10 Simple Ways to Celebrate Birthday Away from Home

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!


Two days ago, I turned 32. The same day I officially launched my website. I used to throw parties and then spend the following days hangover but it changed the moment I stepped outside my own country because I saw that there are other soul enriching ways to spend it. Living abroad has its perks for sure. This year, I didn’t do anything grand but so far, it’s the happiest and most fulfilling celebration I had. I still can remember how bad my hangover was in Malaysia in 2014. In 2015, I forgot it was my birthday while cruising Vietnam’s Halong Bay. I spent days googling and preparing for that trip as a present for myself only to forget it was actually my big day. 2016 was with the refugees in German class. 2017, champagne overload and 2018, I stayed longer in bed, hugged my comforter and pillows tighter then braced myself for an ordinarily special day.



  1. Dress nicely.


I have always loved playing dress up to feel good most of the time. And since quitting the corporate world, I have started dressing down a lot. Ironically, I have been dressing down in Europe’s fashionable streets when in Asia, I made sure to dress up as if I am meeting my boyfriend’s family for the first time everyday. It is just a bit hard to master walking on the cobble stoned street with heels being stuck between them but this day, I took my trusty five-inch yellow wedges out for some treat. I might have walked like a calf but it looked really well with my LBD and brown mailman bag so I gave it another exemption.

2. Meditate


I used to scoff at the thought of me closing my eyes and being aware of my breathing process. It is just so corny and I couldn’t afford to look sillier than I already feel. Later on, as I started facing more complicated life issues and needed to stay on top of them, I learned how to zone out to be able to think clearly. I started on the first day of Spring and opened my balcony door without intending to really start meditating. The chilly air brushed my face and chills crept from my bare feet up my spine. I ignored the urge to run back inside to dive under the covers and stared a bit on the pond from the garden that I often just ignore to think of all the things I needed to do for the day. As I gawked longer, I heard the birds chirping. I noticed they are chirping louder than I ever remembered. Maybe because of the fact that I opened the balcony door and I am now with them. I closed my eyes and listened. It was one of the most relaxing days of my life. As delicious as an hour of Thai massage, sauna or bubble bath. Sure I got colds that same day but the next days, I started bringing my yoga mat on the balcony and began my days with five minute yoga poses until it has become a habit. I am no yogi but sure, few stretches help me to move within the day with ease and grace.



3. Visit my daily gratitude list.


As I grow older, I became mindful of every little thing around me. And after moving overseas twice, I have started practicing minimalism. I also started being thankful and appreciative of simple pleasures I get from non material things I used to be skeptic about. When I started counting my blessings, I started complaining less and stopped why certain things are happening. Instead of playing victim, I look forward to what profound lessons I will learn that will add to my strengths. It makes me look forward to the best things that are still yet to come.


4. Write Thank You cards


Why will I pass up on the opportunity to let the angels in disguise in my life know grateful how I am for having them? Using my incurable fetish with pens and papers, now is the best time to put them to good use and thank everyone I hold dear. Days before my birthday, I found myself scouting for materials for the self made cards I wanted to do but when I lost my way to the store, I saw these cute little cards in a nice souvenir shop down town and couldn’t help getting few. Can I not send myself one?

5. Read a Good Book


There is nothing that feels a lot better than flipping through the pages of a book that enriches and caresses my heart and fattens my soul. The feel of the paper between and on the tips of my finger and the smell is just 500 on my delicious meter as Oprah will say it. Having a hopeless book addiction, my days are just incomplete without reading and learning something new. And my birthday will not be so special without reading anything. I could only thank the one I ordered from Amazon arrived just in time.



6. Light a Candle or two


I made a short trip to the nearest church. I am certainly not preaching here. I hardly attend mass due to the fact that I can’t concentrate well. My attention problem is getting in the way every time I will see a movement. It just feels so good to light a candle, close my eyes and utter my gratitude.



7. Create Something


I finally mustered all the courage I can to finally launch my website. It made me stay up until three in the morning and wake up at six. I was dizzy but I am so excited. So after all of the other things that I did, I sat the rest of the day writing, editing and learning how to really run a website. I love beautiful little things and writing about them is just something I can’t help. This year, on my 32nd birthday, I gave birth to a baby called www.thisvillagegirl.com. Tending to it is hard for my technically impaired self but I am more motivated to making it beautiful. Not for anything else but for passion, for actively creative something delightful. (Read 10 Things I’ve Learned After One Month Of Blogging here)


Web Hosting

8. Take a Walk.


I never fell in love walking until I get to live away from home. I always hated the fact that I need to walk. Maybe because of the traffic jam, poor public transportation system,  pollution and hot weather where I am from. Luckily I live near the Rhine River and it has become part of my daily mindfulness routine to take few minutes to just sit in one of the benches nearby, breath and admire how magical nature is. This is really where I am getting the mood to write or create something. If the weather is nice, I will go for a walk with my journal and pour my deepest, darkest thoughts. During colder season, I make sure to bring my camera. I then take pleasure in editing and the photos I have taken. I may not be that good but it is a creative outlet for me. It saves me from overthinking and over analyzing things.

9. Pop something Bubbly


I have stopped consuming alcohol not because I feel so old for it but because I don’t like how it makes me feel anymore. But my birthday is an exemption. A glass or even the entire champagne bottle is indeed in order.



