One of the most amazing adventures I had was in Malaysia. Sometimes having a positive attitude can change you bad luck into a wonderful experience.
I want to tell you first about some restriction I put on myself when I travel to make my trips as an adventures as possible and not simply visiting and being a tourist. To begin with, I don't use the modern technology while travelling, and I completely disconnect from my folks back home. I don't bring with me a Smartphone or a Laptop. I prepare everything I need before starting; from paper maps, addresses to name of the places I can visit -etc. Disconnecting is really wonderful, I hope you will try it as well once, you really feel experiencing something totally new out of your ordinary life. I Usually travel alone, to be more free in choosing the paths I want to take in my trip without anyone holding me back. ("When you travel alone, you are never alone", I actually make lot of new friends while travelling). Second condition in my trips; I apply the Gahaf code (check about Gahaf) traveling with the smallest amount of money you can. I do it to make my trips more challenging. I only took $300 cash for my two weeks to Malaysia (which I consider too much now..) , but I was cautious, so I brought my credit card with me to use only in case of emergency.
The first city I visited was Kuala Lumpur. I really like the city and the especially the people, they are very cheerful. And there I made my biggest mistake, I went to china town...
Why it was a mistake, I am big fan of the Japanese culture and I found huge Manga shops, and lot of toys I really like, so I spent some of my money buying these CUTE little thing. ( no regrets lol).
Then I kept on going from a place to another until I decided to visit Perhentian Island to spend the rest of my last week in Malaysia over there. The funny thing about that island, they say it's totally disconnected and there are no ATM over there, so it is better to take some cash with you and no count on your card. I thought I should check how much money I had left before going. To my surprise, I found myself almost broke. What a shame, losing my challenge of not spend more than $300 in the whole trip. It was a Sunday and the bus will leave tomorrow to get to port where I will be taking the boat for the island. I decided to go to the ATM and withdraw around $100 dollars. It is only after spending 3 hours going from an ATM to another I understood that I was doomed... I forgot to tell my bank's agency that I was going to Malaysia so they don't consider the transactions coming from that country as suspicious and allows it.
I am almost broke, going to a disconnected island, Sunday when there is not customer services and if I don't go the next day the best I will probably miss the best part of my trip which in the paradisiac Perhentian island. But you know, I took it very well back then, I felt that what I was really looking for just starting to happen, the adventure! I was excited started to make fun of it. I had some interesting things I brought with me from Indian I can sell to my friend in the guesthouse. One of the guy's there offered me dinner to help with my expenses, it was really nice from him (few more dollars saved! yeaaa :D ). The next day, early in the morning, I took the bus, reached the boat, and said goodbye to motherland.
When I reached the island, I thought that it really worth the sacrifice! What a wonderful place, I travelled to many beaches and I never saw such beauty. The first thing I did was finding the cheapest hostel. I found one that offers discount if you pay for more than three days. I took some rest then left to have dinner. I had the cheapest meal in the menu as you can expect. Then made a bit of accounting to see how much money I could spend in the next day. Actually, if I had a lunch and dinner, plus two litters of water a day, pay for my accommodation at that hostel, and paying the bus back to Kuala Lumpur -etc. I could save $5 dollar to use them for entertainment! Exactly the amount of money to rent a snorkeling mask for a day :D
The next morning, I woke up with the resolution to enjoy my time without spending money for things like scuba diving or renting a kayak. I will just do some walking and swimming. For the first day, I will trek the island.
And that's how it started, the best experience I had in my life. After walking around 15 min from the main beach, I saw a hut near the sea with few men next to it, foreigners and one local, Malaysian. I was puzzled so I stopped to say hi. They invited me to have a coffee with them that I gladly accepted. Then I asked them what are you doing over there, one of them told me we are just stating there and doing something in return by helping that Malaysian guy to build a restaurant at that place. He told me that they sleep under the trees and have lunch together. All of them expect the local guy were travellers. I took a look at the place, I noticed snorkeling masks. I asked him if there is lot of fish in the water, he said there is, then I offered if they wanted to add a fisherman to the crew, if they let me in, I could bring them lot of fish in return. They looked at their leader, the local man; he said, "Yes, why not". It was like a dream coming true! If you watched the movie "The Beach" of Leonardo Dicaprio , and dreamed to life in a community in a very beautiful place, well me I had it for seven days!
I rushed back to the hostel, took my backpack, drop it under a tree at that place, then went to the fisherman village to buy some fishing tools, and went back.
At the sunset I jumped into the water. You can't imagine what I felt at that moment... It was like heaven for someone who does love underwater fishing! So much fish! I started to scream underwater of excitement. I caught some fish and went out for that day because it was getting dark.
I am not going to give lot of details about what happened in those 7 days, I will take me lot of time to write it all (and I want to keep it for myself as well) but here is a small description of what happened; I was most of the time fishing among sharks, we were living like a community, someone was cooking, other cutting tree and carpenters -etc.
Some people came to visit us, "the men living in the jungle" but none wanted to stay. I made the round trip of the island with a Kayak; yes I had lot of money saved (relatively with what I could). We shared the food cost and I brought fish, I didn't have to pay to sleeping over there too.
Something I learned while travelling, it is not about the place you visit, it is all about the people you travel with or you meet in your journey. The guy's I spent with those six nights are just great, hard level travellers with lot of amazing experiences to share.
At the end, I just want to add that it is your attitude toward what is happening to you in life that matters not what is actually happening. I could have stayed out of the island and called my bank to get money and be safe. But by only embracing the adventure I could life such wonderful experience.