beach, Terengganu with the dark dramatic sky

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Strong wind approx 40 knots with thick clouds and slight drizzled … not complaining!

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A ppg pilot preparing to brave the wild wind at Semerak beach, Tok Bali, Kelantan

I am packing up for my next adventure … a trip exploring Mongolia and Southeastern Siberia. Preparing for a winter adventure … this would be my first experience exploring a strange land at -14’c … am not sure how am I gonna deal with it but I’ll figure it out once I am there.

It’ll be a 15 days trip from Beijing to Ulaan Bataar, Mongolia and to Irkutsk then straight to Lake Baikal via Trans-Siberian train. Uhhh … I am curious to the max now! Gotta go … bye

Cheers,

MM

ps – google for Salliza Salleh to read the NST article clip mentioned above yeah.

 

 


The first The sweetest

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2017.01.16: My first and the first is always the sweetest

Am working towards moving my lazy ass to create more this year.

This is a snap photo of my first write-up as a writer contributor to a column in Life & Times of our local newspaper NST. And yes … the first time is always the sweetest.

Am putting here as my self-reference, I have the tendency to overcrowd my working table and losing all those paper clips by the end of the year. I need to kill that “I couldn’t be bothered attitude” … grrrr

Hopefully, this will be a good start to my writing experience. I’ll write and publish my own book one day. I dunno yet what type of book that I am gonna have … maybe it’ll be just a fancy coffee book that people would flip through and wonder about life.

Whatever it is … it is just feel good to have a dream, any dream would do … right?  It keeps you moving.

 

Cheerios!

MM

 

ps – QS AR-Rahman 55: 29-30

“Sekalian makhluk yang ada di langit dan di bumi sentiasa berhajat dan memohon kepadaNya. Tiap-tiap masa Ia di dalam urusan (mencipta dan mentadbirkan makhluk-makhlukNya)!

Maka yang mana satu di antara nikmat-nikmat Tuhan kamu, yang kamu hendak dustakan?”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Ace of Hearts

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Took her photo at Bhaktapur, Nepal while I was on my morning walk along the alleys. This is my second visit to Nepal

2017.01.12 … time flies, it’s the 12th day of 2017 and I am still not over 2016 yet. Another new year ahhhh. Last year I opted a ‘no’ new year resolution for 2016, a year of exploring and wandering with no obligation to achieve anything, just following the flow and enjoying my moment. A care-free 2016 …

I aged another year … yeah! being a woman, aging sucks. I had a minor surgery last month just 2 days before my flight to Nepal. Being a stubborn woman I happily checked out from the hospital, pack my cameras and headed to the airport for my flight to Kathmandu.

Well … what could go wrong right? Except that … I am not young anymore and recovery takes time. Carrying 2 DSLRs on my back and walking around Kathmandu, Pokhara and Ghandruk felt like a chore. Hmm … lesson properly learned. But, I survived …

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A steel bridge connecting villages separated by cliffs

I want to go the opposite direction for this year … and I’ll start with having new RESOLUTIONs for 2017.

But … I want realistic resolutions that would motivate me to be a better me. Not some unachievable resolutions that would at the end makes me felt incompetent with my own beloved self. So … I’ll have 3 new resolutions for 2017 then, just to keep it realistic and 1 old resolution that I always silently yearn for each year.

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A family wefie in front of Pashupatinath Temple, Kathmandu

I want to adopt a ‘win’ attitude this year. Yeah … that kiasu attitude “this girl gotta win in anything that she decided to do”. I am just curious on how does it feel to be a winner for at least a year ha ha ha.

I want to create more in 2017. More quality writing, more quality photos, more quality videos, more time for quality reading, more time for quality sleep and more time for love.

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No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted ~ Aesop. A new friend at Pashupatinath temple, Kathmandu 

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Observing life along the alleys at Ason Bazaar, Kathmandu

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Enjoying my morning light on the street while observing life here

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Staring eye to eye with strangers on the road

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Playing with afternoon light at one of the alleys at the market

I want more backpack trips either solo or with a small group of friends to most strange land and meet up with all kind of kindness along the way. It is gonna be my way or the highway ha ha ha <—evil laugh. And lastly, my same old silent resolution each year is to have more HIM time. HIM … the Creator of all these beautiful moments that I am immensely in love with. Bliss …

Ahh I am sleepy … maybe it is time for a short nap. Bye for now.

Cheers

MM


Riding the Light

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A lady sitting on the floor of a market in Bantul, Jogjakarta

I was in Jogjakarta, Indonesia for a few days in mid-November last month. Hanging out at Kota Gede with my local photographer friend, Romeography of Studio 76. We planned to wander aimlessly around the east part of Jogjakarta with our cameras.

It was already the beginning of monsoon season here in Southeast Asia … and I was pretty sure that the sky would be dull and the light would be challenging in Jogjakarta too, as the raining season is here to stay until at least towards the end of January next year

After a few failed attempts to hunt for sunrises and sunsets, we decided not to waste our time wandering around hunting for gorgeous landscape anymore… we were out on the street focusing on human interest instead.

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Plaosan temple at sunset

We hang around markets mingling with locals selling all sorts of daily items. We snuck around a group of people selling roosters or cocks for the gamecocks or cockfights. Uh … scary sight of bleeding roosters fighting for its life.

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Spontaneous gamecocks

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6-months old  rooster was for sale at rp600,000

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Caged birds were for sale

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Mbah Madio selling palm tree sugar at a market in Bantul, Jogjakarta

Wandering around with motorbike hunting for subjects and lights has its pros and cons. Other than the pain in the butt (from sitting on a small seat for too long), it was also the risk of getting wet from the rain.

But … it was the easiest way to move around from point A to point B without having to worry about the condition of our routes plus we can just park the bike anywhere we wish. Talking about convenience right …

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The horses of Malioboro street were having their morning bath here at a river near Bantul, Jogjakarta

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Hunting for light at the nearby bridge in Bantul, Jogjakarta

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Farmers along side of the road in Bantul, Jogjakarta

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Spent a few hours here at Pak Sugiman’s workplace at Putat Village, Gunung Kidul, Jogjakarta

Well … the rain doesn’t stop me from achieving my primary goal for this trip lol … which was to have a stress free moment chasing the light. I had a great time … getting close and personal with my subjects, good food and good companion all the way … ahhh I couldn’t ask for more, alhamdullilah.

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My closing sunset for this trip. A dramatic sunset due to the unpredictable weather

We are planning for more future trips to explore more of the landscape surrounding Jogjakarta … maybe after the monsoon season is over. Who knows … In Sha Allah

And …. life goes on and on … and I am learning throughout the journey. Learning to be grateful for each moment that Allah presented to me. Learning to see and accept people as who they are. Learning to love every soul that cross path my journey … and letting go the one that decided to venture out of my path. People changed … a heart changed.

“Oh Allah, please ease my path. Guide my iman. Guide my every single actions. Guide me to love for Your sake. Protect what is in my heart. What lies in the future, only You know. Verily, Allah is All-Knower, Most Merciful and Most Gracious.”

Bye for now,

Cheers

MM


2-cats and a family

I like nonsense; it wakes up the brain cells - Dr Seuss

aku dan kamera

I like nonsense; it wakes up the brain cells - Dr Seuss