“My travel photos are awesome but why don’t I get many likes?”

So you have great travel photos that you want to share on your social media, for example, Instagram. You shared them on daily basis but they only have at most 20 likes and you’re wondering what’s wrong. You probably thought that at this point, your photos aren’t good enough for the viewers, while your photos are actually great. I mean actually GREAT. There is probably something wrong in the way you are sharing those photos.
Unless you don’t want likes or followers, you can ignore this post.

1. Knowing WHEN to upload.
Most people will scroll for photos online during snoozy working hours; lunch time, after lunch, in the car on the way back from work while getting stuck in traffic and at night before bed time, when the kids are already sleeping. It is kind of a big deal to upload your photos during these hours as these people will focus on uploaded photos rather than them uploading photos. That’s why knowing the right time is important. You don’t go uploading photos in the middle of the night, usually between 2am-5am, exceptionally, many youngsters usually are staying up till 1-2am. Depends on who your viewers are and where they come from, you should assess their patterns. Also, you have to consider time zones. Many of my viewers are from Malaysia, while I am living in the US, I have to upload photos and post updates at weird hours, which is nonetheless good and it is something that I had been doing for a while.

People will scroll down your feed everyday if you do these, do as I say.

2. Knowing what your viewers would be interested in and focus on that.
Some of us upload photos with descriptions of the places, while some of us upload photos with motivational thoughts. Depends on the viewers, some of them would love to actually know about places you’ve been to. As for me, my audience loves descriptive photos. My audience loves asking questions about these places and I figured it is the best for me to write the information down. It is also good for their and your future references. This is also another way for you to blog, almost micro-blogging, and if you use Instagram, it is actually a great platform to do it, easy.

3. Know the right hashtags to be used and don’t hesitate in using them correctly.
This would be unnecessary to some, consider using the right hashtags. Using the right hashtags not only brings traffic to your page, but also recognitions by already-established platforms. This is how I am reached by pages like Matador Networks and being featured couple of times because I use the right tag on my photos. Audience will probably gets annoyed if you used tags like #spamforspam or #likesforlikes on your fantastic photos, just because it doesn’t sound professional or that you are not into what you are doing, in this case, wanting people to know you have great travel photos and that you want to be recognized. Don’t be afraid to use tags like #travel, #beautifuldestinations and such, as long as the tags are legit and making sense.

Straighten the horizon!

Straighten the horizon!

4. Knowing that it doesn’t matter what kind of camera you use, even if you have only phone camera, you can make it work.
I travel with my iPhone 5s and GoPro. Many people asked me what kind of camera I used since my photos are great according to them. Although you are using only your phone to take photos, you can apply the photography rules while capturing your shots. Like the “rule of third”, when you stand at the third end in your photo so you won’t be blocking the view and usually it is used to compare how grand the view is in terms of its scale to your body. Also, if you take landscape shots, remember to straighten them before uploading because that matters. Like I said, you don’t have to own fancy camera, as long as you know what to do and that you study the rules, you’ll soon be gaining hundreds of followers. I did it!

When the subject is so grand, try not to be in the middle of it.

When the subject is so grand, try not to be in the middle of it.

5. Knowing HOW to upload photos.
You went to the beach and probably captured 100 photos at the beach alone. It annoys people when you immediately upload all those photos and in sequence even! Give the beach photos a break by uploading photos from different events in between. Varying uploads works wonders! Even if you have to do a #throwback then be it. People love the mixtures, and with mixtures in uploads, your timeline will be colorful.

So, do you know what you did wrong now?

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“So which one is your favorite country/state?”

I found this question difficult to be answered accordingly. Although to date I only was in 20 countries, I love every country that I went to. I dubbed Thailand as my second home after the USA(not counting Malaysia because it is already in my blood) because I’ve had lived in Thailand long enough to understand the culture and know it like the back of my hand. I love Bangkok specifically, if any of you had been in either Bangkok or New York City, you can relate. And therefore New York City is my favorite and preferred city to live in because it’s like Bangkok, only bigger! As for the rest, I loved all 34 states in the US that I recently explored with my permanent traveling partner. I only have 16 states more to go and I am sure I will love them too.

