30 Things I Did When I Was 30.
1. Celebrated my “Big Thirty” with the important people in my life.
My girlfriend knew I was under a lot of stress at the time, so she did something I never thought she would do - she contacted our common friends and asked to write some words of encouragement for me. These words were printed out and stored inside a box, so whenever I needed a power-up, it’s there.
(I also got a lot of “marry this girl, Kenny!” from our friends.)
2. Took the long way home from KLIA.
It was Christmas week. I was in KL for a business meeting, but on my way back I missed my flight.
It was a grave mistake. All MAS and AirAsia flights from KL to Kuching were full for the next 5 days. Not only that, all Penang to Sarawak, Johor to Sarawak and Singapore to Sarawak flights were full. Basically, there are no flights plying between Peninsular Malaysia and East Malaysia whatsoever for the next several days. It means I’ll be stranded with no accommodation, unless I think of something wild - which I did.
For a moment, I thought about sailing from KL to Kuching on a boat, like in Life of Pi.
In the end, I booked my flight my KL to Jakarta, then Jakarta to Pontianak on Garuda, then took a 9 hour bus ride from Pontianak in West Kalimantan, to Kuching, Sarawak. By the time I arrived home, I smell like an Indonesian.
Lesson learnt: Never miss your flight during Christmas week.
3. Sold my apartment and bought a house instead.
I got hitched shortly after purchasing my apartment. By then, I realised an apartment wasn’t right for the both of us.
Thinking long-term, I put the money down on a landed property and most likely this will be where we’ll be staying for at least the next few years - my first major responsibility as a grown-up.
4. Slept inside a campervan for the first time.
I took my girlfriend on a long holiday to the UK for our second year anniversary, but because hotels in the UK is so expensive, I thought it might be a better idea to rent a campervan and sleep in the back instead.
It was winter when we travelled to UK and Iceland, so we braced for the worst, but turns out sleeping in a vehicle didn’t turn out as bad as we had thought. We had a rather comfy Toyota Estima. In the morning, we would drive the vehicle around. When we felt tired, then we just parked wherever it’s quiet, popped down the back seat and slept till the next morning.
The best thing is that we saved a ton of money: the car hire costs us RM700 for 4 days - that’s roughly the cost of a single night in typical hotel in London!
Definitely gonna be doing this again.
5. Saw the Stonehenge.
Yeah, the world’s most famous pile of rocks.
6. Watched a Liverpool match at the Director’s Box in Anfield.
It was a money-can’t-buy prize from the Enterprise Development Challenge competition I won last year.
(Come to think of it, I experienced many things for the first time during this trip to the UK and Iceland.)
7. Travelled to Iceland.
It’s the furthest north I have ever travelled to in my life.
8. Made snow angels for the first time.
9. Went horse-riding in the snow.
And got a horse that loves me a little bit too much.
10. Dived in a lake for the first time.
But not just any lake - it’s a lake filled with glacial waters.
The dive site is Lake Silfra - a crack between the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates. It was also the first time I donned a dry suit to scuba-dive instead of the traditional wet suit.
The water in the glacial lake is so clean, it’s like diving in Evian water.
11. Walked on a glacier for the first time.
Sounds romantic, until I fell inside a hole.
Lucky I didn’t get stuck, ‘cos I’m too big-sized.
12. Went dog-sledding.
13. Saw the aurora borealis.
And it’s as breathtakingly beautiful as I had imagined it to be.
The aurora borealis is like weather - it is difficult to predict when exactly it is going to happen. All we can do is stay in Iceland as long as we can and hope for the best.
We were in Iceland for 5 days without seeing a single shred of green light.
Then, on the night when we were supposed to depart, the northern lights came out to play in all its glory.
It was magnificent.
14. Celebrated two years with my girlfriend.
After one week of sleeping in cars and saving every single cent way we can during our ten-day break in UK and Iceland, we splurged on the last day on our two-year anniversary trip at a Gordon Ramsay restaurant in London called Petrus.
15. Voted for our country.
Note to self: Don’t scratch your forehead when there’s still indelible ink on your finger.
16. Saw sunrise at Alishan.
17. Experienced an earthquake for the first time.
18. Ran my seventh 42km marathon.
The Perth City to Surf was the first ever running event I participated in. Back in 2001, I took part in the 4km run and swore to myself I don’t want to run again.
The event has since grown to include a marathon.
Although I didn’t beat my personal best (the route was easily the hardest I have ever competed in), there’s a nice sense of nostalgia to complete a marathon in a city where I spent most of my teenage years.
19. Trained to become a Les Mills GRIT Coach
20. Opened my third gym outlet.
My latest outlet is located next to a Buddhist temple where my father’s soul resides. And interestingly, the YB who officiated the opening of my gym was a former student of my late father.
I don’t think even my father knew that one of his students would grow up to become a politician, to officiate the opening of the business of his youngest son.
Guess it was meant to be.
21. Flew business class on long-haul for the first time.
Thanks Qatar Airways!
22. Went on a solo backpacking trip through Central Europe.
Although I flew on Business Class using Qatar Airways (sponsored) from Kuala Lumpur to Poland, I travelled from there to Czech Republic and Southern Germany on the cheap. I slept in hostels, buses, trains and train stations... basically, any place that does not have a hotel reception desk.
Instead of taking subways and taxis, I cycled everywhere as much as I can.
Flying on a broomstick is also a viable mode of transport.
Going on solo backpacking trip is something I enjoyed doing this during my single days in my early 20s. It’s good to get lost in a foreign country every once in a while. Makes you wiser.
23. Saw two of World War II’s most infamous and horrific sites of mass murder.
The Auschwitz Concentration Camp in Poland...
24. ...and the site of the Nanking Massacre in China.
You lost a bit of faith in humanity after seeing those two places.
25. Experienced Oktoberfest in Munich.
26. Continued to learn, learn, learn and be better at my job.
27. Appeared on a poster of a warung in Bali.
It all happened last year when we went cliff jumping at a spot in Nusa Lembongan.
I knew our photo was taken. Next thing I know, our sweet young Malaysian faces appeared on their poster. #SocialExperiment
28. Participated in a cycling trip organized by the Entrepreneur’s Organization (EO) of Malaysia.
This was such an eye-opening experience for me. On the surface, this may be just a bicycling trip from point A to B. Yet, I learnt so much just from having small talks and little conversations with members of EO Malaysia - all of whom are movers and shakers, founders or owners of very successful companies.
Full story coming up!
29. Completed my Invisalign treatment.
I’m smiling so much more now, thanks to mydentist.com.my. Again, will do a follow-up on my journey soon!
30. Asked my better half for her hand in marriage.
She said yes. :)
You know you have found the one when you’ve dated for two and a half years and you never even had a single argument.
Today, I am 31 years old.