Sunday, December 30, 2012

Thank you 2012 !! :)

My reminder to stay strong! :)

Hi all,

As the year draws to a close, I must say it certainly has been an interesting year for me. Lots of new learning experience for ....
  • Being an author! (I still have to pinch myself from time to time!)
  • Learnt the hard way to speak in public! (Not in a million years would I have thought that I would dare stand in front of a crowd and speak confidently!)
  • Got to be "nanny" for a few months to 8 utterly adorable golden retriever puppies! (one of the best times of my life!)
  • My very first encounter with snow when I was in New Zealand! (You got to remember that I come from the tropics, so seeing snow for the first time was very EXCITING for me!)
  • Braving the freezing New Zealand weather to do some cycling in winter! (Hey, it's New Zealand, the great outdoors!! It would be such a waste to stay cooped up in my room, even though my feet and hands were kind of frozen after each cycling trip!A million thanks to my good friends, Darren and Jane Gamble for their kind generosity during my stay there!)

My abode while in NZ....above Mountain Bike Station, Ohakune :)

Mt. Ruapehu, New Zealand

Snow! Snow!

Winter wonderland!!

Mt. Ruapehu from afar.....

Bumpy ride alongside the railway line :)

Biking part of the Old Coach Road, Ohakune

Slippery frost on the rails!!!!!!!

More frost! :) 

My borrowed Avanti and the lovely view  :)

Weee......grassy downhill ahead !!

 Hello Mr. Carrot! Ohakune

Another year is ending, a new one is coming with promises of more interesting and exciting surprises in store for me (or at least, I would like to think so!) Like the saying goes "When one door closes, another one will certainly be opened!"

This also means that I am at least one year closer to achieving my goals! Yay!! Like the time when I was still in the dark about when my book was actually going to be published, it's the same scenario with the rest of my goals...I still have no idea when they will turn into reality....sigh!

But unlike then (when I was mostly drumming my fingers while waiting), I have decided to use this period of waiting to "sharpen my old tools and learn new tricks" that will be beneficial for me in the long run!

My journey so far has been a mixed of a roller coaster ride, up and down, going through mind boggling mazes, roadblocks, detours and the occasional smacking onto a brick wall, all done in slow motion! It feels like I'm taking part in The Great Amazing Race, except it's my own race and I have yet to spot the finish line! (Hmm, think I will call it "Sanz Greatest Amazing Discovery Race!" hehe). However, despite all this, I am really grateful for the amazing (no pun intended) opportunities and the wonderful people that keep popping up and showing me the right way at the right time and I hope it will continue to do so!

According to famous author and professional speaker, Jack Canfield, who wrote in his book "How To Get From Where You Are To Where You Want To Be", once you know where you want to go, life tends to unfold for you every 100 feet and keeps unfolding until you have reached the destination you truly want, because you want it.

Well, I can certainly see that it is slowly happening to sure seems to unfold for me every 100 feet and is still unfolding and hopefully (fingers and toes crossed), it'll eventually lead me to where I want to go! 

So for now, I will continue chugging away, like a slow "choo choo" train (unless it suddenly decides to change into a super fast bullet train!) heading towards its desired destination......and keep listening to my "stay positive-you can do it" type of music as well as re-reading (over and over again!) my dog-eared, falling apart "How To Get From Where You Are To Where You Want To Be", and continue to look at the funny side of life (even though, sometimes it can be hard!), stay active and be truly grateful for what I have now :)

So THANK YOU 2012 from the bottom of my heart! You have been an AWESOME year for me with lots of new learnings and improvements! Let me also take this opportunity to thank everyone who has helped and supported me, one way or another. throughout this year. My heartfelt thanks to you all! :)

I look forward to 2013...and for those who have goals like me....hope the above signage will be an inspiration to keep on going :)

Happy new year, everyone!! May 2013 be a wonderful year for all of us! Woof! Woof!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Ups & Downs Of Book Talks....

Hi all,

Sorry for keeping quiet for the past few weeks as I have been busy shuffling between towns to do book talks to promote my book. It has been pretty tiring, I tell you! All those travelling around and not exactly having an excited crowd who came specially to listen to me speak I know how it feels for a budding singer / actor / dancer trying to have his/her BIG break! I feel you, my brother and my sister!!

Boy, if you were there for my first few attempts to do book talks, you would either have laughed your head off or fallen asleep!! Yes, I admit, I was pretty bad!

At one time, during one of my more important book talks at a popular venue down in KL, it took me a few weeks to prep for this important book talk but when the time came for me to take to the stage, I had stage fright and promptly forgot to say what I wanted to say!!

