Three Day, Three Quotes Challenge: Day 3

On the last day of my quotes challenge, I decided to choose another song. Here is one of my all time favorite songs.

It’s a lot of pressure to find a perfect quote to end this challenge.

Since my first two responses have been lyrics from songs, I feel a strong desire to do one for today as well.

What a Wonderful World

I see trees of green, red roses too 
I see them bloom for me and you 
And I think to myself 
What a wonderful world

I see skies of blue and clouds of white 
The bright blessed day, the dark sacred night 
And I think to myself 
What a wonderful world

The colors of the rainbow, so pretty in the sky 
Are also on the faces of people goin’ by 
I see friends shakin’ hands, sayin’ 
“How do you do?” 
They’re really sayin’, 
“I love you.”

I hear babies cry, I watch them grow 
They’ll learn much more than I’ll ever know 
And I think to myself 
What a wonderful world

Yes, I think to myself 
What a wonderful world

I hear babies cry, I watch them grow 
They’ll learn much more than I’ll ever know 
And I think to myself 
What a wonderful world

Yes, I think to myself 
What a wonderful world
What a wonderful world

I hope you enjoyed the song! This song has been my go-to cheer up song, each line encapsulates a beautiful feeling. Some things in life are just beautiful in its simple ways. Ending the day with jazz and a sip of wine is my way to go.

The ability to do something isn’t so much a problem as keeping it consistent. Hope to be back for good now. I may be joining a blogging challenge again pretty soon. I just need to build up a solid discipline foundation. See you in the next post!


I am nominating:

Thoughts on Book: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

I’ve never been a huge fan of self-help books.

My siblings and I come from a small town, population: 3,500. We only recently opened a super-Walmart (which is still kind of small).

We don’t get to see the big city often, but when we do, our favorite thing to do is go to Barnes & Noble.

No, really. We love it there.

It’s crazy how excited we get come the day we get to go. It is, in fact, the only thing we do in Atlanta. And we go there just to read all day long! We would yearn for the weekend to come just so that we can spend an entire day sitting under the store’s tree nook and read.

This time, I chose to read The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. I’ve heard of  this title through various lists of books one should read during their life, and it seemed short, so why not?

The book captivated me.

It was a perfect dose of fantasy and reality. It asked questions that I’ve been asking myself, such as: What was I meant to do with life? What if I just wanted to enjoy life versus working the life expected of me? 

But it didn’t write the book in the typical tell-you-facts kind of book. There were adventures, adversities, and realizations.

Published in 1988, in Brazil, The Alchemist started out modestly. Copies of the books were sold through word of mouth, but exponentially grew as Coelho had appealed to an American publisher to translate and sell it in the United States. Then, everybody was reading it. 

The Alchemist tells a fictional story of an Arab “boy” (as he is referred as throughout the whole book) who has a recurring dream and the tug of fate to pursue it. He is discouraged by many obstacles, but always has guidance “omens” to pursue what his legacy is. Along the way, he learns to read the signs of the world, understanding how everything in the world is connected. As he reaches the “X” where his treasure is supposed to be located, he finds out that it was buried alllll the way back where he started.

It wasn’t a life changer like The Four Agreements, but I was hooked and finished it within 3 days. The short 200 page book (100 if you read on the phone) had given me a lot of thinking on my current life phase.

The book highlights his resilience, quick wit, weakness, bravery, compassion, logic, ambition, sorrows, and regrets. The boy is so human. 

Yet, there were magical elements, which reminds me of all the fantasy books I used to obsess over.

Time and again, I found myself rooting for the boy, wondering what happens next, as if it were happening to me. I want him to reach his treasure, as I yearn to reach mine- whatever that may be.

I related to the book on a personal level, because I felt it throughout my life.

There is an impression that seems like the book has an overdone cheesy, silly, time-wasting story of you-can-do-anything-you-put-your-heart-to kind of attitude. I don’t believe that the book is meant to be taken seriously by any means.

There were many important lessons I enjoyed through the book, such as:

The book highlights the boy’s resilience, quick wit, weakness, bravery, compassion, logic, ambition, sorrows, and regrets. The boy is so human. Yet, there were magical elements, which reminds me of all the fantasy book I used to obsess over.

If you want something bad enough, the universe will conspire to help you

If one wants something to happen, they have to go after it like crazy. I find that when I search for things, there are always ways to make it happen. Sometimes it comes from a different place than expected, but the signs are all there.

Awareness of the disconnect between people and the surroundings

People don’t listen to the signs in nature. The book also teaches us that all things are connected. The life and energy of every living being can affect all others around it.

Nothing is insignificant, knowledge and sincere, hard work will pay off on the long run

In this part of the book, the boy had gotten all of his life savings taken by a thief. He is left with nothing in a strange land where he begins working at a jewelry store. Slowly he helped the shop-owner expand his business over the months. The business amazingly takes off.

The book spoke out to my naive self, that dreams will eventually come true, if you keep pursuing it and not lose sight of your treasure.


Thanks for stopping by! Have you read this book? What are your thoughts? Do you know of similar books that is similar to this and can recommend? Thanks!IMG_0281

Perspective

“Forces beyond your control can take away everything you possess except one thing, your freedom to choose how you will respond to the situation. You cannot control what happens to you in life, but you can always control what you will feel and do about what happens to you.”

— Viktor E. Frankl

Not taking things personally is perhaps my biggest weakness. Sometimes, it just takes a little reminder from loved ones.

I’m quite lucky that no one has given up on me no matter how stubborn I am.

A Year in Photos Review

Another year goes by, the time comes to recount the things we’ve accomplished.

A successful year marks a time where we let our imaginations take us where we’ve not been before. We can fight of monsters if we stand together. halloweenwithmybrother

This year, we started on our path towards having a better body and health, discovering the beauty of mother nature in the process.  waterfall

Developing relationships can be pretty difficult sometimes, but definitely not impossible. Once we surpass it, we make the strongest team in the world! Nothing will stop us from going on adventures together.

I hope that next year will be another year of improvement, making meaningful pursuits, and fun travels!peace

@ Photo Challenge: 2017 Favorites

 

Thanks for stopping by! Here are some life appreciation posts I think you might like:

What are your year’s highlights?

What’s in my Journal Entry?

My journal is what keeps me from going mad.

I recently filled up my Eagle notebook, given to me by my little sister as a Christmas gift. Its lifespan was 1 year before I ran out of space. I miss it a lot. So, today, I decided to write about what I keep in my journal and why I love it so much.

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First of all, my journal isn’t like most people’s journal. It doesn’t have a beginning, middle, end. It doesn’t follow a paragraph/sentence structure.

My thoughts often flutter incessantly and annoyingly. My journal captures it and shuts it up, giving it a sense of closure.

