‘Let death be what takes us, not lack of imagination.’

Sushi Girl watercolour illustration

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The ‘Sushi Girl’ is called Mōsō Onēsan no Sushiya-san, or The Daydreaming Girl’s Sushi Restaurant. I collected it from my recent trip to Japan, it’s a gacha capsule toy, designed by manga artist Toshinao Aoki. I carried it with me in my travels and she slept peacefully by my bedside, giving me comfort.

The quote is from BJ Miller’s Ted Talk about adding meaning to things in life.

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It doesn’t matter where I am in the world, I’ll still be doing the same thing

It doesn’t matter where I am in the world, I'll still be doing the same thing

I’ve learnt that although I love to travel, I love to see new places, experience living in new cultures, at the end of the day, I could be happy anywhere. The environment and my surroundings don’t really matter, as long as I feel safe, comfortable, and I love myself and the people around me.

For me, I find my happiness when I’m reading, learning, writing, spending time with friends, eating and seeing art, enjoying my time at home, meeting new people. The environment doesn’t really matter because we can enjoy doing these things from anywhere – we can buy books online, find clothes online or in markets, eat delicious food everywhere.

Sometimes I can get frustrated by the city I’m living in if I’ve stayed too long, maybe it is time for a change, but I know that my home will always be wherever I am. I can choose to feel this way because I know what makes me happy and what I need in my life.

Why I choose to travel

A Single Man book quote

I just finished reading the wonderful book A Single Man by Christopher Isherwood, it’s so funny, insightful and I just couldn’t put it down. This quote really stuck with me:

The point is, do you want to go? If you want to go, you should go. Never mind anybody else.

Current efficiency workflow tools for the minimalist

Current efficiency workflow tools for the minimalist

My method for getting things organised and done so I can have peace of mind, is through simplifying and reducing the amount of things I need to use.

I love to write in notebooks (maroon Moleskine or black hardcover spiral bound MUJI art books are my favourites) but I they are for my personal musings (scribbles and illegible deep thoughts) or physical to do lists where I need to cross something off, or doodle notes for things I need to action within the week or so. Paper does help but I keep most things digitally for access / archival purposes. My pen of choice is uni-ball Signo 0.5, a precise ink pen with consistent, quick-drying flow. I bulk buy refills from eBay, shipped from Hong Kong for $1 each.

Current apps I’m using:

Evernote
Keeps all notes, inspiration, research in one place and I can access it from anywhere I have internet connection. Same font size, same fonts. Bold, italics, and highlights.

Apple Reminders
I have only the lists of major tasks. I always have a general To Do List of things I need to do usually within the week. I might have a Travel list or a School list. I tick off completed tasks, and do almost daily clean ups of the lists (edits if priorities change). Again empty lists are the goal.

Gmail Inbox
My inbox is my to do list / everything matters. I love when it says I have zero emails in my inbox. All travel information, bills etc are saved in their respective folders for Travel or Shopping. I don’t subscribe to any emails.

Apple Calendar
Just perfect for dates and appointments, or important details about a day that I cannot miss.

Pinterest
All inspiration images found on the net are on Pinterest boards. I have secret boards mood boarding with clients or group work. I use the Chrome Pinterest button feature and right click on images to save directly to Pinterest.

Feedly
Great for quickly skimming through all subscribed blogs and keeping updated!

So I use paper for drawings, sketching out ideas and diary writing. My mum taught me to save time when I was in high school by typing out my essay on the computer, instead of writing it out on paper first. She noticed I had handwritten my essay and she pointed this out to me. I understand the benefits of writing things out on paper to help the thinking process, but this tip really helps save time by reducing that step of trying to read my writing (a very hard task in itself!), translating it to another medium, archiving the information.

I also read books in a similar way. I use post-its to ‘underline’ key lines, so I don’t draw on the book, and that’s about all I do with books. I try to amplify how I feel about what I’ve read by using my imagination to enhance it as I go about my daily life, I try to observe more in relation to what I read, reflect on my past, and I try to live by the advice in the books that I think will help me. I tweet epiphanies or quotes, again for storage.

Seoul café: Come no (Hwayang-dong)

Come no cafe in Seoul

Come no cafe in Seoul

Come no cafe in Seoul

Come no cafe in Seoul

I visited my favourite café in Konkuk today. It’s always a beautiful, emotional experience. I love the calm interiors, the cheery music, and seeing how it changes and evolves. The last time I was here was last winter in January. I spoke to the owner, a former architect, and he explained to me how he extended the café (now double in size, although still very small and cozy). He plans to open the second part as a wine bar. He remembered I was from Australia, and where I sat. I was amazed, he smiled, “yes I remember everything”. I am so inspired by him and the space he has created for himself and for others. It’s my special gem in busy Seoul, a place to rejuvenate, find solace, inspiration, and simple happiness. I hope he can find his dream of coming to Melbourne and experiencing the cafés that inspire him. I’m happy that there are people in the world who are brave enough to do what they want to do in life.

Finding moments of gratitude daily

Finding moments of gratitude daily

It’s easy for us to eat a meal, rush through it thinking of what we need to do next. We can have quick showers and jump out barely drying ourselves. We might talk to friends, not really listening, but thinking about what we want to say next, what’s on our minds…

Or we could savour our food before, during and after. When we’ve eaten, we could be grateful for the meal, for giving us the energy and nutrition we need to do what we need to do in our lives. We can be thankful for everything we have in our lives. We can even be happy about the things we’ve loved but lost.

How to write a letter to get what you want

How to write a letter to get what you want

Continuing from last week’s post about the benefits of asking for help, this shows how we ask for help.

Firstly, the message is clearer if we ask directly, instead of diluting it with an initial compliment or small talk. This forthrightness is more genuine, and gives the receiver a more open state to say no. If they say no, it’s great because at least we tried. We have nothing to lose.

When we approach to ask for something, we could put ourselves in their shoes, and focus on their wants, what they need. This is how we can direct our request. A well-received example is a letter written by Barbara Anderson in Dale Carnegie’s ‘How to Win Friends & Influence People’ (1936).

Dear Sir,
My ten years of bank experience should be of interest in a rapidly growing bank like yours.

In various capacities in bank operations with the Bankers Trust Company in New York, leading to my present assignment as Brand Manager, I have acquired skills in all phases of banking including depositor relations, credits, loans and administration.

I will be relocating to Phoenix in May and I am sure I can contribute to your growth and profit. I will be in Phoenix the week of April 3 and would appreciate the opportunity to show you how I can help your bank meet its goals.

Sincerely,
Barbara L. Anderson

We can see how she has focused on what she can bring to the table, rather than what she wants. Just by shifting this, we can feel comfortable about asking for things in a more genuine way.