10. Eat somewhere nice and cozy


I was taken to a Japanese restaurant by surprise. I love nicely prepared food but I will have Japanese any given time. And another surprise, the food tasted so good and not adjusted too much to European taste. It all felt authentic. It all felt like home.



Have you celebrated your birthday alone on a foreign, faraway land alone?  How did you celebrate it? How did you feel about it? I’d love to hear your experience.


Please share if you liked it


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!


Related Articles


10 Things That Changed Since I lived Abroad 

100 Little Things That Make me Happy 

Minimalism The Path That Lead me to Finding Myself


Winter and friend called Depression

Dear Diary,

I walked aimlessly again despite the butt-freezing weather. It’s dark, cold and the streets are wet due to melting snow. Of course I’m shivering, Diary. Aside from the fact that I am a bonafide sunworshipper, I despise wearing jeans/ pants which basically made all my clothes inappropriate for winter. I’m also scared that one of these days somebody will mistake me for a lunatic and send me to a nuthouse. I’m starting to think I’m a hopeless case.


Diary, winter depression is true. Proven. I have read long ago that people who live in tropical countries are generally happier people. I didn’t believe that sh*t Diary. I was under the impression that tropical countries are mostly developing countries and was then convinced that lack of money can’t make a person happy so there’s no way that I can agree to that. Do good in school, get a decent high paying job (better beyond Philippine shores) and have a more comfortable ordinary and predictable life. Diary, I used to believe that because it’s what has been programmed in my brain.  At least what I was “in a way” forced to. Society. Conforming. Norms. Those sh*tty stuff Diary.


But I still dreamed of experiencing life in first world countries. This time, not to be financially but spiritually rich.


Diary, do you know how people in first world countries (e.g. Singapore, Germany) throw fit when they feel even the slightest inconvenience? That is unbelievable! The Village Girl inside me was dumbfounded and culture-shocked. They showed me what I don’t want to become Diary. This is not to say that everyone of them are walking monsters but this is just a mere observation. I picked up the good values I saw and ignored the worst ones I’ve seen. I now have a strong basis for comparison and most importantly, source of entertainment.


Philippine system is maddening that almost everyone wants to make their way out. Nevertheless, Filipinos remain to be hardworking, patient, warmhearted, hospitable, humorous, rant less and has a ready smile to offer to everyone. This is also not to say the every Filipino is a saint. I was just probably searching for something that feels familiar that can cure winter blues. I was looking for the eternal source of sunshine and I can only find that inside me. I have issues and the cold weather isn’t much of a help. It just aggravated and heightened everything. This lack of sunshine is making me feel something heavy in my heart but I can’t find the words to describe it. It is worse than PMS. So even if I am at my happiest, I still will feel down. No wonder almost everyone I see looks like as if they are wearing wrong size of undergarments. Now I know the importance of sun’s harmful rays and physical activities during this time of the year.  I still don’t know where I want to live but for now I will enjoy my new found happiness with coats and boots.

Thailand: Where It All Began (Part 2)


Continuation from Thailand: Where It All Began (Part 1) Read the first part here 


Day 4:

I am right. Patong will not offer that much to me because I don’t want to have more of night life. KL gives me that every single time so I am right about escaping my Phuket escape. I took the Songthaew, a public transport that look a lot like our local Philippine jeepney, to Phuket Town. From there, I hitchhiked my way to the terminal where I will be taking the minivan which will bring me to Koh Lanta in Krabi. I ended up giving the driver 100 Baht because my bag, like me, was very heavy too. I was able to see the entire town that way. Instead of taking the three and a half hour speed boat (3500 Baht or 120 USD) to Krabi I opted for the minivan (280 Baht or 8.97 USD). This is how the locals travel from Phuket to Krabi. Though it ate up almost twelve hours of my time, I didn’t regret doing it. I took naps in between sightseeing. Each time, I’d wake up surrounded by so much green. I don’t know how I was able to tolerate it, but I don’t mind doing it again.




I was smashed when I reached my hotel. I was greeted by the staff with orange juice and wet face towels to freshen up. I can’t help but smile at them in my shitty glory. It was like I reached heaven and they definitely seemed like the angels.


I knew it was what I wanted when I heard the crickets singing. It has been so long since I last heard that familiar music; it felt home. That long trip was worth it. The internet connection was weak but I didn’t mind. I need social media detox anyway. The beach was less than two-minute walk from the hotel and there was a bar near the pool too.


I showered quickly and changed to a comfortable dress. I wanted to walk around a bit and to have dinner too. Not so far from the hotel was a nice restaurant. I immediately ordered Thai fired err fried rice.


You eat spicy ah?” The waiter asked smiling.






Oh yeah! I love spicy soooo much!” I replied smiling wider than I wanted to to emphasize that I am no baby when it comes to spicy food. Even before moving to Malaysia where it is normal to see chopped chili as food toppings.


My order came and it tasted like it was delivered from heaven. On my second spoon of fried rice, I felt a hot line going up my nostrils and my mouth and tongue were feeling as if I bit a burning charcoal before they turned a bit numb. I tasted danger but I can’t act silly. I declared my love for chili aloud and reacting obnoxiously is a shame. I chose to panic like a winner but I know my face was red and my eyes were starting to water. I saw cucumbers slices on the side of my plate, grabbed two pieces and shoved them inside my mouth. Wrong move! As I quickly chewed the cucumbers, the watery extract immediately spread the burning inside my mouth. I wanted to cry. The waiter came to ask if everything was alright. Of course I can’t say that I might need to be rushed to the nearest hospital. So with a slightly flared nostrils and teary eyes, I said everything is alright. I asked if they have dessert but he didn’t understand.