NYC=Bangkok=awesome! 


When I am not in the US, I will park myself in Bangkok or be in Bali, Indonesia. I’ve been to Bali 4 times to date and although it is not a favorite getaway island to some, Bali to me is a great place to undergo emotional therapy. “What? Kuta is like the worst place on Earth!” That 18,000 Indonesian Rupiah early-morning-dolphins-sighting ride in Northern Bali is awesome, do you know that? As someone who doesn’t drink or party, I have successfully made the best out of all famous party spots in South East Asia that I’ve been to. You know you’re THE traveler when you are enjoying what you’re doing regardless the condition or hype of the places! I can’t help you if you are THAT picky traveler.

 Bali is pretty cool for your soul.

I guess that’s why it’s hard for me to choose, because all these places that I’ve had been to are so significant to me. I met the nicest people while in Romania, I’ve had the best home-cooked meal in Italy, I’ve experienced the best horseback riding in the US, I’ve had the best underwater experience in Indonesia. This is how I answer this question! Next time you ask me, it’ll still be the same. I love the whole world!

 Montana’s countryside with horses.

I am in love with Earth and for as long as I live, I will try not to stop loving this planet and everything in it, except Venice in the summer and Paris metro.

So, do you have any favorite country/state?

Catatan Hari Pekerja

This note is written in my native language, my mother tongue, Malay.

Catatan selepas berjalan jauh. Maaf sebab panjang. Tapi ini ialah ringkasan kisah hidup aku yang tak ramai orang tahu, kerana aku rasa aku bijak menyembunyikan kesusahan.


Bismillah.

Waktu kecil, aku hidup dalam kemiskinan. Aku kena pergi pintu ke pintu menjual jeruk dan jajanan, seawal umur 7 tahun. Muka memang tebal. Pergi sekolah pun aku berjual. Sampai kena tahan cikgu disiplin gara-gara sorang kawan aku tu pergi senyap-senyap report kat cikgu. Rasa nak marah, tapi aku cuma boleh menangis. Ibu kata “Kalau kawan buli kau jangan buli balik, buang masa, kan kau budak pandai?”. Aku menangis, sebab bila tak menjual, maka takda duit. Balik rumah bila bakul masih penuh, aku menangis.  Waktu aku membesar, ikan kembung seekor bahagi 5 orang. Pergi sekolah, jarang aku membeli di kantin. Ibu selalu bekalkan nasi goreng. Dulu aku dikhabarkan bahawa kalau aku tak belajar rajin-rajin, maka kami sekeluarga akan terus hidup dalam keadaan begitu. Makanya ramai kawan sekolah dari darjah 1-6 “benci” kat aku sebab aku tak pernah dapat nombor lain kecuali nombor 1! Budak-budak Sekolah Kebangsaan Kem Tentera Sandakan batch 1994-1999 boleh confirmkan fakta ni. Jadi budak pandai dulu merupakan motivasi bagi aku untuk keluar dari kemiskinan. Susahnya hidup waktu itu aku takkan lupakan. Ada sekali sekala aku tertinggal bas sekolah, aku akan menangis sepuasnya minta ayah hantar pergi sekolah guna kereta. Disebabkan waktu tu kami takda kereta, aku muram seharian dia rumah memikirkan ruginya sehari tak datang sekolah, tak dapat belajar benda baru dari cikgu. Ya, itulah definisi sekolah buat aku. Bila orang ingat aku lahir memang dah kaya dan aku tak layak hidup senang sekarang, orang orang itu memang salah!


