Batam Center Ferry Terminal

Indonesia was not actually part of our (I and my friend) itinerary. It just popped out of our brains and so off we went.

We chose to go to Batam Islands, not so famous place in Indonesia. We wanted to go to Bali but it was quite far for a day trip. I don’t know but I somehow felt that staying in the Philippines was maybe better than going to Batam. First, we got off the port which was really so far from the main city and the taxi driver charged us expensively. Second, the taxi driver took us to the best place (according to him and according to the tourist attraction list) in Batam—Batam City. I actually don’t understand why it was listed as a tourist attraction. There’s nothing to see, the lake was quite dirty, the restaurants are closed and the worse, there were no people at all…

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Down Under


Australia, one of the most beautiful countries and ranks high on my favourite places to visit. Sydney and its vicinity I have visited a couple of times and have not gotten tired of.

The opera house and harbour bridge – possibly the most iconic of Sydney. Catch a performance in the opera house, checked. Walk across the harbour bridge, checked. Meet a new friend and enjoy a steak at the Woolloomooloo wharf overlooking beautiful waters, checked. Get down to a Sunday Grocer’s market, checked. Morning stroll soaking in the tranquility and beauty of the botanic gardens, checked. Attend an amazing garden courtyard wedding, checked. Yum cha with old friends at Chinatown, checked. Check out an authentic Korean BBQ restaurant, checked. And.so.much.more.

Not my first time to Sydney, yet there are still a thousand and one things I can do. And then what of beyond Sydney? It’s not difficult to understand…

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weekly bits

t h e s p i c y s t i l e t t o

view of London from the plane | sneakers for the heavy walking days | enjoying SNOG and gossip with my cousin Pippa | street art by Shoreditch | the Liverpool Street Station | woven boots are my new obsession | gin + cucumber (the only thing I drink these days) at SoHo House | Oxford Circus shopping session | hot days call for cutoffs and florals | visiting in South Kensington | settling into the hotel in Paris

I’m in Paris for the majority of this week before heading back to London for some more fun.  The first week was so great, having gotten to spend some quality time with my older sister, cousins, meeting new people, and getting acquainted with the city.  I’m now so looking forward to the rest of my trip in Paris – long walks, outdoor meals, breathtaking architecture, and the list goes on.  I know that…

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Las Tres Cruces again, finally

Greg Ebersole

Finally, after a month or more, I was able to climb Las Tres Cruces again. Almost every Saturday night for the last month or more, it rained. The ground was too wet and slippery to hike. This morning, I woke at 6 a.m. and it was a spectacular day. Blue sky and bright sunshine. I went and had my coffee and pan queso, then walked from my barrio to the start of the trail- about 25 minutes. I climbed today in 44 minutes. I stopped about 4 times to take photos. I didn’t push myself. My time was a lot slower than my best- 37 minutes. Oh well. I think I’ve finally accepted the fact that I will probably never beat the record of my 26 year old friend, Natalia. The legend is that she climbed it in 30 minutes. I’m not sure if I should believe that or not…

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Mountain Goat


As we were about to start our hike down the valley to the villages outside Sapa, Vietnam, our guide May told us to be careful and take our time during the hike down. She said, ‘The ladies here and I grew up here, so we are used to taking this path. We’re like mountain goats — we can jump around and go down the path pretty easily. A lot of the foreign visitors are not used to that, so be careful and take your time, we don’t want any accident to happen.’ After she said that, I looked down the path we’re about to take. It started with a muddy, narrow path, but quickly becoming more challenging as it started sloping down.

I looked at my fellow travelers. I don’t think any of us were expecting this, but we thought we’ve gone this far, and if these local ladies could…

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Sailing on the Carnival Valor Part 1

The Balance Project

As mentioned earlier this week  over the next few weeks I’ll be recapping my latest adventures. I figured I’d start at the very beginning – the cruise ship itself. Smile Just as a heads up I have cruised before (with Royal Caribbean) however this was my first Carnival cruise.




We set sail on the Carnival Valor from the port of Miami for an 8 day cruise with 4 ports: Puerto Rico, Grand Turk, St. Maarten and St. Thomas. The Valor like most modern cruise ships is massive. There is a ton to do and see on board and it was a lot to take in during our 8 days! Though we spent very little time in our stateroom it was slightly bigger then our last cruise, had all the amenities, and was always kept clean!




One of the best parts of any cruise (especially for a…

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