The Love We Give: Self-Care Give Away.

 

What do we do with the love we receive?

 

For me it’s very easy. I pass them on.

 

My blog is new and to celebrate my first month of sleepless nights, frustrations, disappointments, crazy ups and downs, and mostly, all the love I am receiving, I am giving away some of the little things that make me happy and stress free. The journey has not been easy (and it is not yet easy) but I am celebrating every little successes. And I am now old enough to say that this is a practice of self- care. I am doing the best in my ability. I am enough.

 

I’m a bubble bath addict (If it is not bad for the skin and hair, I will definitely do it every single day and not just once a week.) and I always find it relaxing when I apply facial and hair mask,  light some candles up and soak myself in the tub. I will finish it with a Vegan Lavender soap and a nice smelling body lotion  and later on, a rich hand creme.

I know it was and still will be a rough ride that’s why I bought a little more than I should of my “pamper me” staples and I am giving some of them to you, my lovely reader. It is open worldwide. This is not a sponsored post and please watch out for more.

 

 

 

These will be yours when you:

  1. Subscribe to my blog, check your E-mail and confirm subscription.
  2. Follow my Instagram, Pinterest account or like my Facebook Page.
  3. Tag five of your friends.

For every share, you will get additional entry. Deadline for entries is on Friday, 17 August 2018. The winner will be announced on the blog on Saturday, 18 August 2018.

 

 

Over To You! 

 

I’d love to know what you do to practice self care.

 

 

 

 

10 German Travel Words That I Wish We Have in English.

 

Okay. I am not a native English speaker but breathing English since birth makes me feel like one. Sure, moving to Germany and learning this awful language according to Mark Twain, I can now agree that whoever didn’t study it doesn’t have any idea how difficult it is to acquire it. As I eavesdropped my way to somehow understand it, I found myself developing a love-hate relationship with it. Most of the words actually don’t make sense when translated to English but diving deeper into it gave me more reasons to be fond of it especially these travel words that don’t have English counterpart.

With these words, I cornered my German boyfriend one Sunday morning after breakfast. I don’t know if he is just like a typical guy who doesn’t want to discuss nerdy, stupid things like this or it was too early to think in second language. Sure, I was able to force some answers from him but being a bonafide German speaker who uses it as verb and adjective, I felt that it will make more sense to ask my Filipino cousin who grew up in Germany who can easily switch to Tagalog, English and German seamlessly.

 

Wanderlust [vandɐˈlʊst]

Fact: did you know that our favorite travel word came from German words, wander which means to hike and lust which means desire. So wanderlust is actually the desire to be with nature through hiking that is now a very popular term to describe endless desire to travel.

 

German Travel Words

 

 

 

Reisefieber [raɪzəˈfi:bɐ]

I guess this should really be the English equivalent of Wanderlust. Reise means travel and Fieber is fever the sickness. My sources said Reisefieber is stronger. This isn’t just that kind of sickness you feel after your last trip and the pain of excitement for the next but emphasizes a stronger desire for not wanting to stop traveling.

 

German Travel Words

 

 

 

Fernweh [fɛrnve]

Fern means faraway and weh means sore or painful. This is the antonym of “homesickness” but this is that aching feeling of wanting to be somewhere far from home. “Farsickness” could be the more fitting word if that ever exist.

 

German Travel Words

 

Sehnsucht [zeːnzʊxt]

Sehn is to see and sucht is addiction or obsession and when put together, doesn’t just mean craving but also a longing, an unanswered question or the desire to have other experiences or deeper meaning.

 

German Travel Words

 

 

Kopfkino [kɔpfˈki:no]

Kopf means head and Kino is cinema or movies. I would say that this doesn’t have a lot to do with traveling but to have “movies” in your “head” simply suggests daydreaming. Your thoughts are flying somewhere far from reality.

 

German Travel Words

 

 

Zeitgeist [zʌɪtɡʌɪst]

From Zeit ‘time’ and Geist ‘spirit’. German Philosophy rooted from the 18th to 19th century that translates to “spirit of the age” or “spirit of the times”. This is that feeling of being in a different era and traveling through times.

 

German Travel Words

 

 

Torschlusspanik [tɔɹ.ʃlʊsˌpæn.ɪk]

Tor is gate, schluss is closed and panik is panic. Etymology says to close the city gates at night for safety and whoever comes late has no choice but to stay outside to be exposed to dangers. When translated to English, this means that fear of not having enough time to achieve your goals.

I will be BS-ing you if I will say that chasing my out-of-this-world dreams doesn’t scare the hell out of me even a little. In my country, the Philippines, I am already considered an old maid but here I am, still pushing myself out of my little comfort zone to grow and get more out of this life. Sure, in some part of the world, the gates might have closed for me but I am determined to open the ones that I like. No panic here. =)

 

German Travel Words

 

Sprachgefühl [ʃpraːxɡəˌfʏːl]

Though not really a travel word, this means the talent to quickly learn a language. Sprach is to speak and Gefühl is feeling or simply the feeling of a language. While the Germans who witness how I murder their language say I have talent with languages, I still disagree. I push myself so hard to learn because I realized that just to travel is not what I am after but culture. And to understand culture, knowing the language is essential.

 

German Travel Words

 

Schnapsidee [ʃnapsʔiˌde]

Schnaps is a shot of Vodka or any alcoholic beverage. Idee is idea. Literally a crazy idea.

How many stupid things have I done just because I got drunk? Sure alcohol has made my English and German way better but Schnapsidee is not a travel word. Who knows, the next best Schnapsidee will bring me to where I really belong.

 

German Travel Words

 

Gemütlichkeit [ɡəˈmuːtlɪxkʌɪt]

I asked a German what will he do if he was told to prepare something gemütlich and he said he will prepare the sofa with nice pillows, light some candles and watch some movies. He said he will wear sweat pants and get ready to just relax and enjoy the romantic atmosphere. Gemütlich is synonymous to the Danish word Hygge which means coziness. Wikipedia said that Gemütlichkeit was derived from gemütlich, the adjective of Gemüt, which means “heart, mind, temper, feeling” expressed by (and cognate with) English “mood”. Though not a travel word, gemütlich is now one of my favorite beautiful German words.

