29 things I did when I was 29.
1. Received 5 stalks of roses.
Then got blindfolded, bundled into my own apartment and had the most romantic 29th birthday dinner intricately planned by my girlfriend. :)
2. Began my adventure fleshing out my bare apartment.
Buying an apartment is only part of the cost. A huge part of the expenses is fleshing it out with bits and pieces of furniture.
I'm proud to say that the first piece of "furniture" I got was actually a super-comfy large-sized bean bag sponsored by Doof!
3. Won an award for Best Micro-Blog at the Nuffnang Blog Awards 2011.
twitter.com/kennysia - So much love in 140 characters or less.
4. Started my Invisalign treatment with MyDentist.com.my to straighten my teeth. Last time my teeth looked like this.
And now my teeth looks like this!
Still got about half a year left to go, though.
5. Gave a kiss to this pale ass dummy.
Thank goodness I got a First Aid certificate from the Red Crescent in return.
6. Spent Valentine's Day with my girlfriend at the upmost luxurious beach resort I have ever stayed at in my whole life.
It's called Sri Panwa, and it's located at Cape Panwa in Phuket, Thailand.
To call it a hotel or a resort would be an insult. Sri Panwa is a village and a Hollywood celebrity favourite - Jeremy Renner and Gordon Ramsay all stayed here before. Room rates normally go for USD2,000 a night, but if you buy it through Luxe Nomad, the rates can go to as low as RM800 a night.
7. Won the top prize at an entrepreneur development challenge organized by MillionaireAsia magazine.
The prize was a RM20,000 Lalique trophy and 2 directors box tickets at Liverpool Football Club's stadium. But the real prize I got was some extremely valuable advice from my mentor Marcus Luer of Total Sports Asia.
When I put his advice into practice, it really enabled my company Level Up Fitness to grow.
8. Made a wish and released a floating lantern into the air.
Thank you, Club Med Phuket!
9. Saw the Taj Mahal.
Seeing Taj Mahal means I have successfully visited half of the New 7 Wonders of the World.
10. Witnessed the cremations at the holy Ganges River of India.
Varanasi is a pain to get to, but it is one the most unique and unusual sightings in the world.
I spent only half a day there. No, it's not the cleanest cities in the world, but the experience was so much more worth it than the crowds at the Taj Mahal in Agra.
11. Slept in an overnight train in India.
Despite so many horror stories I hear about trains in India, my experience was nothing like it at all. Although it was rather cramped, the train was extremely clean and I felt safe the whole way through.
The local middle-class Indians were quite surprised to see a Chinese face amongst the crowd and attempted to have conversation with me despite the language barrier.
Unfortunately, I smelled like coconut oil for the next 24 hours.
12. Had my first volunteer travel experience.
With my dentists Dr Melissa and Dr Foo, we participated in Operation Smile: Vietnam.
Volunteer Travel is so different but so spiritually fulfilling from all my other travel experiences. We went up to central Vietnam and even travelled to Vinh Long, a tiny village deep in interiors of the Mekong Delta just to give dental treatment to the local kids. There really is no better way to experience a foreign land's local culture and not just spend money and buy souvenirs, but also give back to the local community.
13. Suffered from frequent bouts of excruciating stomach pains.
Went for an ultrasound scan and discovered I have stones in my gallbladder. The pain persisted for the next 3 months, but I changed my diet to mostly vegetables and water. Eventually the pain stopped (but I think the gallstone is still inside there.)
14. Facing increasing competition in my business!
Before I started Level Up Fitness 3 years ago, there wasn't much options when it comes to gyms in Kuching. Suddenly, 3 years after I started business, everyone and their doggie wants to run a gym.
Someone told me that to have competition in the business is to have validation that the industry I chose to be in was right. If there were no competition and I was the only player in there, it could only mean that nobody have faith in the industry.
Oh well, bring it on.
15. Became an American Council of Exercise Certified Personal Trainer.
Then trained some of my gym members to run their first half-marathon!
16. In Sri Lanka, climbed a sacred Buddhist / Christian / Hindu / Muslim mountain called Adam's Peak.
Got a local dog as our guide who followed us from the foot of the mountain all the way up then all the way down.
17. Rode an elephant for the first time.
18. Stuck my head out of a moving train.
There's a inexplicable feeling of childlike-glee when you are able to stick your head out a moving train.
I realised I have done a lot of train journeys this year - in India, Sri Lanka, Japan and China.
Nothing comes close to the experience travelling 9 hours by train from Colombo on the west coast of Sri Lanka, to the town of Ella in the mountainous interior. The smiles on the faces of the locals, the ability to access little towns untouched from mass tourism - it all adds flavour to the travel experience.
19. Stuck religiously to my marathon training routine, even throughout all my travels.
I packed my running shoes whenever I go. Some of my training runs took me off the beaten tracks. My running shoes have brought me to places I would never have gone myself and meet people I would never have met otherwise. My most memorable run was through a poor tiny Indian village hidden from the riches of the Taj Mahal.
My girlfriend never understood why I enjoyed running in foreign lands so much until I took her for a run through a tea plantation in Sri Lanka.
Halfway through our run, she was tickled with glee as half of dozen of curious village kids followed her behind, all screaming "HELLO! HELLO!"
I say, don't be afraid to get off the beaten track when you travel. The enrichment of the soul far outweighs the fear of getting lost or getting mobbed.
20. In Sri Lanka, rode the most crowded local bus I have ever boarded in my life!
I was literally hanging off the side of the sardine-packed bus with one foot in the bus, another inches off the moving road.
21. Signed the papers to open two more outlets of Level Up Fitness!
After three years, it's time to expand the business.
22. Definitely my biggest source of pride this year.
Ran my sixth full 42km marathon. This time I did it in Gold Coast, Australia and achieved my new personal best of 5 hours 28 mins!
That's like a full one hour off the first time I did my marathon. My 4 months of religious marathon training has definitely paid off.
23. Dived the Great Barrier Reef.
24. Lost my Australian Permanent Residency.
25. Did an authentic Japanese homestay at a place called Hirayu Onsen, high up in the Japanese Alps.
Using Google Translate, I managed to make my reservation with the homeowner and completed the stay without being able to speak a word of Japanese.
And what a lovely experience it was! We ate the yummiest pieces of Wagyu Beef (called Hida Beef), bathed in an outdoor onsen, and even took the home owner's dog out for a walk.
26. Went hiking in a place high up in the Japanese mountains called Kamikochi.
Saw the most beautiful autumn colours in the nature.
27. Became a calendar model.
Unfortunately it's not for Men's Health, but for the Sarawak SPCA to raise funds for an animal shelter.
28. Survived one week in China without getting cheated from the locals.
Considered an achievement because everytime I travel to China, I get cheated by everyone from taxi drivers to market merchants to money changers.
29. Lost 12kg of weight!
No secrets. No shortcuts. Just blood, sweat, tears and no fried food.
Today, I turned 30 years old.