It’s been awhile since we caught up with Liyana, but if there’s one thing our prior encounters with her have prepared us for, it’s her flair for infusing colours and prints into any outfit to make a bold statement. She greeted us this time round showered in periwinkle, with a familiar skip in her step and refreshing zest for life. Having just turned a new decade, she could hardly contain her excitement about the adventures that are still to come, and the growth she wants to see as a writer. We soon found ourselves immersed in stories about her latest escapades and insights.
Tell us how your love for travel started.
I’ve been on many travels with my family since I was young, spurred by my mum’s love for visiting natural landscapes and historical places, which helped me to build a stamina and appetite for travelling.
Now that I’m venturing out on my own more often, I’m finding new aspects of travelling that I like; lately, that includes experiencing different cultures and enjoying outdoor activities.
How has your approach to travelling changed over the years?
The more I travel, the more I’ve learnt to embrace spontaneity. I used to be a real planner when it comes to travelling, right down to the hours and minutes. I still think that having a plan is important when partaking in certain time-sensitive activities like catching a sunrise, but I try to keep an open mind and leave room for new discoveries.
I also used to be an over-packer because I liked changing up my outfits each day. That said, I’ve started backpacking recently and have come to realise that I don’t need so many things when I travel. Besides, I can’t possibly carry them all on my back (laughs). Now I try to pack just the right amount—no more and no less.
On the topic of packing, what do you look out for in a luggage?
Multiple compartments and sturdy wheels.
Size is important too. I find that a medium-sized luggage works best for me; I’ve travelled with massive luggages to Europe in the past and it was really frustrating trying to lug them across the cobblestone streets.
Besides your phone and passport, what are three things you cannot travel without?
This’ll make me sound super auntie (laughs), but compression socks for hiking as I’m not a natural walker, sunscreen with incorporated skincare benefits, and a good pair of protective sunglasses.
Share with us your secret to curating your wardrobe when travelling.
Figure out a colour palette for the whole trip, rather than daily looks, then find pieces to match the theme. Nowadays, I’ve been investing in more quality basics; this is coming from someone who adores prints! Since I’ve been packing lighter, I’ve found it preferable to mix basics with a little print here and there.
As a bonus, I usually pack an extra shirt that is a little dressier or bring along more accessories, just in case I end up going somewhere nice.
How does your fashion style translate to the travel baggages you choose?
Now that I’m investing in more basic clothing pieces to complement my loud fashion style, I find that luggages in classic shades and sleek designs give me more versatility when styling my outfits.
As a writer, how have your travels inspired your work, and vice versa?
With words, it’s easy to create fluff and sprinkle in all sorts of embellishments, but finding the heart of my writing comes from real life experiences. For me, I never make stuff up out of thin air. As I travel, I draw inspiration from meeting new people and learning about the histories of different places to write stories that aren’t just inspiring, but also grounded in truth.
On the other hand, seeing the world through a writer’s eyes has helped me to dissect big concepts, to analyse and see things from different perspectives, and ultimately to find out what exactly I want from each travel experience.
Top three things on your travel bucket list:
Wow, that’s really hard because there’re so many things I want to see and do!
If I were to choose just three, in no particular order, I want to:
1. Hike in Yosemite National Park.
2. Surf in Portugal; I think that’ll be so much fun! I’m trying to get better at it by practising in Australia and Bali since it’s so hard to do so here in Singapore.
3. Go for a big festival far away; I went for my first festival, We The Fest, in Jakarta last year and really enjoyed it, so I’d love to go for a bigger one the likes of Glastonbury in England and Primavera Sound in Spain.