When I’m overwhelmed or stressed out, I sit down and write whatever comes to my mind. More often than not, I’m already thinking about these things, so what comes out on paper is a flurry of segments, undecipherable rubbish that makes perfect sense to only me. I start connecting my thoughts.

So- my writing looks like this:

Oh yeah, I also enjoy drawing stick figures. 😛

In my journal, I frequently assess myself. Where I’m at in life. Am I making a difference. Am I moving forward or at a standstill. This keeps me in check of whether or not my goals need to be adjusted.

After the general first thought, I reflect on the things I’ve accomplished in recent times, and whether I’m happy with it. Here, I specifically list activities that I’ve been pursuing lately. I write down everything worth noting.

Lately? I’ve been pursuing photography (very amateur, but please do check out my Instagram or Facebook for my recent photos!). My goal here is to capture pictures at an perception not thought of before. I have also been spending a lot of time exploring my own backyard in the mountains, and have been doing lots of hikes with my younger siblings.  

In my reflections, I also give note to life lessons I’ve learned. I enjoy writing reflection blog posts on my discovery of things in life that I did not understand before. It’s amazing to see the cultural differences between my parents’ generation (raised in Vietnam) and my younger siblings’ generation (raised in the United States).

When I’m not pondering my recent accomplishments, I turn to my future. I list my goals, my to-do list, my list of things to improve on. This is usually where I write down my next steps in career, travel destinations, new recipes to try, things to research, etc.


Travel notes

  • Here, I jot down a bullet list of the things that happen while traveling- and especially, my thoughts and feelings on them. I find that when I’m writing about blogs, it’s more difficult to remember what I felt while traveling versus the technical detail (which a quick google search can refresh my memory on).
  • try to come up with a blogging schedule, but it’s easier said than done. I get into inspirations and would write a blog post.

10 Things I’m Thankful For

Something I’ve picked up over the years, is that when I’m down, writing a list of things I’m grateful for gives me more purpose.

  • Family and loved ones
  • I appreciate where I’m at now, and my awareness of myself, my culture, my surroundings
  • I appreciate my small town in the mountains (which I cared for before)
  • Autumn and the beautiful photo opportunities
  • Classical music (which I’ve been listening to a lot lately)
  • Books – currently reading the Kite Runner
  • Food – I’m hoping to bake a pie for the first time this fall- eep!
  • Writing/blogging – and especially my fellow blogging friends. <3
  • The ability to do the things that I love
  • My future

Thanks for reading! This year, we’ve been getting into the Halloween spirit. Ready to take my siblings to go trick or treating! What’s on your journal/itinerary? Cheers to another beautiful autumn. <3

Here are some posts you might like!

An Open Letter to Worried Parents

This is a bilingual blog post. Please scroll down to read in English!


Thưa ba mẹ,

Ba mẹ mới nghe cái quyết định cuộc sống mới nhất của con, va không hài lòng.

Trước khi ba mẹ nghĩ đây la ngu xuẫn và ngừng đọc, xin hãy nghe con nối xong. Con hiểu sụ lo láng của ba mẹ.

Tư khi con con nhỏ, ba mẹ luôn ỏ ben cạnh con. Ba mẹ đả nui lón con suốt 23 năm nay. Ba mẹ ỏ ben cạnh con trong lúc con mới biết đi và té, lúc con thành cong va thất bại. Ba mẹ lầm quá giò đễ cung cấp cho su khỏe mạnh, học hành, va co hội không giới hạn cua con.

Bỏi vi vạy, ba mẹ muốn con đi cái con đường an toàn nhất trong cuộc đời.

Từ lúc nhỏ, ba me lúc nào cung phải đóng vai trò người xấu, cực liệt phản đối nhửng gì con muốn làm. Chỉ là muốn con đi con đường đúng. Ba mẹ sợ những gì không chác chắn. Không biết con có một kế hoạch hay không. Không biết con có an toàn không. Không biết ba mẹ có nên ngan cảng con ve những “quyết định nguy hiểm đó không”.

Ba mẹ còn có thể làm gì? Ngoại trừ nói “Không!” đến những gì con muốn?

Bây giờ, con đã nói với ba mẹ, ba mẹ nghe nhu con đi trên một cái roller coaster mà không có đeo dây an toàn. Điều mà một người ngu xuẩn cũng thấy được đó là một cái ý ngu ngốc. Vì vậy, ba mẹ lập tức không cho.

Nhưng đợi một chút.

Nếu con có thể có một chút thời gian để cho ba mẹ xem… để giúp ba mẹ nhìn từ quan điểm của con

Con đã trưởng thành.

Mặc du con đã đủ tuổi để tự quyết định, nhưng con vẫn cồn muốn nói với ba mẹ mọi thứ.

Đó là vì con tôn trọng ba mẹ và muốn hỏi ý kiến ​​của ba mẹ. Con rất vui khi chia sẻ tin tức mới  với ba mẹ. Con muốn ba mẹ là một phần của cuộc đời con.

Nếu con theo một con đường an toàn không trở ngại trong cuộc đời, thì con sẽ học được gì? Con sẽ hiểu và cảm kích được gì? Mặt khác, nếu con không nói với ba mẹ? Điều gì sẽ xảy ra nếu thay vì con nối với ba mẹ, con làm những điều con muốn trong bí mật?

Bởi vì con đã chọn con đường của con, con đã trưởng thành, trở nên hợp lý hơn, cảm kích cược song hơn, thể hiện sự đánh giá cao trong bạn bè, trải qua những khó khăn thực sự mà con sẽ không có nếu con đã theo con đường mà ba mẹ đã chọn cho con.

Con đã tiến bộ về sự giao tiếp và sự quyết định của con.

Hay nhất là, con đã trở nên khôn ngoan hơn và sáng suốt. Con đã phát triển vượt ra ngoài cái, “kiếm được nhiều tiền.” Con luôn nghĩ đến cách làm tốt một cách đọc đáo. Để tạo ra một thế giới tốt đẹp hơn và cuộc sống tốt đẹp hơn. Đây không phải là những gì ba mẹ muốn cho con hây sao?

Người ta nối, không ai có thể biết làm ba mẹ là thế nào trước khi họ có con. Và đó là lý do con rất cảm ơn ba mẹ ỏ bên cạnh con. Ba mẹ đã làm rất tốt!

Con cũng biết là những ai theo nhửng đâm mê của họ thì sẽ hạnh phúc.

Ba mẹ đã cho con cuộc sống này, bây giờ ba mẹ có thể cho phép con sống nó được không?

sunset

 


Dear Parents,

You just heard about my latest big life decision, and are displeased.

Before you think this is stupid and stop reading, please hear me out. I understand where you’re coming from.

