As not all experiences can be expressed in words, Zalina Mohd Som has turned to a pictorial travel journal
THERE are only two things I wish for — that I can draw and sing.
I wish I can sing like rock star Ella or power-house Jaclyn Victor. But I can’t. I couldn’t even sing the national anthem without sounding like a groggy bee!
But thanks to some karaoke sessions with my friends, I think I have polished my “singing talent”. I can now sing a song without murdering it. One song only. Period.
I can only draw one-line strokes. My sketches are more childish than those done by my nephews and niece but drawing comes naturally to me.
If I have paper and a pen or pencil in hand, I’ll draw something as I wait for an appointment or to amuse myself as I sit through a dull speech.
My drawings are of simple objects such as a leaf, tree, lips and an eye. Or a batik-like floral motif. But never a complete picture of a garden or a face.
But I have never thought that this would develop into something more sophisticated.
On a trip a few years ago, my friend Anis Ramli took out a small black book and started to doodle. Her work was nothing like mine, it was better. She signed it off with her initials and the date and location.
I don’t remember the subject but it was something we saw earlier on our trip.
“It’s like a photo but more personal as I translate what I see into the sketch,” Anis told me as she showed me the rest of her drawings in the book.
Ahh, it’s like a travel journal. Instead of writing notes, she chose to draw. I could do this, I thought. I had the tools — doodling skills, a notebook and a pen. In addition to my thick sudoku book, I always travel with a notebook — my reporter’s book on assignments and a small pocket book for personal trips.
When I travel on work, I go like a tourist — taking photographs and listening attentively to the tour guide. I only jot down my experiences at night before I go to bed.
But on private trips, I write down every sen that I spend so that I have a better control on my budget. Seeing that I already have the habit of keeping a journal, maybe I can give it a try.
I started during my second backpacking trip about six years ago. I drew my first travel doodle — a slice of Thailand’s famous pumpkin dessert — in a pocket-sized book. I liked it.
I still remember the feeling as I admired the picture. It was almost as satisfying looking at all those nice shots on my camera’s LCD screen.
Last year, I brought along a little book on a three-week trip to New Zealand. Instead of a ringed notebook that had travelled to three countries with me since 2008, I had a new, leather-covered book.
And since I have replaced my thick Sudoku book with a chic, cute android, I wonder if there will come a time when I’ll be doodling on a tablet instead?