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“The Beach Will Always Be My Happy Place…” – Ainil Fadzlina

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Ainil Fadzlina is one of our favourite female travellers for #tripfezroamers 2.0! Check out her stories.

T: A short bio about yourself, A 3-4 lines that best describe you, what you do for a living and so…
A: My name is Ainil Fadzlina. I’m from Penang but been living in Kuala Lumpur for 10 years now. I am in my late 20s and currently working as an Executive Assistant in a sub-company under the sovereign wealth fund of the Government of Malaysia. Told my bosses during the interview that I love travelling, lucky for me – they totally understand so getting my long leave approved is not a problem for me! Even so, I’ve been dreaming to quit my 9-5 job and become a full-time traveller.

T: Where have you been?
A: Well, to be honest – I only started my #backpackingwithAinil adventures back in 2014. So, I have only been to a few places around South East Asia like Indonesia (4 times), Thailand (3 times), Cambodia, Vietnam, Myanmar, and Laos.

T: What’s your favourite place so far? Why?
A: Hmm, let’s see. There are so many places to choose from. I can’t decide. Haha. But maybe, just maybe-among all places, I would say my favourite so far will be Nusa Penida, Bali.  I’m an Island girl, originally from Penang Island. You can take a girl out of the island but you can never take an island out of a girl’s heart. So, the beach will always be a happy place. So I decided to go to this beautiful island-Nusa Penida recently during my solo backpacking trip. The Island was packed with backpackers. The ocean, the beach, the salty air, the green coconut trees – everything was breathtaking. And the best part of the island is the Sampalan beach. It is so beautiful! You just have to check it out.

T: One unforgettable travel experience or incident that sticks in your mind…?
A: Stranded in the middle of nowhere during my very first hitch-hiking experience in Thailand! I was super excited to visit the sunflower farm in Lopburi and as usual, I didn’t make any proper research or prior arrangement. I took public transport to the farm and when we arrived there’s not much sunflower almost everything has dried because it is the end of the season!

I had a mini heart attack because it was just me there so I tried to calm myself. I stand next to the main road hoping for a lift from any car passing by. After quite some time, there’s one car passes by but they didn’t stop. I felt really scared and started walking and suddenly the car makes a U-turn. I was so happy and grateful.

The driver tried to communicate with me in the Thai language, sadly I didn’t know much Thai so I replied in Thai ‘Pood Thai may dai’ which translated to “‘I don’t know how to speak Thai”. Then I showed him my map hoping he could understand me. Then, his wife started talking with me but I could only understand a little bit thanks to Thai dramas and movies I’ve been watching. To cut it short, they dropped me at the police station. It was a crazy experience!

T: What was the most challenging thing about traveling?
A: The fact that I’m a ‘hijabis’. Some even approached me and start questioning about ISIS, why ‘Muslim’ kill people, why this and that. It was hard because I don’t have good knowledge to answer all the questions. It was even harder to explain to them considering the negative mindset and perception they already have about Islam. But not everyone is like that. It was a good reminder for a Solo Muslim traveller like me.  People are constantly watching us so we need to learn how to deal with such a situation.

T: What place is top of your bucket list?
A: New Zealand!

T: One advice for travellers?
A: This one is for all my sisters out there who haven’t found the courage to travel solo, Just go for it! Don’t wait for your friends to join you, don’t wait until you have a husband, don’t wait for anything! Get your flight ticket, pack your bag and go for it! Trust me you will never feel lonely because there are so many strangers out there who can be your new friends. Check out my blog and follow me on my Instagram.