My New Year New Me Message

Just like that the new year is here and all you see is the new year new me posts flying around Instagram and Facebook. When in reality when the silly season draws to a close and everyone goes back to work and get back into the swing of things we know nothing much will change.

But just as I wrote in My Thoughts for you post I really do hope you take some time out to reflect and change, stop complaining and stop dreaming but start doing.

I know it may sound cynical coming from me when it looks like I have my life together and I am whimsically floating through the world,-conquering mountains at -12 degrees to witness the first sunrise of the new year. A Korean Tradition I am glad I  did, but I will add was an extremely painful experience this African was not made for snow and the cold.

I by no means have things figured out I just celebrated a New Year and my birthday making me another year older and another year without the so-called 5-year plan.

Just 2 short months ago I was down and out felt hopelessly lost in my pit of self-pity. I had nothing to jump out of bed for in the morning life was dull and colorless. I was bored, and one of my good friends nicely told me my mind has progressed, but actions still stayed behind. So I was again doing the same things that used to fuel my fire, but I have changed, and my light was out I needed to wake up and do something about it, or I would still be stuck in that terrible depressive state.

I made simple changes, like waking up earlier, exercising in the mornings, meditating and reading. I drew closer to God and started going to Church because I knew that my spiritual side of my life was lacking and I was replacing it with things that no longer made me feel good.

So the point of my story is I had to reach a point where I was tired of complaining and feeling unhappy and make positive changes to get to my happy place again. Where I see, I do have a purpose on this earth and may not be defined in a career path or in my relationship status or anything worldly but that my happiness lies within me my thoughts my actions and how I choose to see the world.

It is so easy to look at the news and all the bad that is happening in the world and think you can’t do anything about it, but if more people changed there mindset, collectively we can do a hell of a lot more than we think we can.

So my New Year New Me message to the world is to set yourself free, I am living proof that a few positive changes can make so much difference to living a healthier more fulfilled life. I even challenged myself to start Muay Thai, and if you know me at all you would be laughing right about now even the instructor with hardly any English knows how to say I hurt his eyes! I learned to let go and try new things a month in, and I am still at it and actually enjoying it who would have guessed.

So go out there and Make 2018 the year you set yourself FREE!!!

Let me know how this year has been thus far and any changes you are making I would like to connect with you all.

Peace Love & Happiness

Cherry ♥

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Malaysia a Lonely Paradise

Since my last travel post in January and enlightening trip to the Philippines. I knew I had to go somewhere for my summer break after the rocky start to this year I have had. Saying goodbye to best friends and deciding to stay another year in Korea it has all been a bit rough trying to navigate through my life. The ever-busy Korean life I lead I felt it was just time to reset the clock.

I wanted to go to Bali for like ever, but the prices were just insane, so I had a dream about Malaysia googled some spots and booked a ticket all in the same week. I am still dreaming of the bustling city of KL and the dreamy beaches of the Perhentian where I went.

Like most trips I take this one was off to a rocky start after booking the wrong date for my bus to the airport which I will add is four hours away. I had no choice but to take a cab or risk the chance of missing my flight, so a very very expensive taxi ride later with some panic at 3 am in the morning I made it and caught my flight at 9 am.

After my bumpy start, I cast my fears aside and decided to turn this trip around and enjoy a new city. I arrived in Kuala Lumpur and headed to my hostel which was in a bustling part of town the tourist district, I checked in spoke to my new roommates and then headed out for a wonder. The place was bustling full of people many places to eat and markets and shops everywhere. It all seemed somewhat familiar reminded me of Cape Town in a small way for starters they drive on the same side of the road as I do at home, so that was a little comfort.

I found the food market just behind my hostel, and it was a vast array of every type of middle eastern and Asian food. It was great I walked around then found a spot and had some Thai food in Malaysia, yes I know I was silly, but I just could not make up my mind with all the smells and people all around.  That night I sat and just watched as everyone enjoyed.

The next day I went to the Batu Caves and walked up all those stairs it was beautiful and getting there using public transport was so easy. It was also nice to be in a place where most people can speak English. My Malay Indian roots did stick out as I got mistaken to be Malaysian on numerous occasions.