Dulu lepas matrikulasi tahun 2005, aku berangan nak study overseas. Berangan dari kecil, kononnya nak study dekat London, nak bergambar pakai winter jacket belakang ada snow. Kesian kan bunyi? Aku tak ingat kat berapa orang kawan dah aku sibuk dulu ceritakan angan-angan aku. Dari kecil, bersungguh-sungguh aku pujuk ibu ayah, tapi sebab kurang mampu+kesempitan wang+buta cara, aku kuburkan impian nak study di negara orang dan angan-angan konon nak travel around Europe etc time cuti sem. Aku ada juga jalan-jalan sikit dalam Indonesia dan Thailand guna duit aku selama 2 tahun, habiskan pusing Malaysia, pergi tempat sama berkali-kali sebab murah, peritnya terasa sampai sekarang. Tahan kena kutuk sebab takda pekerjaan tetap, kerja entah apa-apa. Aku tahankan bertahun-tahun, tadah telinga kiri kanan orang mengata. Makanya setiap saat aku rasa nak marah kat orang-orang yang kutuk aku dulu, aku cepat-cepat redakan marah dan bila malam sebelum tidur, aku maafkan semua orang yang pernah sakiti aku. Dalam masa yang sama, bila-bila masa aku akan minta maaf kalau aku ada tersalah cakap atau tersalah laku, yang penting, buat. Rasa tak aman bila tak buat. Aku sedih agak lama tapi lepas tu aku akur dan redha. 

Tapi Allah tu Maha Adil, juga Maha Penyayang. Ya Rabb. Dia berikan aku rezeki dengan jalan lain, walaupun jalan itu sedikit panjang dan agak lama untuk sampai dekat aku. 2006 & 2012, aku dapat ijazah sarjana muda dan sarjana, semua dalam negara, tapi tahun 2013, Dia telah menemukan aku dengan seseorang yang membawa aku mengelilingi dunia, suamiku. Akhirnya, setelah 22 tahun berangan, dapat juga aku pegang snow, pakai winter jacket, dan semua yang aku angan-angankan dulu. Kawan aku kata, “Rezeki dan jodoh kau datang dalam masa yang sama!”. You know who you are.

Memang, aku takda kerja “fancy” gaji tinggi pangkat hebat yang boleh dibanggakan macam kawan-kawan lain walaupun aku ada master’s degree, aku tak pernah dengki dengan kawan-kawan. Aku percaya dengan janji Allah kepada orang yang bersabar, dan rezeki dari Dia itu datang dalam pelbagai bentuk yang tidak disangka-sangka. Ayah pesan “Kau rasa kau da banyak doa tapi belum makbul, kau kena selalu bersangka baik dengan Allah, bersangka baik juga dengan manusia. Kau tawakal lepas kau usaha, lepas tu doa banyak-banyak lagi. Jangan lupa, kalau nak berjaya, jangan pernah meminta-minta pada orang tapi minta pada Allah.”

Sebab tu aku kata, kalau tak tahan, agaknya da lama takda kat dunia ni. Aku rasa aku ni memang spesis degil dan kental, actually aku sangat jarang rasa tertekan melihat cara hidup orang lain dari dulu lagi, sebab aku tahu satu hari nanti, semua bahagian aku akan sampai dekat aku. 

Alhamdulillah, bila lihat orang lain senang, kata Alhamdulillah, bukan rasa dengki. Pernah tak terdetik dalam hati bila kita rasa dengki dengan rezeki orang lain, bahagian  kita boleh kena “delay” bila bila masa?
Alhamdulillah. Takda perkataan lain boleh ganti betapa bersyukurnya aku. Aku rasa cukup dan bahagia, akhirnya. Aku puas belajar hidup susah, menjual dari pintu ke pintu waktu membesar dan segala jenis yang boleh dibayangkan dan sekarang, aku boleh duduk dan senyum memikirkan pahitnya kami  sekeluarga dahulu yang telah terbayar sekarang. 

Semoga kita semua akan bertambah murah rezeki setiap hari. Ingat, bila lihat orang lain senang, kau ucap syukur. Kalau kau dengki, kau tahu akan akibatnya. 

  
Tutup mata dan bayangkan yang indah-indah.