Ever since I was little, you were there. You’ve raised me all these years. You’ve been there through all my toddles and tumbles, my successes and failures. You have worked overtime to make sure I am healthy, finish my education, and have unlimited opportunities.  

Because of that, you want me to take the safest, smartest route in life as possible.

You’ve had to always play the bad guy, always strongly opposing the things I want to do. Just to make sure I’m taking the right path. You’re terrified of uncertainty. Not knowing if I have a plan or if I am going places with my life. Not knowing if I am safe. Not knowing if you should be stopping me from these “reckless decisions.”

What else can you do? Except to consistently say “No!” to my endless list of desires?

Now, I’ve just told you, what seems to you like going on a roller coaster without a seatbelt. What a no-brainer could see that it is a stupid idea. So you instantly say no.

But wait.

If I can have a moment to show you… to help you see from my perspective…

I am mature.

I am old enough to make my own decision, but I choose to tell you everything.

It’s because I respect you and ask for your opinions. I’m excited to share my news with you. I want you to be a part of my life.  

If I follow a safe unchallenged path in my life, what will I learn? What will I understand and appreciate? On the flip side, what if I didn’t tell you? What if instead of communicating, I choose to do all these in secret?

Because I have chosen my path, I have grown, become more reasonable, more appreciative, shown great judgement in friends, undergone real hardships that I would not have had if I had followed a life you chose for me.

I have developed great communication skills and decision making skills.

Best of all, I have become wiser. I have developed far beyond “making lots of money.” I’m constantly thinking of ways to be outside the box. To make a better world and a better life. Isn’t that what you’ve been waiting for?

They say you don’t know what it’s like to be a parent until you have kids. I admit that it’s true. I cannot truly know, and that’s why I am so thankful to have you by my side. You’ve done a great job!

What I do know, is that those who follow their hearts are happier.

You gave me this life, now will you give me blessing to live it?

sunset


Thanks for reading! This is a response to the 21 Weeks of Travel Blogging Challenge!

Interested in participating in the Weekly Travel Blogging Challenge? Feel free to make your own today!

Week 1:  A favorite travel photo of you and intro
Week 2: Little known tips
Week 3: Funny story
Week 4: Misadventures
Week 5: Top three cultural foods
Week 6: Unusual travel activities/photos
Week 7: Inspiration for traveling
Week 8: Five favorite travel blogs
Week 9: Gross/disgusting stories
Week 10: Best adventures while traveling
Week 11: What’s in your backpack?
Week 12: Happy and sad stories
Week 13: Unique cultures encountered
Week 14: Top three favorite destinations
Week 15: Travel regrets
Week 16: Scary and cool travel stories
Week 17: Things to purge
Week 18: Humbling things learned from traveling
Week 19: Confessions
Week 20: Travel bucket list (countries/activities)
Week 21: Your challenge post highlights and what you’ve learned during this challenge

These awesome people are also doing the challenge!!! Click to see their stories!

 

The Most Unforgettable Adventures!

Welcome back, fellow travel enthusiasts!

This week, I’d like to share some of my best adventures while traveling! I have always considered myself lucky and forever thankful that I have had so many opportunities to see someplace new.

When people ask me where I get all the money to travel… well, I don’t. I really don’t have much money. In my post on how I travel cheaply, I talked more about ways I save.

Still, I have never regretted a single dollar spent on traveling. Here are some priceless memories I’ve had from my adventures.

Studying Abroad in Singapore

I know this may seem cheesy and a cliché, but studying abroad in Singapore was one of my favorite adventures.

It was where I lived overseas for the first time. I was scared, homesick, and constantly active with all the planned school activities. I made some very close friends there, where I bonded with other international students.

We shared our immersive cultural experience and struggles at the university. We explored fun night adventures, and always looked out for each other. If you get an opportunity to study abroad, I would 5000% recommend it!

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Best of all, in the convenient location of my university, I was able to take trips around Southeast Asia during school breaks. While I was in Singapore, I had the opportunity to visit Malaysia, the Philippines, and Indonesia! Afterwards, I took the opportunity to backpack around Southeast Asia. I guess you could say that Singapore had started my travel bug.

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Full Moon Party in Thailand

Have you ever been to the Full Moon Party in Thailand?

We’ve all heard of it. Every month, tens of thousands of people flock to Koh Phangan to celebrate the full moon party. I have always loved dancing, and that night, I truly danced the night away. I danced the entire coastline and back. People standing in each other’s space, filling up the beach, sharing food and drinks.

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It’s a night for a spontaneity and fun.

National Parks in the USA

I always feel ashamed when people ask me whether I’ve been here or there in the United States. I have neglected traveling my own country until most recently, my boyfriend and I took a trip around the United States. We had a National Parks pass and had visited every single National Park on our way in the US. I’ve never realized how beautiful our country was! Here are some of my favorite hike photos.

Working for Stay While Abroad

Have you ever worked while abroad? We primarily use HelpX. But there are other great resources for work! In our work, we exchange work for our stay. While in Mexico, we lived in cabins by the sea and received guests coming in via cruise ships every week! We met other work for stay travelers as well as partied with locals. Unforgettable memories indeed!

Wandering Around New York City

I’m sure I’ve worn you guys with my endless stories of New York, but it is honestly one of my best adventures yet. We had just returned from our backpacking trip in Central America and decided to move to NYC. In New York, I had my first corporate job on Wall Street, I found my first apartment, paid my first utility bills. I had to figure out how to adult very, very quickly because it is a very expensive city to mess up in. 

I have very fond memories of figure out how to use the subway, walking and biking around the city, going to job interviews, eating cheap food, seeing Broadway shows, and many, many more.

Korea has my Seoul

Second only to NYC, Seoul has the coolest energy I’ve ever felt. The culture is so authentic and unique. The people so colorful, bright, and happy. Everyone is dressed super cute. And street food! Tons of loooovely street foods!! 

The country was beautiful, the food exotic, and energy out of this world. I want to revisit sooo bad.

You might also like some of my other adventure posts:


Thanks for visiting my little corner of the blogging world! What are your favorite adventures?

As I’ve shared in my latest reflection, I have started my journey with my 2nd remote job. The past weeks, I have been training and getting in the groove of work, so I haven’t adventured (or write) as much, but I really appreciate all the support from my lovely travel blogging friends and readers!

Thanks for reading! This is a response to the 21 Weeks of Travel Blogging Challenge!

Interested in participating in the Weekly Travel Blogging Challenge? Feel free to make your own today!

