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