topophobia & topophilia


Ever since I was little, I have been afraid of elevators. Yes. Elevators. Not because I've ever been stuck in one, but out of the fear that I will be. Now, it is more of a feeling of discomfort rather than fear. Most elevators are dimly lit and more than often I find myself in three situations: cramped between two strangers just barely managing to breathe, crammed in a corner while I'm pressed against a cold metal rail, and/or suffering from the tension of the ‘awkward silence’.

Some elevators sound like death itself and I silently pray, hoping I come out of the situation alive. I always get anxious when the door closes because I’m aware of that half-a-second 'roller coaster drop' feeling, but somehow I am never quite prepared for it. More than that, what was made for convenience at first, now eats up everyone’s time. “We should’ve just taken the stairs,” I say to my family. Parking garage elevators and any other ‘outside’ elevators are always gloomy, damp, dirty, and reek of the infamous ‘elevator smell’. That said, not all elevators are horrible and I hope I will gradually overcome my discomfort, but it is not to say that I will ever grow to enjoy the ride.


Flea markets bring me both comfort and joy. It is quite unique, I would say, as most people would say their favorite place is their bed or their room. At first, I’m overwhelmed by the amount of vendors. Do I start left or right, should I go to the painting vendors first, or the home decor vendors. But that is part of the experience. I enjoy the flea market for one main reason: I get to take inspiration from every vendor and apply it into my own life.

Aesthetic and vibrant pieces sit on the decorated table and inspire me to create my own ‘something’. There are also many smaller reasons. The flea market is always busy with life, people go for no set purpose, which creates a common pubic, and most importantly, it has a vintage feel. There are also so many unique items and designs that I wouldn’t get to see in a regular mall, antique store, or boutique. Different smells from cotton candy, churros, popcorn, and all the other food vendors diffuse together to set the scent for the market. And while it is noisy, I’m still able to focus on my site seeing independently. I can spend time alone with my own thoughts and find inspiration and creativity in every corner.

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