Week 1:  A favorite travel photo of you and intro
Week 2: Little known tips
Week 3: Funny story
Week 4: Misadventures
Week 5: Top three cultural foods
Week 6: Unusual travel activities/photos
Week 7: Inspiration for traveling
Week 8: Five favorite travel blogs
Week 9: Gross/disgusting stories
Week 10: Best adventures while traveling
Week 11: What’s in your backpack?
Week 12: Happy and sad stories
Week 13: Unique cultures encountered
Week 14: Top three favorite destinations
Week 15: Travel regrets
Week 16: Scary and cool travel stories
Week 17: Things to purge
Week 18: Humbling things learned from traveling
Week 19: Confessions
Week 20: Travel bucket list (countries/activities)
Week 21: Your challenge post highlights and what you’ve learned during this challenge

These awesome people are also doing the challenge!!! Click to see their stories!

 

Travel Blogging Challenge- Week 7 (Inspiration for Traveling)

There are three types of people: those who travel, those who want to travel, and those who don’t, can’t, and never will.

At 23, I’m not quite a kid and not old. People around me are getting jobs, making families, buying houses, etc. I often think to myself… what have I done with my life? What brings me satisfaction?

I would like to share my philosophy and story on why I started traveling and what nudges me to keep doing so.

Life’s too short. Optimistically, I estimate I will live another 80 years (haha, bear with me). That’s not a lot of time. My family always tells me that that’s a weird outlook on life. I grew up in a small, majority-whites town where people go to retire. People are born, raised, and live their lives there. Unfortunately, a static life not a life for me. I left. Moved to Asia, traveled the United States, backpacked Central America, moved to New York. I feel that being stationary wastes what little time I have left, which leads me to my next point.

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I want to see and  do something new everyday. Like many other parents of travelers, my parents want a stable, happy, safe life. They were 110% against my traveling. They were refugees from Vietnam, fleeing the country from oppression and seeking a better place. I understand that they would want me to go to school, get a stable job, and live my life happily. I am forever thankful for what they’ve done and proud of how far they’ve come since leaving Vietnam. I can’t say how much I respect them for their decisions. If I had lived in my small town forever, I would know nothing. There’s a million and infinity things I don’t know out there, and I want to change that.  

Beneficial to my mind and body. Travel relieves my stress. It tells me my troubles aren’t that significant in the grand scheme of things. It shows me different sides to myself that I never knew, food that I never thought I’d like, people I’d meet, ordeals I’d surpass. I pushed my body to do crazy, amazing things while traveling more than I ever did while I was at home. It’s amazing.

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What am I saving money for? Nobody knows when they’re going to lose it all. When I lost phone and wallet on a rickety bus in Guatemala, I thought I wasn’t going to make it. I realized that no matter how much I save, it would still be for naught if life takes it away in a whirl of wind. I save more money, pay more bills, save more, spend more, pay more bills. The cycle is never-ending! In my life, the only thing I’ve been happy to give my money for is to travel. I never regret spending anything on a trip out of town. Now, I save my money for travel and cultural foods around the world. 😉

If I don’t do it now, I might never do it! Goals change all the time. Today, I might love traveling, tomorrow, I might not. I might lose motivation, get lazy, change directions unexpectedly, die, etc. A few years ago, my bucket list had included going to the Amazon Forest. Today, I want to go on a cruise. I changed, because I don’t want to risk getting eaten by a giant snake, a fear I didn’t have a few years back. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but just a small missed opportunity. I just hope what I replace it with is a bigger jump for great adventures.

Share my travels. I’ve always loved traveling, even if alone. When I met my boyfriend, I experienced what it felt like to travel together. My horizons expanded. When I see/eat/go/read something great, I want to share it with my loved ones, and traveling is on the top of my things to share. It’s amazing to come home after a travel and cook the crazy dishes from around the world for my family to experience. I want so much to take my siblings to New York and show them how big the world can be.

My list of inspirations are endless. But that’s all for today, what are your inspirations in life and travel??? 

Hope to connect with you soon! Peace!

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Thanks for reading! This is a response to the 21 Weeks of Travel Blogging Challenge!

Interested in participating in the Weekly Travel Blogging Challenge? Feel free to make your own today!

Week 1:  A favorite travel photo of you and intro
Week 2: Little known tips
Week 3: Funny story
Week 4: Misadventures
Week 5: Top three cultural foods
Week 6: Unusual travel activities/photos
Week 7: Inspiration for traveling
Week 8: Five favorite travel blogs
Week 9: Gross/disgusting stories
Week 10: Best adventures while traveling
Week 11: What’s in your backpack?
Week 12: Happy and sad stories
Week 13: Unique cultures encountered
Week 14: Top three favorite destinations
Week 15: Travel regrets
Week 16: Scary and cool travel stories
Week 17: Things to purge
Week 18: Humbling things learned from traveling
Week 19: Confessions
Week 20: Travel bucket list (countries/activities)
Week 21: Your challenge post highlights and what you’ve learned during this challenge

These awesome people are also doing the challenge!!! Click to see their stories!

 

Travel Blogging Challenge – Week  6 (Unusual Travel Activities/Photos)

Welcome back to Travel Blogging Challenge Week 6!

So many unusual travel photos and stories, where do I start?

I thought this would be an excellent opportunity to share some random pictures that I couldn’t put in any of my other posts!

When people ask me what I like to do, I would be at a lost to explain. I like to do a variety of things, especially while traveling. It’s hard because each country has it’s own personality. The activities I like to do vary from place to place. I guess that’s why I like to blog to show the different aspects that I enjoy out of my travels. I hope you enjoy it!

Number 1: Born in a refugee camp and raised in a foreign country all my life, I was not able to explore my mother land until I was 21. For the first time, I celebrated Vietnamese New Year, Tet, in the traditional dress, ao dai, and holding my red packet (of money) li xi.

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Number 2: One of my proudest travel accomplishment is the time I hiked up a 13,000 ft volcano in Guatemala, and seeing it erupt, feeling  the rumble, and being able watch the lava flow through the night.

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Beautiful views above the clouds with Acatenango

Number 3: Have you ever seen giant robots fighting as you have dinner? Only Japan would have it. Check out the time I ate at Robot Restaurant in Japan!

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Number 4: Here is me, chilling with Buddy the Bison at Yellowstone National Park.

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Number 5: Had to take this photo with these gorgeous lady-boys in Thailand! Would you have guessed that they’re men? You go, girls!

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Number 7: Scuba diving was definitely one of the scariest thing I’ve ever done. Considering it was a sketchy establishment in a developing country, and with 5 minutes of training. Much crazier than that is trying not to freak out with a giant whale shark floating just 6 feet from me. After getting a hang of not drowning, I was amazed with the coral reef below as well as the whale sharks swimming in the background!

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What are your unusual experiences? Any on your wish list?


Thanks for reading! This is a response to the 21 Weeks of Travel Blogging Challenge!

