Cherishing A Nikmah Called Freedom

Assalamualaikum ladies! :)
Masya Allah, Tabarakallah.
Unprecedented times
In my quiet moments, I often ponder on how feeble the human mind is and how easy is it for us to forget events that happened in the past. Then again, maybe for some who had stood through extreme trials and tribulations, forgetting seems to be the only way to go, in order to carry on.
As we go about our daily routines now, it seems unthinkable that just about two years ago, our lives were thrown off-tangent in many different ways and of varying degrees. Indeed, we had lived through a time that was unprecedented and all we could do was prioritise our loved ones and come together as a community to lend a hand any way possible to anyone in need.  
The irony of lockdowns, while it had brought many families together under one roof for better or worse , wasn’t quite like that for ours, with our extended family in Singapore and our eldest child in Japan, the seemingly endless lockdowns only lengthened our physical distance.
Looking back to those times, I recall how It took grit, countless swab tests, sleepless nights and meticulous planning to navigate through the many travel restrictions that may change overnight in order for us to be together again, in each other’s embrace and many of you in similar set ups can attest that this is not far from the truth. The struggle was real and the word ‘travel’ did not coexist with ‘leisure’ anymore especially during the peak of Covid-19. Nonetheless, we must always believe that HE has a bigger plan for us and even the toughest of times shall pass.

