“My biggest fear would be the risks that I don’t take. Not being at my full potential. In general, I think it’s a bit hard saying no to opportunities when they come. There’s a quote I read which says ‘it’s always easy to say yes, but it’s hard to say no,’ so have I to remind myself there are times when opportunities come, and if it’s not your time to take it yet, then that’s when you have to know to say no. When I wake up in the morning, I like to ask myself what new things am I going to do today, what new stuff am I going to learn. It’s definitely the risks that I don’t take that scares me.”
What encourages you to travel?
“Actually one of my favorite quotes from the Royal Society is ‘Nullius in verba,’ which means ‘Take nobody’s word for it’ or basically, ‘see for yourself.’ I’ve always seen pictures of Europe, or European architecture on TV and I have always had that desire to see it for myself.
What was the scariest thing you’ve ever done?
“My most scariest part was when I was in Venice. I don’t speak Italian, and I booked my accommodations through Hostelworld, which is a very reliable site. I had gotten my confirmation back saying the hotel was booked, but when I got to the actual hostel in Venice they told me that they didn’t get the confirmation, so I had no place to stay.
I was scared, it was night, it was getting late, I didn’t have much idea what I should be doing at that point, but luckily my Mom was there with me. We went nearby hotels e and just asked them if they had any rooms available. I was upset and disappointed because it never occurred to me to confirm with the hostel directly if they had received my confirmation. It’s the little lessons like that that I learned. But we knocked on the first hotel and they said, ‘Oh, you’re very lucky. We were actually fully booked but one person cancelled at the last minute so we do have a room for you.’ It was a nice luxury hotel it and it was cheaper than the hostel I had booked through Hostelworld.
In that case, I’ve learned that if you’ve got the will to get through hurdles, and if you’ve got cash with you, you’ll be okay.”
What was the biggest thing you learned in your life?
“Taking initiative. I learned that you can do anything you want but you have to have commitment and dedication. You definitely need to put in the effort, but I learned that as long as you want to do something and you’re willing to go and look for opportunities, a lot of times the opportunities will come knocking on your door instead.”
What motivates you?
“I think people are really what motivate me. When I go out and do something, be it travel or writing for INKspire, I find that I get to meet a lot of very cool people along the way who have their own life experiences and lessons that they can teach you. I find that there’s a lot you can learn from other people’s obstacles, from challenges that they’ve encountered.”
Who inspires you?
“I can’t think of any names at the moment. I think I am more inspired by the books I read. There’s a young adult book that I have finished reading about a young chef, a prodigy chef, who goes on adventures solving cooking mysteries with his cousin. In one scene, they are having a very tough time and his cousin is somehow always in a jolly mood. The chef complains ‘No, we are in a dire situation here, we might die, we might lose our lives, I don’t understand why you are so happy,’ and that’s when his cousin said, ‘You know, trying to solve problems is hard enough, but if you’re also going through a bad mood while trying to get through an obstacle, your mood just becomes another obstacle that you need to get over.”
What is your most memorable story?
“During my last month or so in Switzerland, I had a very good friend visit me and we went travelling together, but that’s when I realized being friends with someone and traveling with someone is a whole different ballgame. I realized it doesn’t matter how good friends you are, if you see someone every day and if you don’t get along, it can cause tension. But I also learned that you’re not going to like everything about one person, and that’s okay. There’s always going to be good and bad in someone, so I learned that you either accept it or you break it off, or you learn to compromise.
I remember we were in Amsterdam and I think I got fed up with his pessimistic attitude that I left him at one point. I said I had had enough, that he should go one way and I another and that we will meet up somewhere in the evening. We split up and then at night when we met up for dinner that’s when he said ‘Oh, I didn’t know you were fed up with me to the point that you didn’t want to hang out with me in Amsterdam.” We talked when we met up in the evening, even though we were very angry at each other. That’s when I learned how deal with other people’s differences and the importance of compromise.”
What’s the best advice someone has given you?
“Don’t be afraid to be generous.”
How do you be generous?
“A great book I read once with the advice of ‘give freely’. He says ‘give freely because the reward will always come to you on its own.’ He called it the Law of Attraction. As long as you give freely, then you will be rewarded, but that will happen when you don’t expect it and at the most unexpected time.”
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