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: First-Time Scuba Divers in Talumben, Bali (8/7/16)

The boys and I made an agreement as we were planning our trip that I would plan the Philippines and they would plan Bali. I blindly flew to Bali with them, with a slight idea of what we had in store for us for the next three weeks. I wasn’t expecting scuba diving to come so soon in our itinerary for Bali. For our second day on the island, we all woke up and were ready to be picked up at 7AM by Atlantis Bali Diving. Rushed for time, we went to the nearest Circle K to pick up some instant coffee and snacks for breakfast.

By that time, the traffic and congestion in Kuta already kicked in. I was exhausted and slept nearly the entire time in our car ride to Talumben, Bali, where we would learn how to scuba dive for our first times. Almost three hours later, we arrived at our destination in Talumben. We stopped at a restaurant that also doubled as a destination point for divers and those learning how to dive. After a short briefing, we all got in the pool that was there to learn how to use our gear. We learned three basic but important techniques that we were required to efficiently do before we actually went in the ocean. The pool went from less than five feet to a ten foot drop, where we tested out our gear, learned how to equalize, and swam in circles. This helped immensely, and I was able to get used to swimming with my tank and regulator fairly quickly.

That was step one to our intro diving course. Step two was actually being able to go out into the ocean to see the coral reefs. With our heavy tanks, we walked down to the rocky beach and into the water. We put on our flippers, deflated our suits, and went down under. I was immediately amazed by how wonderful everything looked from in the water. I’ve been snorkeling plenty of times, but getting to swim right next to the coral and through all the different types of fish is an unreal experience. We swam passed anemones, brightly colored coral, and through fish both tiny and large. There were also statues that were put there by locals that had been growing moss and coral on them too. 

After about 20-30 minutes of diving, we went back to the restaurant to take a break and have lunch. Josh and I both ordered the vegetarian tofu curry, which was to die for. During our meal, we couldn’t stop talking about how amazing that first short experience diving was. We were all very comfortable in the water, and had no problem assimilating our bodies to the pressure changes and breathing through our mouths. Unfortunately, Josh was having pain in his tooth from the change in pressure, and decided to take it easy for the next dive. 

Our third dive was about a 50-meter walk away from the restaurant. We carried our gear to Amed Beach where our destination, the shipwreck, was waiting for us to explore it. We put on our tanks and fins and headed back into the water. The USS Liberty was a WWII shipwreck that was stuck on the shore of the beach until a volcano eruption pushed it down into the water. It is now a spot where divers can explore the wreckage and all the living organisms that live on it and swim through it. We spent about 49-minutes swimming slowly around the shipwreck. We saw thousands of fish, some of which were tiny and small and others that were bigger than the size of my torso. There were beautiful neon colored fish everywhere displaying their coats of orange, green, pink, blue, and every color imaginable. Our guide, Ruben, was very relaxed as he took us around the ship and let us explore under his supervision. We followed him around as he showed us on his underwater writing pad what part of the ship we were at and what kinds of creatures we were seeing. We saw a sting-ray, a bunch of eel peeping through the sand, and more funny camouflage creatures in the sand and on the coral. As we were headed back to shore, I was bummed it was over, but beaming with excitement at the fact that I just experienced that.

Our experience taking our intro diving course with Atlantis Diving was amazing! I highly recommend booking with them if you’re ever in Bali. And if you haven’t tried scuba diving before, I highly recommend doing that as well. It’s an unreal experience that I’m sure just gets better and better every time.