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: A Water Palace and an Endless Staircase to a 2,000 Year Old Temple (Amed Beach, Bali 8/20/2016)

From Les Village (next to Tedjakula) we took a one-hour transport along the coast to Amed Beach. After hiking Mt. Batur and hanging out in the little laid-back town for two days, we were ready to see new sites. Amed Beach is known for its great snorkeling and scuba diving spots, but ironically we didn’t do either. Instead of going to the beach, we ended up visiting the local sites. Our new friend Lily tagged along with us to Amed Beach as well, making a great addition travel companion for the next two days. 
Our first stop was a water palace about 30-minutes away from our hostel. The former royal palace is famously known for its beautiful fountains. At both sides of the water palace are different types of fountains. Everyone’s favorite seemed to be the koi fish pond, where hundreds of koi fish swam. There’s a stone pathway that swivels through the pond that tourists take turns walking through. Alvin was determined to take an epic pic with the fish, and quickly convinced me to buy a loaf of bread to feed them with. We all took turns feeding the fish, watching them swarm to us and (quite savagely) swim over each other to catch the bread. They called me the Koi/Coy Queen (however you want to interpret that) as I walked around throwing bread into the pond while the koi followed me through until the end. 

The layout of the place is beautiful, and whoever lived there really must have had a vast appreciation for water. There was a swimming pool that we didn’t get to swim in, but we were happy just admiring the palace’s design, the statues, the huge lily pads, and the bridges. On our way out, Josh finished up the bread and got the most epic pic with the koi fish. 

That day we were on sort of a tight schedule. We wanted to make it back for a 5PM yoga class but had no idea how huge our next destination was going to be. What we originally though was just one temple ended up being a series of temples that requires trekking through a staircase of over 1,700 steps. Pura Lempuyang is one of Bali’s holiest temples, something I didn’t know before arriving. We put on our sarongs, paid a donation fee, and were given careful instructions from the worker at the front about the hike that was about to begin for us. We were all surprised to find out that the entire hike to see all the temples and to reach the top is 4 hours total. There is also another pathway going straight up to the last temple on top of the mountain that is a 2-hour trek up. Realistically, I knew I would have to miss yoga so we called and canceled. Usually I’m pretty bummed out when I miss yoga, but this was definitely worth it. The first temple was only a 5-minute walk up, but it had the most beautiful view of the city and the green mountain below. It almost seemed like we were in a floating temple in the sky looking outwards. 

The temple office was going to close at 5:30PM and we needed to go back to return Lily’s sarong rental. Since we were pressed for time, we decided to take the easy way and rode our scooters up to the next temple. From there, it was a one-hour trek up staircases to the top. We somehow made it there and back in about an hour. Legs burning and nearly panting for air, I had to stop and take breaks every so often. Alvin kept going at a faster pace while Josh stayed and waited to make sure I was okay. To make the journey more bearable, I turned our trek up to the temple into my own personal meditation time. I repeated to myself “I choose peace, instead of this” as I inhaled and exhaled, which is an affirmation I picked up from a book I’m reading. The hike suddenly became much more pleasant. We passed by locals who just finished up a ceremony up at the top. Along the way we also ran into some very territorial monkeys, who didn’t care too much for human interaction and didn’t like it when Josh tried taking a picture while they were there. We finally made it to the top, and as expected it was foggy and misty. We couldn’t see anything below us, and there wasn’t anything architecturally amazing about the temple, but you can’t deny the mystical and peaceful aura the temple still has 2,000 years after being built. We walked back down to meet Lily who stayed behind, tried not to make the monkeys mad, and enjoyed the countryside as we drove back to our hostel. 

August 20th just so happened to be me and Josh’s two-monthaversary, so we decided to have dinner by ourselves. We picked the second restaurant that we stopped at since it looked promising. Turns out they didn’t have honey melon, or prawns, or beef, so we decided to just have drinks and an appetizer and go elsewhere since we started craving beef. We found a little hole in the wall place with no one there playing some “light jazz” as we called it and decided to get some curry there. The beef ended up being terrible, but the curry was great and I just loved spending some alone time with Josh. 

We drove back to our hostel and found Lily walking on the side of the road looking for ice cream. We coincidentally were also looking for ice cream, so she hopped on and grabbed some with us. We sat eating our ice cream and drinking soy drinks (that Josh and I absolutely love now). Lily ended up being lovely company and we enjoyed talking with her about all the food she’s tried during her travels. 

Extremely tired from our unexpected mini-hike, I knocked out on Josh while instagramming.