Sugar? You have?” I asked in desperation and he went away. After split second he was back holding a dessert menu. I didn’t know where my point finger landed and he left. I was wondering how long he will be able to bring my order but I continued to eat my chili rice until my mouth adjusted to the spiciness which took longer than I have anticipated. This was even spicier than the ones I had in Phuket. The French owner of the first Thai restaurant where I ate was right. Phuket isn’t so Thailand anymore due to the influx of tourists it receives every single day and most of these tourists can’t eat that spicy so flavor needs to be adjusted accordingly. But here in Koh Lanta, it is a different story. I wasn’t prepared for their definition of spicy. I know I needed to rest after the long trip after the meal, but it felt like I just warmed up for a 10k marathon.


My dessert came and I swear I slurped it like a maniac. It was a coconut flavored ice cream. Now my mouth felt more confused. Hot and spicy then cold. Normally I complain about being brainfreezed, but this time, my brain wouldn’t be able to detect the coldness of the dessert. The waiter was looking at me and I just smiled a little. I know what he was thinking. I signalled for the bill. He came back with the bill and I gave him a thumbs up for the food then started walking back to the hotel. It was a little bit dark when I reached the hotel and the silence was a bit eerie. I was just not yet ready for all of this. I was in paradise. The Bangladeshi hotel receptionist told me that I am the first Filipino customer and that their chef is a Filipino too. This came as a surprise for me given how remote the place was. I went back to my room to nap. It was already dark when I got up from the bed. I went out of the room intending to go for a walk in the reception was the Bangladeshi receptionist and the Filipino Chef. They both looked and smiled at me. Brief introductions were made and he volunteered to show me around. I had a tour guide. He even taught me how to ride the motorbike which was a massive failure. I was more scared of wrecking his eardrums. I was just screaming and laughing the entire time as if I was being tickled. We bought beers from a local store and he told me where to get cheaper meals. He said the hotel is looking for a female receptionist and he can tell the owner to hire me if I want. I just was floored when I heard the salary. I can’t. Yet. Had I not been so greedy for a higher paying job I would have accepted the offer. Heaven was an understatement for that place. I spent my Krabi days running by the beach in the morning to catch the sunrise, basking under the sun, swimming, and drinking Singha and Chang any time of the day. Oh! and eat, eat and eat some more! This time, I had adjusted to the spiciness of everything. I would sometimes wonder how I ended up on the sand when I know I was on the lounger. On my second to the last day, I booked a four-island tour and was amazed buy how beautiful and untouched those islands are.



“If you want photos, just ask.” A French traveler told me. To be honest, I was a bit shy to take tons of selfies because other tourists weren’t doing it so I decided to just do it like how they are doing it. Enjoy the moment. Live a little.


I met a couple from London on my last night. They were also staying in the hotel where I was staying. We decided to go for dinner and had beers together. It was also their last night and they will head to Phuket and will fly back to London after four days. They have been traveling for nearly two months now. I know how they feel. I didn’t want to leave the place neither. Few beers and cocktails later, we called it a night, walked back to the hotel together and wished each other safe travels.




I drifted to a dreamless sleep. How I was able to sleep when I was just napping by the beach, drinking beers and eating the whole time I was there, I honestly have no idea because in real life, even if I have worked all day and worked out at night, sleep was still stingy.








Next morning I woke up and I can’t believe that it was my last day on this island. I packed my stuff and went out for a last swim and last feel of the sea. I took tuktuk to bring me to the terminal. I took the same route back to Phuket. My flight was the next morning. I booked another hotel nearer the airport. I spent my last night enjoying more of Patong and Bangla Road. My flight was at 6 am and I hired hotel car to take me to the airport. It was so lonely to pack. By 5 am, I was surprised to see a dark blue limo driven by a lady. I nearly jumped when she told me to get in. Just 800 Baht (25 USD) for a posh hotel transfer. What did I do to be this lucky? This lady owns the hotel and since it was too early, no driver was available. She drove me to the airport instead.



I came back to Malaysia feeling like a different person. Something that I can’t put a name on changed. I am braver than what I gave myself credit for. I had fun alone and it was totally okay. I was again ready to face Singaporeans’ wrath (Malaysians’, Indians’, Europeans’, Americans’ or whoever was living in Singapore) again. I’m calmer than I’ve ever been. As of the moment that is.


Now, every time I mention Koh Lanta, I feel my heart warming up and my lips forming a relaxed and blissful smile. ahh! No words are enough to describe how happy and content I was during my stay there. Memorable is a mild term for it.


Koh Lanta made me lost track of the days and I didn’t realize any sooner. I just wanted to freeze time. Ahh! if I don’t need to pay rent nor have to have money for food, I will just lay on the sand forever. It’s really hard to accept the fact that I have to return to the real world this soon. It’s okay. This is not the last.


Why did I start doing this late? Why was I so scared to do things alone? Why did I have to spend on material things rather than save them for more of this? What took me so long to do this? This is just the beginning and I will make sure of that.

