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About

Hi! My name is Tiffany and welcome to my blog 😁 I am an adventurer who is currently based in NYC.

I’ll be using this blog as a platform to tell both my personal story as well as discuss topics that I feel should be pondered. It’s been a long time coming since quitting my job and taking time to figure myself out so am starting this in the hopes that it could be helpful to others who might be going through a similar situation or maybe just want some travel inspiration. Whatever your goal is, I hope that my journey inspires you to leave your comfort zone and–as cliche as it sounds–find yourself amidst all the hustle and bustle of today’s society.

Here is a cheesy quote to start things off :

“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone”. – Neale Donald Walsch

As you can already gauge, the main focus for this site will be centered around travel and how certain places can alter one’s perception of the world. I also want to use this as a platform to share my appreciation for life and to dedicate to the people that make living worthwhile. You’ll see scattered throughout posts, the people who I have been blessed to meet throughout my journey and of course, those who have been with me since day one; I love you all and am so grateful for everybody who is taking the time to read this!❀️

About me(and my former self):

I am a 25 year old from the Bay Area( I grew up in San Jose, CA and moved quite a distance–a full hour and a half drive– to Berkeley, CA for college then even further–a whopping 20 minute drive– to San Francisco for my corporate job) and am now residing in the Big Apple( where I had to ditch my car for the Subway).

My travel philosophy revolves around spontaneity and saying yes to every opportunity that arises to pack my bags and hop on an airplane.

Thanks for visiting!

Mykonos

There is a saying regarding how to gauge the character of the inhabitants of a town when you first arrive in an area(without having to directly interact with them) which has stuck with me for as long as I have been traveling. Of course, I am not condoning anyone to come to any conclusions about another person before getting to know them but I think this is something interesting to think about because at times making snap judgements could mean the difference between life or death when you are in a foreign environment.

If you observe how the animals in the town act around strangers and people in general, you can usually measure the disposition of the locals: if the stray cats and dogs are trusting and comfortable around humans, the people who live in that area are probably kind and if it is the opposite then you should be wary(probably why the rats in NYC are so comfortable around humans…New Yorkers are secretly the nicest people, no bias involved here). How someone treats an animal or living thing that has no direct influence over any benefits they may gain from being agreeable to that being is reflective of their true nature. All of what I am saying may have already been obvious to you but I found it to be a great shortcut in analyzing my surroundings. Sometimes reaching conclusions before one has obtained enough supporting evidence could be viewed as being “closed-minded” but I think it is human nature to make quick judgements even though we may not have the full picture yet. This evolutionary behavior has kept our ancestors alive and that should count for something.

I think adapting to the modern interpretation of this strategy is necessary though, so yes make those inferences but do not depend on them completely when making decisions. We have the luxury to think for ourselves in this time and age and so we do not need to react to our instincts right away and this will deter us from making the same mistakes people did in the past. This will prevent racism, misogyny, xenophobia, and overall hateful behavior towards other people because when we choose to think we know that just because someone is different from us, it does not mean they are a threat to us. Sometimes fear can be misconstrued as hate and this can be prevented by overriding quick judgements(totally acceptable, we all do it whether or not we’d like to admit it) with rationalization.

What does any of this have to do with Mykonos? Going back to the stray cats, Mykonos has a huge population of cats that are extremely trusting towards tourists and I think this is reflective upon the locals of the small, yet bustling island. Feeding the stray cats was the highlight of my time there but that’s not at all indicative that there was a lack in the array of activities and fun things to do because this place is L I T af. It is known as the party animal of the Greek islands for good reason. You will not have any trouble finding a place to dance all the while enjoying the crystal clear blue water that surrounds the white and blue architecture. Oh and the people are gorgeous too. So much aesthetic.

We stayed at the Cavo Tagoo Mykonos which was a good call. The walls were painted white and accompanied by tasteful gold touches here and there(like I have been trying to illustrate, aesthetic AF). The staff were extremely welcoming and friendly which should be a good enough reason..but the food was my most favorite part of the stay. I discovered cheeses that I have never even knew existed. Manouri cheese is my favorite cheese now thanks to this place and I have a new appreciation for mediterranean food. The ingredients are so simple but flavorful and healthy. Simple food tastes the best because you can automatically tell if the ingredients are fresh and of high quality since there is nothing masking the true flavor. I think the fresh vegetables and organic ingredients used in Greek cooking make it one of the best cuisines in the world. There is also a restaurant in a cave that I forgot the name of but I am sure you could find it if you asked around. Try the cheese, salads, olive oil and seafood if you ever get a chance to visit.

Anyway, the island is actually quite small so you can do most of your exploring on foot but word of warning there are no sidewalks in most areas so be careful of cars. There is an option to rent a car or a jeep and explore this way as well. When you get bored of sight seeing you can relax on the beach, tan, grab a drink and people watch.

Cheers!