Luckily for me, there weren't many people sitting on the chairs provided BUT the most embarrassing thing was my editor and some staff from my publisher were there to listen to my talk. Yikes! I had the jitters! What was supposed to be an hour session turned out to be a brief 15 minute embarrassing and I could feel my face going red!!

Ok, wasn't all that bad because I eventually managed to muster all my courage to start speaking coherently and tried my best to tell my story as best I could through my slide show presentation...but still,  it could have been much better! Oh well, I learn :)

In all fairness, I was ready with my paper in hand to share my stories plus my slide show presentation but when I saw the author presenting before me, he seemed so relaxed and comfortable up on stage and he didn't even have a piece of paper in front of I thought to myself "Hmm, if he can do that, so can I!!"

Big mistake....what a valuable lesson I learnt that day!

Well, I must admit I have been getting better and better at my book talks and even managed to last them as long as 45 minutes AND without reading from a piece of paper! Woohoo!!

To be honest, I seem to have mixed feelings about doing book talks....sometimes, I get very excited doing them, other times, not so but one thing I have learnt, that be confident enough to speak in public and carry on talking even though I might only have one or two listeners in front of me. Sometimes, it can be quite discouraging but still, I have to persevere and carry on.

I tell myself that this is all temporary and it is a learning curve for me and that one day, all this hard work, having to deal with crappy microphones at times and all the travelling done at my own expenses will pay off! I know that one day, there will be people who will come to hear me speak!! 

The best rewards I get for now is when I do get some people coming up to me and telling me how much they have enjoyed my little book talk and that they will do their own exploration as well, be it on a bicycle or by car with their family. The additional plus points are when they asked me to autograph their copy :) Times like these is what keeps me going!

So for now, I guess I will continue to do book talks but only to a chosen few. For my next book talk,  it will be at Kinokuniya KLCC, one of the biggest bookstores here in Malaysia! Keeping my fingers and toes crossed that I will have an enthusiastic audience who will be interested to listen and who are not afraid to ask me questions  about my journey to make it more interesting and interactive!

Do drop by if you happen to be in KL on the 8th Dec, 2012 from 3pm - 4pm (as stated on the above poster, compliments from my publisher)  Now that I have seen what my publisher can do, I will insist on having more promotional posters like this for my future book talks to inform the public, at least one week beforehand.

Hopefully then, I will see a much better crowd for my future book talks.....

So, until my next update,  happy travels!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

For the month of October 2012......

The Expat, October 2012

Hi there!

I had the pleasure of meeting up with the editor of The Expat magazine, Chad Merchant in August to discuss about my book. I was thrilled to hear that he agreed to do a write up for me in their October 2012 issue! A really nice and friendly guy who writes flawlessly! Thus, the post Editor !

The Expat magazine is a magazine specially written for all expatriates living in Malaysia, particularly those staying and working in Kuala Lumpur. It provides useful information about Malaysia and interesting topics about our Malaysian culture, sights and sounds

Recently, I browsed through their website and found more exciting information about them! Not only do they distribute to over 5,500 resident expats here for free but they are also on board Malaysia Airlines and Lufthansa, KLIA duty free shops and VIP lounges, luxury KL/Singapore coaches, expat associations, embassies and international schools nationwide, 4 & 5 stars hotel lounges and more than 300 selected restaurants, bars and retail outlets.....Wow. the list sounds impressive and endless! 

Well, having been in the market for the past 16 years, I'd say they are well established :) You can read more about them via the link below 

And here is the online version of the article under their sister company

So nice of Chad to include my overall route map in his write up as well :) Hopefully, it'll grab the attention of the readers to want to know more about the interesting story he has done for me for he has hit it right on the spot! 

Once again, my heartfelt thanks to Chad and his team at The Expat group!


Friday, September 14, 2012

Let's not forget our Malaysian medias as well :)

A two page spread in The Malay Mail, April 24th, 2012

The Sun, May 9th, 2012

 The Star, July 2nd 2012

And online paper Malaysian Insider on May 12th, 2012,

Also, not forgetting my very FIRST radio interview with BFM Radio. Below is the podcast for my interview.

Well, it was pretty nerve racking being live on air for the first time but I'll get better :)

So, a BIG THANK YOU to all the newspapers above and radio station for featuring my story so far since the launch of my book in April 2012 :)

Let's keep the "wheels" rolling !!

Cheers :)

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

We made it into the Singapore media! Woohoo!!

The New Paper, Sept 2nd, 2012

Hi all,

Yup, it's me again with more happy news!!

