Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Where To Next?

After returning from Japan, I asked myself, where should I go to next?

Prior to deciding on Japan last year, my mum brought up Tasmania. She then brought it up again after returning from Japan. Her friend had gone on a family vacation two years ago, and it worked out to be within our budget. So since Taiwan was all food and hiking, we decided Tasmania would be a better fit this time around. Why? There was hiking, food, historical sites (which I love), and it wasn't a bustling state.

Hence, the preparation for our vacation for Autumn began. I'll be sure to put up the final itinerary once the entire trip is completely booked. Right now, we pretty much have everything set, with some things already signed and sealed: our airfare and accommodation. We still need to make a couple of bookings, including a car. And my dad is watching the exchange rate for cash conversion, so hopefully the ringgit strengthens soon.

Till then, I'll try to put this behind me. It's still too early to get excited. Alas, I planned too soon :)

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

I have an obsession...

... with myself.

Don't go jumping into conclusion now. Let me explain. 

I have an obsession with googling my novel and my pen name. It's not an obsession stemmed from pride or the need to feed my ego. Rather, it's an obsession stemmed from fear. 

This is a joke. Narcissus isn't my pen name.
I google myself and The Battle for Oz at least once a day. I check Goodreads and Amazon a couple times a day. Why? So I can try to fix a problem should I get a bad review. So I can try to come up with a solution to the decline in my book's rating. I'm obsessed over the idea that the book will not do well and that the world would hate it. It's mental. Yes, I admit. It's quite mental. And I still do so, as though watching over it would make any difference.

While I craze over it day and night, I find myself praying too - praying for God to take the lead, to be the head in the book project, to have complete control over what happens. I also pray for faith to see open doors and favour from men. But last weekend, it finally dawned upon me that my obsession was getting in the way of my prayers.

It seems I don't trust God enough to let go. I ask Him to take the reigns, but I'm still holding onto it. I say, "God, you drive. You're in control," and then while on the road, I start to doubt if He has checked the tires or if we have enough gas. I tell Him to stop, because something does not feel or look right. Then I try to fix a problem that is not there. It's going to be one freaking long journey if I keep telling Him to pull over, isn't it?

It took me so long to see that, but better late than never. So, in my attempt to completely trust in God and His plan for my life, I'm going to stop obsessing. The physical action of not googling myself or checking Goodreads and Amazon is my spiritual representation of completely letting go. I've decided to only revisit these pages on my birthday next month. Whether I find a pleasant surprise or my book completely tainted, I'll just have to trust that God is doing what's best. 

Is it difficult? Yes, it is, very. Here I am, reminding myself not to habitually look up my book. It bothers me not knowing how the book is doing. But if I want to grow my faith and cripple the fear that has created such an obsession to begin with, I'll have to do it... with God's grace. 

The Battle for Oz has been a book of faith from the very beginning. Every step of the way, from getting the book funded, to now having the book published, I've seen the many facets of faith. This time around, it's me fully relinquishing control. And I know that by doing so, my faith will grow. God is answering my prayer of a growth in faith and He has thrown me this challenge.

Will I accept it? Of course! Challenge accepted, God. Challenge accepted.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Infected In Japan

You've seen the video, you've commented wishing you lived in Japan, and you know what I'm talking about. Universal Studios Japan's Halloween months and the arrival of Biohazard The Real 3 makes every zombie fan scream with joy. To make all of you jealous, I'm here to say I've experienced it.

Let's start with Biohazard The Real 3.

I sardined my way into the park and passed through the turnstile around 9am. Once inside, I asked the nearest guide where I was to queue for Biohazard. Now, Biohazard is similar to entering The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. You have to get a time ticket to play the game. But unlike Harry Potter, where the time ticket is in abundance, Biohazard runs out.

So, I found my way to the theater building and joined the queue. The park opened at 8.30am, but there was already a long line. Halfway through queuing, I noticed the people in Raccoon City Police uniform ending the queue. No one else could join and that was probably around 9.45am. At 10.05am, I finally got my time ticket for the game session at 8.15pm. Yes, at night. Which gave me a reason to stay back. If not, I would have left the park around evening time.