Covid-19: a wake up call for society

Maybe this is the C-19 and diarrhea talking but this is something I had to get off my chest since there is currently no cure to literally get the Coronavirus off of my chest(and lungs rip) and apparently my gastrointestinal tract. So call me dramatic but honestly #calledit.

2020. What a year it has been and despite all the events that are happening in the world, we are still refusing to acknowledge that there is a universal crisis. One dilemma after the next, we choose to remain in denial and to keep on with our lives, we turn the blind eye to the suffering; until the universe no longer gives us the option to ignore each other’s pain and more importantly the planet and living beings that we share this planet with. Now is a time where it is necessary to come together as one and to offer the love, support and kindness that should’ve already existed long before we had to be forced to awaken. Nature is extremely intelligent and self-regulates every so often. Our job is to listen to and respect it. Why did this virus come into existence in the first place? Because humans were fucking with the natural law of the world.

Since people refuse to take time for stillness and opt to numb everything by adopting the “gogogo mentality”, the universe is forcing us to be human again. To simple BE. Trust me, this will be difficult with everything that is happening around us–I can tell you that I am having a tough time processing current events. We are being forced to be alone(maybe because we need to face ourselves) as people start self-quarantining and given an opportunity to reflect as the world is currently changing and trying to adapt itself to this widespread disaster. Most of us have all the time in the world now that we are stuck at home avoiding contact with other humans and so we will be forced to choose. To choose between two paths, action or inaction…one that leads to change or the other which leads to widespread catastrophe. Either way, fear will prompt the demise of humanity if we let it run rampant and lead us astray. Being fearful means we will be more inclined to be unkind in an effort to protect ourselves. We must not let it escalate to this. We have to listen to our fears but not give into them. Why are we afraid? How do me minimize this emotion? Through awareness, preparation and by taking action..taking back control.

So how do we take action? By showing love for those who share the earth with us and tuning into the needs of those around us. It is not just about you. Everything is connected and everyone is tied to each other. Every decision you make and every word you speak becomes translated into existence. The entire universe is working to help you. Let it. All you need to do is remember what is truly important. What is important to you? It’s time to ask yourself the serious questions. Is your job more important than your loved ones? If you were to die tomorrow what would you have wanted to get done today? Of course, we should be prepared in a physical/survival sense as well because in being ready, we put ourselves in a position to help both ourselves and others. You should stock up on food and water but remember to share with those who are in need as well. Every life counts. Notice how I said every life and not person? Animals and our environment are part of the picture. We cannot exist without both. That is the circle of life(what..you didn’t think I’d make a Lion King reference to emphasize the harmony of nature?)

To end this on a super realistic note..If you are one of my close friends, you already are aware of this but I have contracted the c-19 because I was being careless and chose to travel during this time. You never think it could occur to you until it does and this is a costly lesson to have learned. I hope that my mistakes did not affect anybody negatively but this is wishful thinking. I had a trip to Europe scheduled next week but will immediately halt my travels for the time being until we learn more about this thing. The only thing I can do now is to prevent someone else from contracting it, perhaps you might think that it is trivial in the grand scheme of things but one person can make a huge difference. I mean, this whole thing started off with one bat. In the words of Trevor Noah, “started from the Wuhan, now we’re here”; the problem wouldn’t have gotten to this point if we as humans did not use denial as a way to avoid and downplay all the issues we don’t feel like confronting. As a species, we are getting lazy. We would rather die and let those around us die than face our issues face on. Stop buying toilet paper and choose to be aware. Stop acting out of emotions and listen. If you were to stock up on anything, buy food/water/medicine.. you will not die if your ass is un-wiped omg. On a more positive note, get ready for more posts because I have so much free time I think I am going insane!

Asian American and a Woman…OOF!

Warning: It gets pretty controversial so feel free to stop reading if you get offended. Your body, your choice…wait.

This is a topic that I have been debating whether or not to officially address publicly since it is extremely controversial and I am aware that no two experiences are alike. ‘Tis a complicated subject matter to discuss, especially from only one viewpoint which makes it an even more dangerous task(who doesn’t love a little danger though). Of course, I’m writing this with the hopes that openly talking about my own personal experiences could potentially help someone who feels that they are left without a voice or are alone with their struggles. Despite experiencing my fair share of unjustified shame(sometimes self-induced) because I was born a certain race and gender, I am very fortunate because many of my close friends also happen to be Asian American women and so we are able to discuss certain aspects of our childhoods with each other that the other can relate to. It helps a great deal that I have more than just my own experiences and multiple perspectives to refer to when addressing such a multi-layered subject. However, most people do not get to grow up in the Bay Area where Asian people are the majority and have to deal with the general discrimination that all Asians face but on steroids. I am also aware that not everyone has the luxury of being understood by another person so I would say my true aspirations for the reader(aka you) would be to use this as a guide to lead yourself closer to building an identity independent of what society stereotypes you to be and forces you to conform to. Don’t let anyone define you or keep you in a box…unless you like being in a box then more power to you, you do you.