Please share

First solo female travel


Thailand, where it all began


First solo female travel

Read next:

Expat Diaries: In Malaysia, It’s Never Too Late to Dream a New Dream.

10 Things That Changed Since I Lived Abroad.


Thailand: Where It All Began (Part 1)

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!


198 Malaysian Ringgits (48.71 USD): Return flight price to Phuket. Damn! I will be a big fool if I will not book this flight before it runs out.



This was how this whole traveling alone thing started. I can’t consider moving to Malaysia as a start because I’ve met would-be colleagues in the Embassy and again, I was somehow dependent to them. At least that’s how it felt. All the while, I was under the impression that I can’t afford to do it by myself for a lot of excuses my mind has came up with. Expensive, scary, lonely and even boring. I was worried about eating alone, being alone in foreign land and most importantly, no one to take photos. News has this way of worsening my paranoia. I can trust no one and in a foreign land? Maybe not a very wise idea. The more that I think I will be alone, the more terrified I became and the more that I was determined to get rid of them. Fear at some point must be conquered right?



I got the courage I needed when I’ve talked to friends who’ve been doing this for a long time. I needed their encouragement, tips and even assurance that I will be fine and I will have fun. They all said Thailand is very good start given how touristic it is and very safe for solo female travelers. Their energy is highly contagious. I need more people like that in my life.


So, vacation leaves were taken cared of; endless researches and sleepless nights were launched.


All my time was devoted to contacting hotels, haggling with tour companies, comparing prices, checking routes, food to try, things to do and places to visit; leaving no time for Zumba and Crossfit. And man, it wasn’t easy to budget 8 days in Thailand considering how big and beautiful it is. All I want is for this trip to be perfect and unforgettable. This is my first solo trip. I don’t want this to be the last too. I am having panic attacks but I am way to excited to admit it.

I will spend 7 days in Phuket; in the crowded Patong Beach and busy Bangla Road. That didn’t sound like the heaven I was looking for. I want a quieter, more isolated place where I can enjoy my own company. Since when I wanted t be alone? I don’t know either. I’m so used to having my pose to mask my insecurities probably. Then plans changed and there was turmoil in this ADHD mind.

It will not be called amazing Thailand for nothing. My researches gave me never ending list of places to go to and of all the travel blogs I’ve read and pictures I have seen, Krabi seemed the haven I wanted. A colleague even told me she got bored when she was there and I don’t know why I was more eager to see it after that. Sign of old age I guess.

So with a hopeful heart and a scared soul ready for new adventures,I flew to Thailand ignoring the mean girl inside me reminding me all the fears I have.


Flight from Kuala Lumpur was three hours delayed. Though I will be sitting on a cold airport bench, I just shrugged it off. I am in such a good holiday mood and nothing can piss me off. I didn’t even fuss when I arrived Phuket Airport at nearly two in the morning only to be welcomed by a throng of tourists at the immigration. I got cleared around 2:30 am. I went outside the airport where the mini vans were parked. This travel blog I’ve read said that this is the cheaper alternative to taking cabs to where my hotel was. With all those other tourists waiting to be cleared at the immigration, I felt that I don’t need to worry that I will be alone in the middle of somewhere in the wee hours of the morning. We waited until the van was full of tourists and that didn’t take long. It’s nearly 3 am and no one spoke inside the van aside from the driver who from time to time asked the name of the streets the hotels he will drive the passengers to. Other passengers started getting off. Few minutes later, we were in the street where my hotel was.


We drove around it for few times but the we couldn’t find it. Other backpackers asked me where I booked the hotel suspecting it was a scam. I also was thinking it was but I checked the Facebook page and chatted with them to ask if they have 24/7 reception. “I booked it from Agoda. It can’t be a scam.” We stopped to ask for direction from a man driving a motorbike. We’ve been on it for nearly half an hour. Other tourists got off and started smoking. They all look smashed. We indeed were all smashed. I am really getting sleepy and tired and frustrated and scared. “You can stay in our hotel and just go find your hotel in the morning.” A lady with a British accent offered. Another Thai lady agreed. I can’t believe this. I was on the brink of believing that it’s a bad world out there but these people I keep meeting on the road are showing me otherwise. Before I can utter a reply the driver came back. He said he already know where my hotel was and we will be heading that way. Off we got inside the van squeezing our bodies between our ginormous backpacks.

Finally! I saw the name of my hotel. Relieved, I took my backpack, thanked everyone and wished them safe travels then got off the van. I really can use a warm bath and I will sleep like a baby. I didn’t nap during the flight. It wasn’t a long flight plus I was really very excited.