I'd like to say a BIG THANK YOU to Danson Cheong from The New Paper in Singapore for featuring my story on Sunday, 2nd September, 2012. I think he did a nice write up for me :)

Hopefully, this exposure will help to promote my books to more Singaporeans to come and explore Malaysia, whether on two wheels or four wheels :)

Happy pedalling!

Cheers :)

Saturday, September 1, 2012

My book is "GOING PLACES!" Yay!!

August 2012 issue of Going Places, the inflight magazine for 
Malaysia Airlines on ALL international flights!

Hi all,

About 2 weeks ago, I gave an unexpected lift to an Italian family who was stranded at the popular tourist spot, Teluk Cempedak to Kuantan town. Since it was fasting month and it was about time to break fast, no taxis were willing to come and pick them up, of course! The father hailed me after I finished my run in the evening and despite being all sweaty, I decided to give the trio (father, mother & their 19 year old son) a ride to town for them to catch their bus to Malacca later that night..

While in the car, we got to talking and I found out that they were here in Malaysia for a short holiday before heading back to Italy. They just came from Yangon in Myanmar and spent 2 nights in Cherating (another popular beach spot, further up north of Kuantan).

When they asked me what was I doing, I told them about my book and luckily, I had a copy of my book in my car and showed it to them. When the father saw it, he immediately gave a surprised exclamation!


Because he saw the cover of my book (twice!) while they were flying from Dubai to Yangon and Yangon to Kuala Lumpur on Malaysia Airlines! Well, well, well......what do you know!

I didn't believe him initially and asked him repeatedly whether it was my book cover that he saw but he was very adamant about it because both his wife and him are cycling enthusiasts too and the photo of my back on my bicycle had already registered back in his mind.

If what he said was true, then my guess would be that he would have read the write up in Going Places magazine, the official inflight magazine for Malaysia Airlines and it is placed in ALL international flights to and from Kuala Lumpur! Hooray!!

He promised to email me the page when he gets back to Italy the following week and that he did! True enough, I saw my book cover and the short write up!

I decided to investigate further and asked a friend who had connections with Going Places and he told me that he will send me a copy of the August 2012 issue. Thanks Kit Choong for this!

It arrived a few days' ago and I managed to scan the pages and made some amendments. Thanks Dickson for helping out :)

It's a pretty amazing feeling to know that the good people of "Going Places" has given me a great start to promote my books to the international market. A million thanks to you all for this wonderful window of opportunity!

Do stay tuned for more exciting things to come!!


Monday, August 6, 2012


Hi all,

Just the other day, my friend Debbie, gave me a pretty good advice on how to further promote my books. She told me to come up with a bunting design that depicted the big picture of my tour.

Well, after spending a couple of days trying to get the right recipe for this and basing on some feedback from Debbie, my graphic designer and I were finally happy with the end result, Looking at it now, I'm must say I'm pretty pleased it with myself and I am looking forward to seeing the bunting which should be ready within this week!

Will keep you all posted!!

Cheers :)

Thursday, August 2, 2012

A new cycling friend from Denmark :)

Hi all, 

Recently, I made a new Danish friend, Claus Andersen, who has put my book to good use! He was at one of the big bookstores, Kinokuniya, KLCC in KL a few weeks back to buy a Malaysian map for his cycling tour around Malaysia but instead, he found my book! He bought my book and promptly forgot about the Malaysian map! However, he did get a map when he was in Penang before the start of his tour. So with the help of my book and the map, I think he has managed to cycle the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia relatively easily and is now doing the east coast :)

Over the last weekend, I was in KL when I received a nice email from him about my book. I found out that he would be coming up to Kuantan in a few days' time too. I was on my way up to Langkawi the next day to settle some matters. Good thing I managed to settle my things within a day and hopped on the one and a half hour ferry ride to Alor Setar and onto another 10 hour bus ride back to Kuantan (where I reached at about 6am the next morning!) Bleary eyed, I needed my beauty sleep before arranging to meet up with him for lunch ;)

A very funny guy indeed and one who has toured about 40 countries already...a really seasoned traveller, I would say! We literally talked the whole afternoon away, mostly listening to his interesting travel stories! I introduced him some of our local savouries during tea time and then we did a short tour around Kuantan on our bicycles after that. 

Since he was looking for a Malaysian cycling jersey, and after making a few calls, I managed to get one for him....the Kuantan Mountain Bike Challenge 2011 jersey! A mountain biking event where I worked with the Pahang Police Contigent last year  It was hard work but glad to say that the event was a success with 640 participants. Phew! During the 4 month period, going in and out of the police HQ, I got nicknamed "Sergeant Sandra!"  Well, I would have preferred they called me "Inspector Sandra" but oh well....

