Great outdoors, in experience and in writing
by Lim Yeh Ern
CHAN Chui Miew’s obsession with the great outdoors started with some gentle persuasion from well-meaning friends on an innocent cycling trip.
It eventually led her on a journey of self-discovery.
At a time when many of her peers are slowing down due to family commitments, Chan is just warming up in preparation for an upcoming ultra-marathon, training up to 42 kilometres on her “long run” during weekdays.
“Once I have set a goal in any running event, my schedule is just sleeping, eating, working and training. When I don’t set any goal in running events, I go backpacking, touring by bike or trekking,” she said.
Despite having cycled almost the entire country and even to southern Thailand from Alor Setar, her most memorable trip was a solo from Shah Alam to Port Dickson, camping overnight at the beach and back the next day through Sepang.
Her only company was her custom-assembled mountain bike adapted for touring duties which she called Buck. Along the way, she met curious locals, asking the usual questions such as where she’s from and how far she has cycled.
Apart from solo bicycle rides and marathon events, her travels even took her through a month-long solo backpacking trip to Nepal and all the way to the Everest Base Camp.
“I got to explore both Nepalese and Tibetan cultures and see the famous mountains at the Himalaya Range and Everest,” Chan said.
The 5,360-metre hike up to the Everest Base Camp took two weeks.
“The journey inspired me to help the undeveloped region, but I’ve yet to find the chance,” Chan said.
By comparison, the trek up Mount Kinabalu was like a walk in the park, she pointed out. (Ameba note: Actually I've never been to Mt. KK, I don't really mean that... I do respect the Mountain! So please don't misinterpret, same as I'll never say 'I conquered' a mountain)
The 30-year-old data analyst blogs mostly in Mandarin simply because she expresses herself better in the language. Sometimes, she adds entries in English for the benefit of a wider, like-minded audience.
The name of Chan’s blog, Blue Ameba (http://blueameba.blogspot.
com), is derived from her nickname, Ameba, which she explained, brings about a meaning of change while “Blue” describes how she felt when she started her blog.
“Most people I meet during my runs only know me by my nickname,” she said.
While Chan thinks having a handheld GPS receiver and a waterproof outdoor camera would add more value to her travels at more cost, she’s currently making do with her existing camera along with Google Maps and a physical map.
While many of her peers regard her as odd, she doesn’t worry too much about what people think about her lifestyle.
So, why does she keep doing what she does? “I like ‘reasonable’ adventures, and I always like to break the barrier in any activity. It’s a challenge to me. If I did it, it’s a credit; even if I failed, at least I’ve tried. There is no regret. I just want to paint my life in colours, and do it when I'm still able to."
Availabe at NST Online and New Straits Times today's (11th May 09) paper (Tech & U)