Bali for 5 weeks

I haven’t fallen off the face of the earth – I’ve just been much less disconnected in Bali for the past 5 weeks. I’ll update more appropriately soon. This poor blog turns 10 years old in a couple of months – need to breathe some life back into it!

2009: A year of change, travel, and adventure

One of my greatest interests in life is to travel, experience, and learn more about other cultures. There’s nothing like soaking up all that a new country has to offer. I feel immensely thankful that my career allows us to travel extensively (always wish it could be more but don’t want to be greedy).

2009 was a year of drastic, yet positive changes with our move from Indonesia to Philippines. Change is what defined this year.

2010 should be more stable, but still allow plenty of travel – perhaps even more if we return to the States for 8 weeks this summer (tentatively planning a trip to the American West).

How about you? What were some of your major trips this year? How did 2009 turn out for you? How is your outlook for 2010?

A quick list of our main travels for 2009:

February – Manila, Philippines – 4 days
March – Seminyak, Bali, Indonesia – 9 days
April: Yogyakarta, Java, Indonesia – 4 days
May: Thousand Islands, Indonesia – 5 days
June/July – Ubud / Seminyak, Bali, Indonesia – 3 weeks
July – Manila, Philippines (uh, still here)
September – Hong Kong – 4 days
October – Boracay, Philippines – 9 days
November – Batangas, Philippines – 3 days
December – Banaue, Philippines – 5 days
December – Singapore – 2 weeks

And a visual summary of 2009. (oldest to most recent) Enjoy.

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In Boracay for a week!

We’re on the stunning island of Boracy, Philippines for the next week, soaking up the sun and enjoying sand as white and powdery as baking flour. Having survived a frantic, fast-paced 3 months in Manila, it was time for a much needed break.

After a dozen or more trips to my beloved Bali, it’s tough not to make comparisons to such a magical place. However, with only 8 hours of experience in Boracay, I can confidently admit the beaches here take the gold medal. The crystal clear blue-green water is straight off someone’s idyllic cheezy motivational poster, and the sand is out of this world.

I’ll take some pics throughout the week, but my primary focus is to completely and utterly chill out, read a lot, and get a taste of my new country beyond the bubble of Makati and Manila’s Millions.

In Bali for 9 days

I meant to post before leaving but ran out of time. We’re currently in Bali for 9 days enjoying the beach and just relaxing. Generally we travel around quite a lot but this trip is more focused on recharging.

We’re staying in Seminyak but have been up to Ubud and spent yesterday in Uluwatu at Bvlgari Hotel for sundown drinks, followed by an excellent dinner with a friend who has a villa right near Dreamland. Really dig that area but it may be a little too quiet for Novita.

Been finding it easier to post on the road via Twitter so if you’re not following me yet feel free: twitter I’ve been posting some pics (just iPhone snapshots) as well.

Tomorrow is the Hindu holiday of Nyepi. A day when all action is put on hold and the island is at a standstill. Tourists are not permitted to leave the hotel and our’s allows only the bathroom light to be used at night; no other lights are allowed. Food must be ordered in advance as the kitchen will close as well. Guess we’ll declare it a pool/chill day.

Reflection on Manila

I’ve been insanely busy this month as you may have deciphered from my lack of posting. The past three weeks have been a torrent of stress and work; but in the end it’s all worth it. At least I have some vacations coming up – 9 days in Bali at the end of March and 5 days in the 1000 islands (Pulau Seribu) in April.

I was in Manila, Philippines last week for a few days – returning on Monday at 2AM only to have to get up by 6AM for work. Been out of the gym, off of Muay Thai, not taking photos, not posting, not even hanging out with Novita or friends. I’ve been on lockdown and isolation in many respects; and yet, I’ve not been happier in a long time.

Manila was wonderful. I didn’t have much of a chance to go around, and was based in the Dusit Thani hotel in Makati. I only explored that area and Fort Bonifacio, but what a wonderful area! I realize completely that the ‘real’ Manila is not like Makati, but I was nonetheless thoroughly impressed. Green, posh, and wide-open, pedestrian-friendly streets removed my need for taxis.

I was there on a professional level, not a personal one, but still managed to explore the Greenbelt, etc on my own. The restaurants, outdoor cafes, and museum, etc were fantastic. I enjoyed a couple afternoons at the outdoor cafes reading and enjoying the slightly cooler temperatures. I even managed to get a foolish sunburn while at the pool for a couple of hours on Sunday. I’m used to Jakarta’s pollution protecting us from sunburn. I imagine Manila’s air is a little less polluted to induce such burns?

The Filipino people I met were exceptionally friendly and talkative. It was a little odd to see how prevalent English is spoken – Philippines is the third largest English speaking country after the States and U.K.!

There’s a lot I’m not ready to share at the moment. Anyone who’s dropped by the blog for a while knows I can be open yet cryptic; personal, yet reserved. (Even after nearly 7 years of posting on the blog, many people still ask what I do day to day for work.) I’ll decide when and how to filter some news to you soon, but just know that I’m doing exceptionally well.

Life is good.

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