That night I went to the Petronas Towers it was so magical to finally to see it up close and personal after seeing it on blogs and pictures and textbooks for ages. I sat and watched everyone get their pictures and then I made my way back to my hotel. That night I just sat chatting to the guys in my room one guy was at the end of his trip heading back to England another in the middle of his, I helped him plan bits of his next leg of the journey as I had been to the places he was to visit next.

Then I was off early the next morning to the Perhentian islands for a week of rejuvenation sun and relaxation. I had paid a pretty penny for my accommodation as I was told the usual hostels are not the cleanest. After a flight and long drive and boat trip, I successfully made it to my new home for the week.I checked in at the Ombak Resort in Coral Bay on the Perhentian Kecil Island the smaller island there are two.

It was lovely spot on the beach now these islands are a very popular diving spot it’s one of the biggest drawcards. On my arrival I was asked if I was alone, I said yes then went to the bar restaurant area for my welcome drink I got two because they assumed I was not alone haha score for me.I went for a swim in the warm waters just a stone throw away from my hotel and watched everyone around me. There were many couples and families it was nice just to finally be still.

Each night they screened a movie at my hotel outside, and I would sit and watch while having dinner and a drink then as the evening came it started to thunderstorm as I made my way back to my room. I did pretty much the same thing each day went on one snorkeling trip that was fun made it to the blue lagoon the most beautiful bright blue waters I have ever seen it was a magical day.

I quickly had to remind myself that this was just a moment, not my everything and that being comfortably alone is good for my soul especially taking a break from my busy life in Korea. That being still is needed to restart and refocus.

I enjoyed this trip, but it was very different to most of my other solo trips where I meet people and make friends this trip I was alone for most of it as most of the travelers all went out doing their diving certification, and every night it rained so I was inside. I felt very lonely watching couples in love and families bonding. It made me miss my family so much and miss having a partner to share this magic with.

Looking back now even though I enjoyed my trip I wish I was more present and mindful of everything even when not much was happening. I wish I didn’t long for what others had like a partner, a friend or my family. I wish I was more content with me and being there.

So my lesson that I learned from this trip is that every adventure doesn’t have to be a crazy party, or enlightening encounter or something mind-blowing to be enjoyed. That being still and quiet I can enjoy it. It just takes a shift in my mind a moment of refocusing that the real joy is sometimes lying dormant inside. If I can take a single moment to just be more present, I can be overjoyed without having to depend on a moment or a person or a thing to make me enjoy a trip or anything in my daily life.

Peace Love & Happiness

Cherry ♥IMG_9017

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My First 547.5 Days in Korea!

I have wanted to write this for ages but just didn’t know where to start you know… So much has happened in the last year and a half that I still don’t quite know how to put that all together but anyways here is my attempt.

When I arrived and settled into my city made a few friends reconnected with old I felt like I belonged somewhere for the first time ever. Many of my nights were a blur too much partying and having a good time one would say, but I loved every crazy moment of the emotional roller coaster I was on. I was happy, and I was becoming more and more the person I am today. My last year in my 20’s young wild and free, I traveled to many amazing Korean cities from the North (not North Korea) to the south and everything in between.

Every weekend was another festival or adventure (nothing much has changed it still is) This is what I like about living here no time is wasted. I do get exhausted and feel I need a break from my own life but this is living to me from camping trips to the beach to international music festivals in Seoul life here is good, and the people I have met are great.

Then you get the sad goodbyes because the reality of this life is nothing is stable you continue living an unstable life trying to somewhat be stable. But just like life where ever or however you choose to live it nothing is guaranteed even in the mundane routine of life, change is inevitable and will happen when you prepared or not.

This past year also brought so much joy my best friend from home got to visit me earlier this year and my cousin not too long ago, so that was amazing getting to show them the life I have made for myself here. I also got to marry my best friends in the most amazing impromptu beautiful lesbian wedding ever. I have never felt so much love in one room and a memory I will cherish dearly forever. Even though the marriage is not legal, it was real to everyone present in that place.