If you know I'm a Potterhead, you might wonder why I put zombies before Hogwarts. I did not. I bought the Express Pass and my time to ride the Forbidden Journey was 10.15am. The scramble to get to that ride began after I grabbed my ticket to Raccoon City. 

Back to Biohazard. *SPOILERS AHEAD*

When night arrived, I went to the other theater and showed my time ticket. There, I joined another queue for about 30 minutes. Once I was near the start of the game, I was briefed in Japanese on how to put on the Biohazard goggle. Then shortly after, I was handed one. When the goggle was secured on, I saw a little screen in the centre of my vision. When my handgun was linked to it, my health and ammo count appeared on the screen. 

Completely lost because everyone spoke Japanese, I followed gestures to be grouped. There were seven of us. They showed us into the briefing room with a computer screen briefing in Japanese. When it stopped, a guide appeared. He said some stuff, before a zombie jumped out from behind him. Shots were fired, while I saved my ammo.

Being clueless, I followed the group into the next room. I didn't have to be told to shoot when zombies appeared. Along the way, the guide would stop and say something. At first, I had no idea what was going on. Then I caught on. When I saw what looked like a health pack, I aimed and shot it. My health increased on the screen. Still, I don't think those pick-ups mattered. Your health is rigged anyway. I'll get to that soon.

There were four memorable rooms in the entire maze. The first room was rather large and empty, because it soon accommodated two Nemesis T's. Everyone moved to the opposite side of the room and spammed. Then after the T's were subdued, we were ordered to leave the room. Shortly after that, we came to a place where we had to leave our handguns behind. We were guided into the vaccine room and two people from our group were chosen to type in the password. After the second person typed the wrong code, the room blared in red siren. Immediately, we were gestured into another large room.

This room had a row of six assault rifles. Being the odd one out, I found my weapon at the back of the room. Once I grabbed it, there were three zombies ahead and another Nemesis T. After the special affects of bullets denting the back wall, our guide pointed to another door. It was the last room, because once we were all in, he shut the door on us. The door on the other end did not open either. 

As we stood in a row before a railing, a huge Nemesis T strolled in. He had a machine gun and he fired it. Shots of air could be felt, while the little screen showed my health depleting. Once I had hit zero, bullet cracks appeared. When the Nemesis T was done, he walked out and I saw the words on the wall behind him. It read, 'You Are Dead'. A few seconds after everyone gained their composure and realised their death, the exit door opened and the game was over.

So back to why I said my health was rigged. Everyone died in the end and you lose your health periodically throughout the game. You could not die earlier because there were no exits for the dead. You can only die when Mr Pursuer kills you at the end. However, the ammo does deplete when you fire a shot. That was the only 'real' tech that worked. I also highly doubt that the crossfire on the screen was accurate. There was no telling where to position the handgun to make it turn red. After a while, I gave up looking at the screen except to check my ammo and health. Still, accompanied with such tech, it was a game unlike any other.

The previous Biohazard The Real's did not have the goggles. Adding it to the game made it more 'real'. When I was done with the game, I left the theater feeling a little jumpy. After all, the game itself made me very anxious. Thoughts of 'don't look back' and 'quickly, go!' became voices in my head. It lingered on after the game, and I felt a little uneasy around the zombies lurking on the streets outside. I guess playing at night added to the whole apocalyptic experience.

That's Biohazard The Real 3. Would I play it again? I said 'no' when I first came out of the game. Today, 'yes'. If I get the chance to return to Japan in the future, I'll be sure to visit during the Halloween months. 

Now, on to the whole zombie theme of the park.

Around 4pm, after having enough of the rides, my family and I lounged at a grassy area near the main stage. At 4.30pm, a SWAT van arrived. When it first appeared, we wondered if it was a real police van. Then I noticed the words 'Los Angeles Police Department' written backwards. So, no, it was not a real police van. Nothing criminal happened in the park. A simple set up was done and the van was left alone until 6pm.