Interested in participating in the Weekly Travel Blogging Challenge? Feel free to make your own today!

Week 1:  A favorite travel photo of you and intro
Week 2: Little known tips
Week 3: Funny story
Week 4: Misadventures
Week 5: Top three cultural foods
Week 6: Unusual travel activities/photos
Week 7: Inspiration for traveling
Week 8: Five favorite travel blogs
Week 9: Gross/disgusting stories
Week 10: Best adventures while traveling
Week 11: What’s in your backpack?
Week 12: Happy and sad stories
Week 13: Unique cultures encountered
Week 14: Top three favorite destinations
Week 15: Travel regrets
Week 16: Scary and cool travel stories
Week 17: Things to purge
Week 18: Humbling things learned from traveling
Week 19: Confessions
Week 20: Travel bucket list (countries/activities)
Week 21: Your challenge post highlights and what you’ve learned during this challenge

Who else is doing the challenge?

 

 

Travel Blogging Challenge – Week  4 (Travel Misadventures) The Time I Almost Died on a Motorbike

Getting into a motor accident in Asia is no joke. I’ve heard so many horror stories of the ugly traffic, terrible drivers, no road etiquette, no care for street signs. Countless of accidents result in deaths. If the local government happens to be corrupt, the guilty party can even get away unscathed.

This week’s travel blogging theme is travel misadventures.  I want to write this post to tell my story, in hopes of showing future travelers ways to avoid the same misfortune.

I was traveling through Thailand during my trip around Southeast Asia when I decided to take a trip from Chiang Mai to Pai (about 6 hours drive) by motorbike. The way up the mountain was curvy and narrow. As I was going up the blind curve, a car sped down the mountain in the middle of the road. Seeing that it was on my lane, I swerved out of its way.

The sequence of events that followed felt like a dream.

With not enough time or room to move out of the car’s way, I fell hard. My bike scraping all the way to the other side, closing the cliff side. The car that caused my fall stopped.. then kept driving on. Several cars passed by, and kept driving.

I saw everything happen in slow motion. I didn’t quite register what happened. I started to panic. I was too surprised to cry. I just started to scream, “Help!” Even though I didn’t know exactly what I wanted help for. A guy with a truck stopped and asked if I needed help. With several people’s help, I was able to be carried to a local hospital on a back of a truck.

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Today, looking back, this event had affect my life in several ways. Several thoughts come to mind as my motorbike spiraled out of control, and I rolled several feet, scarring my knees and hand for life.

Death. Is traveling the world worth dying for? Flashes of regret as I hit the ground. I think of my family. I think of my partner. How if I had died that moment, that some things are still left undone. Picking my life back up, I remind myself everyday that I have to live it to the fullest!

Scars. I typically never regret any adventures I take. With this one, I have two giant scars on my knees to remind me of that moment. I have learned a lot of things, and experienced a lot of things. I have become smarter from it. And hopefully, so will have you.

Determined to not let my accident destroy my trip. I continued to hike, bike, climb, swim. Which had caused it to infect for a week, but no regrets!

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That’s all folks!

Thanks for reading! This is a response to the 21 Weeks of Travel Blogging Challenge!

Read more of my posts from the Travel Blogging Challenge:

Week 1:  A favorite travel photo of you and intro
Week 2: Little known tips
Week 3: Funny story
Week 4: Misadventures
Week 5: Top three cultural foods
Week 6: Unusual travel activities/photos
Week 7: Inspiration for traveling
Week 8: Five favorite travel blogs
Week 9: Gross/disgusting stories
Week 10: Best adventures while traveling
Week 11: What’s in your backpack?
Week 12: Happy and sad stories
Week 13: Unique cultures encountered
Week 14: Top three favorite destinations
Week 15: Travel regrets
Week 16: Scary and cool travel stories
Week 17: Things to purge
Week 18: Humbling things learned from traveling
Week 19: Confessions
Week 20: Travel bucket list (countries/activities)
Week 21: Your challenge post highlights and what you’ve learned during this challenge

This challenge showcases your experience through travel stories, cultures, foods, advise, lessons, and more. You don’t need to be a world traveler to join. I encourage everyone to write and share your cool experiences, near and far! You can check out the entire challenge in the original post here! Please also visit JulieVikkilawman, and Kailin as they will be with me in this blogging journey!

Everything Else is a Distraction

There’s only one thing I need in life… everything else is a distraction. 

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(I’ve picked up bracelet weaving lately. I’ve always loved crafting, and I’ve been told to try selling online. Do you, or any young kids in your house, like nerdy plush toys? Please, please, please check out my recently opened Etsy store!)

Photo Challenge: Focus

21 Weeks of Travel Blogging Challenge

Travel Heals the Mind and Body

Fulfilling one of my first goals of this month, I have created my very own weekly blogging challenge. This challenge showcases your experience through travel stories, cultures, foods, advise, lessons, and more. You don’t have to be a world traveler to join this challenge, I encourage everyone to join and share your cool experiences, near and far!

I’ve been on the road since I was born, but in a different sense. My parents were refugees and frequently move from place to place. Growing up, I want to take every opportunity to see the world, instead of sitting at a desk.  This challenge explores all my tips and tricks as well as things I’ve learned.

Week 1:  A favorite travel photo of you and intro
Week 2: Little known tips
Week 3: Funny story
Week 4: Misadventures
Week 5: Top three cultural foods
Week 6: Unusual travel activities/photos
Week 7: Inspiration for traveling
Week 8: Five favorite travel blogs
Week 9: Gross/disgusting stories
Week 10: Best adventures while traveling
Week 11: What’s in your backpack?
Week 12: Happy and sad stories
Week 13: Unique cultures encountered
Week 14: Top three favorite destinations
Week 15: Travel regrets
Week 16: Scary and cool travel stories
Week 17: Things to purge
Week 18: Humbling things learned from traveling
Week 19: Confessions
Week 20: Travel bucket list (countries/activities)
Week 21: Your challenge post highlights and what you’ve learned during this challenge

This post is meant to be fun and explores a wide range of your history and story-telling. Of course, I don’t plan to follow it to exactly every week. I’m so happy to have my blogging friends, as they made my journey through my first few months of blogging very fun and fulfilling!


Please also visit these amazing folks as they will be joining me on this blogging journey!

Know any travel bloggers? Tag them here and join me!!! Let me know when you’re in, so that I can read your responses!


May Reflections

I hate to copy everyone else and say that this month flew by so quickly.. but I really don’t have anything better to say… (I’ll try again next month). First of all, sorry for the MIA, everyone. This month has been unbelievably hectic! Between visiting my family (16 hours away) and moving to a new city (7 hours away), I have so much to do and so much to think about.

