I have redefined retirement at age 23. I have a lifestyle where I do the things I like, with the time I have and still get paid for it. I designed my freedom these two decades, traveling to more than 40 countries. I run a successful business doing consulting works as a Corporate Writer, Corporate Emcee, Event Producer and a Workshop Facilitator. I am also a talk-show host on an Internet Radio station with two programs "A Course In Miracles for Work-Life" and "Freedom Speaks". Life is Healthy, Rich & FREE! You can design this lifestyle according to your willingness. I hope mine will inspire you to achieve that freedom too.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Quietly, Hear It All - Assisi, Italy

Winter's sun is always welcome with beaming smiles and wondrous clasp of warmth. Soft glow of shimmering golden brown illumines every path and leads them out of shadow, albeit for the span of a moment in conscious time. It just makes everything seem so sharp and clear, there is not a single detail that escapes its penetration. Like the buds of pansies and violas, that burst out blooming amidst the winter cold. They burst into their glory to become the purple and orange, adding the hope that yes, after all these winter dullness, there are always a mystical charm to look out for miracles in the tiniest works of the Presence. Nothing is by chance.

Winter evening drags a long and wide elongated drape over the facade of the famous Basilica and Convent of St. Francis from the southeast at sunset. It is so quiet, the tranquility sets the tone of heaven, where if you listen intently, you will hear the celestial voices with your senses. The serenity is felt at the level of the heart, where it strides a cord as I recall Dr Wayne Dyer's photo on the cover of his book "There's A Spiritual Solution to Every Problem". He was holding his hands in prayer position, cupping them in front of his mouth, staring out into the realms of all that is. The book is his ingenuity writings based on the famous prayer of St Francis. The thug of the heart string resounded with the chanting of the first verse : Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace....... (Click here to read the entire prayer.)

And there I was, standing at the railing overlooking the Basilica, and felt like Dr Dyer looking out and just felt the openness. I listened to the whispers of the spheres while I took in the golden glimpse of the love emanating from the confluence of a sacred place where a world revered saint spent his life loving what Is.

We just arrived at Assisi, the hometown of St Francis, en route to Venice the next morning. He was born to a wealthy cloth merchant in the 12th century and since then found his "sanity" by forgoing all his wealth and possessions to clear his disillusionment of the world. His renunciation to the Order faced strong family resistance so he was threatened and beaten.  Such stories are similar to Prince Siddharta and even in our times, Sai Baba and our most revered Divine Mother, the famous hugging Amma, all went through such times in their younger days where they were all taken as either disillusioned or insane. Well, whichever it is, the divine plans that have been laid out for all of us showed up eventually.

For me, the Plans had me witnessed the sacred places many times without me having to prepare for them. And every time I will return home feeling awe-struck and more aware of the Presence which has all the answers to the purpose of my life.

As I strolled into the medieval town, walking the cobbled stone walkway up to the Chapter House where some of the relics of St Francis were placed. Unfortunately, because I spent so much time watching the sunset over the Umbria region with all the olive trees doting the landscape, I didn't notice that it had very short visiting hours in winter. By the time I went up to the chapel through the town area, I could only take a peak through its grilled windows. The nuns chanted and moved silently inside the chapel and I was told, they were doing the same devotional practice as what St Francis did 9 centuries ago. 

The experience was captured and encapsulated in eternity. It has open up more opportunities for me to rest in the feet of the omnipresence and know that all is well. It was like my soul needed to be there at all these sacred places to re-live the lives that were meant to be with full and total awareness of what is present.

It was hush and quiet all the time I was there in Assisi. As tourists, somehow, deep in their soul, even though we have been so used to busyness, making loud noice and rushing around in our daily lives, when in Assisi, the atmosphere was calming, soothing and peaceful, everyone just meditatively slowed down, very infectious indeed. But I know, amidst the tranquility, the Words had been spoken and heard - and deeply cherished!

Friday, June 05, 2009

Visit More Places with One Flight Ticket

Question :

Is there a cheaper way to fly? How do you cover more places?

Answer :

The way I traveled had always been fun and free.  So, even if the places I chose to arrive and then depart were far apart in terms of geographical location, I will eventually find transport and ways to get to the departure point, no matter what. How I get there to the destination, I didn't have a clue, but somehow things always turned up great.

One way to travel, if you have time and many days to spare, is to choose a city to arrive and then choose another city to depart. It may not be a city within the same country, you can choose a city in the neighboring country, for which the same airline flies to.

I have heard of other tourists using a world ticket to cover a few continents making kind of a circle then head home. That may be a better idea too.  For me, I do my traveling regularly, it is not just once in a lifetime kind of thing. So, I take my time. Most places I have been back again and again several times, such as India, one of the places in the world that I had been back more than 5 times.

