My Career Restropective

Most people believe that luck happens by chance, but here’s something that I’ve learned otherwise.

I recently talked to a friend about her career, more specifically, why she hates it. When I asked her if she would feel happier doing the same thing in a different company, her answer was “yes”. So the problem is neither the job nor her capability but merely the workplace environment. Well, it’s so common to hear stories of employees who dislike their own organization.

But jumping ship doesn’t sound like a solution to me.

I’ve figured that there’s no such thing as finding a dream job. Because if it can be found so randomly, what are our dreams really made of?

We can’t simply expect any employer to meet our expectations of a perfect company unless we build that company ourselves.

However, I am certain that we can have a perfect job even in an imperfect place. It all boils down to having the right attitude.

I started working when most of my friends were still attending college. It was a bumpy ride since all that I carried with me into the corporate world was the need for money.

On the first anniversary of my working life as a college dropout, I started to desire more for my career.

At that point, I found it hard to navigate my career path as an admin executive, I just knew one thing for sure: I wanted to work in a more creative field where I could freely emerge in the love for art and language.

Do you realize that the moment your brain is occupied by something, you start to see it or encounter it (unusually) way more often? Like you’ve been thinking about getting a new bag and suddenly you see it almost everywhere you go.

In the same fashion, the opportunity in creative fields showed up itself as I was still at the crossroad. I joined a startup in my second job and officially began my career as a marketer.

Luck has been on my side throughout the entire career not because I had everything come easy, but for I was given the chances to make it easy.

Also, it takes persistence as well as a positive attitude to recognize ‘luck’ in the first place.

I’ve always loved writing in English but my first writing job was to write in Vietnamese. After six months long, I came to my supervisor and requested for a chance to write in English. From a one-paragraph assignment, I became the English content team leader within a few months. The role had given me a great exposure to the world of content marketing, which also involved search engine optimization, social media marketing, and fundamental UX/UI knowledge.

Formal education may get you here but it won’t get you there. I knew that it’s the biggest disadvantage that I must overcome if I want to advance in this field. So through every career change, I make sure that I have gained something new and that I’ll never stop learning.

Of course, I was caught in office woes just like everyone else, be it working with a difficult colleague or to please a demanding boss. Things like that did affect my job satisfaction, work performance, and even had me doubt my career choice at times.

Fortunately, I never quit.

Learning with an intention to become better makes all the difference, instead of aiming for a higher pay. I noticed that most people tend to associate career satisfaction with working at the perfect company. But I knew soon after I faced the disappointments earlier in my career that there’s no perfect company. So whenever I feel frustrated, I remind myself why and where I started, and no one gets to take this passion away from me. To quote my favourite saying: “I didn’t come this far to only come this far.” At the same time, I continue to learn and seek better ways to make my job a pleasant one based on those real-life challenges. That mindset has helped me tremendously through this journey because there’s always something new in the digital world that I haven’t mastered yet.

From being a writer, I quickly expanded my portfolio to almost all aspects of digital marketing, which explained the frequent changes in my employment history. The more I learn, the more I desire to do. I’m proud of my achievements not because they are notable (I believe they can be better), it’s mostly because they happened as a reward for my persistence. In a way, I have created a perfect job for myself.

So to sum up all this, let me assure you that luck can happen by choice.

2016 in Retrospect

January – Kick off a wanderful year in Seoul


I’d just come back from Saigon and Da Lat. The original plan was to fly to Boracay for New Year’s Eve, but shit happened. But anyhow, what mattered most was the fact that I finally made it to Seoul! It was also the first Airbnb experience, the first time seeing melted snow, the first time getting frozen under the cold weather (was -18 Celcius).

February – Pre Lunar New Year trip to Koh Samui Island


It was Lunar New Year month. For the third year in a row, I was away from my family during the reunion time, a part of me still couldn’t push through. I booked a flight to Koh Samui (Thailand) instead. Although it didn’t help much with my homesickness, my soul was at rest. The month passed by so quickly and almost brutally boring.

March – Summer came early in Perhentian Island


As soon as the monsoon season was over, I made another beach-cation to Perhentian Island. And I fell in love with Perhentian at the first sight! Its pristine water and vibrant tropical vibes were everything that I had been longing for.