German Travel Words

 

I’d love to learn from you. What are your favorite beautiful foreign travel words?

 

How Not To Write “About Me” in Your Website Page.

Yeah Sure! I have endlessly ranted about the scarily intimidating technical side of blogging and website designing and building. Not only that, I have confidently declared my love for talking about how passionate I am about writing only for it to slap me hard in the face when I accidentally clicked on my “About” page. It’s not only empty. It’s rubbish. Looks like I need to also declare my inability to write something about myself.

While I’ve been scribbling almost about other things I am passionate about, I couldn’t do the same about myself without really asking who really I am. I’m self centered right? Then it should be the easiest page to fill but it isn’t without sounding that I am so full of myself. I typed non-stop. Paused to read it and then angrily jabbed at the innocent poor backspace button. Blank space again. I wasted more than half an hour of my precious time when I can use that time in figuring out how to improve my blog’s traffic. I started typing again to describe me in second person. It was a bit easier this. I stopped and read it. Control A. Delete. Great! I have a new routine. I have successfully mastered the art of wasting my time.

 

This made me think. Is this how clueless I am about my own self? Is this how I loathe myself? Why do I need to do astral travel just to be able to see myself in such an acceptable way even for my own liking? How will I be able to give myself some justice? Will I come off as too boastful in my choice of words or for the length of this page? If I couldn’t write it, who should I ask to do it? Who knows me better than I do? Clearly, I have confidence issues no matter how much I say that I have gotten rid of it. Were all my efforts to know and love myself better not working? It turns out that like my

blog, I am still under construction.

 

What are your struggles in writing “About” page? Sure I need sound tips.

10 Things I’ve Learned After One Month of Blogging.

I first heard of blogging in 2012 and then started with a free platform. I can’t remember if it was my roommate of four years or my first ex-boyfriend who introduced me to this completely different world.

Three years later, I found myself buying a domain which due to my village girl-ness, I gave it up because I failed to find out how it works, how to sustain it and for my thousands of endless nonsense reasons. Finally, one month ago, I launched my website and though I still haven’t gotten my act together yet, I am not willing to raise the white flag I have hidden somewhere and still trying my bestest to write and create something just because I love it.

Blogging is another planet.

I thought blogging was easy. Maybe I got used to the fact that I was just using a free platform then that only required writing, posting and running. The only marketing I did was in Facebook if I feel like sharing it. My readers were just my friends, acquaintances and family. To have a successful blog wasn’t in my mind. All I know is that, keeping and maintaining a blog help balance my mental health. Writing is actually cheaper than therapy and I didn’t have to feel scared that people around me think I am a hopeless case. Plus, I have a creative outlet.

Bloggers are geniuses.

I have huge respect to bloggers. Imagine being the Researcher, the Writer, the Editor, the Social Media Manager, the Digital Marketer, the advertiser, the Brand Manager, the Graphic Artist, the Web Developer and Designer, the Photographer, the Model, the Video Editor, the Art Director, the IT guy, the Customer Service Representative, the PR manager, the Investor (if there are no sponsors like me) and the COO or CEO all at the same time. This is what it means to be a blogger and I am honestly close to declaring that I am not. All I knew was I wanted to write about the emotions I have felt, all the things I have learned, all the places I have been to, restaurants where I have eaten, cute little accessories, shoes and dresses I have. I was wrong.

I remember on the same day that I purchased my domain. I felt so happy. I felt like a bought my own little world and I have it my hands. My nightmare began when I looked at the blank page after installing WordPress. I felt like a paralyzed person. I couldn’t move my hands to start doing the dirty work of layout and design. Sure I have idea of how I want that world to look like but I don’t know how to do it. Sure I have articles but I will need to polish them to make sure that my grammar will not make me gag, the photos needed to be edited, Instagram to be updated and Pinterest to be figured out while trying to understand what SEO, widgets, niche and plug-ins are. I didn’t even know that Google Analytics exist and what significance it has in my new role as an aspiring blogger. Few hours after posting my first blog entry, I have to worry about responding to my only two readers who commented on the post and then answer their questions too?

It’s a hard world to penetrate.

The rent to have that little space in the internet is not so high so there are bloggers who really make a living out of their websites and the competition is unbelievably high. Their dedication, talents, skills and intelligence is just remarkable. Not that I want to compete. Much as I want my website to grow and be profitable, I am more eager to be well versed in this digital world which doesn’t seem to show any decline in the future. I want to update my so obsolete technology program and I saw blogging as a good start.

People are good.

I joined Facebook groups of bloggers and surprised to discover that bloggers are good people. Despite how intimidating their websites are or how big their social media following is, they respond without any fee involved. They are good motivators. They support each other and that they are like-minded people who aren’t stingy with information. They respond in such a way I won’t feel dumber than I already do in terms of blogging. I remember asking a schoolmate for tips and suggestions but I was thrown to seen zone as if saying “who has the time for a clueless village girl like you?” When I joined groups, a lady offered to be my Pinterest Virtual Assistant for free and won’t accept even goods from me. Only a review of her performance. I just couldn’t accept her offer for the fear that I will not learn how to do it myself. Knowing how bad my ADHD is, I am scared to be dependent and abuse the kindness I am being given.

I became more open to criticism.

I think the only reason why I gave up blogging before was because I kept on doubting myself. I never believed that I have the ability to. I was always afraid of being criticized for my poor English grammar or my content isn’t good enough. Now, I will even share my latest blog post and ask other bloggers how I can improve it. Not for the growth of the blog but for my growth as a person and as a budding writer.

I am learning how to write.

I never realized how much I loved writing until I moved to Germany and all my friends are in the Philippines and Malaysia. Time difference was so hard to beat that I found myself resorting to journaling. I soon tried posting them as short Facebook entries. Few friends called my attention by suggesting to write a book that talks about my experiences on the road. But to write a book feels so heavy so I started with a blog. Sure my writing is not as good as I want it to be but I am learning. The blogging world has lead me to other bloggers’ works and through their websites, I feel more inspired and motivated to take little steps everyday that will bring me to my dreams of one day becoming the “wordsmith” that I have always dreamed of.

