Lately I’ve been searching for inspiration. After living in Malaysia for almost 4 months, I have hit a wall in both my personal life and professional life. It is difficult to get my butt moving every day to work out, blog, and complete projects for my marketing job.
When I first arrived in Penang this March, I was excited to get busy and involved like I did during my brief stay in Shanghai. I was going to find a gym, start coaching clients, travel around South East Asia, blog about my everyday life as an expat, and kick butt with my marketing projects. Somewhere along the way I lost my motivation. In order to have motivation, I need to be inspired by what I do and where I am headed in life. Sadly, this has not been the case.
I realized in the last few months that I do not like living in Malaysia. The expat community is small and I do not have many friends. There are few activities or groups for me to join and the things I want to do require driving myself during rush hour. I am terrified of driving here so I avoid it all costs. Over time I found myself reasoning that we are only here for a year so it was ok to not get involved. This has been my undoing. Now I actively AVOID investing any time and energy into making Penang feel like home which in turn makes me feel even more isolated. It is a vicious cycle that I am determined to stop.
So I am turning things around, shifting my focus to find my groove again. Here is how I am going to do it.
6 Ways to Stay Inspired for the Next 6 months:
1. Hit the gym 4x a week- We decided to save money on a gym membership by working out in our apartment complex gym. However there is no air conditioning so it is a real challenge to go down and sweat in an already hot and humid room. 4 weeks ago I started Tina’s Best Body Bootcamp and have been excited to workout again. I will continue to follow a program like this for the rest of my time in Penang. Working out consistently always gives me energy in other areas of my life. Plus I need to lose this expat belly! It is getting ridiculous!
2. See/do one thing in Penang every weekend- Peter and I made this pact a month ago and stuck with it for oh… about 2 weeks. Fail. I hope to make it a weekly thing once again starting with this Saturday! There are so many touristy things to do in Penang beyond going to the mall and watching movies like Peter and I tend to do. Hopefully exploring this island will help me like it more.
3. Stay connected with friends and family back home- I need to skype my family and friends at least 3 or 4 times a week. The 12 hour time difference is difficult but talking to them grounds me beyond belief. I miss my family so much and cannot wait to visit home in August. I am also excited out of my mind for my bestie Carina to come here and travel with me for 3 weeks! I missed my friend.
4. Go back to daily blogging- Completing the 365 project last year was crazy but so much fun! I really enjoyed blogging daily when I moved to Shanghai. It forced me to open my eyes, explore my surroundings, and make observations about life in China. I will go back to posting one photo with some thoughts or observations every day in an effort to engage with my surroundings. Keep an eye out for “Just an Observation” posts!
5. Sign up for one Spiral Synergy event every month- This expat group organizes activities and events like wet market tours, cooking classes, and author meet-and-greets in and around Penang. I signed up for their wet market tour last month but the thought of driving and parking downtown during rush hour freaked me out so I skipped it. Fail. I will sign up for one event each month and hopefully will actually make it to one!
6. Explore another kind of photography with filters- As much as I love taking pictures of my travels, I have been bored silly with the results. Lately I have become obsessed with the beautiful vintage photography in lifestyle blogs like Love Taza and Sincerely, Kinsey. Since I lost Photoshop Elements when my hard drive was wiped, I recently installed fun photo apps as a cheap alternative. I love laying filters on my photos like Instagram (my other obsession) to create a different feeling. Although I am still unsure if I will use filters for all my travel photos, I want to start playing with photography again.
The Petronas Twin Towers, black and white style
The Petronas Twin Towers, with flare
The light of God in the Dark Caves, vintage polaroid style
Chinese temple in Xiamen, vintage Polaroid style
Peter chillin’ on the Phi Phi Islands, vintage polaroid style
I am totally digging the Instant Polaroid app. It automatically gives photos a touch of nostalgia. The reason I fell in love with photography is because I am a sucker for nostalgia. I hoard memories with my camera. I am so excited to explore these filters and create pictures that inspire me and others. I lost my creativity for a while and now I am fighting to get it back.
Just writing out these 6 goals for 6 months inspires and motivates me to push the play button on my life. I will seize this amazing opportunity of living abroad and will strive to create a life that fulfills me every day.
The time is now!