It is an honor to present this week’s featured blogger, Samantha Yap, an aspiring travel journalist who also has the fortune of being a global citizen starting at the early age of four. Plus, thanks to her diversified upbringing, she is also a bonafide “Third-Culture Kid” (TCK).
“ A TCK is a someone who has spent a significant part of [their] developmental years outside the parent’s culture. The TCK frequently builds relationships to all of the cultures, while not having full ownership in any. ”
Personally, she had me hooked with: “Life is too short to stay in one country.” Eloquent yet short enough to be a catchphrase, I think that is one of the best travel mottoes I have heard thus far.
So without further ado, I present to you: Samantha Yap and her travel blog, Global Citizen Sam.
So tell us more about you and your blog.
One of my dreams as a teenager was to be a travel journalist. I always thought to myself, ‘how cool would it be if I could travel the world, write about it and get paid to do it!’ So that’s one of the main reasons why I started this blog. I wanted to have a site where I could share my travel experiences, photographs and thoughts. Furthermore, I am a strong believer in living a fulfilling life, and one of the most fulfilling things to do in our world is to explore it! I mean, if I die tomorrow, at least I can say I visited the Borobudur temple or held an orang utan. I take the most pride in my achievements and experiences in life. Through my blog I not only want to share my experiences but encourage others that there is more to this world than just staying in one area.
There is also a reason why I included the term “global citizen” is in my blog name; although people are bound by their respective countries, in the broader image of it all, we are all humans who belong to this planet. I really like that term because, as a traveller, it’s how I want to be identified.
How many countries have you visited and which is your favorite? Why? Do you have a least favorite?
I have been to 11 countries so far. It’s so difficult to pick a favorite but if I had to choose I would say Indonesia. Indonesia is the biggest archipelago in the world, which means that there are so many different islands and parts that it is so rich in culture. Indonesia is also home to one of the ancient wonders of the world, the Borobudur Temple which is absolutely spectacular. Around that area there are other ancient temples such as Prambanan temple and Boko temple, both equally amazing.
I don’t necessarily have a ‘least’ favourite country. I think all countries have their beautiful parts and, well not so beautiful aspects to it.
So what’s next? Do you have any upcoming trips planned?
I’ve just come back from a South East Asia trip. In 3 months I visited 7 countries. The purpose of the first 2 months was solely to travel and explore the world with my boyfriend. The last month I spent in Yogyakarta, Indonesia doing an In-country language program for my University degree. I am currently a second year university student doing a Bachelors in Journalism.
What countries are on your dream list and why?
The Maldives is on my dream list because it looks absolutely amazing and the underwater world is beyond spectacular. I think that it’s one thing to explore different cultures and communities around the world, but to go diving and explore what’s underwater is a whole other mission. The Maldives is also my priority because I’ve heard that due to global warming, the island is slowly eroding and becoming smaller and smaller each year.
What’s the best or most memorable meal you’ve ever had abroad?
Malaysian food is the best cuisine by far. Roti Canai is the best meal ever. If you don’t know it’s Indian flat bread served with curry. It’s such a simple dish, yet so delicious.
Traveling young and with your family, you must have had the opportunity to take part in some interesting cultural ceremonies or traditions?
Yes, many. I am a Chinese so I celebrate Chinese New Year. There are many rituals and traditions that are carried out during Chinese New Year such as the reunion dinners, lion dance and receiving red packets of money (Ang Paos).
I’ve also celebrated the Thai festival of lights, Loi Krathong.
In Indonesia I’ve experienced many cultural performances as well such as Gamelan, Wayang Kulit and cultural dances.
For those who have yet to visit (myself included), what are the key differences between Malaysia and Indonesia, and which would you recommend to visit first?
If I had to list the obvious key differences I would say:
Malaysia is well known for good food, especially in Penang. Kuala Lumpur (the capital city) is also a great place for shopping. However, mainly, food. I could spend days just going in eating adventures. I have a close friend and we go on what we call “eating marathons” we would find out to find the best food and have something like 9 meals a day.
Indonesia on the other hand is so rich in culture. As I mentioned before, there are 5 main islands that constitute Indonesia (Java, Sumatera, Papua, Sulawesi and Kalimantan) and each of those islands have their own unique culture. The thing that is great about Indonesia is that they have a rich history and they maintain strong traditions too.
Out of the 2, I would highly recommend Indonesia first because it is home to one of the ancient wonders of the world, Borobudur temple. I mean, visiting Borobudur Temple was on my bucket list, and I feel like I’ve accomplished something in my life by just visiting it. Also, Indonesia, consisting of many different islands, has many untouched ‘white sand blue water’ islands too. So I encourage you to check them out too.
Being a TCK, how has that affected you or your social stance / political views?
Any positives / negatives?
Being a third culture kid has really opened up my eyes about the different types of views and people in this world. I feel like there are so many problems in this world and that many people take their lives for granted. I have gone from living in Jakarta, Indonesia, a third world country where seeing street kids begging is a norm, to living in Melbourne, Australia where there is barely any sign of homelessness and the streets are clean. I have experienced more than 2 very different worlds and I feel so grateful to have had those experiences because right now, I don’t feel like I’m tied down to any one country.
In my social stance, as a TCK, I am capable of communicating with all sorts of people that come from around the world. I can also speak 4 languages fluently and I consider that as an asset that will benefit me in my future career as a journalist.
In terms of political views, there are so many different types of governments in this world and some are more corrupt than others, but some are also useless. I tend to pay more attention to the issues in this world and what causes them. I have yet to think about ways to resolve them.
Over all, with all my experiences, I see this world with an open mind and consider myself as a citizen of the world and not of any particular country.
If you had to recommend somewhere to visit or some sight for the readers to see, what would it be?
I would recommend Perhentian Islands Malaysia. I went there last year and it is one of the most beautiful islands I’ve been too. It’s so clean as well.
Find out more about Samantha and follow her journey at Global Citizen Sam!
You can also connect with her on Twitter @samanthawyap.
Coming next week… our first interview with a fantastic travel blogging couple! Our goal here at the HoliDaze is to illuminate the next great travel blogger by highlighting awesome and interesting people who are worthy of our endorsement.