At 6pm, a shout came from the roof of the building across the van. I turned and saw a man in police uniform shouting and waving. Then two zombies appeared and he shot them or they ate him, I can't remember. Shortly after, there were explosions and clouds of smoke appeared from different areas of the park. Sounds of firing guns and sirens began playing over the speakers before the zombies were unleashed.

Honestly, there weren't many of them. So I have no idea why people ran and screamed when they saw them. A group of girls ran right into me and shoved their way through while I gave them the stink eye. There was over exaggeration from some of the people at the park. I guess we have them to thank for making it more realistic. Their screams added to the atmosphere. 

The police van came into play when a police man brought three zombies into the van. He did some set up and then BOOM! Explosives shot out from the top of the van. This same routine continued on for the rest of the night. They later brought in zombies in prison uniforms which were more aggressive. They revved chainsaws and growled more. The rest were pretty docile and they walked away from you the moment you attempt to take a selfie. Oh, what a bunch of camera shy zombies. 

Later that night, when I was leaving the park, the main street had a mini horde of around eight zombies. Everyone walked on the sidewalks, so my family and I decided to take the road less travelled. Halfway through, one female zombie came to my side and screamed in my ear. I hope she found joy in making me flinch. She also left her spit on my brother's hand. He has not turned. If you need to make a cure, find my brother. 

So there you have it. Zombie night was alright, but I suspect there would be more action on Halloween night itself. The entire set up of the park was dark, with street lamps constantly flickering. Mel's Drive-In had also taken on a new name, 'Mel's Die-In', serving grotesque looking food. The cure was being sold in mini vans around the park, and a show was put on to sell the drinks. There were also zombie dance performances at different stages.

The only two places not infected were the children's Sanrio area and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

So, that's Japan infected for you.

If you don't mind being sardined as you make your way around the park, don't mind facing a human horde of screaming girls, if you don't mind waiting in line, because your love for zombies know no bounds, then go. Go on Halloween day itself, because I'm sure it would be so much better. 

Or not, just stick to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter during off peak seasons. I would suggest winter. Japan is crowded all year round but winter.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Japan Trip Summary

Firstly, do note that the initial itinerary was swapped around a little while on site. Some places were removed and some places were added. When I got down to the map of the locations, it was easier to re-plan a few things. If you are following my itinerary, do tally the locations on a physical map once you arrive. You can get those at main train stations. Then you'll see why I had to move a few things around.

So, how was the trip?

It was great! Since it was a long one, I'll summarize each day in a short paragraph. 

Day 1: Arrived at Narita Airport, headed to Tokyo station, explored the station for food, waited to check-in, settled down before heading to Meiji Jingu and joined the congestion in Harajuku Takashita-dori. Had dinner at a ramen shop near the apartment.

Day 2: Disney Sea. Do not go unless you're a fan. The rides were backdated and the only thing to do is take pictures. Everything was in Japanese, including the park map.

Day 3: Headed to see Sensoji Temple, walked along Ameyoko, then checked out Akihabara. My brother enjoyed Akihabara, I'm sure. 

Magome Town
Day 4: Left for Ena and arrived after noon. Our host brought us to a soba noodle restaurant for food. After lunch, we took pictures at the Enakyo gorge before heading to our little home to settle down. Later, we had dinner, look-see at a supermarket, and then called it a night.

Day 5: At 10am, our host drove us to Magome town where we started the Nakasendo trail. It was around a 3-hour walk through the forest, across roads, and into small towns. We reached Tsumago for lunch and was picked up by our host at 5pm. 

Day 6: Left for Kyoto and checked-in around noon. Had lunch at a nearby restaurant before heading for the Arashiyama bamboo groove. Did a little sightseeing in Arashiyama and enjoyed the cool weather before heading back.

Day 7: The itinerary was roughly followed: Ginkakuji - Philosopher Walk - Maruyama Park - Historic Street - Gion. 

Day 8: Travelled to Osaka and checked-in before noon. Headed to Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan, which was extremely crowded. We could not fully enjoy all it had to offer as we shuffled through the crowd. Returned to our apartment in the evening and waited for the sun to set, before heading to Dotonbori for a good sushi dinner. 