We had to go over to Police HQ the next day for him to get one before he continued on his journey up north.......

Front view 

Back view

Anyway, I would like to say THANK YOU to Claus for writing a really nice review about my book on the Virtual Tourist website. The link is as below.

Hopefully, this will attract more cyclists from Denmark to come explore my beautiful country :)

And to Claus, great knowing you and HAPPY PEDALLING!! I'm sure you will have your own talk show one day!


Claus with his bicycle (and my book!) outside the Pahang Police HQ :)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

My first two coverage under the local magazine sections!.

Hi there!

While I was having a break over in New Zealand, there were some kind folks back here who helped prepare for a short summary about my book amongst others!

THANK YOU Female and Her World magazine for featuring my book in your upcoming August 2012 issues :) Any coverage about my book will lead me closer to achieving my goal :)

More to come, more to come!!

Cheerio :)

Female magazine - August 2012 issue

Her World magazine - August 2012 issue

Sunday, July 22, 2012

The First Step.....

Hi all,

It's been a bit over 3 months since the launch of my book and I want to say a BIG THANK YOU to all my readers who wrote back to me and gave me very nice and encouraging feedback :) Thanks a million for all your support!

Well, if I thought it was tough waiting for my book to be out in the market, here comes the greater challenge - to spread the news about my book to more Malaysians and eventually, to the rest of the world !

But like with all my other goals, all it takes is one step at a time, one bite at the piece of the huge but delicious pie....and I would appreciate any assistance from anyone out there to help spread the word for me :)

So far, it's been an amazing journey for me. Recently, I went for a month break over in New Zealand and I brought a few copies of my book there to give out as souvenirs to my old friends and to some new found friends as well! I'm glad to say that my books has gone "international!" with 3 Kiwis, 1 Danish, 1 French and 1 Taiwanese who now owns a copy each! Maybe they will help to spread the word around too? Who knows?

Anyway, hopefully, it will be the start of something BIG to come !!! (fingers & toes crossed!)

Until later then!



Thursday, April 19, 2012

At very long book is launched!!

Hi there!

As promised, I'm back to keep you all posted about my upcoming book.

Well, I am very happy to announce that my book was finally launched at MPH Subang Parade on 14th April, 2012 at about 3pm. Family and friends attended the simple launch.  Having to stand up in front of a crowd and do a speech was not really my cup of tea! Especially,when I found out there wasn't a podium for me to hide behind!

Somehow, I got through the speech thingy and soon, we were launching my book! Phew!

The big signboard for the launch 

Wow...copies of my book all lined up at the counter :)

Ladies & gentlemen, I give you the highlights for the book, my book!! See the huge replica of my book in the front?

 More photos of my book, it's pretty thick....350 pages!!

As you can see, the photos were taken by my new friend and a fellow tourer, Azizan Zolkipli (Do check out his blog and the good people at Cycling Malaysia Magazine :)

I had to do a bit of book signing after the was an unusual feeling, people wanting my autograph!

Hmm, would you like to have a sneak preview of my book?  Oh well, here it is....enjoy! :)

Checking out the kampung houses......

Historical sites.....

and green paddy fields!

Caught your interest? Retailing at RM39.90, you can get a copy from any MPH, POPULAR and other major bookstores nationwide. Otherwise, you can also order through Just search under the book title or my name or drop me a comment if you cannot find the book in your area.

By the way, here's the link to the book review from the good people at :)

Lastly, I would like to send out an important message to everyone out there.....please share our roads with us cyclists. Let us learn to be more patient and considerate on the roads.  Thank you :)

Monday, March 5, 2012

The makings of ......."Pedalling Around The Peninsula - A Malaysian Girl's Two Wheeled Adventures!"

Hi there!!

Wow, has it really been 3 years since my first cycling tour?? It still felt like it was only yesterday that I have finished it! So much so that when I was writing my book (yep, my book!) about this tour last year, I didn't have any problems remembering almost everything that happened on this great adventure!

Back in August 2010, I decided to print out a hard copy of my blog as a memento. I spent two weeks working on it and using MS Words to create my personal copy! I went on to get it printed full coloured and bound as a book. Cost me a bomb but it was worth it! Boy, I was like a proud mama then!! My blog looked pretty amazing on hard copy!!

I took it with me everywhere I went and showed to my friends and listened to their oohs and ahhs while they scanned through it! I was beaming from ear to ear, I tell you!

It was because of the many encouraging comments from friends that inspired me to want to publish my very first book!

Hence my writing journey began......