Blogging trained me to be a better reader.

To be a good writer is to be a good reader first and I am sure that I have read that somewhere. The same amount I spend in writing is the same amount of time I allot for reading or even more. Reading has made me bump into words, emotions and ideas that I never got anywhere. Sure I travel but there are still soooo many things that I still want and need to know and I am aware that it’s only through reading that I will be able to achieve that. So far, reading has been a huge help in giving me enough words to express my thoughts, ideas and emotions. Blogging has made me free more time to sit, read and live slowly and reading has made me a completely different person.

Blogging made me define success differently.

All the while I thought that being successful means having a lot of money, stable high paying job, friends and a hot guy to date. So in the world of blogging, I thought that success means having tons of followers, readers and people who talk about the blog. I was wrong. Because for me, success in blogging simply means, being out there telling the world that it is okay to be different. It is okay to bask in glory of simple joy. It is okay to have just one reader even if that one person is your best friend. It is okay to not have a big number of followers. It is okay not to have niche. It is okay to do what you want to do with your website. It is okay to be weird like me that every time I publish a blog post I feel successful because I didn’t let my fear win over me and that is pure bliss.

Patience

I was thinking of hiring a Virtual Assistant and I will just have to think of writing but then I realized, “how will I learn?” What’s the point of having a website that I don’t have any idea how to run it?

I remember being able to finally create the Menus, Categories and Sub-categories then posted my first few articles. My website layout looked like a real mess (it’s still a mess) so I wanted to do something about it. When I went back to page landing, the entire Menu was gone. I panicked and no matter what I did and what I clicked, I couldn’t make it appear anymore. For 15 minutes, I cried in frustration. My laptop has hundreds of tabs open and I was in chaos (I still am). I opened YouTube and with tear stained cheeks and blurry sight, searched on ways how to make the Menu appear. Thank you You Tubers and bloggers. My Menu is back but I still don’t know how to link my website to AdSense.

Let go and have fun.

Life is short and we only have 24 hours. No matter how much I stress about wanting to accomplish and learn more, there will always be the gift of tomorrow. The most important thing I have learned in blogging is that it is okay that my page looks like a battlefield. It’s okay even if my blog isn’t everything to everyone. All that matters to me is that I write and I actively create something without the aching pain of pleasing everyone or wanting to be somebody else. Embracing blogging is welcoming a new beginning with tons of learning. Blogging gave me an assurance that I will never be bored again. It is a proof that it there is always something to learn and really, age is just a number. It is never too late to learn something.

10 Things I Love about Germany

There’s more to Germany than bratwurst, beer, Berlin and Munich. It wasn’t just its fairy tale-like castles and amazing cars but its people and culture that made its way to my heart. Though learning the language almost got me packing my bags and running as far away as I can but it’s the richness in history in contrast with the German’s simplicity that made me stay to learn more. 

 

  1. Orderliness

Germans often say “Ordnung muss sein!” (Order must be) and will often get headache when some things are not planned and not in order. Their discipline when it comes to separating and taking the trash out and having everything in schedule is just awesome. It’s one of the things that I have learned to adapt whether be it in my personal space or in the things that I should be doing. Not all Germans are spontaneous. A meeting or a get together should at least be arranged two weeks prior.

  1. Football is not just a game. It’s a Religion.

I once went out one afternoon only to find the streets and the public transport almost empty. Everyone is at the pubs or at home watching if they are not able to secure tickets to watch it live. It is like when our famous Filipino boxer Manny Pacquiao has a boxing match. There’s almost zero crime rates because even the burglars, rapists and other criminals are also watching.

  1. Bread

There’s one store in Malaysia I loved so much and despite the long line, I always find myself queuing to get my fix. It’s not healthy but I didn’t really care. I thought I will never fall in love with other bread after that but I was wrong. Here in Germany, I am crazy not just over their Broetchen and Brezel. I am crazy about almost all of their breads that comes with different textures and toppings like seeds. The quality, the taste and the options are just amazingly good. They have wide array to choose from and for someone who has hard time digesting Gluten, they have a solution for it too. Just looking at every store’s wide selection, it makes me feel so happy that I have almost forgotten the ones from home.

  1. 4 pm means 3:55 pm.

Or else you’ll find yourself being scrutinized by your German friends or worse, being told to go back to your country. This is not just limited to business meetings but also when getting together with friends, families or even with your date. They take being on time seriously like how they take other aspects of their lives. Maybe meeting friends, it’s okay to arrive at exactly 4 pm but never like in the Philippines where 4 pm is actually 5 pm or worse, later. 4 pm ish doesn’t exist. I have learned to value not just my time but everyone else’s.

  1. Sunday is Ghost Town day.

Supermarket and almost everything is closed on Sundays. You’ll even be fined when you recycle or throw your glasses and they make so much noise. So Sundays here is literally a lazy day where you can have coffee and cake in the afternoon with friends or family. Big shopping malls with cinemas, cafes and restaurant are not so common so a relaxing activity is in order.

  1. Germans actually have humor.

I was wrong when I first declared that Germans don’t have humor. They are actually one of the craziest breeds I have ever met. They are just really reserved but once you get pass that, expect to have the loudest laughter and crazy banters with them. Their sarcasm, dim wit, dry humor and straightforwardness is going to make you fall off your seat. Bonus, they are also one of the most open-minded and well traveled people I’ve known. They coined the word “wanderlust”.  Once they have started loving you and told you that you are their friend, you are their friend. They will love you more than how you gave love definition and for whatever kind of love it is.

  1. Germans and the Naked truth.

I was once shocked to find out that everyone in the gym’s locker room was naked. Living in a Muslim country, Malaysia, before moving here didn’t help. I grabbed my towel and held it tighter around me to stop my heart from an anticipated heart attack caused by so much nakedness. Few months after, I stopped thinking about how horrible my cellulites might look like and just walk around the gym like how everyone is doing it. Imagine my jaw dropping and knees wobbling when a friend brought me to a sauna and everyone was just on their birth suit. I didn’t know where to look nor what to do. And some Germans actually go hiking sans clothing. I guess an entire article dedicated to this interesting topic is indeed in order.

