Worldly Wan­der­ers

CLEO (Malaysia) - - CONTENTS -

Besties bound by a mu­tual love for travel share their stor y

Two best friends, one shared pas­sion, and a whole l ot of life - chang­ing ex­pe­ri­ences. Meet the girls who make a li ving out of globe- trot­ting.

IfT he Sis­ter hood of the Trav­el­ling Pants has taught us any­thing, it’ s the fact that long-last­ing friend ships goes be­yond ge­og­ra­phy. Ex­em­pli­fy­ing this are Eve­lyn nYee and Hanie Hi­dayah, best friends lead­ing dif­fer­ent lives, in dif­fer­ent places. But what keeps them on the same plane is their love for trav­el­ling. Three years ago, Eve lynn left her day job as a graphic de­signer to pur­sue her pas­sion for scuba div­ing. Now based in the Repub­lic of Palau, Eve lynn be­came a cer­ti­fied scuba div­ing in­struc­tor. Mean­while, Ha ni eh as dab­bled in a bit of ev­ery­thing, from blog­ging, re­tail mar­ket­ing, brand­ing, so­cial me­dia man­ag­ing, video pro­duc­tion and TV host­ing—yet trav­el­ling re­mains to be her one true call­ing. Based in KL, Haniei snow a travel host and writer for What­ever There Was.

Here, Eve­lynn and Hanie speak about con­cepts of home, stay­ing safe in un­fa­mil­iar ter­ri­tory and whether they‘ ll ever stay put. What is” home” to you, and do you think it ex­ists within us or is a phys­i­cal con­cept? Eve lynn: I ad­mit that I’ m still strug­gling to un­der­stand this. The­o­ret­i­cal ly, home is where you grew up and with your fam­ily and friends. But, what hap­pens when home is the rea­son you want to leave? Don’t get me wrong—I love my fam­ily and still try to visit them when­ever I can. But, I felt that I was cooped up at“home” my en­tire life and I needed to break free. Af­ter I did in 2015, my en­tire world changed. I guess I can say that“home” ex­ists within us where we feel most com­fort­able. Make your­self happy, and” home” is there, but also don’t for­get about your fam­ily back home.

Hanie: Home tome is where I feel most com­fort­able in. It does not mat­ter where home would be — what makes a home are the peo­ple and things in it that you value most. I made my house as my sanc­tu­ary in KL, but there area few places in this world where I’ d be able to feel like home too. What was the light bulb mo­ment that mo­ti­vated you to drop your day j ob and pur­sue your pas­sion? E: I got a job be­fore I even grad­u­ated and been work­ing in

front of the com­puter since. Af­ter two years of work­ing, things started to turn grey and repet­i­tive. I knew I needed a change in my life and so I did just that. Money wasn’t im­por­tant — hap­pi­ness was. I got into div­ing when I did a dive in Si­padan and be­ing sur­rounded by hun­dreds of thou­sands of fish es, I was hooked! I watched my friend liv­ing the is­land life com­fort­ably and I asked my­self ,“If she can, why can’t I ?”. Iv owed to come­back in a year but af­ter seven months of plan­ning, I quit my job. It was a huge roller coaster ride of emo­tions but it was the best de­ci­sion I had ever made.

H: I knew from early on that I’ d never be able to set­tle with a 9-5 job but Ihadt ogive it a try. Four years in of­fices and I was done—I left my day job to pur­sue a sim­pler life­style. I had to sac­ri­fice the money in or­der to have the time I want. This meant that I just had to be more creative in ways to earn and be fru­gal with my spend­ing. It’ s been five years I’ m still sur­viv­ing! Was it hard togo some­where un­fa­mil­iar and star t over again? How did you nav­i­gate around it? E: Yes, it was. I was anx­ious yet ex­cited about mov­ing to Palau. It’ s all about adapt­ing — be street- smart, do tons of re­search and have your friends/ fam­ily on speed dial in case of ques­tions! Hon­estly, just be hum­ble and peo­ple will open up to you. If you’ re friendly, most peo­ple will be too!

H: I would never go any­where with­out do­ing some ba­sic re­search. At l east have a roof over your head, data pack­age and ev­ery­thing else will be fine. I have a very good sense of di­rec­tion so it was never an is­sue for me to find my way around, but if you can’t get your bear­ings right, al­ways have Google Maps, Yelp and I nsta­gram on your phone. Where have you de­cided to call your turf? E: I’ m cur­rently based in Palau, Mi­crone­sia. I chose this place be­cause it was the first coun­try to be de­clared as a shark sanc­tu­ary and asa diver, it’ s a dream des­ti­na­tion! We have all sorts of fish spawn­ing ac­tiv­i­ties which then at­tract tons of sharks, manta rays . Oh, did I men­tion t he pris­tine white sandy

beaches and co­ral reefs? Any tips for any­one caught up in the wan­der­lust wave?

H: I don’t op­pose this—it takes steps for peo­ple to learn bet­ter ways to t ravel but as long as they’ re re­spect­ful of other cul­tures , re­li­gion , na­ture and not be a nui­sance to t he lo­cal sand so­ci­ety it should be all right. They’ ll out­grow t his even­tu­ally.

Eve­lynn div­ing right into her new pas­sion

Hanie wan­der­ing the old town of Che­fchaouen, Mo­rocco

Hanie liv­ing on the edge in Lin­coln’s Rock at Went­worth Falls, New South Wales

Hanie tak­ing in the view (and salty air!) at Kel­ingk­ing Beach in Bali

Eve­lynn pos­ing like a boss in Blue Cor­ner, Palau

Hanie liv­ing the life of a maiko in Ja­pan

A beau­ti­ful cave in Koh Lanta

Eve­lynn ”div­ing” in the snow in Bri­tish Columbia

Hanie tak­ing a dip in Sun­gai Lem­b­ing, Pa­hang

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