April – The next career move

I made my second career move this month. It was tough at first because I’ve made so many good friends where I left, what a tremendous experience I’ve gained under a startup’s roof. Thank God that I finally had my career passion figured out!

May – Taipei and a good ol’ friend


Back in September or October last year, I learned that one of my best friends was going to study in Taiwan. So without a plan, I immediately booked a flight to Taipei. I came to fall in love with the country as fast as I fell in love with travelling.

June – A quick getaway in Port Dickson


This was a spontaneous one. I was waiting for my Europe visa application results so why not chilling somewhere less stressful?

July – The European dream


Here we go, the trip that I dreamt about for as long as I could remember. A year-long saving and planning to finally make it happen! Even when I arrived in Paris, it still felt so surreal. I wanted to visit Europe, particularly at this time in order to experience the festive season of the Euro Cup. I spent the 7 days in Paris alone to embrace the city of my deepest desire.

It was indeed a dream come true.

Throughout the course of 3 weeks, I travelled from Paris to Brussels, Amsterdam, Berlin, Bratislava (where I reunited with my dear Slovak friend and her family), Terchová, Vienna and Budapest. I would definitely go back to explore individual country one by one, primarily France and Germany.

August – The journey through the temples of Angkor in Siem Reap


I guess it is impossible for me to not travel after all that amount of time spent on the road. I realised that being able to afford travelling on my own brings the highest level of satisfaction, beyond any kind of success. It’s taught me so much about financial planning, self-discipline and determination.

September – Welcoming the life of a freelancer, quick trips to Singapore and Saigon


This month, I took a leap of faith and quit my full-time job to pursue a freelance writing career. I had a lot of doubts, of course, but it’d been a great journey and I’d learned so much. For the first time after 3 years of blogging, I finally saw my name grandiosely mentioned within the media industry. Nothing can beat the feeling of being able to do what you love, right?

During this first month of working from home, I decided to re-visit Singapore! The last trip I had to the Lion city was 2 years ago and surprisingly it felt so brand new all over again.

October – Back to Taipei on a solo adventure

taipei 2.JPG 

During Air Asia’s flash sale, I managed to grab a jaw-dropping deal to fly to Taipei. Unfortunately, I only found out that my friend had just gone back to Vietnam a few weeks before my departure schedule. So I ended up exploring the city by myself (which was awesome!).

November – Casino time in Genting Highlands and Saigon again!


Having stayed here for 3 years long, I never felt the urge to go to Genting.

This month, I came back to the 9-5 job. For one, it is super difficult for me to apply for any visa without an employment letter, hence freelancing is not possible at the moment. Secondly, being alone at home all day long really bored the hell out of me.

December – Nippon bound, Christmas in Tokyo and Osaka


This Japan trip was another total spontaneous plan, just because I found cheap flights for the Holidays. I went back to Saigon for a quick transit before heading to Tokyo. It was super exciting because it was during Christmas (the best time of the year!) in one of the greatest metropolitans in the world!

There might not be a lot going on next year as we want to really save up. Nonetheless, I am overjoyed that I have fulfilled my resolutions for this year. I’ve achieved some of my biggest dreams, seeing the N Seoul Tower, Eiffel Tower and Tokyo Tower, experienced solo travelling across Europe, had my writing published, and most importantly, found my dream job!

Here’s to a brighter year ahead!

I wish you all the best for 2017  Happy


Random thoughts

I like the brief moments when the world becomes so tasteful as I am in search for words. 

My interest for writing was molded when I started learning English. Over the years, almost a decade now, I picked up hundreds of books to debunk how famous authors write  and yet I was unable to find my own style. Perhaps, fluency really doesn’t have anything to do with defining my voice. I just thought that once I master the English grammar, I would ace everything else. Well, it takes so much more to find those elements that perfect one’s writing.

And then I read about mindfulness.

