Musings from Malaysia


As I write this, I realize that I’ve chosen a very trite title for what I believe has been a very fruitful trip on many levels. To those who have been kind enough to follow my blog, I’d like to apologize for not having posted these past few days. Blame it on my “universal adaptor” not working and a couple of outlets in the room going out of service–thanks to a fuse that blew up on our first night here–therefore rendering my laptop useless for the most exciting part of this trip.

Anyway, I am here to cover the Borneo Jazz Festival, which officially opened on Thursday night and ended this afternoon with a matinee, as well as to take a trip to the Mulu National Park (“Gunung Mulu”), a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is known for its wide network of caves, its limestone mountains, and its lush forests. One particular website calls the Mulu Caves “the most spectacular caves on Earth.” These will be the subjects of several features that I am to write within the next couple of weeks, so please stay tuned for that.

I also believe that I was brought back here to reconnect with things, ideals, and even people that matter to me. Music has been an integral part of my growth and actualization as an individual, and to experience jazz over and over again is truly something that brings my heart joy (I do not exaggerate). It was also important for me to be here on a writing assignment because, for the greater part of my adult life, writing has helped to define “who I am” and “what I am supposed to do”, and without it I would be just another brooding creative soul seeking expression. I am also extremely grateful that I shared a room with one of my dearest friends and colleagues, Ana Santos, who helped me sort out a lot of questions in my head. (Thanks, A! I owe you one!) I believe that everyone deserves to go on a trip like this, at least a few times within their lifetime, to be able to look at things in a different perspective and help sort out questions, crossroads, and all that jazz (pun intended).

Sunset at Miri (photo by NTZ)
Sunset at Miri (photo by NTZ)

Ah, before I forget: one thing that has been instrumental in bringing out a lot of these realizations is Elizabeth Gilbert’s book, Eat, Pray, Love. Although this book has been out for quite a while already, and I have in fact given it to some family members and friends as presents, I have chosen to buy my own copy and read it “when the right time comes.” This trip seemed to be the right time, and so the book is a fitting companion to my journeys here.

So here I am, a spirit trapped in wanderlust but also deeply craving for balance and focus. I’m using my writing to explore, but I’m also hoping that it will bring me the clarity that I need.  I am surrounded by people, things, and ideals that matter to me, yet my love and family are back home and I will be going back home to them a little bit changed. I am still overwhelmed by tasks and deadlines (and a LOT of backlog, believe me), and I hope that the epiphanies from this trip will help me say “no” to the things that I should start clearing away and “yes” to those that I know will move me forward.

I WILL be blogging more about the trip and the festival itself–I promise you that. In the meantime, enjoy the rest of your Sunday… and here’s hoping that your weekend brings you a bit of reflective time as well.

All the best,

Nina scribble


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