2017/06/15

Do you have a travel goal?

I do.

It started in my twenties.  At that time, I've only been to 4 countries.  First 2 are countries I lived in, which is Philippines and UAE.  Singapore which is a country I've transited through at some point in my life, and there's Hong Kong (China) which I've been to when I was 5 for a holiday!  You see, those are not exactly legit or something to consider. Hong Kong maybe, but that's a lifetime ago!


24 and unstable.
Broke and adventurous.
It was lust at first sight.
Hence the wanderlust has officially began.
I get highs from stepping out of an airport and inhaling the scent of unfamiliar.
The exciting adventure that awaits.
Getting lost and enjoying it.
Discovering the world and discovering myself.
And don't even get me started on food!
Embracing other people's culture.

I love every bit of it, except airport formalities and the actual flying hours.  When my heart is pounding while waiting to reunite with my luggage.  That, even after so many years - doesn't change one bit for me.  I'm just constantly paranoid that I'm going to lose my things.  All the shopping and all the effort exerted on my handpicked splurges, unique pieces or unreal bargains.


With my new found joy and sense of discovery, I set my travel goal.
I wanted to match my age with the number of countries I've visited.
So that at some point, I just need to visit one new country each year.
And spend more time thoroughly discovering it.
I made a plan to visit 3 new countries every year avoiding repetitions in order to achieve my goal.  With this plan, I'll be traveling for a total of 10 years.  And at 34, will reach my goal.
34 countries to celebrate my 34th birthday.


That plan didn't work.  I couldn't avoid repeating countries at all cost.
After all, I have family living abroad.  I have my family in Netherlands and my husband's family in Germany.  Lucky for us, they're just in between borders.  Which makes a huge difference and saved us a lot of time.  Our families lived 3 hours drive away from each other.  Which meant, we just need to visit once and manage to see both instead of having to visit them separately.

6 months after I set this goal, we have arranged a 3 weeks adventure covering 7 countries.
2 days before this trip, I found out I was pregnant with my first child.
Did I let that news change our plan? Of course not!
We went to celebrate and enjoy our holiday even more.


That child is Karsten, he's now 7 and has been to 24 countries.
Raising a child and keeping a job didn't stop nor slow me down from trying to achieve my goal.
I guess when you really want something, there's just nothing that can stop you.
And of course it helps a lot when your family supports your dream.

I traveled, and then traveled a little more.
By myself, with my husband, with one child, with the entire family.
And we all traveled a little more.
By air, by land and by sea.
In sickness and in good health.
With or without motion sickness tablets while on a cruise.
We did it!


Six years and 2 kids later.
After 1 or 2 bad hostels.
One too many long train rides.
Flight delays and less than satisfactory airline food.
 I managed to achieve this goal.  Four years earlier than my timeline.
Adventures and misadventures.
It was nothing but fun!

What's a girl got to do?  Set a new goal after having completed the first one.
Time to level up.
40 @ 40
I don't know how I managed to make this happen.
But two and half years later, I somehow managed to achieve this target.


Here I am at 32, thinking of what to do next.  I'll be turning 33 in a couple of months.
I think I wanna take things slow.
I don't even really feel like making any travel goals anymore.
But I think I should continue so I have something to work on.
And something to look forward to and reward myself with.

What I want to do for now is to visit all the Schengen Member States.
I have been to most and I have 8 more to go as per the current list of 26 official countries.
Unless the membership changes, and it is bound to.
I'm setting to visit one each year.
So that's 8 countries and 8 years to go before I turn 40.


And in between this new goal, I have every single intention to squeeze in South America!
That is my dream destination.  It's just so far and I really don't like long flights.
The only long flight I accept to take is a 17 hours flight to New Zealand to see my baby bro.
Where in I get to have my breakfast, lunch, dinner, 2 x snacks and naps in between and I'm still in the plane waiting to land!  Now that, is just crazy long!  To have all meals of the day served in one flight.



2017/01/30

Eat: Fortnum & Mason, Dubai


Hail to the best breakfast in town!  Fortnum & Mason.

The best poached eggs I've ever had with perfectly crispy crunchy bacon.