So what is it really like growing up as an Asian American woman? Let’s tackle this one step at a time.

Asian

Being Asian I always felt like, dare I say, a freak. Albeit I got the longer end of the stick and grew up around an abundance of asian people, I still felt like the odd one out so I can’t imagine how asian people who didn’t grow up around other asian people feel. We were given the “model minority” status by society but not to surprise anyone, that didn’t make us prideful or proud to be asian. It was quite the opposite. The pressure placed on us to achieve was more anxiety inducing than it was motivating. We were conditioned to feel like it was a privilege to be “positively” stereotyped. Sure we faced less bias and blatant racism than say, African Americans, but we were still discriminated against. Oppression is oppression even if it is disguised as something else. I have been called racial slurs like “chink” and referred to as “ching-chong” or some racist Chinese sounding name by a non-asian person who was simultaneously stretching apart the ends of their eyes with their hands so they achieved smaller looking eyes. NOT a good look btw so could you not. It was either that or they would ignorantly call me another ethnicity(not all asian people are Chinese). It was extremely dehumanizing. But hey, it’s all fun and games..why are you being such a Debby downer? Lighten up it was just a joke. So we would pretend to laugh and play along because this was expected of us…agreeableness. That’s part of the reason why everyone loves the token Asian person, right? We are supposed to be benign, absolutely harmless and good at math but oh so horrible at driving. We don’t like conflict/confrontation and never ever stir up the pot. Any of this sound familiar? If not, let me clear things up…women deal with the similar generalizations.

In regards to previous generations(our parents and grandparents), Asian people did not have the language skills to speak up for ourselves since we left our countries and immigrated to a foreign place where no one understood anything we were saying. Instead of considering this as admirable, people made fun of our accents even though we were attempting to learn their language to be able to communicate with them. Most of my fellow Asian American friends have parents who have immigrated to America when they were a bit older and as a result have an accent when speaking English. I think this is commendable because it indicates that they can speak another language aside from English(which they put a lot of effort into learning). Not everyone feels this way though and so they make fun of them for not having perfect English. Their hard work is not appreciated. When you see a white person speaking Chinese you automatically are amazed. Which brings me to my next point, all of our accomplishments are downplayed and nothing is ever good enough. We must work twice as hard to even be recognized for half the things that a white person gets credit for(no offense to white people…but admit it ya’ll are undeniably privileged).

Maybe this is why our parents expect so much of us. Because they never felt like they were good enough to fit into American society no matter how hard they worked. Asian parents want their kids to be so high achieving that their children no longer have to face the struggles that they themselves battled with their entire lives. In a way, they are mirroring the culture that pushed them to strive for the impossibility of perfection and are protecting their kids by embodying the society that has supplied them with countless obstacles because if they became the enemy then they could prepare their kids for what they themselves were so unequipped to battle.

Asian American

Piecing the parts together…being Asian American you feel like you do not belong. You’re not fully American because you do not fit the mold of the typical American but you’re also not Asian because you grew up in a different environment than your ancestors. So you end up feeling misplaced. Your exterior is contradictory to how you feel on the inside. You end up having an identity crisis because you are not what you appear to be on the surface and it’s fucking confusing. We struggle to bare the weight of our parent’s culture as well as the culture we grew up with. I had to learn to balance both these parts of myself and to own who I am but it didn’t come without a lot of pain and endless self-reflection. This adversity made us stronger but the pressure we faced from both our family and peers either made us or broke us. More often than not, many Asian Americans grew up feeling inferior and unseen. It was not until recently that here was even an effort being made to include Asian people in popular culture and to attempt to represent them as members of American society. When you are brought up to feel ashamed of what you are, it is tougher to develop a stable identity so I see a lot of asians either fully commit to their asian heritage or completely deny it. I may never be white or have naturally blonde hair but you can’t take away my Starbuck’s pumpkin spice latte, Lululemon yoga pants, Uggs and my attraction to Chad/Brad/Thad(kidding).

woman

This one’s tricky. This has been a battle that has been fought for countless generations and hopefully it won’t have to extend to many more. Where do I even begin? Okay first off, fuck the patriarchy lol.

Being a woman in a man’s world is harder than it looks. I don’t need to be the person telling you this, of course. It is currently 2020 and if you are not aware of the oppression that women have faced and are still fighting against, which rock have you been living under and why haven’t you invited me over for dinner under this blissfully ignorant rock? As a matter of fact, women have faced similar struggles that asians have faced but just played out in a different way. We get paid less for the same work, are not encouraged possession or ownership of our bodies(in all senses of the concept) and are looked over when a position of power is up for grabs. The inequality women face is not acknowledged because the people who are writing and enforcing the rules are mostly men. Our voices are stifled by our gender and the differences in our anatomy just serve to emphasize the claim that we are the weaker sex.