Day 9: Spent the entire day at Universal Studios Japan. Entered the park around 9am, left the park around 9pm. Experienced both the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Biohazard The Real 3. I'll write about the whole zombie experience in another post.

Day 10: The itinerary was roughly followed: Osaka Museum of Housing and Living to try on traditional clothing - Tenjimbashi-suji for shopping - Osaka Castle (it was an hour away from closing when we arrived, so we didn't enter) - a walk from Kuromon Ichiba Market to Den Den Town - Dotonbori for dinner.

Day 11: Woke up early, took the Airport Express from Osaka, ate breakfast after checking-in, then said goodbye to the land of the rising sun. It was a sad day.

Did the budget work?

Yes. We had a huge left over in our food budget. Since we didn't consume 1000 yen worth of breakfast daily, we used the excess for transport and junk food. Still, we brought home 27,000 yen. That would be roughly RM200 off the initial trip budget per person. Which actually brings the entire trip budget (per person) to below RM5000! Yes, this was a cheap trip.

Were the apartments good?

Shinjuku: The toilet was, erm, leaking. It didn't look clean either. The room was fine, the toilet wasn't.

Ena: A unique stay. Spacious, comfy bedding, necessities all provided. If we needed anything, we just had to ask the host and he would provide it. Recommended stay.

Kyoto: Really cramp. Not the kind of apartment to hangout in. Toilet was clean, but the tatami mat had a very strong smell. Thank God for the windows.

Namba: Clean and spacious. Sadly, there wasn't basic coffee and tea.

How was shopping?

I bought 9 different flavours of Kit Kat: Strawberry Cheesecake, Cheesecake, Hokkaido Red Bean, Kobe Pudding, Halloween Season Pumpkin, Hojicha Roasted, Dark Chocolate, Green Tea, and Matcha Green Tea. I saw Wasabi, Sakura Green Tea, and Strawberry, but I didn't feel like buying them. I think I shopped well in this area.

I also got myself a measly Harry Potter loot. There weren't a lot of variety in the shops, which was very disappointing for a fan. I wanted a Malfoy Quidditch tee, but they didn't have it.

Aside from that, the variety of Attack on Titan t-shirts was close to none. I gave up looking at both Akihabara and Den Den Town, before trying a gochapon on my last day only to get the character everyone hates.

To sum it up...

It was a fun trip and a good escape from reality. Maybe because it was a longer one than my last, I felt sadder having to return home. Will I go back to Japan? Of course! I would love to see Hokkaido. But I probably won't do so in the near future. After all, there are so many more places to see. 

Next stop, Tasmania!

Check out my other posts on Japan:

Friday, September 4, 2015

Shopping in Japan

I wrote a similar post before my S. Korea trip. There, I mentioned junk food, cosmetics, memorabilia, and airport chocolate. For this post, it's almost the same.

So, here's my shopping list:

#1 Kit Kat
Image from

Every single Kit Kat flavour I can find. I'm going to catch 'em all, pack them up, and come home with a Kit Kat 'loot' (in which I won't be sharing. Sorry not sorry). 

#2 Face Mask

I have no idea what cosmetics Japan has to offer, because my knowledge of what's good for my face revolves around Laneige. However, I recently tried a Kanebo face mask and I love how my face feels after. So I think I'll buy some when I'm there.

Image from
#3 Memorabilia

In this case, all the awesome Harry Potter merchandise and clothing I will inevitably fall in love with when visiting Universal Studios Japan. 

Also, if I can find an Attack on Titan shirt, I'll be buying it without a second thought.

*I actually converted around RM1,200 to yen just for shopping. I know. I've never done such a thing before. I'm hoping to fill my luggage with 'pottery' things.

#4 Airport Chocolate

Whether in Kansai International or KLIA2, duty free chocolate is the best. I'm going to be looking out for Dark Chocolate and Peanut Butter M&Ms. 