Two words: Travel Restrictions
Wanderlust killed by travel restrictions. Sound familiar? That elusive dream to take a short vacation and to taste that freedom of travel again, all but halted by those two words that almost always pull the brakes on our vacation planning and not forgetting the big Q - ‘Quarantine’. I started researching rigorously only to discover that the island paradise had recently done away with cumbersome protocols. Bali had none of it and it only meant one thing: The door to freedom is now wide open; Let’s unclip our wings! This was my (oops sorry, I mean OUR) chance!
But first- The Calendar
Yes, finally! - a FAMILY vacation, after a long hiatus which seemed like an impossible dream that perhaps many of you can relate to. As for yours truly, the madness lies in the busy schedule of my husband, who works non-stop for the family, my three busy school-going children, each with their own lives, Alhamdulilah with Abang who managed to come back to Malaysia to spend summer school break with us and soon to be returning overseas for his studies and Dwi, our elder daughter in her final preparations to leave for boarding school by the end of summer. This only meant two of my babies would be flying the nest shortly after this trip to Bali and this mummy is not ready, to say the least but let’s save this melancholy for another day. The moment that window of opportunity presented itself, I saw light and did what every hyped out and borderline manic mum did. I started to ‘pack’ although the kids and hubby might argue that it wasn’t done very well. I was inspired by the ‘Inspo’ travel outfit pictures I saw online and decided to colour coordinate our daily outfits. The truth is, I had to quietly increase my baggage allowance before the flight out!
Of Blessings and Bali
Up until the time we were buckled up in our seats on flight, the reality that indeed, we were on our way to Bali, had not really sunk in yet. I guess it must’ve been the combination of excitement of going on a vacation after so long, the little to no sleep due to my anxiety of missing out or forgetting anything that needs to be settled pre-trip and worrying about our cats and my precious plants at home. I have to admit, I was constantly running through a mental check-list. I was exhausted and could not keep my eyes open. The airline delayed our flight twice and what was supposed to be a morning flight ended up in the evening. Alhamdulilah Alaa Kulli Haal although we wasted the whole morning but we arrived safely. It wasn’t until the aircraft wheels landed on the tarmac, followed by an announcement welcoming us to Bali that I finally realised it wasn’t a dream. We checked in the villa, ending our day one in Bali to the relaxing sounds of crickets on a nice summer night.
When I woke up the next morning, I was greeted by a magnificent sight that I had missed amidst the chaos of checking in and settling into our accommodation in the dark. We were surrounded by lush greenery and rich paddy fields that are far reaching into the horizons. A scene of beauty that exudes a strong sense of calm and tranquillity. I was almost sure that this was a calm before the storm as the children were not in sight yet. Alas, I was wrong as one by one, my husband and I were joined by our three children at the breakfast table, Yet the vibe of serenity did not faze. I guess our usually chaotic banters and loud jokes were no match for Bali’s zen! Not a bad start, I thought to myself.
Bali-1, loud family- 0 :)
As our days and nights started to be filled up by the travel itinerary, more often than not, I found myself taking quiet moments, even for a short few minutes at a time to simply take in what stood before me, to breathe in this foreign yet somehow familiar air and to count my blessings while always being in awe of Allah’s creation. It was a feeling that was bigger than what I could fathom. We were after all, not far from home, yet all my troubles and worries had been left behind a long way back, it seemed. I thought to myself; this must’ve been the feeling of freedom that I had forgotten about. This was the same feeling that I had taken for granted before Covid brought the World down to its knees…
Letting Go
If you, like me, had spent days and nights scrolling through social media a lot especially during the lockdowns, I am almost sure that you secretly would have built up quite an amassment of what I call the ‘must-try’, ‘must eat’ and ‘must-visit’ database. Admittedly, when it comes to Bali, I had a plentiful of it- and I desperately wanted to share the experience and adventures with my loved ones.
I pushed myself on escapades led by the new generation, letting my inhibitions go- well done me for riding an ATV solo (pats back), swung across paddy fields atop a gazillion storey high cliff, letting out sharp and ugly shrills along the way, went swimming beneath the waterfalls, braved boat rides through choppy waters, braved mosquitos and bugs through forests; were among the many experiences in those moments of awes and wonders. What makes all these extra special was the fact that I did them all with my children. It was their laughter, their exhilarated screams as we go about our daily adventures in nature and their noisy banters (and complains) that made my heart full again. I watched my usually reclused husband join us in some of these activities with joy as I am sure that he did all of it for his children, despite him going through recovery for his nerves injury. There were times i caught him staring into blank spaces and i felt terribly bad for not realising it earlier. Bali was the last holiday he had with my late mummy in law. My heart was shattered because I know he was still grieving. Witnessing him in between laughter and sadness was indeed a powerful emotion that tugged at the heartstrings.  
In many ways, it was almost like a mad scramble to chase after time that was lost, as I remember indirectly packing up our itinerary with more than my body could handle. Thank God for spas.
 I wish moments like these will go on forever… but we all know, bank account notwithstanding, to always be thankful with what is given, for everything is indeed a gift in which we need to cherish.
It didn’t take long for me to realise that the biggest, most meaningful gem that has been bestowed upon my husband and I at that moment was in fact the priceless opportunity we had to spend time with all three of our children.
I have always believed that as our children grow up, they do not stop for anything and no one. It is a natural life progression, as they grow into their own persons. Once they leave school and have gained total independence, earning their own salaries, it is not promised that they will be able to nor willing to spend time with us on family vacations anymore. Everyone will have their own lives and this, however hard to grasp, is something that I must respect and remind my husband and myself on.
If there is a single piece of advice that hits home on this note it would be that of a friend’s who said to me,
“Alhamdullilah for the rezeki that Allah has bestowed upon us. Insya Allah, money that has been spent can be made again but time lost can never be recovered. Spend time and money on vacations with your children if you can afford, while you still can, when they still can, and the best time is during their school-going years before they have commitments of their own, later in life”.
Of memories and Inspirations
Bali had awoken my senses in many different ways and cajoled me to dive back into my travel series once more. It was nearby impossible to narrow down my inspiration from this island but I managed somehow; based on how much joy each of these places had brought to my family and I.
My hijabs have always been personal to me and I plan on keeping it this way and many of you would probably know that the crux of our ‘DH travel series’ has always been that of the best memories transcribed onto my hijab pieces and for me, there is no better way to translate that.
Each of these pieces mean so much more to me than a mere design on fabric; Instead, it bears our beautiful memories of having spent such a priceless time together, blessed in the grandeur and magnificence of this island. It bears testament to so much love and laughter of my children, my husband, my friends who were with us and of course, the smiles, happiness, and gleeful almost child-like giggles of yours truly.
These are our memories in a freeze frame that are close to my heart, captured in print.
This definitely has been one of the highlights of my life post lockdown, which Alhamdullilah has reignited the wanderlust in me and I am humbly once again, sharing my travel journey with you. This time, in four specially curated designs. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do. I pray that all of us will be gifted once again with the privilege of vacation travels as we once did, pre-Covid. I pray that Allah SWT grant us the best of health to make more memories with our loved ones.
Freedom is something that I have taken granted for. I reflect that I have to be more grateful to Allah SWT for EVERYTHING small or big. 
    The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Whoever is not grateful for small things will not be grateful for large things. Whoever does not thank people has not thanked Allah Almighty.”
Much love from Bali.

With love, Diyana Halik

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