⚠️ Image galore ⚠️
If you’ve already read my two other blog posts before this one, then click here to scroll down to the real chunk of this blog post.
For those that don’t know why I’m on an expedition in Malaysia, here’s some context:
A month ago I received an incredible opportunity to be a part of the Cansbridge Fellowship’s 2019 cohort. The Cansbridge fellowship selects about 15 Canadian students in order to go abroad to push them outside of their comfort zones, accelerate their personal growth, and show them the possibilities that exist outside of Canada. The fellowship is composed of a week-long bootcamp where selected fellows take on the task to come up with a business idea and then have the opportunity to pitch it to real investors, while also visiting startups and named-companies such as Lever.co or Microsoft. This is followed by the CFC (Cansbridge Fellowship Conference) where all other fellow alums are invited to see the pitches, network and have an amazing day getting to know everyone. Finally, the selected fellows depart from SF for their own respective journey to experience Asia. This was a process of going through 4 rounds of interviews; 1 written application followed by 3 video calls with the alum of the fellowship and the founder William Yu. Truly a unique experience. That’s the gist of the Fellowship. If you want to read more in detail, here’s the link to my first blog post.
Anyways, I’m in KL (Kuala Lumpur) right now and it’s been a month. Things have really gotten better. And for that I’d like to first say,
When I first came to KL, I felt so lost and hopeless. Being put in a completely different environment, I was faced with challenges I never imagined. This was explained in detail in my blog post #2.
The story goes on …
Okay so where do we begin? This post is relatively longer than my other ones since so much has happened. So, it’s completely up to you if you want to ride along the entire journey. If not, then:
- Exploring Batu Caves & the ASEAN Sculpture Garden
- Visiting KL Bird Park
- EID Mubarak
- Hiking Klang Quartz Ridge
- Exploring Zoo Negara
During my first weekend, a few of my friends from Singapore and Thailand came by; Allison Gacad, Cooper Midroni and Christy Chow from the fellowship. They arrived at around 8pm to my apartment. While exhausted (as one would expect from a long travel), we took the opportunity to just sit and catch up on our Asia experience. Topics such as what we’ve been learning so far, how many cockroaches we’ve seen, how many beautiful sights there are, etc. Apart from a long day, it was quite refreshing to finally have some human-interaction.
The next day, Saturday May 19, we went to Batu Caves: a famous tourist attraction, with a series of beautiful temples (one of the most popular outside India¹). At first I was hesitant to go since we have to walk 375 flights of stairs to get to the actual area. Given that the entire school year has been stressful, let’s just say, my cardio was at an all time low. Anyways, I mustered up my stubborn courage and went to the caves.
On arrival, we started taking a bunch of pics, bc how can you not.
We then started walking up the staircase, at the 100th or something stair, my cardio game was something else… I gave myself the excuse in my head, “it’s okay, you’re fasting…” Had to take a breather and continued, but while I was taking a breather, we noticed monkeys. Yeah, legit monkeys!
When we reached the top, it felt simply amazing, the view was something else. Here are some more pics from inside the cave:
After ending our trip, we got ready to head towards the Sculpture Garden
ASEAN Sculpture Garden
When we entered the Garden, we were welcomed with a huge map of the site. Whilst following the map, we noticed a small, children’s park and that brought back memories of my friends and I playing sandman. I wanted to play but we were on an agenda so couldn’t lose track. Along the trail, we saw nice ponds, trees and rocks. This was such a peaceful moment; to inhale the freshness of nature while also enjoying the peace.
Here are some pics of the garden … and the park ofcourse:
KL Bird Park
After our garden tour, we booked 2 Grabs and headed towards KL Bird Park (10 min ride). The entrance ticket was about 60 ringgits (rm) which is equivalent to about $20 CAD — this was well worth it and you’ll see the images soon.
For this part of the blog, I won’t explain our journey walking and viewing the birds; so I’ll just show some candid pics.
How am I doing?
I’ve been feeling a lot better since. I’ve been breaking into my house, cleaning and keeping myself occupied. The next few weeks, I didn’t do much, just focused on work and curating a schedule to start working out after Ramadan. Finally, Eid Mubarak!
First Eid on my own
A day of celebration and joy. This is the day right after Ramadan ends upon moon sight. Normally back home (Canada) I spend all my time with family and friends. We usually eat like crazy and it feels like gaining all that weight back we lost in Ramadan. It’s truly a beautiful day and I enjoy it the most. However, this Eid was different. Clearly because I had no family and friends here. I wouldn’t say I feel lonely anymore since I’ve made friends in KL along the way, but it was just different. Part of me didn’t want to believe that
this was the first Eid I had to celebrate on my own.
But I chose not to fixate on the sadness and enjoy every moment. I bought myself ice cream, ate by myself, and spent the rest of the day with a friend from here. The next day I actually met up with the CEO of Cubecrate and one of the founders of Maxman.tv. This is how I approached him:
No email templates, no scripts, just honestly reaching out. I was stoked when they replied back and we hit it right away. Anyways, long story short, our meeting ran for 7 hours, followed by dinner at an all you can eat-kinda sushi.
A few days later one of my other friends (also a 19’ Fellow) Simone Delaney came through from Indonesia. Unfortunately, she only stayed for one night but the entire day was more than fulfilling.
I went hiking for the first time!
Simone is an avid hiker and she’s done it a couple of times, so this was the perfect opportunity to go hiking with someone experienced. We did a quick Google search at my apartment of hiking places in Malaysia and found Klang Gates Quartz Ridge (or Bukit Tabur). It is about 14km long and about 200m wide; this is the longest quartz in the world²! I told myself, ‘well if I’m going to learn how to hike, might as well try the most challenging one.’
After finalizing our place, we booked a Grab, which was 26rm ($8 CAD) to the Quartz Ridge. When we arrived, the driver didn’t know where to drop us off as they changed the entrance to another side. We were kinda lost, but luckily 10min later we found it. We then found the entrance to the hiking trail and started our mission. There were a lot of challenges on this trail:
- no specified trail, we just walked on mud and where there were openings (up and under tree branches)
- there were a bunch of rocks, so felt like a mixture of both rock climbing and hiking
- mosquitoes everywhere (20+ bug bites)
- you’ll get sweaty the first 5 minutes (it’s so steep)
But I must say, when we made it to the top, it was the most satisfying experience. Such a wonderful view, so calm and peaceful.
We then stopped by Melawati Mall for lunch and had some booming shawarma (diced)
After lunch we went straight to the zoo; they had separate ticket prices: locals, students and for foreigners. We fell in the foreigners category (obv) and we paid 82rm ($26.24CAD). There’s not much to describe in terms of our excursion around the zoo, so here are some candid pictures:
That’s all folks; I know this was a long one (with tons of visuals), but a lot has happened and I couldn’t leave out the detail.
It’s not the destination, it’s the journey — Ralph Waldo Emerson (one of my fav poets).
Thank you for making it here:
- if you’re curious to know about the Cansbridge 19’ bootcamp and my journey there, click here.
- if you’re curious to know about my first few days in KL, click here.
On another note feel free to follow me on insta as I post on my story quite often: @nayemwizdom ✌️