To me, mindfulness refers to the way I observe my surroundings, to see the extraordinary in familiar people and things and develop stories out of them. The more details that are being cultivated, the more ideas start to sprout and that’s when I feel the need to unleash my thoughts on paper. It is not similar to writing a research paper whereas information takes the center stage. Creative writing is all about story telling and it has to resonate.

So I travel more often to see the world and to collect tales that have the power of resonance. How wonderful it is to capture the beauty of each city by stringing sentences together! That’s why I don’t really write the usual travel tips and ideas. I prefer to have my own wanderlust dreams shared on this site.

Writing slowly becomes a habit that make my life fulfilled, even though I am not a writer. I learned to fake it till I make it instead. As long as it makes me feel content, I will continue to trot the globe and write.   




Travelogue: A sneak peek of Siem Reap, Cambodia

The sun started to coat everything in gold, and lay ahead of me was the enormous structure of the ancient Khmer Empire’s pride, Angkor Wat. A sudden gust of wind came sweeping a layer of dust off the surface, creating a mysterious scene to the monument as I strolled along its stone pavement.

Siem Reap Angkor Wat

There are just too many extraordinary things to discover in Angkor Wat, and the most glorious time when one can truly see the beauty of the temple is when the sun emerges from behind its iconic structure. Yes, photographers from everywhere in the world all dream of capturing the sunrise at Angkor Wat. I honestly thought that maybe only Vincent Van Gogh would be able to portray that surreal moment through his magical strokes, but even surreal is not enough to describe how it looks like. It is indeed worth the title, “Wonder of the World”.

Through the hallways to a maze of incredibly detailed interior of fine carvings, chambers, and statues that reflect the rich history of the Khmer Kingdom, I felt like the time has rewind itself. It was as if the immense amount of people surrounded me suddenly disappeared and I was left in my own serenity.

And that was only a small part of the cultural exploration that I managed to pack into a limited time in Angkor Wat.

Angkor Wat Siem Reap

I met up with my tuk-tuk driver for the next journey to Bayon Temple and Ta Prohm. The skies suddenly turned grey, but the temple still had that gigantic silhouette printed on the gloomy backdrop. More and more people slowly pervaded my actual reality, but the holly moments remain unspoiled as soon as I stepped inside the temple.


Siem Reap

Bayon Temple

Siem Reap Bayon

Bayon Siem Reap

Bayon is a part of the archaeological site Angkor Thom, the second most visited temple after Angkor Wat. It is also home to the massive stone carved faces and the marvelous standing towers with steep stairs. I read that Bayon represents Mahayana Buddhism’s Bodhisattva, but it’s still a debatable tale. Inside of this densely carved structures are the bas-reliefs that reflect the Empire’s historical events as well as the Khmer’s ancient lives throughout the Hindu king Jayavarman VIII time.

Ta Prohm Siem Reap

Located only around 20 mins away from Bayon, Ta Prohm is another splendid site to see. Unlike any other ruins, Ta Prohm was uniquely built within the grandiose jungle, and the temple today is cloaked in the solemnness of giant roots defending their home. Seeing it with my own eyes was beyond any written experience in the travel books. And in between the ruined towers and corridors, trees are still rising through many centuries of life. I was actually in search of that magnificent root formation that was seen on Tomb Raider. It’s known by the nickname the “Crocodile Tree”.

Ta Prohm Crocodile tree

In a total contrast of the stillness of its UNESCO Heritage, Siem Reap’s nightlife is like a wild child. The hustle and bustle of the narrow pub street will surely leave you overwhelmed. Cheap beers and dynamic food scene are what make this tiny town a remarkable break from the suffocating office cubicle.It surely lived up the hypes and even more so when I experienced it in a typical tourist trail.

siem reap pub street

My 24 hours of Siem Reap were well-rounded with a sip of Vietnamese drip coffee (I was surprised to encounter so many Vietnamese in this town).

I still remember the old villages and its dwellers, the Cambodians who don’t have a lot of assets, but they have the thing that this whole world lacks of, generosity. If you ever visit Siem Reap, try not to be occupied by your camera. The moments that you miss between the camera shutters are those that make the whole picture of Siem Reap complete. Blend in more with the local ways of life and you will see greater wonders than just the temples of Angkor.

Till next time.