Throughout my entire life, I always felt like I had to tone it down because being assertive and seen as a leader could be construed as “bitchy” if you have a vagina. So I just played along and nodded quietly when and if ever my opinion was elicited(it rarely was). Essentially I had to sit down and be humble whereas my male counterparts would be encouraged to go balls to the wall. I was not born with the golden balls(in reference to being born with a golden spoon if you did not catch on) and so I could not bring them to the wall. However, as I grew older, I learned that being a woman is a strength because we are taught to internalize at a young age and in doing so we are able to master ourselves more effectively. Self control and emotional regulation came earlier for girls than boys because we were forced to be aware of others’ feelings and to put them before our own. Though tragic, it made us resilient and aware of what it takes to be compassionate to others. Not saying that men do not possess the same qualities, they do but it takes them longer to fully master it. We had to create our own golden balls and this built character.

As you know, this portion can be elaborated into a whole separate post or even turned into a book…maybe a series. But I will save you the pain of me complaining about periods and men who can’t take no for an answer. If you’d like to learn more about the oppression women face, just go outside and have a look around you.

Double Minority

Growing up as a minority–or should I say a double minority–I was always taught to never ruffle the feathers and was encouraged to stay within the lines…”you should always listen to and respect your elders” and yes the stereotype is true, being asian two things were expected of you. Excelling in school(especially in math) and being obedient(to everyone but your own inner voice). People assumed the asian kid enjoyed being invisible and always followed the rules. This was true to an extent( though I rebelled at times). It’s even worse if you’re a girl. Now it wasn’t a matter of just your race that was scrutinized and appropriated but your gender as well. As an Asian American woman you had multiple battles to fight. The triple standard(being smart, attractive and competent) that women are expected to uphold combined with the double standard(being overachievers and model citizens) that asians are bombarded with were all aspects that I had to confront growing up. The pressure to succeed was heavy on my shoulders and when I did accomplish something it was shameful to be proud of it and unheard of to expect any acknowledgement that was proportional to the quality of work I produced. So I learned how use self-deprecating humor in order to make others feel comfortable at my expense(I know so many friends who do this too and it’s sad). Instead of receiving positive reinforcement for the things I did right I found that I got more attention when I did things wrong which is probably the root of all my problems now that I think of it.

Treating other human beings with respect and love should be the universal code but unfortunately there is still racism and discrimination present in the world. The sooner we openly acknowledge the issue, the sooner we can find a way to resolve it. Many millennials use humor(especially memes) as a way to address the issues that are present in todays society and although it is sometimes not the best way to solve problems, it offers a platform for open communication and if we talk about it then there is potential for deescalation. Once we identify the problems that each of us face because of another human then we can work out a compromise because we are all one and the same. There is no other species that harms their own–whether intentionally or due to ignorance–except ours. That is something to ponder.

Anyway, the moral of the story is just be who you are and fuck what everyone tells you you need to be. I am expected to write a proper conclusion because that’s just how things are done around here but I give zero fucks.

Aruba(where the desert meets the sea?)

Disclaimer: COVID-19 FREE ZONE. Since ya’ll are encouraged to not travel and to avoid human contact at this time, please enjoy this post instead. It wont give you coronavirus I promise. And you get to join me in the Caribbean. SO many wins.

Arrrruba! Prior to moving to NYC, I had no idea Aruba even existed and I am so glad to know that it’s real. This place is the best of both worlds. Who would’ve thought that you could find beautiful white sand beaches in a desert? It is the second best option if you aren’t able to travel all the way to Africa and want to experience both the desert and the sea in the same setting.

Namibia(the only place in the world where the ocean and desert meet) has been on the top of my bucket list since forever as well as Australia’s Pink Lake(which I heard, sadly, is no longer pink) and coincidentally I found similar phenomenons in Aruba. Although we accidentally stumbled across this pond and am not sure if the color is natural or man-made, this was overall a pretty cool experience. Word of warning though, it was stinky and reeked of sulfur aka the infamous rotten egg smell. That didn’t stop me from getting out of the car to take a million pictures though.

Coming from NYC where it was both freezing and raining, I got a little too excited to see the sun and, dramatically put, to finally feel warmth again so as a result got a nasty sunburn despite applying SPF 50 every hour. Before arriving, I expected the climate to be tropical and boy was I wrong; the savannah-like landscape was a pleasant surprise. It was not humid but rather quite dry(like a desert lol) which made going into the ocean even more satisfying and at times, necessary. The temperatures stayed in the mid to high 80s the entire time we were there and it rarely rained outside of San Nicolas(on the southern part of the island) but when it rained it never did so for more than an hour.

Not an ad ’cause didn’t even work

Apparently, Aruba is the only spot in the Caribbean that does not experience extreme weather such as typhoons or storms which makes it a perfect place to visit year round. It is also one of the safest countries in the Caribbean to visit if that is a concern as well. The abundance of beaches with white sand and turquoise colored water is mind blowing. My favorites were Eagle Beach and Palm Beach. Both had very different vibes despite only being a ten minute drive from each other, which if you consider how small the island is could be considered quite a distance.