  1. Banking is few years behind.

Working for banks for few years in Asia got me a little confused when I got here. They’ve got to be sh*tting me when I am knowledgeable with almost every banking policy. A lot of establishments refuse to accept debit or credit cards and Germans do pay using cold cash. Sure there are enough machines to take your cash from but whenever you’ll do a trip to the supermarket, better make sure you have enough cash and coins because otherwise, first, you can’t assume that the store has a terminal for your card and second, you’ll have to carry your stuff all around the store because you can’t get a cart without coins and then be prepared to pay for plastic or shopping bags in case you have forgotten to bring one. Also, there’s no bagger by the end of the line to pack your goods. You’ll have to do it by yourself.

  1. Germany: The land of Pfand

Whenever you’ll buy drinks, be it a plastic or glass bottle, be ready to pay a bit more for it because it has a deposit of sometimes 25 cents which Germans call as Pfand. You’ll be able to get a refund for this when you bring back the bottles to the store which has machines that will take all those bottles. You’ll then get a receipt which says how much you got in return on which you can use to pay for your what you’ll shop or just simply en-cash. This is also why there are people who actually pick up bottles from the trash and collect them because they simply mean additional budget for the next supermarket trip.

  1. Germans aren’t small talkers

Germans don’t take “how are you?” question lightly. This is the reason why I learned to stick to just “Hello” and pretend that I don’t speak nor understand German at all especially on days that I need to run tons of errands and want to come home quickly. I would often spend at least 15 minutes per person I will bump into if I made a mistake of asking them how are they. I once bumped into seven or eight fitness classmates and I asked each of them how they were only to find myself late for the class I wanted to attend and it wasn’t just one time. Only when I have a little more time to spare I dare to ask that question.

 

 

In Malaysia, it’s never too late to dream a new dream.

I once belonged to Manila where everything cool seemed to happen on a daily basis. Atleast from the eyes of This Village Girl. Tall buildings, nice big shopping malls, cozy cafes, awesome nightlife and  busy streets. Dreams for this village girl. Then  my life started to become a reflection of this fun. I already have them all.  I was renting a place in congested Makati, doing sports after work and getting drunk with friends and colleagues every weekend before heading back to Batangas where I want to spend quality time with my brothers. Our parents are away to earn a living and to be able to send us all three in good schools. Education in Philippines is a luxury. Not everyone can afford it. We must bear the distance.

This life went on for nearly four years and I felt the pain of having something new but I can’t tell exactly. I gave the place in Makati up and chose to brave the traffic and endure the daily two to three hour commute from Batangas to Makati. I will wake up at 4:30 in the morning and leave the house at 5:30. I will sleep in the bus all the way to Makati and will feel energized to work when I reach the office. I will eat in between daily tasks and will nap during my lunch break. I will head to the bus stop right after shift to avoid the rush hour. I will nap in the bus on my way home again and will do sports before bed. This went on for few months until I decided I want change. I was bursting with so much energy.

I took advantage of my ten-day mandatory annual leaves to look for other jobs. A job offer in Malaysia came and though I wasn’t so interested, I accepted it anyway. For a breath of fresh air. A desperate act to start something new I reckon.

I didn’t expect so much change to be honest since Malaysia is just a four hour flight from Manila so it felt like I’m still in Philippines. I continued living the same life in a different country for the first few months. I felt nothing new ever took place. I’m just working, working and always working. That can’t be. I started looking for other activities and this lead me to meet new people.

I have started hanging out with people who don’t speak my language. I have heard beautiful stories that tickled my imagination. I ate dishes I will not normally eat. Later on, I will crave for flavours I can’t even put a name on. In a way, I have started having this voice in my head to see them for myself but I always had the fear to start. How and where will I start? I will excitedly gush about this to my friends and we have promised to try it together sooner but our schedules never allowed it. I can’t wait forever. I just can’t. Anymore. I suddenly have new dreams and these dreams can’t wait.
I explored Malaysia like a maniac that I can even walk around it with my eyes closed. Needless to say I fell in love with it. Everything felt cheaper allowing me to enjoy  life here more. Public transportation system was so good it made me to always be on the move. Like Manila, it started feeling like a comfort zone that even I have almost seen the entire continent, it’s not enough. I wanted more and I felt unstoppable.

I packed my bags, booked the flight and left.

Yes. I didn’t say goodbye.

Because…

How do we say goodbye to places we called home?
How do we move on?
How do we start embracing new cities where everything spells uncomfortable?
How can we say we are homesick when we don’t know (yet) where home is?
How bad do we want our dreams to come true and what are we willing to sacrifice to get them?
How many bridges are we willing to burn? How many bridges are we willing to cross?

Honestly, I don’t know how to write about Malaysia without shedding tears; without this heavy feeling in my heart that every time I will feel discomfort, I want to fly back.

Malaysia, I haven’t thanked you yet for true friends that turned to family outside our home, for introducing new and different tastes to my taste buds and new-found love for learning about languages and cultures.

I didn’t say goodbye because you didn’t matter. I didn’t say goodbye because I didn’t know how.

You made me realize that there’s a completely and magical world outside your equally beautiful self. You made me think of not wasting anymore time. Now is the perfect time. You made me leave all the judgments I have before I entered your door. You made me feel more alive. You made me ready for the world. You made me dream a new dream I never thought I will at this age. I miss you more than I miss home. But where is home?  You made me feel that I can be home anywhere. You made me even stronger than I thought I already was.

The best days of my life started happening when I welcomed you in my life. I am not the same girl who cried a river when she can’t fit the mountainous clothes and the nearly hundred pairs of shoes into her allowed 30 kilogram- luggage.

Malaysia, how dare you change me but thank you so much! I’m so glad I plunged into your unknown world.
I didn’t say goodbye not because you didn’t matter. I didn’t say goodbye because I didn’t know how to. I didn’t say goodbye because I know it is not goodbye. I am just not sure when I will see you again. All I know is that you are my comfort zone but I need to grow more. After all, you’re my home. I will come back for sure and who knows, might stay for good.

