Malaysia Travel Diary

Feb. 5, 2020 – Mar 3, 2020 | Experiences, musings, and curiosities that I will chronicle throughout my trip to Malaysia ~



  1. I love the more laid back and down-to-earth energy of Kuala Lumpur. The food is amazing; the cafes are very aesthetic and halal food is so accessible
  2. The Bay Area is a bubble of pressure and stress and 9-5 jobs and long commutes and gentrification and high costs of living and I’m sure this list is stressing you out too LOL. I love the Bay Area and I’ve lived there for 21 years, but truly spending time away from there, in a totally different country and different way of life, has been so so important to me. Let’s face it: the South Bay isn’t conducive to people who are in the humanities. I’m constantly thinking about how my writing can adapt to the job market and content development and it can get really tiring.
  3. I absolutely love the diversity of style and beauty in Malaysia. Especially its focus on modest fashion. I see clothes that I really want to wear and fit my style, which is super exciting. Even brands I’m used to in the States that have a different variety in Malaysia–I love it.
  4. There’s definitely a pressure I feel to see everything and have a variety of experiences, but I’m also reminding myself that my month-long trip is for a reason: I can wake up and do whatever I want. So far I’ve had a mix of productive days, touristy days, and chill days where Safa and I just watch Netflix lol
  5. THE MIX OF NATURE & ARCHITECTURE. I’m always staring out the window in awe during car rides because wow there’s so much to see. So many colors and tropical plants and animals. The architecture and interior design is innovative and sometimes has a touch of whimsy. It’s such a welcoming change to the lackluster new high income housing being built in the Bay Area

A question I’ve been thinking about:

What does it look like to live intentionally?

More to come! – S.A.


I am all packed up! I leave for Malaysia tonight and I am so, so excited to spend time with Safa and her family. My therapist and I talked a lot about what I hope to do and take away from this trip, and I think above anything I want to feel inspired and energized–and perhaps a sense of clarity on what my next step in life looks like. I am excited to explore mosques and nature, go on long wandering walks, eat yummy (halal!) food, and go coffee shop-hopping with Safa. I’ll be working on some personal and professional projects, as well, and I hope to develop a creative project with Safa, because we’ve been meaning to do that for years. I am excited to simply live and experience things. Since I will be there for roughly a month, there’s so much room to explore and listen to my wants & needs every day. At a time when I feel this pressure to have things figured out, to have a full-time job, and be an “adult,” I am ready to take a break and listen to myself.

A question that’s been on my mind is:

What does it mean to be a storyteller?

As I’ve been exploring content creation and my own novel, I’ve been wondering more about the essence of my storytelling. Not only what kinds of storytelling I want to produce for the world, but how I create stories in different mediums. I want my storytelling to be whimsical, innovative, and to connect with hearts & minds, while also exploring real challenges & issues. I think the only way to really explore that is to be prolific in my own capacity–to write often and to not be afraid to get it right the first time.

With what’s been happening on the news and the daily reminders of America’s imperialism and militarism, it’s easy to get closed off in a bubble. I want to break that bubble and learn about people, cultures, and ways of living in a respectful way, to not be a “tuned out” American. What does it mean to be a Muslim woman living in Malaysia? What does it mean to have cultural roots in a variety of places?

I also decided to take a lil baggy of my favorite teas to remind me of home: earl grey, english breakfast, ginger-pear, and jasmine. It’s very on brand, HAHA. More to come! – S.A.

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