Time has gone, what have I done?

  • Made a trip to my home in the mountains and helped my family with a seemingly never-ending list of errands and chores (mostly things to do with electronics and calls to customer service centers). I don’t mind, it’s not often that I get to help out around the house, so I happily did it. Being the only really fluent English speaker (until the kids- my siblings- get older), I get to do most the bank/electronic/phone/internet calls while I’m home. I also helped the kids (my siblings) with their end-of-year tests- I remember a time where I had to take those. So, yeah, my trip was really 90% work and 10% play.
    • All the boring stuff aside, I celebrated mother’s day and my mom’s birthday that weekend! It’s all worth it to see her happy and have all four of her children by her side. Spent quality time with my brother and sisters. Took them (my younger siblings) to Six Flags Roller Coaster Park for a day out. We watched Guardians of the Galaxy 2. We made home cooked popcorn, buttered noodles, boba smoothies, and my very own Chi’s Special (vegetable-lasagne-4 cheese-spaghetti-eggplant-seaweed). We played Minecraft and manyyy board games.
    • My parents rode a roller coaster ride for the first time (we made them). They were genuinely terrified- I don’t think I’ve ever felt sorrier in my life. It’s funny how we always think our parents are invincible. When we look at the big picture, they’re really just humans. They have feelings and uncertaintain. Still, it’s very scary to see them lose control. Not doing that again.
  • Wandered around New York
    • Taking nostalgic walks through Central Park, East Harlem, Wall Street, and 14th Street.
  • Won Broadway Show Tickets
    • War Paint – A thrilling musical, showing how makeup and women played a role in history.
    • Wicked – Possibly my favorite Broadway show in awhile. I won my first in-person lottery tickets, it was so exhilarating. The vocals of Elphaba gave me chills and put me on the edge of my seat.
    • Miss Saigon – This show portrays the extensive amounts of hardships of Vietnamese women during the Vietnam War. I find it mind-blowing, that these events happen during the time of my parents’ generation, and that my parents and their loved ones undergo the terror of war.
    • Julius Caesar – We won tickets to Shakespeare in the Park. I’ve always had a hard time understanding Old English. This time is no different. I loved that they made it contemporary, and the Trump comparison is hilarious.
  • Learned how to use Instagram (I know, I know, what century are we in? Noob!).  I learned how to properly use the hashtag “#”. I’ve never cared too much for social media. I generally use Facebook to keep in touch with people, see what their up to, and share my adventures. That’s about it. Now, I have Instagram! Which is awesome, because I now have a place to dump all my travel photos! I’m still very bad at it, but if you want to check out my photos, my ID is winta_wanderland. I would love advice/tips to improve on it!
  • Shows/Movies/Books ~ I am so pleased to tell you that my partner and I have been keeping our TV watching to a minimum (at most 1-2 TV episodes a day). Back in the day, we would binge watch shows we like until we finish! In addition, I’m trying a couple of new genres of movies/books. So far, so good!
    • The Gunslinger by Stephen King – Though this isn’t typically the type of book I read, I finished within three days. I highly admire his smooth writing skills, and look forward to reading more of his works.
    • Brooklyn Nine Nine – Season finale already? Ugh. Another year, here we go. This show was very cool to watch, especially during our stay in New York City. We would to relate to this and that, try to identify the subway station, the food stand, and also understand all the references. 😉
    • Guardians of the Galaxy 2 – Drax is the absolute best. I recommend watching this movie just for Drax. <3
    • Malibu’s Most Wanted – a hilarious movie about a rich, white boy who is a gansta at heart.
    • Sausage Party – very crass humor, but surprisingly thought provoking, and brings up many controversial issues.

Our stay in NYC is coming to an end as we search for a new place in the wonderful city of Richmond, Virginia. It’s a relatively big decision for us because we have decided to get our first one year lease! No longer as nomadic as we used to be. Thankfully, The rent in Virginia is half the price for twice the size. We will even have our own balcony! And maaaybe a pool. I’m rooting for it.

My blog highlights:

Things I’m Thankful For:

  • My supportive parents. I’m reaching the stage where I am beginning to understand my parents and how many difficult decisions they have to face to raise four children. I personally think that’s too much responsibility for me. One. Maybe two. But not four. And bills. I have been drowning in bills, bills, bills since coming to New York. It’s amazing how carefree I was back in the day. I’m proud of my parents for being ultra sucessful – a house, three cars, four kids, a small business, and they get all their bills paid. Respect.
  • My loving partner and best friend. I can’t imagine why anybody would put up with me through my worst moods, laziest days, angriest rants, etc. for so long, but I’m so thankful I have him by my side.
  • My three fun and unique siblings. I can always count on them to make my day brighter.
  • Mom’s food. Because no one cooks like her.
  • This city, and all that it has to offer. I’m going to miss the vibrant people, the efficient and ever so frustrating subway system, the foods, the streets, the constant buzz of activity, and of course, the Broadway shows. 
  • Unlimited resources to learn and improve. How do I do life? How do I make friends? Where’s the next anime convention? How do I create a rocking cosplay from home?
  • Cars/subways/bikes/transportation in general.
  • Access to a roof over my head/cheap rent. I’m looking forward to having some walking room, a full kitchen, and a parking space for half the price.
  • People on the Internet/readers of my blog/awesome, supportive friends: You all make me glow.

Goals for June

Finding an apartment, moving in, adapting to a new city. I am, again, moving without a definite plan in my destination. There’s always that unsettling fear of whether or not I’ll find a job there. I’ve been fine so far, and thriving in New York City, so I doubt Virginia is going to be a challenge. I loooove the idea of being between the mountains and the ocean. I’m always excited for a prospect of living and exploring a new city. Here’s my chance to document the process on my travel blog. <3

My 3rd year anniversary with my partner is coming up. Gah! How have we gotten so far already? On the other hand, has it only been three years? After spending almost one collective year of long distance, we really learned to communicate better- I’m so proud of us. We’re both very stubborn and self-righteous, fought countless of battles, but at the end of the day, we still have each other on our highest pedestal. We’ve traveled to countless of places together and experienced a world of new adventures.

The kids are off school for the summer. And they have a summer goals list. I really need to rethink my own goals. It’s funny how kids have summer to be free and do nothing all year, and adults don’t have a “summer break.” Still, it shouldn’t stop me from making productive goals. 

Pick up some old hobbies: 

  • Learn some new tunes on my ukulele.
  • Create an Etsy account and make nerdy crocheted dolls to sell. I have some pictures of them here.
  • Finish up some video games on Steam and Playstation.