 

 

An Island Called Perhentian: A Malaysia’s Hidden Gem

I am closing my eyes as I write this one. How can my brain, no matter how much I plead, can not properly recall all the details of this trip. It was 2015, Holy Week, me and Cabs agreed on going on this trip. Still, this is one of those secluded islands that I treasure in my heart. An island where, no matter how advanced Malaysia is, no facility to withdraw cash. An island so simple and beautiful that now I am scared that after three years, might be now crowded, dirty and music blaring loudly, killing the zen I once found there. I have no news. I can only share the beauty I once experienced there. It was one of those good times that didn’t require my old definition of a party.

 

 

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Perhentian Island. I forgot to ask Cabs how we ended up there. My memory is not to be trusted. All I know is that me and Cabs share so many things in common that passed the test of becoming a true soul sisters. I know him since 2012; since our Citibank days. I went to Malaysia to work, he came to visit, we submitted his CV and he ended up working for the bank where I worked too. Oh good old days.

 

 

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It was a night bus we took from KL (Kuala Lumpur) that brought us to Kuala Terengganu. It took us nearly seven hours to reach the terminal where we needed to wait for the bus that will bring us to Kuala Besut where we needed to ride a small boat to reach the beautiful Perhentian Besar. It was a long, tiring yet relaxing ride. Our tandem never runs out of hearty giggles. Our laughs became louder when we found out that there’s actually a bus that goes directly to the port to ride the jetty to the island. There were actually flights to go there too but we were not that good of a researcher before. It was 2015. Travel was not as mainstream as these days.

 

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We reached the port and we waited a bit to ride the boat. By this time, my fear of the open water is still there but I can now ride boats without so much fuss unlike earlier. It was time to ride the waves and ride the waves, we mean it literally. The wave was the kind that the boat felt as if it goes up a bit in the air and lands on the concrete street. I was holding to the rail as if that will save me in case the boat lands on a little crooked wave and everything breaks apart. If I will die, I will die with a smile. I was in the middle of the ocean going somewhere I want to see and doing what I love. Of course I never voiced any of this out to Cabs.

 

 

 

 

We reached the island and all I could see was endless blue skies, serene white sand and turquoise water. It was so quiet. I can sell Nasi Lemak here and live a slow life. It was that moment that my mind was changing so much. Maybe I am not the corporate woman I have dreamed of becoming. I was a mermaid who’s terrified of the water in my past life and now it is slowly coming back. I just want to be out there, anywhere actually, where I don’t have to be suffocated inside the corporate box nodding to anyone. I will figure out how to live like that. Will not be easy but I will for sure. Like how I have always did.

 

 

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We reached our bungalow, dumped our stuff and went out to start enjoying the beach. I took the book I intended to read in the bus but failed miserably. I lost the will to read over sleep and chit chats with Cabs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The first day was spent where we first landed. For dinner, we went to the other side of the island. It was quieter. If I close my eyes and try harder to remember, we were just eating, sleeping, laughing and sunbathing in Perhentian. The other side of the island hides Perhentian Cecil (the smaller island) where literally nothing was happening which is perfect for those who just wanted to relax or meditate or to those who are traveling as a family with kids. There were restaurants but not as much as Perhentian Besar (the bigger island).

 

 

 

 

 

At night, a bar sets up low lying table on the sand and the island was just filled low murmurs of friends enjoying and respecting the serenity of the place. It was not the first time that I saw a firedancer but the amusement and the happiness was different. It was dependent to the mood of the island if I will look for other more fitting word. This island is the total opposite of the life that I have come to love KL for where a lot of different things happen everyday that makes it highly impossible to run out of things to do and to try. Perhentian Island and Kuala Lumpur are at on the other end of spectrum but garnered the same spot in my heart. Sounds confusing but that is how much soft spot Malaysia has in my heart and if I will be biased, Perhentian Island is an island that will always be an island that will bring a soft, warm and lazy smile on my lips. I will always have Perhentian Island.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo credits: Michael Caberic

Tanjung Pinang: Indonesia’s Hidden Paradise.

2015

 

 

The travel bug which bit me gave me a wanderlust that will kill me if I don’t feed it at least once a month until I figure out how to feel like on a holiday every single day for the rest of my life. It’s a curse I love having and I will be forever miserable if I will not give in.

 

 

 

And for the first time I am writing halfheartedly. It took me some time to decide that yes, I will share this soul finding experience. I know I have to be fair because the place is amazing and it deserves to be made known.

I am currently at Bintan Laguna Resort and Restaurant, Trikora Beach, Tanjung Pinang, Bintan Island, Indonesia. How I got here? I am not sure. Only Wikipedia knows the place and no blogger has ever written about this. (Well, I am assuming as there was no further information about the place unlike Bali or Jakarta.) Off the beaten path places, I love.

 

 

Cristy, my American travel buddy, and I originally planned on trying Batam Island. Online images looked good but reviews weren’t.  And my friends said nothing much to do nor see, and it’s Singapore expensive. We were still willing to try though. Plans only changed one day before the day we left KL when we were booking hotels online and checking routes. I saw Tanjung Pinang on the map and the backpacker in me felt that everything will be better there since it was far and I haven’t heard nor read anything about it.

 

 

How we got here:

 

 

Travel time and cost: (Take advantage of the free hotel brekkie and the food in Indonesia is cheap. This was split to two.)
Bus Fair to and from Johor: 68MYR (15USD)
Ferry to and from Tanjung Pinang: 202MYR (45USD)
Cab fare to and from the pier 20MYR (4USD)
Groceries (beer, bread, chips, etc) 259,000 IDR (19.44USD)
Lunch at Bintan Spa 200,000 IDR  (15.02USD)
Bill from the hotel (another night stay, food and beer for 5 days) 705,900 IDR (53USD)
Hotel (4 days) 180 MYR (40USD)

 

We took the bus from TBS bus terminal in KL to Johor Barhu for about 4 and half hours at 34 MYR. We hailed a cab to bring us to Berjaya Waterfront Pier at 10 MYR. (Please haggle with the driver as they will not hesitate to rip you off and some will not use their meter). We were after the last ferry trip at 5PM that will bring us to Tanjung Pinang. There are only three ferry schedules to here (9am, 1pm and 3pm) and takes about three hours and costs 101 MYR one-way; 159 MYR two-way.