I’ll start off with Eagle Beach since it was my favorite due to the fact that there were less people and you could always find a semi-private spot. In addition, the accessibility to water activities like jet skiing was a plus since it made the entire experience more convenient. It was around $60 to jet ski for one person and $15 more for two people, but my advice is to get your own so you can race hehe. The sunset at Eagle Beach was insane and I would definitely recommend watching it by the Divi trees(exclusive to Aruba). The only con I can think of is that this beach does not have any spots to grab food at which are walking distance so you would need to bring your own food. There is a bar, however.

Palm Beach is a lot more crowded and rowdy because of it’s proximity to all the main resorts and shops. The food options here were more abundant and better and if you ever find yourself in Aruba, you should try Eduardo’s shack. They have acai and poke as well as pressed juices and smoothies. Finding healthy food options that were also tasty was a bit tough here so we were super excited to discover this gem. This beach was where we went to grab food and people watch whereas Eagle Beach was where we opted to chill out and swim at.

Another stunning beach is Baby Beach, which is located on the Southern end of the island near San Nicolas(not as touristy and despite being known as the “run-down” portion of Aruba, I found it to possess lots of personality and to be pleasantly quirky). The water was very pleasant but it is a bit more rocky than the other beaches which had soft and silky sand.

If you are looking for more excitement, I can happily tell you that Aruba is the kitesurfing mecca. It gets extremely windy here which makes it the ideal place to kite surf, I did not see that many regular surfers because despite being windy the water is quite calm. There were two locations that I found where you could kite surf and one was conveniently located next to the Ritz Carlton in Oranjestad, no need to travel far. The other was a bit out of the way, it was called Boca Grandi but the wind looked stronger here so it is a better option for the more experienced surfers.

Another super exciting activity(not for the faint of heart because you will swoon) is feeding the stray dogs on the island! *In baby voice* They are so cute, smart, independent and all good boys/girls, oh yes they are.

OKAY so this is something I would like to mention since I could not find information about it from ANY online sources, but in Aruba, they don’t give a shit if you’ve got places to be…they will just close off all the roads for impromptu parades that go until 2 am. I found out the hard way and got stuck in the middle of one and could not find a way out for four hours. It was lit though.

Other cool attractions consisted of the natural bridge in Arikok National Park, California lighthouse, natural pool, Arashi Beach, Druif Beach, Casibari boulders and off road beaches/cliffs. There’s also a flamingo island which we did not get to visit. Word of warning, almost popped a tire getting to Druif beach because the road was all gravel and rocks.

Stay healthy and safe everyone!

25 things I wish I could go back in time to tell my 15 year old self

The big two-five…I can now officially mention the words “quarter life crisis” without people telling me I am a little too young to be experiencing such a phenomenon. This is a confusing stage in one’s life to navigate. Trust me, you are not alone in this. Most of my friends are experiencing at least some confusion in regards to what life path they want to pursue and no one knows what the f*** they are doing either, so do no fret if you feel lost! When I was younger, I thought that I would have all the answers once I turned a certain age and that I would no longer feel like an imposter who is just faking her way through life(I still feel this way but have since learned how to be comfortable with being uncomfortable). No matter how old you are I hope this post will help you feel more at ease with this–not so subtle–life transition that every human being has to go through but surprisingly not many talk about.