Also, they say there are special Kit Kat flavours sold only in Japan airports. I'll definitely look out for those too.

So there you have it, my shopping list. When I get home, I'll take a picture of my glorious haul. Till then, I'll just dream about them.

Check out my other posts on Japan:

Post-trip posts:

Monday, August 24, 2015

Japan 2015 Trip Budget

This is the trip budget before leaving for the trip. I have a feeling that once we get back, we probably would have extra yen. And if the yen keeps rising, with the ringgit at a low, we would make money. Haha!

Anyway, check out the budget below. I tried to make it as comprehensive as possible.

10 Days, 11 Nights in Japan
*At time of conversion: RM30.40 = 1000 yen. 

Airfare: RM1028.67
KL to Tokyo: RM477.50
Osaka to KL: RM551.17

Transportation: 27,000 yen (RM820)
Narita Airport Bus Shuttle: 1000 yen
Kansai Airport Rapid Train: 1100 yen
Miscellaneous Estimated: 6000  yen

*Nakasendo Transport
Tokyo to Nagoya: 10,360 yen
Nagoya to Nakatsugawa: 1500 yen
Nakatsugawa to Nagoya: 1500 yen
Nagoya to Kyoto: 5600 yen

Entry Fees: 25,300 yen (RM847.65)
Osaka Aquarium: 2300 yen
Miscellaneous Estimated: 2700 yen
 *In-hand: 5000 yen (RM152)

Disney Sea: 6900 yen (RM221.33)
Universal Studios + Express Pass 5: 7200 yen + 6200 yen (RM474.32)
 *Paid in advance: 20,300, subject to bank exchange rate at time of purchase.

Accommodation: RM1435.25
Includes Tokyo, Ena, Kyoto and Osaka.
View itinerary for number of nights spent in each place.

Food: 33,000 yen (RM1003)

Total Per Person: RM 5134.57

The 'priciest' part is the entry fees, especially to the theme parks and the additional Express Pass. Most people wouldn't go for both Disney Sea and Universal Studios. I, on the other hand, am a big Harry Potter buff, so USJ is a must on my list. Should you wish to remove one of those two places from your own trip, the whole budget goes below RM5000.

So there you have it! Who said going to Japan is expensive? 

Check out my other posts on Japan:

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Thank God for Airbnb - Lodging in Japan

By the grace of God, (dear God, I hope this doesn't count as using your name in vain), someone told my mother about Airbnb.

At first, she brushed it aside and began checking hotel prices. When she told me they costed around RM200 a night, I decided to check out Airbnb. And lo and behold, I found so many wonderful places at a much cheaper price. 

(Btw, click HERE to sign up and get 25$ off your first Airbnb stay. Yes, it's a referral link. I benefit from you signing up and booking a stay. Just being honest.)

So, where will I be staying in Japan? Here are my chosen (and already booked) places:

*No pictures because you can see them all on the listing's page.

Tokyo2 Bedroom Apartment in Shinjuku
My first booking went unlisted a month ago, so I had to look for another place to stay. Airbnb gave extra credits and I managed to find this place.

(for Nakasendo trail): Bed and Breakfast
You should check this one out. The design is so unique!

: Family Apartment
The best I could find. Finding a nice and cheap place to stay in Kyoto was quite a challenge, since I wanted one near the station.

: Namba Colourful House
Looks small, but mother says it looks nice. Best I could find too. There weren't many choices in Osaka for separate bedrooms, which is something I really wanted.

On average, it is RM130 a night. That's RM70 cheaper than hotels! 

Yes, no free breakfast (except for the one in Ena). But we get a whole apartment to ourselves with portable wifi. 

The host for my stay at Ena offered free rides from the train station to lodge (and back) and to the Nakasendo trail (and back).

Kyoto host is waiving the rental fee for the portable wifi. Which is awesome. (He's the only host that actually charges for rental. The rest don't. But hey, he ended up offering it for free anyway.)