 

 

 

 

 

We reached Tanjung Pinang Pier at around 8PM and hailed a cab at 50,000 Indonesian Rupiah to bring us to the hotel in Tanjung Pinang town proper. This driver also offered to bring us to Trikora beach for 250,000 Indonesian Rupiah or 25 SGD and gave me his calling card when I declined.

 

 

 

Our mistake: No need to book a hotel and stay in the town proper. There’s nothing to see. Everything closes at 8PM. No nightlife, no one speaks English and nowhere to eat. Wiki said there is a bar named Dope so we went to try but it was closed.

 

 

 

 

This was a total waste. We suggest head straight to Trikora Beach instead. Cabbies will of course try to rip you off offering to bring there at 25SGD. But I have read in WikiTravel that it shouldn’t be more than 150,000 Indonesian Rupiah (IDR) for one way trip. Haggle, haggle, haggle and negotiate.
We were then brought to the hostel we booked via Agoda. 45MYR. This never failed to crack me up because I just checked out of The Hilton Hotel in KL then checked in to Shangrila Hotel, the budget traveler version. They didn’t charge me for calling a mobile number and extra black coffee so I love them. These little things are big thing for me because I remember the hotel I stayed at in Ho Chi Minh City, they charged me for calling the hotel landline I booked in Hanoi. For a budget hotel, I will still give them a good review in Agoda. The receptionist, even struggling to speak English, was extra helpful, friendly and has this genuine sweet smile plastered on her face the entire time we were talking.

 

Our check out time was nearing and I haven’t figured out how to go to Trikora Beach the local way. I’ve consulted Wikitravel again but he said there are buses however, driver don’t speak nor understand English. But since there are two of us traveling now and we can just split the cab fare, we thought that it will be okay to take the cab.

After breakfast and whilst having coffee, I asked the café manager how to get to Trikora Beach. He then told me to call the resort and asked if they provide transfers from the city. I called and I was told that they do but 250,000 IDR. I told him what I’ve read and he said 150,000 IDR is fine. I didn’t give him any confirmation yet hoping I will still be able to find a cheaper alternative. Check out time came and I haven’t figured it out yet and I was a little stressed out because I still need to use the hotel’s WIFI as there is no WIFI on this island. Few minutes later, a smashing new car arrived and there came out a limping man by the name of Akwang. He was the guy I have spoken with over the phone and turned out as the owner too. Men I was so happy and thankful. What did I do to be this lucky? It is really the little things that matter. He is really cool. We talked on our way to his resort and when I told him I need beer and some stuff, he happily drove us to a grocery store because the resort is really far from the town thus more expensive.

Then we reached the resort. OH MY GOD! Just OH MY GOD! Paradise is an understatement. To be honest, 45MYR (10 USD) per night is so little price to pay for a place like this. This is priceless. To be honest, at 45MYR, I am not expecting anything at all that is why we only booked 2 nights. I was even hesitant because the room doesn’t have airconditioner which is the only thing I want for my accommodation when I am traveling. I don’t mind bringing my own toiletries. I don’t travel light anyway.

 

 

As I scan the entire place, it took quite a few moments for everything to sink in. I was in awe. I am in awe. The place is so peaceful and beautiful. Far from the overly commercialized Bali I have seen.

 

 

Akwang told us it is low season so not a lot of guests are here. We have the resort to ourselves.

 

 

We met a local couple who checked in for the day. We enjoyed chit chatting over chips and Bintang, their local beer. They are a lovely and nice couple who even if they were here to spend quality time together, took time to walk with us by the beach and do some crazy jump shots. We exchanged contact details, said goodbye with a promise that when they visit KL, we will show them around.

 

 

 

 

Day 2:

I think I am catching a flu. So this is how it feels to sleep in cabana by the sea with cool sea breeze blowing 24/7 non-stop. I remember asking for extra blanket before I slept but it wasn’t enough. It was really cold and nothing beats natural air cooler. Shame I only have bikinis and sundresses. Good job girl!

 

 

 

Today, we will just beach bum. No WIFI. No distraction. Social media detox. Goodbye harsh real world. At least for few days.

 

 

 

I said I will run but thanks to the default bed weather, I was only able to manage to run in my dreams. I have packed my trainers and running clothes too. Looks like I will bring them back home unscathed.

So after breakfast, we changed to our bikinis, slathered on some sunblock, put on our sunglasses and prepared to take tons of selfies as promised and sunbathe the entire day. #certifiedbeachbums

 

 

 

 

True enough. We have the beach and the resort to ourselves.

But before the day ends, we met a Chinese solo traveler. I know I will like her that instant. No more further explanation needed because she is just like me: low maintenance, crazy, fun and brave woman not to mention, loves beer too. =)

 

 

So we had beer over dinner, exchange cool solo travel adventures and we free-loaded her data. Damn! We were like vampires with such blood thirst. I tried to control not sucking all her data but I almost wasn’t able to fight it. I just reminded myself, detox girl, detox! Social media detox. Real world detox. You have to be ready when you face the real world you’re always running away from. Be patient until the time comes that you have created a world no need to escape from. Dreams do come true. Just work hard and stay focused. Yeah, I am talking to myself again. I am playing my cheerleader again. No one else will.

 

 

 

Day 3:

 

Okay. I am losing it. I have lost track of the day, date and time. This is the best holiday I ever have. Well, so far. (I have left my heart in Laos and will still write about it) and by now, my body has well-adjusted to the cool weather.