  1. It’s okay to say ” I don’t know” when you do not know the answer to something. You do not need to have all the answers and it is important to know what you don’t know. This is the first step necessary to facilitate learning. As sad as it sounds, I was always made to feel dumb in school by teachers when I did not know something, although I am sure it was not intentional on their part and they only wanted to better me..this made me reluctant to interact freely in class and consequently stunted my learning . Despite the flaws in our educational system, going to school is a privilege that not everybody has and once you are okay with sounding(and at times, looking) stupid then you are on the right track. The only thing that’s not okay is choosing to remain ignorant when we live in an age where information is easily accessible via the google.
  2. Everybody has experienced childhood trauma and being aware of this will help you heal in adulthood. As controversial as what I am going to say may be, our childhood trauma is a necessary component in our lives that will build us into strong, resilient people. Our parents and caretakers are human and they make mistakes too, most of them are trying their best and as adults it is a bit easier for us to step into their shoes and understand them. Recently on a ski trip, I was standing in the lift line and overheard two dudes talking about trauma in both children and adults and how it could be miscontrued as mental health disorders(which sometimes involves medicating an individual to “treat” them). Instead of unnecessarily using drugs to numb someone, it is more proactive to introduce them to meditation or exposing them to nature to help them escape from the constant fear and anxiety that they feel due to the distress left over from the traumatic experience that they faced. According to one of the guys, our brain is physiologically divided into three parts; the reptilian, the mammalian and the higher brain. The reptilian brain is essentially our fight or flight control center, it tells us if we are in danger. This part is activated by traumatic experiences and when a child goes through something traumatizing this portion of their brain stays activated until the trigger is turned off and the has been addressed. Most children grow up without having this turned off and this creates an adult with high cortisol(stress hormone) levels. Prolonged exposure to stress causes depression and anxiety/panic attacks. The next part is the mammalian brain, which is responsible or answering the question ” Am I loved?”, If a child does not receive a suitable answer to this question then they cannot advance to the higher brain which is responsible for ” what can I learn?”. Safety and love are necessary components in order for a person to grow and learn efficiently. I learned all this by eavesdropping LOL which brings me into the next point…
  3. Listen more than you talk. People will appreciate you so much more for being a good listener and honestly it is the best way to get to know someone. Listening to another person increases empathy and helps you learn new things while allowing the other person to have a voice and be seen, it’s a win-win.
  4. Be kinder to people. As cliche as this sounds, you never know what someone might be going through and how they treat you could be a result of them mirroring how someone else has treated them. Set a good example and be the better person, you’ll never regret choosing kindness over hate. Lead through example and change what you do not like in your society by changing these traits in yourself first.
  5. Let go of control because nothing in life goes as planned and that’s sometimes a good thing! Most unexpected obstacles that I faced in life which have led me towards a different path than I had envisioned have resulted in things turning out for the better and this can only be realized in hindsight because it can be frustrating in the moment. I struggle to remind myself this everyday when life does not pan out the way I want it to.
  6. Love your body no matter what shape it may be–potato, round, square, cone, triangular, egg, etc. What I wished I had realized sooner was how amazing my body is and how blessed I am to have it, despite it not looking the way I want it to at times. Keeping it healthy is my responsibility and I wish I realized this sooner and did not mistreat it by pulling all nighters in college or drinking excessively. Now that I am older, I am starting to feel the effects of everything and though it is not too late to live more healthily, the sooner you start the better.
  7. Never ever leaves things on a bad note with someone you care about. Life is a fickle thing and you may not know when the last time you will see someone is.
  8. Be alone. Save some time for solitude, only then can you figure yourself out and truly appreciate the people in your life without becoming dependent on them.
  9. Fuck other people’s opinion, just go with your gut. I am not saying to forgo the advice and wisdom that your friends/family give you but to listen then consider it and think for yourself. I have never regretted listening to my gut but I have regretted listening to other people or caring too much about what they think of me. Most people don’t even think so don’t be afraid to be criticized, their opinion is their problem not yours.
  10. Read more books. I was an avid reader growing up but stopped in high school because it was “uncool” and “nerdy” to read for fun. I regret this so much because of the books I missed out on reading all those years. Being forced to read textbooks just amplified this reluctance to view reading as a pleasurable past-time and so I did not enjoy it as much in school as I do now that I am out of school.
  11. Stop comparing your progress with other people’s. I would have friends tell me “oh, so and so looks like they’re living their best life I wish my life was like that” and let me tell you, I just spoke to so and so and their life isn’t perfect either and they are struggling with things that you may not see on social media. No one is perfect and neither is life, stop comparing.
  12. Remember, if you don’t then who will; stop waiting for other people to take action because sometimes it is up to you to create the change you want to see. Don’t fall into this trap called the bystander effect, where when we are around a group of people we often sit back and wait for someone else to do something rather than taking the initiative and responsibility into our own hands.
  13. You meet everyone for a reason. Good or bad, everyone you meet played a part in your growth as a person.
  14. Buy Bitcoin before it blows up. Or Amazon stock, which will go up in the near future.
  15. Keep failing. I would tell you to keep winning but that’s highly unrealistic and the sooner you come to terms with the fact that out of every one hundred fails(maybe more maybe less) there will be one win. Statistically speaking, the more you fail the more you win and taking the pressure off of being perfect feels great. Being a failure isn’t a bad thing if you are always stay in motion, what this means is never stay stagnant and let a fail settle because then you have no momentum to turn it around. Always keep moving and you will not sink. Like a duck in a pond, people.
  16. Time is a luxury…and so is privacy. Use both accordingly because they come at a price.
  17. I am dumber than I thought and it is honestly so liberating to admit that I do not know everything and have so much to learn still.
  18. Seek discomfort. I know this may go against all your instincts but it is the fastest way to develop into the best version of yourself and to build competence as well as confidence.
  19. Never let anyone make you feel powerless or uncomfortable. Stand up for yourself and your standards. If somebody doesn’t respect your needs, fuck em(not literally but you get the point).
  20. Travel more. Expose yourself to different cultures and people who grew up in a different environment than you.
  21. Take more pictures because they help you remember pleasant memories but also put your phone down and experience life.
  22. When someone gives you their time, be all there; Being present is important and when you are making a commitment to spend time with someone don’t be half-assed about it.
  23. The little things matter. Don’t wait for a made up holiday to remind someone that you love them or are thinking of them, everyday should be special.
  24. Sometimes letting people grow without your presence is the best thing you can do for them and the best way to love them. Everyone needs time to figure themselves out(even if they think they’ve got it all figured out) and giving someone space to do so is the most selfless thing another person can do even though it may seem contradictory.
  25. The winning lottery numbers, duh. LOL last but not least, never pass up an opportunity to tell a joke!