These were just some of my experiences where I took a cheaper way to fly and covered more places as well. If you know of a better way to travel, do share with me too :

India & Nepal

I took Singapore Airlines (SQ) to New Delhi.  I covered many places in the northern part of India, such as Himachal Pradesh, Dharamsala, New Delhi, Agra, Fatehpur Sikri, then crossed the border into Nepal on foot. Overland in Nepal, I went to Lumbhini, Pokhara and many more places until finally I arrived at my last destination, ie Kathmandu and took a flight back from there. With such flight arrangement on SQ, I need not head back to New Delhi to take the flight home. Eventhough I paid a little more for the flight, the adventure was worth it.


I took a flight to Bangkok. Then took the bus to Nong Khai, the border town where they have now built a Friendship bridge connecting into Vientienne, Laos. When I was there, there were no bridge yet. After covering Vientienne and Luang Prabang, I took a flight from Laos to Ho Chi Minh City. Visited a few places in southern Vietnam, from Ho Chi Minh City up to Dalat and Nha Trang. Later, took a bus to from Ho Chi Minh City to cross the border into Phnom Penh.  I was denied exit at the border because Vietnam was not open to free travel yet, everywhere I went, I needed a permit stamp. I did not know that the stamp also indicated my exit point, so I stormed back to Ho Chi Minh City and booked a flight into Phnom Penh. I came back to Bangkok by flight from Phnom Penh and took a flight back to KL from Bangkok.

Now that we have more flights into Indochina and free travel to anywhere in ASEAN countries without having to apply for a visa (I took a visa to Laos and Vietnam then, it was about 16 years ago),  I would do it differently.

Australia & New Zealand

I took Qantas then. My flight route was KL-Sydney, stayed a few days in Sydney, then from Sydney to Christchurch. I spent a couple of weeks traversing the South, found my way to Wellington by bus and ferry. Then visited a few places in the North from Rotorua, Auckland up to Paihia, then took a flight from Auckland to Melbourne.  Spent a few more days in Melbourne, then Melbourne-KL. One ticket from Qantas covered so many places, and do note that I did not have to go back to the place where I first arrived.

My next trip to Australia, my flight route was KL-Melbourne, Brisbane-KL. I covered Tasmania as well, then took a flight from Hobart to Brisbane, cost about AUD110 one-way.


I like to stay in London. So, for many trips, I will choose to stop in London and have a few nights there to go to Theatreland.  It would be cheaper now to fly to London, after that proceed to other destinations in Europe. Example : I took a one-way Singapore Airlines flight to Rome, toured many places in Italy, then took Easy Jet (for cheap flights in Europe, try easyjet.com or ryanair.com) from Rome to London. That would have been under ₤25 one-way. Then, I took one-way London-KL flight home on SQ again. I may have paid RM300 more to Singapore Airlines for this arrangement but I saved returning to Rome.

A few years back, I took MH flight KL-London-KL. Stayed a few days in London, then took an easyjet flight London-Vienna-London for under ₤55. I found that it was cheaper to fly than to take the train.


My flight route was KL-Denpasar, Yogyakarta-KL. It was cheaper to take a flight this way, I paid less airport tax in Yogya compared to Denpasar. I traveled from Bali to Mt Bromo by ferry then by bus. From Mt Bromo, I went to Yogya on a van which took almost 14 hours. I visited Borobudur the next day and stayed there for 2 nights. Then came back to Yogya and took a flight from Yogya to KL. Thus, saving me the trip back to Bali. There is cheap flights within Indonesia too, you can book it through mandalaair.com


I had taken SQ flight to San Francisco, then out Los Angeles, same price, no extra charge. There are plenty of cheap flights in the USA, so getting around is fairly easy. The best I got was on Korean Air this year 2009. My flight route was :

KL-Seoul (on Korean Air) - 5 hours connecting flight
Seoul - Chicago (on Korean Air) - stopover 1 night at no extra charge
Chicago - Orlando (Delta Air) - stayed there 5 days and went to Disneyland
Orlando - Alabama (Delta Air) - stayed a week, paid extra
Alabama - Honolulu (Delta Air) - stayed for 5 days and did a local tour
Honolulu - Seoul (Korean Air) - stopover 1 night at no extra charge
Seoul - KL (Korean Air) - beautiful, just had a splendid holiday.

There was one year I took a flight KL-Newark-KL and back for under RM6000 including 6 days bus tour to New York, Boston, Washington DC, Philadelphia, Buffalo (Niagara Falls), no meals but 5 nights accommodation at 5-star hotels provided too.  After that tour, I crossed to Canada through Buffalo, via Toronto to Windsor (southern city connecting Detroit). Then, re-entered USA via Detroit, went to Alabama, back to New York to take the flight home.