Even though all hosts stated a late check-in time, they allow to leave the luggage first if needed. The only problem I foresee is the little hunt for each lodging location upon arrival. Since they are not hotels, they provided me with instructions on where to find their apartments and how to retrieve the keys. You need to punch in secret codes and all that, just to access the place. A new experience, I guess.

Honestly, I wished someone told me about Airbnb last year. Holidaying is S.Korea could have been so much cheaper (not that it wasn't cheap already). This year's Japan trip is definitely way more expensive, but I'm glad I manage to save on accommodation.

Anyway, I'll write another post on these places once I get back. That's when we'll see if my expectations were met. Till then, I'm quite happy with my choices and I'm looking forward to my stay :)

Check out my other posts on Japan:

Friday, May 29, 2015

Planning For Japan!

There is no such thing as being too early to plan for a holiday. Planning itself gives you something to look forward to, and I'm excited as ever about my 11 days in Japan this coming Autumn.

So, for those who have wanderlust and would like to leech off my itinerary, which I worked on for days, you can find it below. You're most welcome :)

*This is not the complete itinerary. Maps and accommodation were removed. A separate post on accommodation will be published later on.

Check out my other posts on Japan:

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Jaw-Dropping Hallways

What hallways will make jaws drop? I don't know, perhaps the hallways of an international school?

If you follow me on social media, you would've known that I was invited to an international school during their book week. I had a great time with the students and I would love to do it again. But that's not the topic of this post. The topic of this post is how glorious that school is.

I grew up attending a government school and I've never been or seen an international school during my schooling years. So you can imagine how in awe I was when my friend showed me around after I was done with my session.

Firstly, they have a swimming pool... And a basketball court, and a tennis court, and a badminton court, and a table tennis room. A sport subject is a must. There's no need to teach your child how to swim, because they'll learn it in school.

Secondly, they have a design room with machines I've never seen before. And I bet they'll add a 3D printer to their collection soon.

Thirdly, they have a dance room, a gym with Pilates classes, and a theater room. Apparently, they are practicing for their upcoming performance of Macbeth. Freaking Macbeth. In high school, I directed plays and the most literary one was Phantom of the Opera. Even that was because I pulled the team together and wrote the script.

Fourthly, drama is a compulsory subject, along with French and Chinese. Is this an art school? No, it's an international school.

Fifthly (who on earth uses fifthly?), year 3 students are loaned iPads. It's an Apple school with tons of Macs just waiting to be used. I hate Macs by the way, but I'm forced to use one at work. Yay.

Sixthly, the fees. I'm not saying they're cheap. The fees are more expensive than my entire film degree. If I could afford a school year, I will be sending myself there. Sorry kids, mommy will be going back to school. 

To some of you, this seems normal. To most of us Malaysian government school graduates, it's a resort. I'm not joking. Let me know the check-in time. 

I get why parents are sending their children to private and international schools these days. I wish it was cheaper though. What I attended and what I visited were two worlds apart. Question is, will I send my children to one? I don't know. Maybe a place less pricey, since I'll have to send them both at the same time. Hey, I'm hoping to have twins. Everything is double with twins, including school fees.

Monday, January 26, 2015

A Faith Journey To Oz

*This will be a long read, but it's a faith journey I want to share.

Last year, I ran a 3 month crowd-funding project for my novel, The Battle For Oz. Those 3 months... were quite a journey. One that required a lot of faith.

I first discovered Inkshares (a crowd-funded publishing platform) from an email sent to me by the co-founder, Larry. After contemplating whether I should give it a shot, I decided to try it out. I chose The Battle For Oz for the project because it was the only complete title that I had no plans for.

Quick story on The Battle For Oz:  
This book first started when an artist approached me to collaborate. He had an idea to marry two fictional worlds and wondered if I was interested in partnering with him on the project. Feeling flattered by the offer, I agreed. 
Being someone who has never read the literature involved, I did a lot of research before plotting and writing three novelettes for The Battle For Oz. Once I was done, the artist took the first novelette and illustrated it. But after the first novelette was released as an e-book, the artist decided he did not want to continue the project any longer.  
If you were me, you probably would have felt the unfairness of the situation. Honestly, I was really upset. I delivered my end of the bargain only to be bailed out on. Knowing I could not do anything, I let the artist go.
I will admit that we did struggle as a team. Our ideas clashed a lot and we were in arguments on and off. We did manage to marry some of our concepts together, so I won't say everything in The Battle For Oz was originally my idea. The plot however, was. Knowing that I put a lot of effort into this book, I wasn't going to let it go to waste. 
*That being said, the artist has been more than supportive of my decision to publish the novel on my own. 

