ORBIT REFLECTION SERIES: a 40-day journey to Bhutan, Myanmar, Laos & Thailand


To celebrate my birthday, I asked my dearest friends to write me a letter which I read each day during my 40-day trip to Bhutan, Myanmar, Laos and Thailand.

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Gross national happiness” is within you.

In our art tour in Bhutan, we visited an elementary school during their morning assembly. The students started chanting their morning prayer, then all of a sudden I was in tears. I didn’t understand a word, but it struck a chord in me.

Bhutan is an impossible dream, but when the timing is right, Bhutan will come to you. Being here to celebrate my orbit on earth was bound to happen. I am meant to be here. I am where I should be.

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Humility & Generosity

I watched the sun rise and the sun set on top of a temple in Bagan, Myanmar. It was a breathtaking view, I was reminded of how lucky and grateful I am to be alive.

At an alms giving ceremony to the monks, I witnessed that there is no giver and no receiver, just giving and receiving.

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“The moon is full, and so is my heart.”

In Luang Prabang, Laos, I stumbled upon a ceremony in one of the temples during the evening. It was Vesak or Buddha day, a holiday tradition observed by Buddhists. There were monks chanting and people holding candles, glowing beneath the moonlight – it was a mesmerizing sight.

On my journal I wrote – “Today is a present… Realization and inner transformation occured. Strength and power, remembered.”

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I ended my journey in Thailand where I met a buddhist nun whom I sat next to inside a bus. She told me “Today can be your last day, today is gone Tomorrow, so smile and embrace the world.”

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“The foot feels the foot when it touches the ground.”

In the countries I visited, I always had to remove my footwear to enter its sacred grounds. The weather was hot and humid, it felt like walking across burning coals, but what an experience it was to feel the earth under my feet. It kept me mindful. It kept me grounded.

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Reading the orbit letters made me feel grounded as well. There were letters that made me smile, laugh and cry. There were things I’ve forgotten and was reminded of again, things that might be difficult to say, so it was better written. I am touched by how my friends and family sees me. I am reminded of the memories we shared, also how I’ve affected their lives in some ways. I am reminded that I’ve always been a happy and positive human being. Perhaps happiness then was more personal, but now it’s more about sharing this joy with others.

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Coming Home

Coming to Bhutan, Myanmar, Laos and Thailand felt like being home. I always see the Philippines in each country, I even look like a local. It felt familiar yet each experience was different. Every country I stayed in brought a lot of learnings and discoveries about myself and about the world.

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I went on this journey empty, and now I’m full…

I realized that this is the best version of me so far. I am who I am today because of the people I’ve met, the places I’ve been, the experiences I’ve been through, and because of these, I am the happiest person in this planet.

On this 40-day journey, I met travellers who asked me of my age not because I look it, but because as they say, of the wisdom I speak.  So YES I am 40! I feel beautiful, I am at my happiest, and the best Jazel I can be.


* * * More detailed stories on Bhutan, Myanmar, Laos & Thailand coming soon.



MEXICO: Dia de Muertos in Oaxaca

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The Day of the Dead is about giving respect and honouring our loved ones who passed away, but here in Mexico they do it in a festive and colourful way.

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On a dia de muertos tour arranged by my amigas, I went to the southern part of Mexico in a place called Oaxaca (wa-ha-ka). Packed in a small bus, fellow travellers and I were brought to a local public cemetery. 

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There was a stage with loud blaring speakers, a street market selling food and souvenirs, people offering us pan de muerto (a special bread during the day of the dead) and hot chocolate de oaxaca for free.

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There was a bit of pushing and shoving to get inside the cemetery.

Once inside, a sensory overload!

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Friends and families gathered around elaborately decorated graves, the air a mix of marigolds and smoke from burning candles, mourning melodies sang by hired musicians accompanied by their guitars.

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It’s like one big fiesta for the departed.

It feels good to be alive!

follow your art: A YEAR AFTER

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The 1st of JUNE marks a year of my independence, a year of just following my heART…I may not be as stable financially, but I am at my happiest.

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I am grateful to be able to eat food that fills me up with joy, to still be able to ride cabs when needed be, to have my nest that I adore, to have a place in my heaven on earth to create…

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To be humbled by people who entrusts me to do things and also earn from it, to no longer be enticed by retail shopping, to be able to live simply, to hang out and have inspiring conversations with kindred spirits, to be able to realize a concept and collaborate with so many artists…

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To still be able to travel, to have all this time to just follow my he/art, to have supportive friends and family, and to have the privilege to be a full-time heArtist.

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There’s a lot to be thankful for. I feel very blessed.


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May the fire in me keep burning,

like this clockwork orange skies outside my window.

FOLLOW YOUR ART: Thy will be done

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playnting matisse [02 AOUT 14]
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i use the ART BOOK as my reference
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It doesn’t exactly look like the real painting because i am no Matisse

I wake up early automatically. I paint. I walk in my ‘hood when i can. I eat when I’m hungry. I sleep when I’m tired. I write. I read. I think a lot. I have time. It can get lonely but most of the time I’m just happy. I do things that feels natural to me. No pressure. All willingly.

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i enjoyed creating the background [02 AOUT 14]
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using Valloton’s trees as a peg
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I like how the black created the shadows and added dimension to the tree

I’ve been having a lot of naps and deep sleeps lately. I’ve been dreaming a lot too. I’ve had dreams set in Greece, New York and even outer space. Dreamt of cooking rice and pasta in a space ship and food like moules frites that i miss. Quotations and text also appears in my reverie, with exact font and layout. {C’est possible! / Simply Intentional / Shit Happens} I call these my dream mantras.

I’m here but my subconscious is elsewhere.

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i truly enjoyed playnting this one [03 AOUT 14]
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One of my favorites! my version of Van Dongen

I’ve been watching a lot of films as well. Sometimes I instinctively study the layers of colors in the scene. “Ahh yellow first then green and black.” I would also try to translate the subtitles to my basic french. Well this usually happens when the scene is slow. It gives me time to think.

I am here but my mind is everywhere.

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supposed to look like a stained glass window painting
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[03 AOUT 14]
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a Rouault wannabe

A few years ago, I made a shoutout to the universe. It heard me, so it must be done.

I am here now but i can’t wait to be there.

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Related Readings: 

HAVING YOUR OWN SPACE – https://theartofeveryday.wordpress.com/2014/09/19/follow-your-art-the-importance-of-having-your-own-creative-space/

QUESTIONING THE PROCESS – https://theartofeveryday.wordpress.com/2014/08/26/follow-your-art-questioning-the-creative-process/

SELF-TAUGHT ARTIST – https://theartofeveryday.wordpress.com/2014/08/16/follow-your-art-opening-thyself/

DISCOVERING PAINTING – https://theartofeveryday.wordpress.com/2014/08/05/following-my-heart-discovering-painting/

BECOMING A FULL-TIME ARTIST – https://theartofeveryday.wordpress.com/2014/06/12/independence-day/

ART PORTFOLIO – http://jazelkristin.wordpress.com/