THE MAGIC OF LANGKAWI by Kamila Delart

by Mark

 

THE MAGIC OF LANGKAWI

An introspective journey 
of an expat

By Kamila Delart
 

It was love at first sight! Pristine island surrounded by the emerald green Andaman Sea, breathtaking limestone formations, mangroves with a labyrinth of secret water channels, millions of years old rainforest with trees daringly reaching towards the sky. Bright orange heliconias, red ginger flowers, the tantalizing smell of jackfruit in the air…

More than two years have passed since I came to Langkawi. And although the novelty of my magical island may have worn off a little, I wake up every day feeling blessed to live surrounded by so much beauty!  I love to start my days slowly, sipping coffee on the porch, listening to the joyful chirping of birds, watching monitor lizards climb the palm trees in my garden, and colorful butterflies twirl around hibiscus flowers and spider lilies that blossomed over night.

I still tend to miss a few keyboard strokes when spotting a hornbill nibble on a ripe papaya in front of my window. And a family of monkeys crossing the road never fails to make me smile.

I love to walk through the jungle and watch the mesmerizing sunset from my pebble beach. And when diving into the cool sheets at night, letting the frog symphony lull me into sleep – there is no other place in the entire world I would rather be.

But as time passes, the island reveals to me the beauty hidden underneath the enchanting surface, with each layer touching my soul on a deeper and deeper level. 

I recall this unusual conversation I had with one of the expats soon after my arrival. Rushing from one meeting to another, I didn’t spend much time reflecting upon what he said back then. But his words came back to me later on, resurfacing over and over again… I don’t remember all the details, but the core message was about the transformational power of Langkawi. About the island forcing you to confront whatever holds you back from finding happiness and joy in your life…

Whether a European who left behind the ‘promised’ western world or a Malaysian who gave up the big city life, we all hope to start a brand new life when settling down in Langkawi. It’s not as simple as we imagine when boarding a plane. Even here – happiness doesn’t grow on trees. But if you come with an open heart, genuinely looking for answers, you will find the magical key…

I’m not so sure it’s due to some supernatural powers – as I was told. There may be a rather rational explanation to the phenomenon: Living in a true paradise, surrounded by warm, loving people – it’s impossible to blame the place if you fail to reach a state of contentment. There is no point in waiting for favorable winds that will carry your yacht towards even more enchanting places. No sense in fooling yourself that the NEXT adventure will get you any closer to realizing your dreams. Once you are ready to truly look at yourself, things fall into place. The true journey ahead of you leads inwards. And there is no better place than Langkawi to embark on this transformational voyage…

As many other expats, I used to dream of escaping the daily rat-race of the western civilization  – just to catch myself complaining when the repairs on my tropical home didn’t get done over night. I remember Jamal, a Malay neighbor and meanwhile a close friend of mine, making fun of me. Struggling to find English words, he got up, walked to the wall and pretended to be banging his head against it to demonstrate the futility of my approach. When things didn’t go the way I hoped, Jamal would take me to the paddy fields. Telling me that just because the rice stalks with heavy grain heads are not visible yet, it doesn’t mean that underneath the water surface, the seeds are not sprouting…

And then there was Mr. Del, fixing the electricity in my home. Although he got everything working, he warned me that when there is a storm – so every other night in certain months – I’m likely to end up without power anyway. Reluctant to accept the news, I stubbornly insisted that there MUST be a way to prevent it. What am I supposed to do without my computer working?! Amused by my determination to look for solutions in all the wrong places while the answer is right in front of me, Mr. Del smiled, pointing out the obvious: ‘If the computer doesn’t work, it’s time to rest…’

It took me forever to embrace this philosophy. But over time, I did slow down, and learned to trust the natural flow of life – finding so much more than just an unhurried pace of life! 

Finally taking the time to contemplate, I tend to choose my steps more wisely. Not trying to find shortcuts to reach my goals, I notice so many opportunities along the way.  Chances I would have likely missed if focusing on a specific point on the horizon. Rather than wasting my energy by fighting obstacles on my way, I wait for favorable winds that will carry me to where I need to be…

But there is more to Langkawi than just the healing pace of life. It is a place of abundance! Coming from a westerner, the observation may sound surprising. But in societies based on materialistic values, regardless of how much we have, we act from a place of scarcity. In order to win, somebody else has to lose. If we share, there will be less left for us. And so we remain alert – keeping the score, looking out for ulterior motives, strategizing… Always guarded – and disconnected from the nurturing flow of life. 

It takes some time. But after a while of living in Langkawi, you realize that the concept is all wrong. The ever present sun, the juicy green all around, flowers that never stop to bloom… More than you could possibly ask for…

But it’s not just the nature. More than anything else, it’s about the people you encounter! Not rich by western standards – and yet, always ready to give! 

When my car broke down and I was returning from a grocery store, walking in the darkness along the road, a lady I never met before stopped with her motorbike and made me squeeze between her two kids, insisting on bringing me safely home. When I was hiding in bed with a flue, Wani, my laundry lady – concerned that I didn’t show up for a while – delivered my clothes all the way to my house.  

And then there was the unusual encounter with ‘Dendang Anak’, a band from Terengganu that celebrates with their songs the cultural and religious Malay heritage. When the musicians learned about my upcoming birthday, they surprised me with a cake, flower bouquet and a beautiful private concert – moving me to tears… 

I have to confess, I was slightly suspicious in the beginning. Why would people I barely know go out of their way to help or make my day special?!  But as time went on, I realized that there is no catch! No expectation to receive anything in return. It’s just a gentle invitation to look at life from a different angle. As Wayne Dyer said: ‘Abundance is not something we acquire. It is something we tune into…’ 

Although initially an ‘alien concept’ to me, once I learned to accept the unexpected gifts without questioning the motives, once I began to give without worrying about the ‘balance’, I experienced a sense of abundance I never thought possible…

I came to Langkawi looking for happiness. And although the quest for joy is a never ending pursuit, I never felt as content as now. I love the way our island molds me and cannot wait for the ‘magic’ that is yet to come…

 

You may also like

Leave a Comment