Adding Chaos To My Life
On my last night in Vietnam last year, I walked into my room on the 15th floor of Diamond Sea Hotel at 6:30pm and literally ran to the balcony. The porter was right behind me, briefing me on the amenities right after hauling my huge maroon suitcase on the rack. In case you are wondering why I was running away from him, it’s just that I was desperate to confirm that I had a sea facing room. As I was drawing the curtains, he said something about some provisions being free and others coming at a cost. My heart skipped a beat. Not because of the prospect of having to pay extra for Kitkat and Pringles should I get hungry in the middle of the night, but because of the spell binding view on the other side of the wall to wall sliding doors. A vast raging sea spread out a few metres away from my vantage point. It was possible that if I jumped into a ship and set sail North, I would find myself at English Point Marina in Mombasa, Kenya.
I had just arrived in Danang for one night, a coastal city in Central Vietnam famed for its white sandy beaches, iconic bridges and limestone and marble hills. After taking in enough of the musty coastal scent and the insatiable view of the sea, I wondered if really there was anything else that I could do in Danang over such a short stay that would leave me gobsmacked. Don’t get me wrong, Danang has amazing attractions, but I had already had several mind-blowing escapades over my 12-day vacation spread across five towns. I doubted anything would top them, so I figured the best way to spend my last night would be to have a meal and a drink at a restaurant that afforded me an expansive view of the spectacularly lit city.
At 9:00pm, I hopped into a metered cab. Ten minutes later, I was on the 36th floor of Novotel Danang Hotel, perched on a high stool adjacent to the glass wall of Sky 36 Club. A quick search on Google before I left my hotel had helped me find this spot which apparently was the highest rooftop bar in Danang. I wasn’t entirely mesmerized by its height as I had previously been to a rooftop bar in Hong Kong three times higher, specifically on the 118th floor at Ritz Carlton. However, the panoramic view of Danang city with its tall and colorfully lit buildings glimmering in the night, the sparkling Han River stretching across the city and the glowing Dragon River Bridge sprawled across the river was something that I would go back to Vietnam to experience once more.
The year 2017 was quite tough at the onsent. I found myself juggling six things with the same intensity and unwilling to let go of any of them. Finding a balance between making adequate time for my family, being a corporate woman, blogging, keeping fit, reading for fun and studying for exams was suicidal. It was because of this that I decided to travel alone to Asia for two weeks towards the end of the year. This is something that I would recommend to all women who are constantly multitasking with no time for themselves. You may be perceived as selfish for leaving your family behind but as long as the people closest to you have made peace with your decision, the rest can go fry ice. I have learnt that when you are clear about the things that you want to achieve and you work towards them, it is possible to have them all. When you pull your weight as a mother, wife, employee or even student, then you feel less guilty when it’s time to enjoy the fruits of your labor.
Besides the thrill from my travels, I had quite a number of gratifying moments in 2017 which included growing immensely as a writer, passing my CFA exams, investing in an asset which for so many years was only a dream and getting better with my running to the point I participated in my first International Half Marathon in Hong Kong. This year, I hope to achieve more on those EXACT same lines while also adding some chaos into my life. I also hope to spend more time with my family and friends and at the very least, find time to call those that matter to me at least once a month. You might just be keeping tabs on Whatsapp kumbe someone lost their voice two years ago! Finally, I pray that I become more compassionate.
Last year, I came across several platforms that inspired me in different aspects of my life. I intend to continue feeding from these platforms this year and I figured you might also find value in some of them. So, here goes:
Blogs & Magazines:
Explore Parts Unknown– If you have read the book Kitchen Confidential then you know Anthony Bourdain. If you haven’t (like me), don’t worry because Explore Parts Unknown has nothing to do with the book. It is sort of Behind The Scenes write-up of the travel and food show Parts Unknown that airs on CNN. Anthony Bourdain and other featured writers travel to lesser known places across the world exploring different cuisines and cultures. What I love about this blog is the different captivating and enlightening ways that the writers narrate their experiences which has helped shape my travel writing.
Craft It– This is a Kenyan Lifestyle Blog that was launched sometime last year. Ever since the launch, the team of three have consistently put up amazing content with prose that makes me embarrassed when I read some of my hurried work. Bett, the talented force behind it, quit her high-flying job in audit to pursue full-time writing. When you read her features, you will understand why she was confident enough to make that leap. She is that good. And if you don’t fancy reading (in which case I don’t know what you are doing here), check out the website. It is tastefully designed.
Mark Manson– Because I need that person who will remind me to be unapologetic about being myself as well as putting myself first AKA being selfish. You must have read his book The Subtle Art of Not Giving A Fuck. If not, start by reading a summary of the same on his blog.
Financial Times- Lunch with the FT. I reviewed it in this post sometime last year, so have a look.
Sheila Ndinda– I didn’t know that natural hair would frustrate me so much to a point of googling “does manageable natural hair exist?” So, I came across Sheila Ndinda’s channel last year just when I was almost giving up on natural hair, about six months down the line. She is so passionate about hair and invests so much time and energy into hers, you would think she’s does hairdressing for a living! To top it all, Sheila is effortlessly gorgeous and gives this vybe of a down to earth girl much as I have never met her in person. She’s clearly more than just her hair.
All The Light That We Cannot See (Anthony Doer) – I came across this book sometime in 2016 and it changed my writing completely. In fact, I view my blog in two parts, pre Doer and post Doer, because the difference is like day and night. I talked about it in detail in this post. I plan to re-read the book this year.
A Memoir Of The Craft (Stephen King)- If you are an aspiring writer, this is your bible.
From Third World To First (Lee Kuan Yew)- Believe it or not, Kenya was at par with Singapore in 1963 when we gained independence. However, Singapore is now ranked a First World country but we are still struggling to find our footing. I have only covered two chapters of this 691 page book and I am already in awe.
I am sure there are more places where I draw inspiration from, but its 11:45pm. I need a good night’s rest because as you read this in the morning, my boss will be asking me questions like “What is my strategy for the year?” and “What can we do differently from our competitors?”. I have to be in the right frame of mind for that.
Perhaps you could drop a comment below letting me know where you drew inspiration from in 2017 and what kick ass plans you have for 2018?
Outfit- Toto Wraps Kenya (0712-641505)
Location- Fairmont Mt Kenya Safari Club
i love the post. Happy new year mama..:)
i feel like you left me hanging with your adventures,lol. i was looking forward to a series of your Hong Kong visit and the other 3 states /cities that you visited. heheheheh.. I loved the adventures and followed them through the insta stories and i could only imagine how you would put them down in writing. Am still hoping to read a lot of funny tales. hahahha…
Sorry I wont be narrating all the escapades hence the reason I gave you guys snippets on Instastories. Thanks for reading missgaceru!
“You may be perceived as selfish for leaving your family behind but as long as the people closest to you have made peace with your decision, the rest can go fry ice”. This just made my day
Happy that it did Lily 🙂
I travelled alone as well in December 2016. Felt so rejuvenated when I came back. But I had totally forgotten that feeling until I read your blog. Always an eye opening read. Have you read We Need More Wine-Gabrielle Union? I think you’d love it xoxo
See, I am not cray cray! Cheers to more solo travels Rahel! Thanks for the recommendation. I will add the book to my list. Xxxx
“..the rest can go fry ice.” I love that. Interesting read.
Yea. Let’s focus on or goals and brush off people’s opinions. Thanks for reading Nana.
Goals mama! You are goals!!
So are you, young girl!
Glad you found your dose of inspiration here. Keep reading Ciku.
Great read! Keep doing what your doing, the sky is the limit!
Thanks for being my pillar 🙂