My happiness started fading away when I saw that the light in the reception was off. I know that small hotels don’t have 24/7 reception that’s why I asked the management of this hotel prior to my booking. My suspicion got confirmed when I saw that I need to call a number if I will be arriving later then 12 am. Great! I don’t have an activated roaming to call. This was the reason why I am trying to call them before I left KL. To inform them that I will be late because my flight was three hours delayed. Someone picked up at my first attempt and though garbled, I managed to hear someone speaking from the other line. I tried again but no one picked up. No one replied to my email and my Facebook chat inquiry. It is nearly 3:30 am. What will I do? I looked around. Just outside the hotel was a phone booth. I have few loose Baht coins from the change in the airport but the phone wasn’t working. Awesome! There’s a 24/7 convenience store beside the hotel. I walked towards it and started asking the lady at the cashier only to find out she doesn’t speak nor understand English. Neither was the man she was sharing the shift with. I got my tablet out as I don’t have a mobile phone and motioned what I need to do. I always win charades so I know I got this. She will understand what I want for sure. I just wanted to know if I can use her or his mobile phone to make a call. That didn’t get any further. Language barrier was at its strongest. Why aren’t any customers?? I went to sit on the nearby store stool. I’m glad they have it because my knees started to feel wobbly. I can buy coffee and have the option to wait until the hotel opens. But I can’t. I don’t want to spend my first night in Thailand in a convenience store feeling sorry for myself. I have money and I am brave, right? I need to do something. I discreetly touched my right then left ankle to check if my 10,000 Baht was still there. Yeah. I needed to do that so I won’t need to use my card I already have their currency handy. Things like this can happen and working for a bank trained me for this. I should always be prepared. So I stood up and started marching outside the store. Next thing I knew, I was already out in the streets looking for other hostels which will accommodate me just for the night or just before the sun rises. Almost all the hotels were full since it was peak season, and some hotels close at midnight too. This is just awesome! 3:30 in the morning, I am walking in unknown Thailand streets with my big backpack and bumping into drunk tourists and backpackers in the famous red light district. I felt like crying. I was tired and terrified. I was really tempted to turn around, go back to the store and just wait but I still didn’t. I continued walking and praying to all the saints I know for guidance. I was supposed to arrive at 10:30 pm and here I am at 3:30 am looking for a hotel. Good thing I wasn’t stupid enough to leave the store without buying food. I walked away with some Thai goodies. My first authentic Thai goodies were heavily preserved. How awesome can this be?





I continued walking and searching with my big backpack. Worse comes to worst, I can always turn around and just wait at the Family Mart. But I didn’t like that idea so when I saw a hotel whose door was cracked open, I stepped inside. I saw a bell on the table and frantically rang as if I’m a grumpy menopausal librarian. I did that continuously and after nearly ten minutes, an Italian guy wearing only white linen pants, water and some white bubbly soapy liquid dripping over his hair, neck and chest, came out looking disoriented and panic was plastered all over his face.



What’s the emergency?” The worried Italian asked.



I am the emergency. I need a room!” I said with high hopes. I know I looked like shit but that’s the last thing I should be worried about.


oh! I know we are full tonight but I will check.”


He left. I waited fighting the urge to curl up on the sofa in the hotel lobby. I will be happy to pay if he will allow me to sleep there.


After what seemed like an eternity, he came back. I can swear every time I will close my eyes, I was being drifted to dreamland.


There’s no vacant tonight but a couple checked out early. Problem is, the room needs to be cleaned first.” He announced with a slight frown on his Italian face.

I can clean!” my voice rose few decibels higher and to his amusement. “I am so tired and I am desperate for hot shower.” I know he sensed desperation and his face reflects the pity he felt for me.

Wait here and I will quickly clean it.” Cleanliness is the last thing on my mind at this very moment. All I wanted to do was throw my bag on the floor and sleep.

When he came back he ushered me to a room. He probably sensed that I will pass out any moment so he handed me the keys and Wifi password. I know my face showed I can’t understand a thing anymore. With a chuckle, he left and wished me goodnight.

I let my bag fall with a loud clunk on the floor. I ran to the bathroom and showered not minding the angry protest of my tummy. I haven’t eaten anything since I went to the airport but I still continued scrubbing my body with soap as if it will wash away everything that has happened that very night. Maybe I showered too long and my fingers felt funny when I finished. This by far is the best shower I ever had.


Wearing only a bathrobe, I started eating what I got from the convenience store. After what felt like the best shower, I had the best tasting preserved Thai food. I then remembered to connect to the internet and informed worried friends and family who were expecting advise hours ago. I slept a sleep so deep that even if World War 3 started, I won’t flinch.

500 Baht (16 USD) for a room that seemed like a 4-star hotel room wasn’t bad after all. I just can’t remember the name of the hotel but I gave it a very good review.

The next morning, I woke up a bit disoriented but fully rested as if nothing happened just few hours ago.

“Where was I?” I asked myself. Ohhh, Phuket, Thailand! And my hotel was already closed. They didn’t pick up when I called while I was still in Malaysia, didn’t reply to my email, nor private message in Facebook. I had to wander in the unfamiliar Patong Beach road in the wee hours of the morning. I hurriedly got up and dressed. I have a very urgent thing to attend to. I need to talk to the owner of that hotel, ASAP!


I reached the hotel so fast. I was greeted by the Australian owner. A paper of my booking details was already waiting on the reception counter top. He apologized deeply and said they were worried sick about me. I said I was worried about me too and told him what happened last night. He apologized again and said that it was because of his lazy partner handling all inquiries. I wanted to be a bitch but I chose not to anymore. Working for customer service made me decide that I will never be like our barbaric customers. He showed me the room and said I can check in when I’m ready. But working for the customer service made me know some things so I thought it wasn’t enough and I need some sort of compensation for what I had to go through. I asked for an upgrade. I got the upgrade I asked for and was given fridge’s contents for free. Day 1 didn’t go as expected and planned but it was alright. I still have few days to look forward to and I am very excited. I made it to Thailand alone!

