Rare People, Travel

The Weekend
Langkawi

Real Women Find Power in Pain
Even More During a Pandemic

These were the narratives that radically changed Tammy to become her woman warrior, motivating herself to move forward. Being a woman is a whirlwind of adventure. Yet, some women choose to allow circumstances to hurt them. But not Tammy Rahman. The female founder of a funky bed & breakfast inn, The Weekend Langkawi in Malaysia, recently won an award,” Traveller’s Review Choice 2021 by Booking.com,” after only one year of operation. I find Tammy a source of inspiration to women and this article digs deeper into Tammy’s story to find out how she can capitalize on her unique significance in the middle of a Covid-19 pandemic.

Starting Somewhere

The main entrance of The Weekend Langkawi.

“Real women don’t crumble”

Tammy Rahman.
Tammy was busy at work at The Grub Truck, along Cenang Beach, Langkawi.

Tammy Rahman, a rising hospitality entrepreneur, didn’t have everything figured out when she founded The Weekend Langkawi. After leaving the city of Kuala Lumpur, she leaped into faith. She moved to Langkawi Island up north to be nearer to the sea. She started a small food truck business called Grub Truck serving Sloppy Joe’s at Cenang Beach of Langkawi Island, up north in Kedah, Malaysia.

I remember when I first met Tammy in action in August 2019 while traveling to Langkawi. She coordinated her tiny kitchen, serving and entertaining customers from her Grub Truck along the famous Cenang Beach. There I was sitting at a portable table with my family watching people ordering and receiving their food one after another, from all walks of life, different parts of the world, she had engaging conversations with her customers while on the job.

Tammy started with Grub Truck in 2019. The picture was taken by Nizie Lokman while she visited Cenang Beach, Langkawi.

I have been following her entrepreneurial journey from the Grub Truck to a funky bed & breakfast in the middle of a local village vicinity in January 2020. Seeing her again in December 2020, I was so intrigued by how she seized the opportunity to create something different. I see her journey as tapping into her inner woman warrior, finding the freedom to live her life on her terms. Juggling her roles as F&B consultant, as well as a sailing instructor and a newfound bed & breakfast owner, here are some of her valuable lessons in creating opportunities to drive dreams with the pandemic disruption.

Gender
inequality
persists

Recognizing The Painful Past

Tammy grew up in an environment of pessimism. From childhood and into adulthood, she was in a circle of people who had a negative fixed mindset over a positive growth one, making her feel as if she was never good enough. It was more evident when gender inequality issues surface during her sailing school. Her male counterparts saw her as incapable and made her feel that being a woman is a weak quality.

Tammy as a sailing instructor navigating the boat.

Reimagining Paradise in Your Terms

After a hard time struggling with her classmates and her course, she realized she had to make a choice: feel sorry for herself just because people around her thought less of her worth or get up and finish where she started. Her driven attitude made her recognize her truth. She unapologetically chose the latter, and it allowed her to see that a real woman has the freedom to set her worth. She took her braveheart and bounced back with the will to make it through the entire sailing course. This led her to achieve an international Yachtmaster qualification. She has sailed in many oceans on her own. Besides running her B&B, she is also a fearless sailing instructor of more than 12 years who has sailed across the ocean from Malaysia to India. 

Apartment Suite at The Weekend Langkawi.

Push Passion Forward with a Purpose

Tammy plating.

She has no qualms to start over. She already has the flair, skills, and experiences as an F&B consultant, where she has done projects with cafes at five-star hotels around the island. She also observes an untapped market of affordable western homemade food in a food truck. She created Grub Truck serving homemade Sloppy Joe’s, catering to local and international travelers. The origin of this dish has been in the US since the 20th century. Interestingly, the majority of her customer’s feedback points out to her that the comfort food reminds them of their home country in the West. Tammy’s ability to engage with her foreign customers and strike meaningful conversation made them at home at her food truck, resulting in them coming back again and again.

Develop a Plucky Attitude to Start Over

Apartment Suite, The Weekend Langkawi.
Apartment Suite at The Weekend Langkawi.
Apartment Suite at The Weekend Langkawi.
Apartment Suite at The Weekend Langkawi.

Most people are afraid to start over, but not Tammy. She believes the key to success is to start and focus on putting intention into action. She was toying with the idea of expanding her business. But she just held that thought until one day, one of her sailing friends gave an idea to develop land in the middle of a local village.

The location was perfect for those who wanted to get around the local lifestyle while feeling at home away from home. She rebuilt the place from scratch with a committed team, transforming it into a building that houses four rooms and an apartment with a kitchenette. Most of the furnishings and fittings were handmade by Tammy and her team. She added some warm modern touches with beautiful art pieces that are inviting. And together with a restaurant that originated as the Grub Truck, now known as Grub Shack, her dream to run a bed and breakfast called The Weekend Langkawi was born.

Think Pandemic as an Opportunity to Do More & Be More

Indeed, the global pandemic changes everything. A lot of businesses around the world have been suffering. But, if you look deeply into yourself, there is a rainbow after the storm. There is always an opportunity to create in your unique way. Likewise, Tammy sees the art of creating for herself and the people around her. Her past experiences and her journey as a woman entrepreneur have been fulfilling. She enjoys meeting travelers at her bed and breakfast, learning about them, and going above and beyond to make their stay fun and comfortable. Her big heart was evident recently when she and her team raised food and clothes to more than 200 unfortunate local villagers amidst the lockdown. 

Local cuisine at The Weekend Langkawi.

Dig into the choices you make. Although Malaysia went through months of lockdown, when we were allowed to travel, Tammy made the best out of the opportunity. The award is just the beginning. Now that it’s the second lockdown in Malaysia, she is determined to bring the Weekend Langkawi to greater heights when we are permitted to travel again. Besides exploring different menus, she has also created more fun and meaningful experiences in the Weekend Langkawi. She built a vegetable farm to keep pace with productivity during the pandemic. She instills the culture of cost savings to her team by cultivating homegrown vegetables and more. YouTube played a significant role in learning DIYs.

Nothing is impossible once you recognize the truth. With a big heart to make connections with others, Tammy hopes that women of the world will come out with the courage to design the life they always wanted. If you ever find the time and chance to travel again, check out The Weekend Langkawi. The reviews are simply fantastic. Follow @theweekendlangkawi on Instagram or reach out to iwannastay@theweekendlangkawi for more information.

Written by Nizie Lokman
Photography provided by Tammy Rahman
All photos from Langkawi Island, Malaysia