Blogging goals:

  • Weekly challenges! – I am hoping to participate in a weekly challenge with a couple of my blogging friends, let me know if you’re interested in joining!
  • Create my own award! With all the awards and love going around, I want to create a couple of my own awards to start a pay-it-forward chain!
  • Create my own blogging challenge for myself and others. Stay tuned for my upcoming travel/lifestyle/photo blog challenge!
  • More guest posts!


Thanks for reading! How is May looking for you? Have any awesome upcoming goals? Please share!!

Exposed: A Blog Response from Kids

What if children wrote blogs?

As a way to spend more time with my siblings, who live 15 hours away, I had come up with an idea to ask them to write a weekly post challenge response with me. They have been very enthusiastic and we had lots of laugh doing this together. It’s also a great opportunity to help them articulate their thoughts and writing better as well as document the process to look back upon in the future. We had so much fun writing their first blog response that we decided to continue doing it!

I gave them the word and definition:

Exposed:
To make (something or someone) visible, typically by uncovering/revealing it.
“At low tide the sands are exposed” , “She exposed Batman’s true identity”


My brother, 3rd grader, wrote:

When my sister explained Exposed, I was about to do three things: explode, die, and suffer. In my head, I was thinking about throwing something at her. *Ahem..* I WANT TO THROW SOMETHING AT HER!!! AAAHHHHH!!! I was thinking that won’t go too well. 

So all I did was hold it all in. Not like “hold it all in until I explode!!” Kinda thing. Chi Thanh and I thought that Chi and Chi Tam said, “EXPO” So don’t think we think about that now. The title is in capital letters and underlined in bold letters so don’t even think about it. 

My thoughts on his response: I was at a loss when I read his answer, and how he associated “exposed” with explode, die, and suffer. When I called them to ask how he came up with his response, I learned that my sister Tam (sitting to my right in the picture above) had tried to explain in more detail what expose meant. In the process, my brother had felt like he was going to explode from suffering. His response has nothing to do with the definition of exposed, but it showed that what Tam has said affected how he felt about the word prompt. Since I told him to write whatever he felt, he just did what I asked.   


My sister, 5th grader, wrote:

When my big sister chi told me the word expose, I thought she said expo- you know, the marker. After she corrected me, the first thing I think about when I hear the word “expose” is radiation. Like when you’re in a nuclear war. You are expoed with radiation *Ahem* “AHH!!!! I’M EXPOSED TO TOO MUCH RADIATION. AAAAHHHHHHH!!!!!” Heh. So funny.

Anyway, the second thing that comes into my mind when I hear “expose is showing something like “Oh no, I exposed my secret” or “I will expose the new medal of honor to you.” Wait or “Don’t EXPOSE your skin to the sun!” Wait, wait or “Don’t EXPOSE your answer to that person! Do You Get the idea? Come on, I just underlined and talked about it. Come on!!!!

My thoughts on her response: I never would have thought of EXPO markers when talking about “exposed.” It showed up in both their responses. For kids who don’t know more difficult words, they probably associate it with words that they know that is closest to it- work with what they know (which in this case is completely wrong). Props to them for trying though. My sister’s answer was definitely on the target with her radiation example. It’s hilarious that she used all caps to present the urgency of being exposed to something. She then proceeded to list several other examples with tons of caps and exclamation marks.


Overview:

Both my brother and my sister had used all caps and ended by making sure I knew that they knew they were responding to “exposed.” This led me to believe that they had collaborated on their response, maybe because unsure of what their writing about. My brother, who was distracted by Tam’s definitions, had gone off track with his response. To have their answers authentic, we will make sure not to affect the kid’s answers with our own definition. There is never a wrong answer with word prompts. Each of their responses had led me to understanding them a little more. In the end, the only important thing is for them to learn a little, spend some time together, and to had fun. <3


Thanks for reading!!! What are your thoughts on their response? On an end note, I will be visiting the kids in a few days. Yep, overnight bus for me. We’ve come up with a list of things to do at home, and I’m really excited!

A Blog Response to Daily Prompt: Exposed – Want to read more? Check out their blog response on “yarn” here!

Having Problems? Keep Calm and Throw a Blanket Over It!

From the creators of Adventure Time, the Bravest Warriors proves to be arguably one of the best shows of all time. It is a mini-episode series that is exclusively on Youtube’s Cartoon Hangover channel. In comparison to Adventure Time, the Bravest Warriors is set in the future and revolves around four teenage heroes-for-hire who warp through the universe, saving cute little aliens from danger.

Browse Catbug Products on Amazon here!

About halfway through the first season, Catbug- half cat, half ladybug- joins the gang of heroes in their mission. Despite being ten years old, he demonstrates a child-like, innocent attitude with extraordinary problem solving skills. The audience loved him so much that the creators decided to keep him as a permanent character, along with others such as jelly kid, paralyzed horse, Impossibear, Plum, Emotion Lord, and more.

A lot of the lines in the Bravest Warriors are nonsensical, but hilarious:

“Throw a blanket over it! Put a little fence around it!” – Catbug, trying to fix their problems

Here’s the video where Catbug tries to put out a growing radioactive substance by throwing a blanket over it! This episode is the absolute best, must watch!

Catbug’s ineffective, but adorable and hilarious, problem solving suggestion of throwing a blanket over it shows how some people deal with their problems.

What I liked: 

  • Cartoon for adults (and kids)!! Whereas Adventure Time is geared more towards kids, the Bravest Warriors is definitely darker and crazier. There’s a reason why it’s on Youtube’s Cartoon Hangover Channel. 😉
  • Tonsssss of humor. Completely random sequence of events happen for no apparent reason, the show still moves on. Each character has their own quirk, but works together to save the world.
  • Teaches some deep life lessons. As seen with Catbug and the blanket, throwing a blanket over your problems doesn’t help. Good try, though! I feel adequately prepared in the event that aliens take over our planet.
  • Time and space travel, battle monsters, meet new alien friends, what’s not to love?
  • The mini-episodes are only 6 minutes long; the episodes are highly addicting, and could easily be finished within a day!
  • CATBUG!!! I’ve spent countless of hours searching for videos and pictures of Catbug, even made my very own Catbug plush!

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Not so fond of: 

  • It can get a little overwhelming (if you’re not into this type of show).

Questions? Comments? Recommendations? Let’s chat belowwww! <3

A Response to the Daily Prompt: Blanket

Not Good Enough

I’m not good enough. 

There are days where negativity bullies its way in to haunt my mind, jabbing at my frustrations of things that I can’t control. It leaves me helpless, my thoughts trapped in a never-ending cycle of discouragement. My inability to do things with my life that I want to because I am restrained by society’s expectations. The incessant need to prove myself. The words that I can’t speak elegantly enough. The constant questioning of whether I’m a productive member of society. Whether I have become lazy. One thought after another, weight added onto my shoulders.

