TRAVEL: Keeping Your Memories Alive (Philippines/Bali Recap Video)

Traveling is truly one of the most transformational things people can do for themselves. Whether you travel near or far, there’s a guarantee you won’t feel the same or be the same. It’s been two months since I left Bali, and I still think and dream about it every day.

Thanks to technology, I have all my memories saved as a constant reminder every day to keep my transformation alive. Combined, the boys and I have thousands of photos from our trip and hours of footage recorded on Alvin’s GoPro. In addition, I have a day-to-day diary of my trip that I’ve documented via this blog, with very detailed (sometimes redundant) descriptions of what went on and how we were feeling.

So coming home, I made sure to do two things. First, make a photo album with all my favorite photos from our trip (which was really hard because I had so many pictures of monkeys and bowls of curry that I wanted to include). 200 photos definitely didn’t feel like enough to capture 6-weeks worth of travel, but my album turned out absolutely perfect. Second, make a travel video. I hadn’t dabbled in any video editing in years, but I was ready to tackle the project. I sifted through hours worth of footage and Alvin selfies, and was able to condense our trip into twelve minutes. Watching the video was like reliving a dream. I wasn’t sure it really happened or of the places we visited were real.


Back to transformation… I’ll admit, it’s really easy to forget. I wanted to travel because I intended to find myself and recreate purpose within me. A month after being back home, I found myself already lost in my own confusion and self-doubt. Luckily, I took the time to put all the things I’ve learned and all the memories I’ve made into an album and a video. Every time I find myself in my own pit of negative thoughts, I come back to the great memories I made, not dwelling on the past, but using it as a reminder of how great my future can be.

For anyone traveling or planning on traveling, I highly recommend taking the time to put together an album with your favorite photos, or recording footage for you to show your friends and family when you get back home. And don’t procrastinate! The longer you wait, the more likely you’re never going to do it. So this should be the first thing you do when you get back from traveling. I promise it’ll be worth your time.



TRAVEL: Repelling Down Waterfalls and Jumping Off Cliffs – Canyoneering in Cebu (7/30/16)

Learning I had tonsillitis wasn’t going to stop me from doing one of the activities I was looking forward to the most on this trip. Not only was it by far one of the most fun experiences I’ve had so far, but it helped me get my mind off of my sore throat. Canyoneering was a completely unforgettable experience!

We started our day at 10AM, getting picked up a little later than that because our tour guide got a little lost while picking us up. We took a “motor-taxi” (three people on a motorcycle) to the canyoneering site in Montaneza. We went up and through the mountain, where we met up with the rest of our group. To our surprise, our entire group was made up of friendly Europeans. We spent the day with our new Danish and English friends. 

Before starting our adventure, we had a mini workshop on how to properly scale down a waterfall using a rope tied to a tree. We walked a little bit through muddy slopes until we got to our first waterfall. I was in the back of the line, and the anticipation until it was my turn was killing me. It was finally my turn, and to my surprise, it wasn’t bad at all! You feel very safe while repelling down the waterfalls. The trick is to trust your own abilities and stay calm. The guides know what they’re doing and they talk you through everything.

The rock formations were encompassing us left and right, with a little bit of skyline peeping through. We knew we were deep into the canyons. The waterfalls were abundant and the plants all flourished. The canyons weren’t as colorful as I expected, but I was still very impressed by the natural habitat of it all. 

Going through each waterfall was its own experience. Some waterfalls were easier than others. There was even a little bit of zip-lining involved for one of the waterfalls. Each waterfall gave what the guides would call a “full body massage”. Getting slapped in the face with large amounts of water didn’t really feel like a massage, but it sure was fun! 

One milestone for me was finally being able to conquer my fear of heights. This canyoneering tour involved repelling down three waterfalls, and jumping off two of them. I had never jumped off the edge into water from such a high distance before, but I was eager to conquer my fear. I landed funny each time, the first on my butt and the second on my thighs, but it didn’t hurt too bad and it was definitely an awesome adrenaline rush. 

After our last jump, it was time for us to give our bodies a rest. We ended the adventure at Montaneza’s natural hot springs. The springs varied from about 32 and 42 degrees Celsius. They were extremely hot, but after immersing yourself in for about five seconds, felt so good. The air smelled like sulfur (which smells like rotten eggs, if you haven’t smelled it before), but the free natural mini spa treatment at the end was worth it. 

For our lunch, we had delicious Filipino BBQ meal with the usual chicken, squid, fish, and more, that was included in our canyoneering package. We got to know our canyoneering mates better, and talked about the different countries we were from. One of our canyoneering mates was on a trip with her family, and just finished up a medical mission in the Philippines. Something about her presence was very warm, motherly, and friendly. An old woman approached us asking for money, and our new Danish friend had such a wonderful way of talking to her. Her Godly and loving presence is one I surely won’t forget. 

By the end of the day, the boys and I were way too tired to do anything else, and we were okay with that. Sore and beaming from the day’s adventure, we called it a day and spent our last night in Cebu, Philippines.