And don't even get me started with their gelatos!  Love the coconut and pistachio.  It's the closest thing to my favorite gelato from Santini's in Portugal.  Yes, I know.  Gelato should be from Italy, and I have tried - but the best I've had so far is from Lisbon, Portugal.

The restaurant is so pretty with the best view of Burj Khalifa.
















2017/01/25

Amazing 2016!

2016 has been really good to me!  It's my best year so far!
I've been at my happiest this year and here are the highlights of what made this year so awesome for me and my family:


1. I've been with family near or far, nothing beats family time for me.

-Went to see my brother last March

-Met my best friend Sheryl in Australia

-Eula came to visit over Ramadan

-Went to see my family in Holland last autumn

-Went to Philippines and visit Atche Yhobba and Mama Cora last summer
-And last but not the least, re-uniting with my long lost friend with our long lost youth. Jem!

2. Karsten and I did our first trip together and went to Taiwan.  This year, I'm planning to have a 'Mother and son' trip with Tyler.  I know some people don't feel comfortable or agree with this idea but this really works for me.  I think the kids really enjoy getting 100% attention without interruption from time to time.



3. Managed to see my brother twice this year :) This is the best trip I've had this year and I am so proud of my brother for making this work.  We had our pre-christmas holiday in Bali, first time for the boys to see him after so many years.



4. I've had the best ever birthday celebration in my entire life!!!  2 years back when I hit 30, I was hoping to have a huge party but that didn't really work out.  This year I've hosted a reunion with my teenage friends whom I've not seen for atleast 10 years and went clubbing.  It was so good to see everyone and catch up.



5.  Managed to squeeze in 5 holidays this year :)
-March, New Zealand & Australia
-May, Tokyo Japan
-August, Taiwan & Philippines
-October, Spain & Netherlands
-December, Bali Indonesia

6. Alex and I had the best time of our life in Japan.  We always try and go on holiday together once a year without kids just to relax and unwind.  Because between chaotic workload and demanding kids are two parents trying to hold it together or sometimes one(Respect for single parents out there, I don't know how you can possibly do it!).  And for that, we do need our time off!  It was such a relaxing time, we both love eating and that's all we did.  Ice cream before bedtime, gyoza for breakfast, sushi/sashimi for lunch and ramen for dinner.  And everything with matcha!



7.  Alex turned 30 this year, YAY!  I know a lot of people don't like aging.  But we do :)  My husband always looked young and so aging is a little exciting for us.  Half the time, people won't take us seriously because we look quite young.  But really, 30's is just such fun stage and we're really enjoying it.  Going to bars and not being asked for ID's is such an achievement.



8.  Tyler just moved to Karsten's school which is really nice, because they now take the school bus together :)



9. Travel.  I love traveling.  As you can see, most of my previous highlights are about or related to travel.  This is something I fell in love with in my twenties and made it my goal to see the world and wrap myself with the unfamiliar.  I've only been to 4 countries, from when I was a child until such time I've discovered the pleasure of traveling as an adult.  And I can't believe how much I've achieved over the last couple of years.  This year is a huge achievement for me.  I have officially traveled to my 40th country :)  I know, it's nothing in comparison to other nomads.  But I'm not a full time traveler so cut me some slack.  I somehow need a job to sustain this lifestyle and I take every opportunity I get to see the world.  I know some people don't count and is somewhat frowned upon.  But I do count, because that's how I monitor my trips and each rise is an accomplishment.  And I do track for the rest of the family too and this is where we are now :)

Majeigh - 40
Alex - 39
Karsten - 23
Tyler - 19



10. And speaking of jobs, last and finally.  My company has gone through a massive restructure.  Just like most of the companies in Dubai last year.  This time, it was really tough.  Restructure is something I never bothered with.  I've seen it happen in my company over and over again for the last 8 years I've been with them and things just bounced back.  This time, it's different.  This time, it's a massive count.  And this time, I was affected.  I feel so grateful that I've managed to stay somehow.  Stability is something I've learned to value as I get older.  So, yeah!  Life continues at work and I've never been so happy.  I've got the perfect home/life balance going on :)

It has been such an amazing 2016 and 2017 can only get better!  Cheers to everyone and I wish you all a fantastic 2017!