 

 

Today is beach bumming and selfie day 2. If I can only make a living out of it. lol

 

 

 

 

 

So Cristy, Rice and I, AKA The Three Blonde girls, after taking breakkie, went to start the day at the beach. We walked far north under the sweltering harmful rays of the sun, took selfies, picked up shells for presents, took more selfies and decided to walk to the next beach which took about an hour and a half. We were so hungry and thirsty when we arrived at the resort’s pricey restaurant. We ordered food and beer and enjoyed the wifi before the server got problem. (It’s only now that I realized that we just had breakfast when we left our resort.) After lunch, we decided to rest for almost an hour then head back to our resort. It was already low tide so the walking time was only cut to 15 minutes to our surprise.

This is our last night. We all will check out tomorrow. I am out here with a badly sunburnt, red and itchy skin, trying to enjoy what is remaining before we head back to reality. I now know that no internet connection works well for me. I feel at ease, so connected to nature and in tuned with myself. I hear my tummy growl when it’s hungry, I sleep when I feel like it, no stress; nothing at all. The peaceful sound of ocean wave is more than enough. (Did I just see two rats kissing? I know. This place is perfect for honeymooners.) I don’t mind doing this again. I don’t mind doing this every month at all. Even though the lack of internet connection will make Cristy run out of her wits in no time, we decided to extend for another night. We both love this place so much. Even Rice, the Chinese girl, would love to cancel her Singapore trip to stay longer. I can’t blame her. We all agreed on coming back here and that made me feel the need to figure out how to buy that parcel of land across this resort. I will work hard for it and for now, one thing is for sure, I have found a hiding place I was hesitant to share. So if This Village Girl just vanished into thin air one day,  check Tanjung Pinang. =)

 

 

 

 

10 Books That Dramatically Changed My Life.

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links, I will receive a small commission. This is at no cost to you but helps me to provide awesome content regularly. Thanks for your support!

 

Once upon a time, I fell in love with reading. I went to Hogwarts with Ms Rowling and I laughed so damn hard with Ms Kinsella. Mr Sparks made me the hopeless romantic that I am now and Mr Paterson made me think so damn hard exhausting every single brain cell I have. Then I met Mr Coelho. He is no doubt one hell of a wordsmith but my happy-go- lucky soul couldn’t fully absorb his words. I guess I wasn’t well acquainted with depression and I have yet to launch the search for meaning and purpose. I lacked the depth of an experienced adult. I was a child. For 30 years, I was a child.

31 years later, I wonder why I bought his entire book collection and gave the books away one by one as birthday presents. But I guess fate wanted me to do that.

31 years later, no single author makes my hair stand on its end and no one seemed to soothe my longing soul for the assurance it needs.

31 years later, my journey to self-discovery started.

When I left my job, I couldn’t fully explain why. All I knew was I didn’t want it anymore. I didn’t have enough words to express what I was feeling. It was only when I got addicted to reading again and started hoarding books that I bumped into all the right words to name what I was going through. I was relieved that there are actually people who experienced what I have been going through and that no matter how alone I felt, I was never really alone. Someone has successfully put into a book the blow by blow account of those hard-to-explain phenomena called spiritual awakening.

I thought I wanted to travel. I’ve always wanted to run as far away, go to where I will not be haunted and start a new life again. I was wrong. Later on I realized that it was actually my thoughts that I have always been terrified of. Wanting so much gave me anxiety I couldn’t get rid of. I needed to learn how to calm down. I needed to learn to control my thoughts and make it shift to see the positive side of things. These books made it easier for me to let go of things I can’t control and be excited for the best ones that are yet to come. And now, no matter how broke I will become, I will never scrimp on books. 

 

Here’s my top 10 pick and I will try my best to be able to write a weekly book review.

 

10. A Thousand New Beginnings

 

Solo female travel blogger, Kristin Addis, left her stable job as an Investment Banker and a boyfriend behind to travel Southeast Asia. During that one year, she has experienced thousand new beginnings, started new friendships and got to know the world outside. This is actually a collection of her diary and blog entries during the time when she found out that exploring the world alone makes a huge difference.

 

 

9. It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want To Be.

 

 

At first glance the book looks like a compilation of easy-to-understand motivational statements, ideas and advises. It encourages out-of-the-box thinking to succeed in life, career and business. During those days that I tend to forget what I want in this life, I take a look at this book and I will surely be motivated again.

 

 

8. The Alchemist

 

 

I remember having this book maybe some eight years ago but I gave it as a gift to my friend when I started reading other Coelho books and got terribly bored by them. I wanted to steal this book from my favorite coffee shop in the Philippines but I somehow felt guilty so I just stole an old magazine instead with the help of a college friend. Maybe if I had stolen this book and read it earlier, I would have been clear in what I want my life to look like. Regrets. But actually, no. The timing is just right. I wouldn’t have understood it then like how I do now. This is for the daydreamers. And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”

 

7. Reasons To Stay Alive

 

 

When my life lost meaning, I questioned every single second why I’m alive. This book just gave me more reasons to be thankful that I am and helped me stop asking the world why I am still here. My story is not supposed to end yet. Life is indeed beautiful.

 

 

6. Mastering Your Mean Girl

 

 

 

That book that reminded me that no matter what, I should make my inner bitch shut up and I shouldn’t think twice about flexing my self-love muscle. That I shouldn’t do things that aren’t aligned with my truth.

 

 

5. What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding

 

 

I love fiction and chic lit soooooo much. But when I challenged myself to read at least one non-fiction book per week, I fell in love with autobiographies and memoirs. This book is one of those page-turners that made me laugh but knocked me some sense. It is okay not to marry early. It is okay not to do what others are doing. It is never okay to have somebody just to be able to say that we have somebody. It is never okay to settle.

 

 

4. What I Know For Sure

 

I found myself crying while reading this book. Oprah’s written words have the power to touch my heart in such a way that it felt like she was beside me and was personally assuring me that it is normal to have ups and downs in this life in a voice that has warmed my the cockles of my heart. This is one of those books that put a stop to my panic attacks.

 

 

  1. Simplicite

 

 

A book written by a French woman who has been living in Japan for 30 years. She fell in love with the simplicity of Japanese life that she never left and started applying this wellness approach in her daily living. From minimalism to self-care to naming every little changes a person who has left her country and learned a different way of life. This book has the power to influence a lifestyle that invites slow living.

