For someone who spent most of her life in land-scarce, urban Singapore, a place like Iceland feels almost unreal. To be able to lay eyes on mountains as breathtaking as the ones we casually drove by on our road trip, and witness the efforts of thousands of years of unrelenting water activity take shape in the form of awe-inspiring fjords and waterfalls was an immense privilege that I was thankful to have. No photo or video can do justice to the true magic of the moments you spend on glaciers, hills or craters, taking in the vastness of the Icelandic terrain.
It was then that I learnt to silence the hundred and one thoughts that I usually have swirling around in my head, and focus my attention on the multitude of sensations and emotions that surfaced in the moment. Those feelings of wonder, gratitude and exhilaration are permanently etched in the deepest corners of my mind, serving as reminders that we are but specks in the greater scheme of things, and that the world is so much bigger than we know.
I visited Kyoto and Tokyo in late 2016, and recently came across some of the photos that I shot while I was there. What stood out for me most about Japan was how modernity and culture coexisted in perfect harmony, one never outshining the other, but rather, complementing one another to create a richness in the society that I really admired. I suppose this was also reflected in various aspects of urban Japanese society – Tokyo was incredibly bustling and fast-paced, but underneath it all, that sense of mindfulness still came through.
I also had tons of fun exploring Tokyo’s thriving thrift and vintage culture. My favourite find? Pressed blooms against a preserved newspaper clipping from 18th century France. I found it at a market in Shibuya, sold by a Japanese collector now based in Paris.
Scroll down to take a look at some of my favourite moments!
It’s a question I used to get a lot but never really knew how to answer. It’s probably because I didn’t fully understand what it meant to be uninspired. (You see, I have a habit of getting involved in too many hobbies at once. Keeps the brain busy.)
That was before I finished school and entered the real world. You know, the one that everyone around used to talk about constantly. As if everything that happens prior to that is just for play, or has-beens for us to reminisce about when the responsibilities of the real world become too much to bear.
But when your identity is shaped so much by the experiences that you collect pre-real world, it becomes so easy for you to get lost in the routines of working life. Things also get a little more complicated when you work in the creative industry – where do you draw the line that separates your professional space from your personal one? Is there a need for these spaces to be made separate? Can they coexist as one to become an even larger space that benefits both your career and personal development? Is work finally driving you insane?
Don’t get me wrong – I enjoy what I do for a living. I really do. Crazy hours, crazier co-workers and all. But I am unsettled about how my sense of self got a little lost in the transition from Liyana the fashion lover/sometimes blogger/music person/aspiring creative to Liyana the copywriter and fitness lover. I think this is perfectly natural and not really a quarter-life crisis type of moment. Feeling the need to step back and reevaluate my growth as a person, and taking note if I’m really moving forward as best as I can.
It took all of two years for me to realise that inspiration needs to be chased. So that’s what I’m doing now. A little self-recovery. Reconnecting with passions that I lost, and yearn to explore again. It’s not going to be easy, but if that’s what it takes to feel the exhilaration in creating once more, then I’m on board.