So, when Inkshares approached me, I decided it would be a good move to take The Battle For Oz to another level. What felt like a great injustice when the collaboration did not work out, turned into a stepping stone for me to move forward as an author. Maybe, it happened for a reason.

Anyway, upon starting the crowd-funding project, I decided that it would be a project that I do with God. Despite the fact that the book was not inspired by Him, I still wanted Him to partner with me. So every night, I prayed and asked God for His help. And I believe He delivered.

Within the first 10 days of the project, I managed to raised 45% of the funds needed. I was so happy, thinking that it would complete in no time. But after the 10 days, I realised that all contacts have been exhausted. There was no one else to ask for support... and that was when a bible story came to mind; the story of Jesus asking Peter to cast his nets into the water, where he then pulled out tons of fishes. 

After a few nights of praying over that bible story, believing that God will tell me where to cast my nets for funds, I decided to read the story again. Upon finding it, I discovered something new.

In Luke 5 verse 2, it states that Peter and his gang had left their boats unattended as they washed their nets, in which I assume they were done for the day. They were ready to go home without a single catch, but after Jesus told them to give it another shot, they ended up with too many to carry.

The key point I got out of this was the fact that Peter was ready to throw in the towel when God decided to show Himself to him. 

So for the next 80 days of the crowd-funding project, where the fundraising graph had hit a plateau, I challenged my faith by believing that God will show Himself at the very end, when I myself felt like throwing in the towel. He will do something to help me complete the project at the eleventh hour. It was definitely not easy, especially when I see the deadline crawl closer and closer, but I tried my best.

True enough on 31st December, a few days before the end of the project, I received enough funds to cover the remaining balance. It was not a small sum, mind you, but a huge one from a backer who, too, prayed and asked God on how much to support me. Now that... that just shows how awesome God is.

But that is just one part of my faith journey. The biggest climb was how my concept of faith morphed in the 80 days. Faith was no longer believing that God will help me, faith was believing that whatever happens, God knows best. 

I told God my heart and how much I wanted the project to be a success, but I also told Him that if it is not His will, I will accept it. I'm willing to walk in His direction, even if it means a failed project. Declaring that was quite a challenge, cause I know God will take those words seriously. 

After having that mindset, my approach to God in regards to the project changed. My dad told me that he was willing to financially support my project if needed, but deep down, I did not want his help. I wanted to walk in God's direction and having my dad's support was sort of cheating. So, I began telling God that I no longer needed His help for the project, instead, I wanted it. 

There's a difference between need and want. Need is a necessity, want is a desire, and I desired for Him in the project. I wanted Him to be with me. I wanted. I didn't just need His help, I wanted Him. What will make me different from other writers? Having Him by my side, not just His helping hand. 

I guess, after making that request and seeing Him pull through, I know His reply. God said yes, and He is on board. He is willing to pick up a book I wrote not inspired by Him, a book someone bailed out on, and partner with me in seeing it through. Now, I have nothing to worry about. 

Everyday, I pray that He will continue to anchor the publication of the book and I find myself not stressing about it. If there's a delay or a complication, I know God is in control and He would only do what's best for the book. After all, He's my partner now, and I know He's one partner that will never leave me hanging.

If you have read this far, I hope my story inspires you to seek God more. Desiring Him versus needing Him makes a lot of difference. God wants us to want Him, and when we do that, we will experience more of Him in our lives.

I'm really thankful I got to experience such a faith journey in 2014. And I'm looking forward to a better and closer relationship with Him this year :)

Every adventure needs a soundtrack. Here's mine for the 3 months.