 

 

  1. #GirlBoss

 

 

A book that has inspired me to the bits of my bones. She is the perfect example of creating something from scratch and making it billion times bigger through determination and hardwork. She doesn’t have a University Degree but she employs those who have MBAs. Her tips, cleverness and no BS approach to life is so on point. Everything about women empowering is in this book.

 

 

  1. Becoming Myself

 

 

 

A book written by a Psychiatrist about his path to becoming himself. He wrote the book at 85 when at 32, I couldn’t remember that happened to me two years ago. His openness and vulnerability after all those years of helping his patients gave him more understanding of himself. Though written by a doctor, the book is surprisingly easy to understand, very honest and made me want to understand more about human behavior and more about myself.

 

 

 

Bonus:

 

 

 

That one book that made me fall in love with winter. The book that taught me how to fall in love more with candles, wool socks, fireplace, books and hot chocolate. It’s the book whose every page is filled with coziness.

What books changed your life? I’d love to add it to my book list. =)

 

 

(As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.)

Singapore, nothing personal. You’re awesome but you just deserve one day.

This might be the craziest thing I’ve ever done (okay. One of the many crazy things) and probably the hardest one to beat. 
So one off day and I was left with nothing in mind to do,  I hopped on a train, crossed the Malaysian boarders then spent the entire day in a different country. Unplanned. Alone. Well, let’s say that a friend, okay, two friends wanted to come but one changed her mind and then wired me the money since I already bought return tickets for her too then decided to back out last minute. The other, I wasn’t really sure if he really wanted to tag along. I just couldn’t wait. I hope he has forgiven me by now. 

 

 

I’m no pro in traveling but this is one of the things that I love about Malaysia. Its nearness to almost every South East Asian country, affordability of traveling and almost everything. I can’t say that my sense of direction is remarkable either. Maps give me eye sore. For unknown reasons, the lines are swaying to a catchy beat that makes me want to cry.

 

I will never also dare to say that I am a good planner. I don’t even know what I want in my life. I just know I always have my sails ready where the strongest wind will take me. *just go*
Only thing I know I am good at; mischief. I know I will always end up humiliating myself for being so clumsy and stupid. And directions will never ever be easy.
And so back to my one day Singapore adventure and why I didn’t contact friends, booked a hotel and stayed for even a night.

 

I was of course questioned by the immigration officer because I don’t have any booked hotel or contact person where I will be staying. I can easily give a friend’s name and contact number since I have few friends working there but I found the officer’s reaction fascinating. He probably thinks I will be trying my luck to look for a job there.  When I felt that I will be bugged further and the queue was getting longer,  I showed my return ticket and the stressed officer calmed down. He let me go with a knowing smile.  He now thinks I’m crazy. I was thinking it’s fun.

 

 

 

  1. I am a village girl
    Despite my highest heels, skimpiest skirts and reddest rouge, the tallest and grandest buildings intimidate me. I was never a fan. I feel depressed when I don’t feel I am one with nature. Even the beach is man-made. I can’t breathe. I can’t move. Though I know, modern cities will kill me, I am in awe by how an Asian city can be so efficient and I am using the words of a lady I met whilst in the bus from Vietnam to Laos. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Expensive

 

No matter how I avoided converting, my brain was on autopilot. It was as if they were specifically programmed to do it. I had abacus in my head that made even the smallest cell in my body cringe when it gave me an amount I will not even think of spending for some things. I am a recovering shopaholic and traveling made me value money.  I still can’t believe I spent $100 SGD (70.32 USD) in one day on top of the 80 Malaysian Ringgits (18 USD) I shelled out for return train tickets. According to the blogs I have read, I should only spend 50 dollars in Singapore a day. Oh well, somehow I relied on other’s experience though I’ve said I will just go and see for myself. I know I ate too much and their Pub Street was also inviting. Who am I to say no to a happy hour offer of buy 1 get 1 cocktails? 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. It’s touristic.
    I spend so much time with people so when I go somewhere, I want to veer away from the crowd. Away from the hassle and bustle of the city. Away from it all. I am looking for peace, for off the beaten paths, for a place where my soul can find peace; for a place where my heart can heal and for a place my mind can think freely. Where my train of thoughts will go uninterrupted. I tried so I can see the place with own eyes. I can’t say I don’t like if I haven’t tried. I loved it but an entire day and a night is enough.

 

 

 

  1. It’s a small country.
    I almost saw the entire Singapore in just half a day. I felt well connected and the effective train system allowed me to go and see all the places I need and want to go to without requiring me stay longer. It gave me ample time to move on to the next destination.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Will I still come back to Singapore? Definitely. Because it’s a lovely country where people show so much discipline and extended help to the direction impaired ADHD. The cleanliness of the country is unbelievable and it is a proof that I need not go out of Asia to see a country with such charm, beauty and efficiency.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Will I recommend a day tour to fellow travelers? Hell no! I literally walked the entire day under the scorching heat of the sun and even if I slept in the train, I had to request for time off from work the following day due to exhaustion. I slept on the upper bank of the train and I was surprised i couldn’t come down when we need to go to the Immigration. Every little crevices of my feet felt and my legs felt sore. Yes. Even a hyperactive kid gets smashed.

 

 

 

 

P.S.

 

Being a Filipino, Jolibee has become a huge part of me not just my childhood. It is our local version of Mcdonalds.  I just kept on thinking that I went to Singapore because I crave for crispy fried chicken and Pancit Palabok.

 

 

 

 

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About Us

 

Dani is a plus sized Filipina ADHD kid, recovering shopaholic, alcoholic and workaholic. She doesn’t take herself seriously. She has an insatiable wanderlust, out of this world food cravings and goof addiction. If she is not busy planning her next adventure, she will be spotted taking OOTDs and OOTNs. She took a break from the crazy corporate world to see the real one. This is not another travel blog. This is her journey to self discovery, embracing flaws and feeding her soul of what sets it on fire. She is out to prove that life begins at the end of the comfort zone.

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