I fight to push these thoughts back. Watch a movie. Read a book. Talk to family. But it’s still there- lurking in the back of my consciousness. It doesn’t work. Gray as a heavy thundercloud right before a storm. The tension builds up so heavy with so many thoughts in my head that I want to explode.

I read somewhere that to be happy, one should write down 10 things they’re grateful for everyday. I’ve been doing that on and off for years. The first time I wrote, I only came up to six. The more I practice, the better I get at remembering the things that I’m thankful for. It’s easy to take for granted the things that you have and should appreciate. So, to cheer myself up today, here are 10 things I’m grateful for:

  1. Loved ones who are always supportive of who I am and what I do. Whether they know it or not, talking to them always makes me feel better. Supported. Loved.
  2. Independence and freedom to do the things I want to. I am not being forced to do anything I don’t want to.
  3. My health. I’m able to get up everyday. I’m healthy. I’m happy with my self image.
  4. Books and online educational resources that allow me to improve every day.
  5. Beautiful weather. I love seeing the flowers blossom in this time of year. I love hearing the rain prattle softly outside.
  6. A roof over my head, a bed to sleep on, and public transportation to get around.
  7. Food. Today, strawberry and rocky road ice cream, topped with a sliced banana.
  8. Music. Lately, it’s been slow jazz and classical.
  9. Coffee. I love drinking coffee on early mornings, with a book in my hand. <3
  10. This Blog gives me a sense of purpose. It gives me room to vent and think things through.

Regardless of how unfair it is, there are people out there having worst. Finally, I hear it. All the negativity… pouring from the sky like a torrent. The sky lightens up. All the pent up anger dissipates. The pouring of rain hides the tears of relief on my face. I’m free. 

So, let me ask you this. Can you come up with 10 things your thankful for in your life? 

Daily Prompt: Gray

Stop for a Moment: Get Off Your Phone

Ever since returning from Central America, I stepped out of a world where no one needed technology to a world where everyone is dependent on it. I want to share a couple of stories.

Story of my Life 1: As a backpacker, I loved my phone. I took all my photos on it. Ancient ruins, traditional clothing and cultures, foods, landscape- you name it. I used it to keep in touch with my family and friends. One day, on our way to a new destination in Guatemala, I reached for my phone in my backpack strap- it was gone. Time stood still. It felt like one of those horror movies, the moment where you realize going down the cellar was a huge mistake. I thought back to the last few hours. I racked my brain until I remembered that earlier the same morning, a friendly Guatemalan man had helped me lift my backpack to the overhead compartment on the bus. He must have felt through the pockets and grabbed my phone, along with all my money in it. How typical of a tourist can I get, letting a stranger handle my bag? I went through the rest of the trip without my brand new iPhone 6 and credit cards. In the chaos of my panic, I suddenly felt a strange calmness. I was jolted out of that world and the need to be constantly connected. No more distractions. I was not going to be that one person checking my Facebook every second, because I didn’t have the ability to. I can immerse myself in the beauty that I was surrounded by. I can actually listen to people who are talking to me. In the end, the only truly important items that I missed were my travel photos.

Story of my Life 2: After two years of not seeing each other, I have finally reunited with my close friend from college. We’ve known each other for 5+ years, sharing countless of memories with each other. We had so much in common: parents, interests, personalities, cultures, etc. I was really excited to see her. After weeks of planning our reunion and $200 spent for an entire weekend in a Hyatt hotel in downtown Atlanta. When it was finally time for us to hang out and catch up, it became glaringly apparent that she wouldn’t stop using her phone. I’m not being over-dramatic. She literally checked her phone every other minute, responding to her boyfriend or chatting up her hometown friend, who both have seen her a few days ago. I tried to engage her with questions about her life, enticed her with all the different things we could do with our night out, etc. She would talk to me absentmindedly and half heartedly, then checked her phone every so often. I suddenly realized that I was interrupting her time with her phone. I brought my concern to her attention, told her that I was upset. She insisted that she didn’t think it was a big deal, that I should have told her earlier, that I was over-reacting. I was heartbroken; it was so unfair. It has now been almost a year since I have spoken to her. I took it to heart never to get carried away with my nose stuck in a device that I don’t see the people around me.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my phone. Without it, I would be very lost- literally and figuratively. Luckily, my body has a very natural way of preventing me from getting too technology dependent.  I get a headache from staring at an electronic screen for too long. I think that everything should be enjoyed in moderation. When you can’t control your urge to check your phone every 2 minutes, it becomes a problem.

  1. You become rude to people around you. Are you really even spending time together at that point?
  2. You become reliant. When used excessively, the devil’s box ensnares the mind. Just like the moment I realized I lost my phone. People don’t know how to cope without it. Technology, used excessively, dulls the mind, making it inept. How can you learn or remember anything when a quick Google search answers the question? It kills the curiosity that drives people.
  3. You become constantly unmotivated and distracted. When was the last time you read a book without being interrupted by the buzz of your phone and a quick Facebook check-in? Are you playing video games through the night and neglecting your dinner? Do you binge-watch TV shows on Netflix?

What am I going to do now that I get off my phone? Surprisingly, not all people in NYC glue their faces to their phones in the subway. They do a variety of things- listen to music, read, or just sit and relax before/after a day of work. In a fast-paced, high efficiency environment, I figured they learned that it is a good balance in life.

  1. Spend time with people. They’re much more interesting in person than on your chat box, I promise.
  2. Read. It might be cliched, but reading is awesome in many ways: improves focus, jogs memory, expands imagination, relaxes the mind, and takes you on an adventure! You then can talk to people about it.
  3. Play an instrument. Whenever I’m overwhelmed with work, TV, life, I like to switch gears and play some music. I play the same chords on the ukulele with every song. It’s not hard to learn. It’s just nice to hear something real once in awhile. I also like to sing. 
  4. Take a walk. I’m not a very active person on a daily basis (though I should be), but I love taking a refreshing walk once in awhile.
  5. Board games. We have an entire shelf stacked up to the ceiling of board games hoarded from over the years. Play them!

I recently bought my little brother a Minecraft Book Series Boxset for his birthday. If you have any kids in your family, you’ll know that they are obsessed with Minecraft. At the time, the box set competed with Pokemon plush toys, cool gadgets, and new clothes. As months passed by, all his toys became boring and he began to read the books. Through them, his imagination was able to expand. He still reads and re-reads them because he loves the world so much. It was not video games, but his imagination had taken place of his other senses. Imagination is the most powerful thing you have and it must be nurtured. 

I’m still trying to teach my little brother and sisters to take enjoyment in doing other things than technology. Learning to balance relationships, self, and technology is very important in happiness. Don’t let your phone take control of you. You take control of it.

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