Day 2:

But I guess the Lord was blessing my trip so it started to rain. The rain was the kind where I just wanted to curl up in a big ball and stay in the room with hot chocolate. Awesome Day 2 so far. At least I got to enjoy my upgraded room and the fridge’s contents. What’s not to like?



Day 3.

You’re not raining the whole day, are you? This is starting to seem like a big joke. I flew all the way here to just enjoy the hotel room? So with my raincoat, I went out to see the old town, rode elephant, visited some temples and met a French couple where I had an amazing time third wheeling. I went to the beach, tried some more authentic Thai food, had a drink in Bangla Road. I went back to the hotel when I started feeling tipsy. I can’t drink much. I am alone in another country. I can’t be too careful. I know. I ‘m a lousy traveler. A lousy village girl traveler.



(to be continued)



First Solo Trip in Thailand

Don’t Fall in Love With a Passer by: Part 1

Let’s fly back to Malaysia and get married next year.” He uttered in between sipping his coffee and munching on a cookie.


You’re not happy here why are you staying? What will you do here?” He even added. It hasn’t even been a month since I quit my job and dropped everything to chase for what I think will make my life worth while but this guy is already discouraging me.


I’m studying teaching. I will start with teaching English.” I nonchalantly said.


But your English is shit!” Then laughed hysterically and stopped when I didn’t react. He just stared at me probably waiting for the Danica he has met. The Danica with a hearty, unladylike guffaw but this time, I can’t even bring myself to smile. The same straightforwardness that I hated when I just arrived is the same straightforwardness I now abuse and enjoy.


Your friends are in Malaysia. Your whole life is there. I love Asia. We can start a life there. I’m willing to give up everything here.” He worked in Indonesia as Chef for two years and since Date 1, he has been expressing how he wanted to live in Malaysia. He loves Malaysia and knows that I love it too. Being a son of a former Diplomat allowed him to see almost the whole world and amazed by how a poor, exotic village girl like me silently hopes and works hard to be able to do that too. I am strongly convinced that this is the main reason why he dated me plus the fact that I am okay living in Malaysia. I dated him because I find him witty and didn’t really care if he is six feet and eleven inches that made me look like his walking stick.

“I am not.” It came from my mouth as soft as a whisper but with a sincerity that can’t be persuaded even to a point of just compromise. I looked down and focused my attention to my now lesser appetizing food. We never talked about it again. In fact, we talked lesser and lesser after that. I just can’t see myself with a man who questions how I want to spend the remaining days of my life.


I said yes to being his girlfriend on our third date and he duplicated a key to his apartment for me. He said I can bring my stuff whenever I want. In this age, I haven’t tried moving in and living with a guy and I am not sure if I really wanted that especially after he indirectly told me to give up on my dreams to pursue his. Basing on the advises other Filipinos are giving me, every other Filipina will be jumping with joy to be offered marriage by a European and have that powerful passport compared to our wimpy one. But I despise that. It makes me freaking mad. I will only marry if I meet the right one. This is why there are stereotypes. This is why we are branded gold-diggers. This is why some Europeans say that we South-East Asians are ignorant and only want to get married for better quality of life. This is why I don’t allow men to pay for my meal when I date. Like when me and my Syrian ex boyfriend ate in a restaurant in Malaysia and waitress happened to be a Filipina.


I handed her my card t pay for our meal but she told me to make my boyfriend pay instead. I wanted to scold her right there and then. I don’t feel very well if I can certainly pay for something but expect the guy to shoulder everything. This gives me a feeling that I am giving him the right to not respect me. I believe in chivalry but the voluntary ones. The ones where I feel it came from the heart.


Chivalry that is hard to distinguish these days because of the instantness of everything.


I want to show that not every South East Asian is like that. Not all South East Asians are greedy.


Not all South East Asians are ignorant.


I am not born and raised here but I am struggling to be as European as them. My German friend said pride is a bad consultant. I say it’s principle and values and not pride. I will stay firm on what I am fighting for. I honestly don’t care if I will grow old alone if being with someone means that I have to sell myself short. I think that the best advise I have been given is to never ever settle. After all, I have only one short life. I don’t want to be just someone else’s daughter then later on, someone else’s wife. I need to have a “me” in between no matter how long it will be. Why am I even alive? I am making sure that I will not just pay bills and die. I will not just live in one place. Maybe other people are born to find true love and it’s fine. I just don’t feel the same. If I didn’t force myself to go and try, I probably would have been married to my neighbor with five or six kids and planting sweet potatoes. I mean, nothing is wrong with having kids nor planting sweet potatoes. It’s just that it’s not how I see myself. I still often ask why the world is big, beautiful and filled with different cultures and why shouldn’t I go and see it.


Why would I keep on impressing other people by trying to fit in when it makes me feel like I will burst in misery? Why would I keep on doing things that aren’t aligned with my truth? If I’m a butterfly, why will I come near people who want to cut my wings when I can just be a butterfly who doesn’t give a f*ck about anything but flying?


I don’t need to meet the right man. I want to live my dreams then decide later on if this man is worth sharing this dream with. Until then, I will be happy shopping for thicker blankets for cold winter nights. I don’t even care if I ‘m 31 and that this is my last year in the Roman calendar.