Kauai

You’ll be Kauai’ing(crying) if you pass up this Hawaiian island for your next getaway because this place is unfathomably beautiful(or maybe you’re crying because of that horrible pun, either way get ready for the waterworks). Imagine Jurassic Park scenery minus the man eating dinosaurs. There is something to do for everyone and countless activities for nature lovers. Kauai is pretty dope in an unpretentious way which creates a casual and laid back atmosphere. It is more underdeveloped and natural than say, Oahu or Maui, so it’s perfect for people who want to get away from the city and go somewhere that provides a change of pace. Also, if you’re lucky you might get to see a double rainbow cascading over the Napali coast!

This trip started off in Oahu(of course) and included a flight to Kauai from Honolulu which took around 40 minutes and there was an amazing view of both coasts from the air during takeoff and landing so try to sit near the window if you can πŸ™‚

Taken during the epic helicopter ride

Where to stay

We stayed on the Eastern side of the Island in a town called Wailua, which was not too far of a drive from Lihue airport. It was a cute area with lots of small shops but if I were to visit again I would choose to stay in Princeville or Hanalei in the Northern part of the Island just because it is closer to more attractions and seemed more fun at night. We drove up to the northern part of Kauai quite often so staying in the area would’ve been easier although the Island isn’t very big and there is only one road so driving wasn’t difficult at all. Wailua didn’t have many nighttime activities other than going out to dinner and stargazing(again, not bad options so I’m not complaining). Just a note, Hanalei has a bit more of a touristy feel to it as opposed to Wailua which had a local vibe so depending on what you’re looking for keep this in mind. I look like a local when I’m tan so I fit in very well regardless LOL.

To be completely transparent, there was a lot of homelessness in the area where we were staying and people would camp out on the beaches, however I never felt unsafe. We also never wandered off at night other than going out to dinner so I can’t speak of the night time safety aspect but everyone seemed super friendly in my opinion, just use common sense and you should be fine. A result from the underdevelopment and pristine environment is that this Island is less well off than other Islands because as you can already guess there are less jobs/opportunities for locals. Anyhow, that is another post altogether; there is a lot to cover since we accomplished a lot(like eating ice cream and doing absolutely nothing) LOL.

Matcha place a bike ride away from the hotel.

Things to do

Where do I even start…

  1. Hiking the Sleeping Giant Trail Head: The hike wasn’t too difficult but I think it took around 2-3 hours one way and by the time we got down to the bottom it was dark and you could hear the wild animals(I don’t recommend doing this at night). The view was amazing and worth risking getting attacked by a wild boar or whatever animal was lurking in the bushes.

2. Biking along the coast to Wailua Beach Park: You pass the cute boutique shops along the way as well as the gorgeous coastline. We found a cute matcha ice cream place and glass art shop.

3. Going on a helicopter ride to Jurassic Falls: Highly recommend this, it was one of the most breathtaking helicopter rides I have ever been on due to the fact that Kailua has the most unreal mountain peaks, coastlines and waterfalls. They made a stop at Jurassic falls and let you off to go explore and admire the fall for about 15 minutes.

4. Tan on Hanalei Beach: I don’t have any pics to show you how beautiful this beach was but its a must do, perfect place to chill with a couple beers.

5. Hike down and swim in Queen’s Bath: Heads up the hike is very muddy and you need the right footwear or you’ll end up slipping, I think this was one of my most favorite hikes of all time because of the scenery. Turtles were spotted. Enough said.

6. Get a drink and enjoy the stunning views(and watch people Windsurf) at the St. Regis Princeville Resort: This was such a relaxing way to end the day, the views at this resort are insane.

7.Hike down to Hideaways Beach to watch the sunset: Prettiest sunset I’ve ever seen, watch out for the mosquitos though. The hike down involved holding onto a rope since it was very steep.

8. Go on a booze cruise along the Napali Coast: We saw it from the air so now seeing it from the sea is obligatory and much more intimate. You can get up close and personal with the stunning coastline.

9. Visit Waimea Canyon(the Grand Canyon of the Pacific): Really cool Mars vibes.

Favorite Books of the month: January+past reads

Here’s the list of the books I have been consuming and mini reviews in no particular order.

Cyropaedia; The Education of Cyrus by Xenophon

One of my favorite books of 2019. If you are looking for a good leadership/management book then this is a must read. The teachings of Cyrus can be applied to any time period because they illuminate the universal knowledge that every human should embrace which is being kind to each other while maintaining enough discipline in oneself to lead others by example. It reminds us that we should not expect of other people what we would not do ourselves. By remembering to be generous to one’s friends and ruthless to one’s enemies, Cyrus has grown to be undefeated as an opponent; he acts as the ideal leader figure and does in fact, lead through example by embodying his own teachings and always being a couple steps ahead of his opponents. Fairness and justice are also emphasized in the Persian customs of the time as well as equality, all traits we often more than not fail to accomplish in modern society. The war strategy is a bonus, you know, in case WWIII comes up again.

Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl

Frankl is a genius and his humble attitude despite what he has accomplished and the hardships he has experienced is truly inspiring. If you ever feel like you’re going through a rough patch, reading about the Nazi concentration camps and what people had to survive will change your mindset. Despite being treated less than a human being, Frankl’s persistence and optimism brought tears to my eyes as I was reading this book; he has contributed so much to society even though it took everything away from him. That is the definition of a strong person. The first half of the book speaks of his personal experience in the concentration camp and the conditions are worse than you could ever expect. The second half goes into logotherapy and how it can help people overcome mental health challenges.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People By Stephen R. Covey

In this book, Coven gives you the tools to become the best version of yourself you can be; it is broken down into 7 parts and is easily digestible due to the simple and concise writing style. He uses personal examples from his life to convey the message of the importance of having good character by not taking shortcuts and to instead change how you look at things. This is pretty much a guidebook to being a decent human being and I cannot recommend it enough as it is one of my favorite self help books.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Bronte writes in a way where it allows the reader to feel like he or she is the main character and is walking in Jane’s shoes as well as experiencing things as her. This book is a nice escape from reality for a while and the compelling storyline could replace reality television(a positive since you won’t be losing brain cells). It is deeper than that, of course, since Bronte’s literary style is way ahead of her time and her way of thinking far exceeds that of her fellow writers of that time period. She is the perfect example of feminism done the right way, but I won’t give too much away.

Walden by Henry David Thoreau

I fucking love this man. He knows what’s up, and dare I say he’s #woke…in today’s society we are too consumed with what we own and want to have that we often forget the truly important things in life. Walden reminds us that we are all the same underneath the masquerading, dress up games and roles we play in our communities everyday.

The Enneagram by Jeef Reed

I recommend this book if you are looking to figure yourself and other people out. Learning about oneself will help facilitate empathy and by understanding yourself you also learn how to understand other people’s behaviors since it is impossible to know someone else when you don’t even know yourself.

The Time Machine by H.G. Wells

This book taught me that without struggle and challenges, people will ultimately become weak and lose their ambition. The lack of need in the future has caused a backwards effect on human societies and have made people less intelligent and has halted creativity since necessity fosters innovation. Lack of want/need has caused evolution to create a being that lacks the grit and sharp mindedness that is associated with humans. Definitely worth a read.

Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

This will always be my favorite book of all time because of the message that it teaches. Rand calls out the individuals in a society that only talk about the greater good of citizens without actually contributing anything tangible to the cause. Although the author is known for her stance on supporting selfishness, the idea that one should focus on his or her own achievements and well-being is commendable. You can’t pour from an empty cup and this is emphasized through the two types of people in this book.

Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

This is a tribute to Trevor Noah’s mom and it was hilarious. If you love a good laugh as well as life lessons then this is the book for you. Noah speaks of his childhood and dealing with apartheid–which usually is not a humorous topic–but somehow he manages to lighten up the mood by offering us a view into his mind.

Why Nation’s Fail by Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson

This book might be the key to decreasing the inequality in regards to the standard of living between first world countries and developing nations. Education is the first step in solving the wealth disparity issue that the world is currently facing and the main solution is changing the way people handle politics in their country.

Circe by Madeline Miller

Fun and easy read but warning you will not want to put it down. If you like greek and roman mythology then this book is the one. It revolves around the life of Circe and puts into perspective the role of strong women in a culture that always tries to trample an outspoken and independent female.

De Anima by Aristotle

So this book is just Aristotle trying to figure out what the human soul is all about. Most often it sounds like he is attempting to explain the concept to himself as he is writing but it is worth a read if you are curious about the soul. Tbh I just want you to read this so you can explain it to me, thanks lol.

Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

I lost a lot of sleep because of this book. It is a story that spans across multiple generations of a family and left a deep impression on me. I won’t ruin the plot for you.

How to Day Trade for a Living by Andrew Aziz

I honestly did not know any trading terms when I first got introduced to stocks so this book saved me. It is pretty informative even if you are not planning on quitting your job and becoming a day trader.

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari

My opinion will probably be so controversial but I did not find this book to be as good as other people have said it to be. I have gotten into a couple arguments because I said the book was overhyped but it is basically just a timeline of the evolution of homo sapiens, nothing special in my opinion. I put it on this list because of the argument that my friends have made against this, people have claimed that this is one of the most influential books they have ever read do you should read it and judge for yourself.

The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand

I mean, it’s Mark Cubans favorite book for a reason. The book altered the way I look at architecture and the buildings I see everyday, it conveys the message to break away from the crowd and tradition because that is the only way to advance and improve the world. Inspirational.

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck by Mark Manson

Just fucking read it and stop giving fucks about irrelevant stuff so you have enough fucks leftover for the important things. IDGAF vibes.