Behind The Blog
Hey there! Thanks for stopping by! My name is Zheng Yen Ang (just call me Yen), author of Swing Abroad. I’m a university student in Malaysia, who always takes full advantages of my holidays to go abroad.
After a month-long hesitation, I finally decided to start my own travel blog at March 2018. With this blog, I wish to share all my experiences and knowledge abroad from the past few years to all of my friends, including you.
I love to talk about my experiences to anybody who showed a slight interest. In this case, it’s you.
New Zealand Working Holiday
Catching The Travel Bug. 2016.
It was a life-changing decision. A decision which changed my mindset from an introvert to a dreamer hoping to explore the world.
Maybe I wanted to escape life, or maybe all I wanted was to make full use of my 9 months-long holiday. I couldn’t remember that well now. I’ve never been outside of Malaysia by myself, let alone solo traveling for 6 months.
In January 2016, I was blessed enough to secure myself a seat for New Zealand Working Holiday Visa 2016 Batch. There’s only 1150 slots for Malaysians, but I got out from the fierce competition. I arrived in Auckland on 14th February 2016, Valentine’s Day. I didn’t knew back then, until my friend told me. They said, “You’re obviously single,”
I thought getting a horticulture job was easy in New Zealand so I flew straight to Motueka, but life’s hard. I was jobless for a month before landing myself an apple-picking job. That was followed by kiwifruit packing in factory and apple tree pruning, totaling 4 months of hard work.
But those are worth it. I saved enough cash to buy a pre-owned car and embarked on a month-long road trip in South Island of New Zealand. Life had never been so eye-opening and adventurous. Waking up and looking forward for the day is probably the best thing in life.
It was this 6-months long experience that I first experienced solo traveling. It was less scarier than I thought. And much more flexible and exciting.
I enrolled into a university in Malaysia after I returned from the dreamland. My mind remained there for much longer.
I was sure that time. I caught my travel bug.
Volunteering In Kathmandu, Nepal
I Used To Hate Kids. 2017.
Yep, I used to dislike kids. They’re annoying and most of them spoiled by ignorant parents.
In fact, the reason I applied for the program is I wanted to trek Annapurna Circuit in Nepal. And I was looking for a program which I can spend a month in Nepal. There was a 3 months summer break back then.
I thought this could be a great chance to learn interacting with kids.
I can’t hate kids forever, right?
Hence I applied and flew to Nepal.
The volunteer program lasted for a month and I got to spend a lot of time teaching the 5 to 8 years old kids in Traibidya Shicchhya Sadan, Kathmandu. They were extremely playful but cute. Damn cute. (Even though I have to admit some of them aren’t. At all.)
The farewell party by the school left my face drenched with tears. I was muted by my sobs. One of my kids, Evan said “Yen Sir, this morning, you cried like a baby,”
I hugged him up and gave him a ‘roller coaster’ ride in the playground. I’m pretty good with kids now. At least I think so.
After a month-long volunteering, I went to finish what I was there to do. Trek Annapurna Circuit and cross that world’s tallest mountain pass. My partner in school, Jimmy tagged along the adventure.
It was a tough 14 days trek. And I never had any experience in multi-day trekking. Lots of homework I did before the journey. Got to know a lot of friends along the trek and had fun together.
Foods were expensive up there so we’re on vegetarian diet most of the time, munching on potatoes and spaghetti. We promised ourselves to return in the future and treat ourselves a luxury trekking experiences.
Spent the next whole month traveling Pokhara and Kathmandu. Too bad the monsoon season caused landslides on highway, we couldn’t get to other destinations. You could say I’m an expert in traveling Nepal.
Work & Travel in Santa Cruz, California, USA.
To The Other Side of Earth. 2018.