In this digital age, thirty five is the new twenty five therefore I have the time. How beautiful it is to be able to live in an era where conforming isn’t such a big deal anymore. How sweet it is to be able to live without much responsibilities? When I let go of the fact that I can’t be what my mom wants me to be, my misery subsided.


I learned how to let go of the things I cant control anymore and tries so hard to live in the present moment and bask in the beauty of simplicity life has to offer. Small things like how happier the birds in Germany than its people? I grew up in the village where people seemed happier and showed more concern for others but the birds didn’t sing this loud.

You’re too strong for me.”


I guess this is how he chose to break my brave heart. For the first time, I want to be sorry for being strong. Nobody can say I didn’t give myself a chance to be loved and love in return. I was even ready to lie where I met him and maybe I am not yet ready to be tamed. Being independent since fifteen is now taking its toll or but I’d rather say, showing its wonders.

I want someone I can show weakness to. Someone I can take care of. Someone I can show how man enough I am.”

I am not sure how to respond on this savageness. I only wanted to feel and trust that my heart will never lead me astray no matter how much wandering I still will do.

Will you write about me?” He asked as if I’m a famous writer. I am not even sure if I can give an answer that will not make him further question his manhood. I chose complete silence. Rare. I know. But needed.

Aren’t you going to say something?” He asked once more.

If the vibes I send off already intimidated you, I don’t know what else I can say that will make you feel better.” I shrugged and prepared to bid him goodbye.

Are you mad at me?” He whispered.

I smiled. “I can never be mad at someone who is already scared to begin with. I have a very merciful heart.” I hope he sensed my sarcasm.

I wish you can find the damsel in distress you’re looking for.” I added.

Hahaha.” His laughter sounded dry and bitter. “I hate that you’re smarter than me.”

Me too!”And with that, I grabbed my over-sized bag and marched out of that cozy WIFIless cafe. I guess, acceptance that everything will happen in their right time no matter how cliche it is. I guess I can’t hit everything with just a stone.



Read next


Don’t Fall in Love with a Passer by: A Tale of a Broken Wandering Heart

A Village Love Story: A Story of What-Could-Have-Been

Share this

a travel love story


Travel Romance


Travel Romance



My American Idol



A year ago, I met a girl I didn’t know I will consider as one of the bravest, gutsiest and strongest woman I know despite her small and frail Asian frame. She is born and raised in the States, I’m from the Philippines and we met in Malaysia. What an indeed small world. 


This girl sounded so much like those girls that I only see in the Hollywood films I am hooked to and I honestly thought I will never be able to get along well with her. I don’t even have that Valley Girl accent. I’m just a naive village girl who sees everything as magic. As we spent most nights chit chatting over beer, pigging out, swimming or just laughing about crazy stuff, she has told me how she dropped everything for love, flew halfway around the globe, left her career, comfortable and secured life in exchange for a promise of a happy ever after. It turned out that fairy tales aren’t for everyone. Things didn’t work as planned. They broke up.


During this stage, she realized what went wrong. She said she became needy, clingy, dependent and all the other things she wasn’t able to notice and what she has become as a result of having so much free time in her hands. Not that it was solely her fault but she can only speak on her behalf.


She was left unemployed, away from home, close to being broke but still, feisty, hopeful and positive as ever. She was full of ideas and she never lost the drive to become successful. I saw and I still can see how she works her ass off in picking up the pieces she lost along the way. I admire the resilience and strength I can see from her. I know how painful everything is but all I can ever do was to cheer her up in the smallest way I know and observe how she handles the craziness. She is now married to a guy she met in Malaysia and they are now living happily together in the US. My Mom was wrong. There is happy ending. We just have to search patiently for it. She has become one of the few people I look up to; a mentor and an inspiration. I was mentally taking notes and to be honest, I told myself that the day will come that I will not have any qualms about doing what I think will make me happy. We indeed don’t meet people by accident. They will for sure teach us a thing or two. And through her example I became more eager to be able to say that I have done what she has fearlessly done; dropped everything that weighs me down, risked everything and chased happiness. I will savor every second of this precious life. Money really isn’t everything. Call me a fool and unrealistic but this is how I choose to live my life. If it is money that will make a person truly happy, by all means, go for it. As for me, as long as I have basic needs, I will be fine. Life is too short to harbor on negative vibes and material things alone. If one day I felt the strong urge to be different and the things I am doing aren’t enough and not making me happy, it will never hurt to turn around and go back to what I was doing. Life should only be lived in one direction and that is towards happiness.



2 years later…



Dear Diary,


I left my job, my life and everything that I worked so hard for that thought I wanted all along. What now? I didn’t leave it for romantic love but to find my love for myself, to trace my roots and to push beyond the limits that I know I have. I am so scared that I have turned these fears to a god. Diary, it’s not easy to start again but I am lucky because not everyone who wants to start again gets the chance to. I don’t know where life is taking me and I will lie if I will say that the idea of turning around and live like how others are living doesn’t cross my mind. I mean, that’s easier but I don’t know if I will ever choose the easy path again and live everyday as if I am a dead fish being drifted along the safe shore. Diary, my parents aren’t very happy with how I’m choosing to live my life now and I’m afraid they will not be happy anytime soon. They will get by for sure. I know my happiness is what they want and I trust that in God’s perfect time, they will understand that I’ve never felt anything like this before. I have never felt this content and fulfilled before. I realized that the lesser I give a flying f*ck, the happier I feel. I also stopped giving a piece of sh*t to what other people are saying. It’s my life and who cares if my dreams spell nothing but possible. All I know is that I will not just pay bills then die. Diary, I can’t name every single emotion I felt but it felt good. Diary, as I read and reread what I wrote two years ago and how I admired this lady, who would have known that I will do what she did not to prove that I’m a brat but to say that it’s okay to chase happiness and we don’t have to explain. If the unknown scares me now, regrets of not doing what I wanted when I still can in my deathbed sounds scarier. People who broke my heart, made me laugh and taught me how to stand up for and love myself and to dream another crazy dream again are the best people I met in this lifetime and I know, I am bound to meet more of them and they will say…