When I first sent out my manuscript (from my blog) to two potential publishers in PJ in late 2010, one rejected my manuscript while the other said it was too much of a blog style had too much personality! Instantly, I was on defense mode! Well, after cooling down, I thought about the constructive feedback and decided to do something about it. They did say to come back with a better they didn't reject me yet!

I consulted a friend then who introduced me to an Englishman who is a writer for children's school books. I showed him my book and he told me something that I wasn't ready to listen! He told me that my book will only attract about 100 people whereas if I wrote it as a guidebook, I will get better results! So after mulling about this new feedback for awhile, I decided to take his advice and work on a guidebook was the MOST BORING period of my writing life!

But I still decided to finish it and I sent my second manuscript to the potential publisher in February 2011.

They said it was FLAT and didn't have much of the writer's voice! What...after all that work??!! They asked me to come back with a more interesting manuscript.....

Discouraged, I chilled by the beach and there, I met a friend, another Englishman but loves to cycle everywhere! So I took out my book and showed it to him and asked for his opinion. He gave me the answers that I was looking for! He said that people would buy this book, especially the Westerners as they like to read about personal experiences and inspiring stories!

So with renewed hopes, I decided to really start rewriting my stories to make it like a journal style yet at the end of the pages, there will be footnotes on the places I have stopped. There are 10 chapters in my book and every chapter has a sectional map on the routes that were covered. I combined both my more in-depth writing and my guidebook to make it what it is now...a real book!

I started writing my third manuscript in March 2011 and I was on a roll! I finished writing in May 2011....three months of solid writing! Many thanks to Vistana Hotel Kuantan for providing me the most conducive environment for my writing! Amazingly warm hearted people over there!

Funny thing was that the more I wrote, the more I seemed to realise that I have left out a lot of stories in my blog! So my blog is actually the tip of the iceberg, so to speak.

So for those who have read my blog or scan through it, I have some exciting news! You can now enjoy a whole lot more of interesting and funny stories plus more amazing photos at your own convenience, in front of your TV, on your bed etc...Believe me, it's different when you are reading from a hard copy!!

I sent out my third manuscript in May 2011 and this one did the job! Well, I kind of flooded their emails with 3 big chapters, heavily loaded with photos too! I also had to crack my head to come up with a suitable title and so I settled for "The Cycling Misadventures of a Malaysian Girl!"I thought my title was very suitable then.

They were finally interested to meet up with me to discuss further! I was ecstatic!!

After the meeting, the kind people at MPH Publishing finally agreed to work on my book! Yahoo!! I was on my way to making one of my dreams come true but little did I know that I still had to be PATIENT....VERY, VERY PATIENT!!

Yet, like with everything that I do, I thought publishing a book would be easy and that it would take a month or two (the longest!) to get the final product out once things were confirmed out but boy, was I wrong!

When my editor first told me that I wrote too much and that he had to edit my manuscript down to 90,000 words, I was a bit apprehensive! Well, I didn't want any of my stories to be cut off! To me, every story that I wrote seemed important at that time! Well, when I received the first round of edits in August 2011, I have to admit that he didn't do too bad a job editing my manuscript and I heaved a sigh of relief!

It was only a short reprieve for he soon told me that he needed to edit some more...down to 76,000 words! What?? He had to do so because I had lots of photos accompanying my stories. There had to be a balance....oh well!

So I had to endure more waiting and drumming of fingers!

The second round of edits came in late Oct now, I was more prepared to proof read my manuscript and not feel defensive if my editor changed some part of my writing...all in all, I think he did a fine job and left my stories pretty much in my original style of writing. I also learnt a lot from my editor as to "tweak" the stories to make them more interesting!

This was also when he changed my title to "Pedalling around the Peninsula - A Malaysian Girl's Two Wheeled Adventures" It took me awhile to get used to this new title but now, I'm pretty happy with it!

When I finally saw my draft in November 2011 in soft copy...boy, was I blown away by it! The graphic artist really did a fantastic job on my book....I could hardly recognise it now.....from its humble beginnings in MS Words to the updated version!

So excited I was that I thought it could be ready in December 2011!! But sad to say....nope! There was still more work to be done on my book and because it was the holiday season, lots of people were taking their annual leave and thus, my book had to be put on hold.

So more drumming of fingers for me....

I asked "January 2012 then?" "Nope, Chinese new year holidays!"

Drum, drum, drum....

Finally they gave me the good news recently...the "REAL DEAL" is coming April 2012!! Woohoo!! After all the waiting........words cannot explain the feeling!

Alright then, I promise to keep you all posted!

Cheerio :)