Dear Danica,


Live a little.


Share this

MY American Idol


Never a Size Zero

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!

I have always been what they say; a bouncing baby girl. Literally. From the time I was born until the time I am writing this.

I never had self confidence or at least before adulthood hit me. I stopped obsessing about the cottage cheese that camped in my thighs and rolls on my tummy.

In a culture where being fat seems like a crime, it was very hard to love one self and the flaws that come with it.

Our people seemed to base beauty in the Photoshopped glory of the magazines I have grown to love for its useful tips and then the ones that made me loathe my body’s inability to become size zero no matter which diet I try and no matter how much sports I do.

I was nearly 225 pounds when body consciousness hit me. I was freshly out of the University and I know that I needed to do something about it. My jeans keep on ripping and my mom kept on telling me how horrible I look like with my almost exploding cheeks and thunder thighs. I never really cared about it because I know I have something between my ears and when I was in school, it was more important.

Losing weight got a lot easier when I moved away from home where I needed to work all day and cooking all the time seemed a heavy task. I was independent since a very young age but since it was just school I needed to do and to look after my two brothers, I never bothered. My parents were away to earn a living for us to be able to afford really nice universities to acquire quality education.

My brothers kept telling me I am beautiful. I believed them so I matched their eating and drinking skills until I didn’t notice obesity has already taken over me. I never cared. All I cared for was the fun I used to have. I got hooked to experimenting in the kitchen and the more that I got hooked to binge eating. I have learned to laugh at myself, make people laugh, fake confidence and look good too. I focused instead on how to look good even if I was obese. I never cared about snide comments.

I was once young.

It became a different story when I started living alone and far from my family who always enjoyed cooking and eating together. I lost some weight and got addicted to losing more. I counted calories and almost got scared of eating though I was running and dancing everyday to break a sweat. There were days I will just black out for a moment. I was rushed to the hospital few times for low blood sugar and pressure. I wasn’t eating enough and I know it but I wasn’t ready to do anything about it. I ate lesser and lesser and did more workouts though everyone kept telling me that I already lost so much weight and that I shouldn’t be worrying too much about it. My hair stopped growing. I would easily get bruised and would stay for days. I still refused to eat. I was in denial that it hit me bad in the head. I got scared to eat thinking I would return to 225 pounds.

redefining beauty

I was often rushed to the hospital for almost fainting. I would run without eating and will refuse to eat even few hours passed. Nobody was convincing enough for me to believe that I have lost tons of weight and I should not fear food anymore. Even the doctor told me that my bones are really big so I will not really be stick thin. I still refused to believe and continued what I called healthy lifestyle but in fact, it was really hardcore dieting. I even began to secretly judge people who weighed like I used to as if I wasn’t obese before. I was conceited and proud of the lost I had. I shopped for more and more outfits that will make me look good after all those pounds I shed. I lost weight but mostly, I lost brain. I stopped eating carbs and it is the brain’s food. No wonder I started acting like an airhead. Well, more of like a douche-bag. This didn’t change even after I moved to Malaysia. I maintained a very active lifestyle and secretly judged all the others and swore I will never be fatter again.

I was twenty nine when my life lost meaning. Or maybe I should say, it lacked the texture I wanted it to have. I am not just born to count calories, pay bills then die right?


I found myself in Germany to lick the wounds I have been hiding from everyone. I started emotional eating and was just saying that I love sausages and beer and cheese but in reality, it is the only thing that gave me comfort. I couldn’t understand what I am going through and I didn’t have sufficient words to express what I want and how I feel. Maybe my family wanted to understand me to give me the support that I need but I resorted to silence. I started regaining the weight that I have worked so hard for losing. With the weight that I have regained came profound education and new purpose in life that I have found. I stopped caring too much about how I look or how much I pounds I gained as long as I feel good about myself. So harsh comments from fellow Filipinos like “Maganda ka sana eh. Ang taba mo lang.” (you’re pretty but you’re fat) doesn’t bother me anymore.

Adulthood came with more freedom like expressing and loving myself. I no longer seek validation and if someone demands explanation and drains my energy, I’d just walk away in silence and spend time in solitude, read books and meditate. There are just so much to learn to waste time hanging out with people who can’t seem to get rid of their blinders. I’m beautiful! Deal with it!

Please share if you like and together, let’s stop body shaming.

Read Next

10 Things That Changed Since I Lived Abroad

How Traveling Solo Stopped me from Sabotaging Myself

redefining beauty

Products you may like

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!

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.

Follow Us

Subscribe to our newsletter

* indicates required