What else happened in this past year, after my extreme high I hit real low questioning life should I stay or should go.I decided to stay, and I know financially that was the smart move.I don’t have much of a plan moving forward if I choose to leave I want to be financially stable on my own. So I have stepped up the saving game, so when I do go, I have a nest egg to fall on where ever my journey may lead me.

I also went to Malaysia a short but well-needed trip as I did not get a break between contracts more about that in another post.

The best news yet I gifted my mom with a trip to visit she came in October during Chuseok Korean Thanks, Giving. It lined up perfectly giving us a week off including two weekends. I spent a few days in Seoul showing my mom the best spots and boy did she love the shopping, don’t think she was a fan of all the walking we did. We did a few day trips to Gyeongju and Namhae my favorite little island and then spent a great weekend in Busan. It was great two weeks bonding with my mom and showing her the life I have made for myself here.

So yip this year was challenging work is still treating me fine and generally, I am happy. I miss my friends that have left and the year, and a half that has passed, but I am excited to see what the next few months have in store for me and maybe some more clarity on what to do when this year draws to a close. But for now, I will continue to live life loudly and proudly because every day on this earth is a gift from God. So I am thankful for my last couple of hundred days grateful for family visits, friends, skiing for the first time dancing and laughing until my tummy hurts. Thank You, Korea!

Peace Love & Happiness

Cherry ♥

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The Philippines an Enlightening Trip

The Philippines an enlightening trip; I saw glimpses of the person I was and the person I am while seeing who I was becoming. I have traveled near and far for a long time now I have opened myself to the full experience of travel. I let people in, I make fast friends with people I will never see again sometimes not even catching a name as we pass by as strangers in the night!

But this trip was a fast one I didn’t have loads of time to do as I please but I didn’t do too much either. I spent more time with me truly with me even when I was with others I just wanted to be with me. This is why this trip was so different, I needed this break more than I knew I did!

 Last year was a hard year 6 months questioning life and 6 months living life in fast forward! This trip was the universe telling me to slow down take stock of where you have come and where you going and truly start loving you and be present! Being so busy for the last  7 months I experienced every emotion in this whirlwind of life in Korea I started lacking true motivation life was starting to be lived for me and I was just in for the ride!

I had one of those deep connections with someone by a chance call it the universe sending the right person in at the right time.

I didn’t know my Soul craved a deep connection someone that knew what I was thinking before I uttered the words and vice versa that unexplainable connection that’s so real and so deep it’s scary! How can two people with very different stories but be so much the same just connect in such a profound way thats the beauty of travel.

I remember staring at the night sky and it was as if the sky was performing for me never have I seen the twinkling stars shine so bright. I was awestruck lost in the beauty of the world I felt so big and small all at once!! As the wind blew through my hair as I sat at the back of a friends motorcycle I watched the stars dance for me filling the sky with its beauty!

As the night progressed first we were strangers but in the end, we were so much more! We spoke about life, love, happiness, sadness and everything in between fuelling each other’s tanks that needed motivation and inspiration!And that was just one serendipitous day.

Like I said I only had one week in this beautiful country and I spent one night in Manila then flew to  Palawan. I took a bus up to El Nido a delayed flight and my van to El Nido knocking a couple on a motorcycle delayed my arrival by at least 3 hours. Standing on the side of the street in the middle of nowhere waiting for the police to get to the scene.Luckily I wasn’t alone I was with a group of great Irish guys also on vacation heading to the same spot.So we were all confused luckily nobody was badly injured and eventually headed to our destination. So a casual 5-hour journey turned into 10.(welcome to my travel life.)

I stayed at the best hostel I have ever stayed at called Outpost Beach Hostel recently opened the sad part was they were still busy with renovations so I will have to go back when it’s completed. This place is right on the beach they serve a killer breakfast and the staff are a bunch of eclectic nomads made up of some good looking guys with great stories to tell from all over the world. They also give you a free shot of the famous Filipino rum at sunset so make sure to stay for that. I stayed here for 3 nights spent one day island hopping booked through the hostel another at Nacpan Beach and the third day chilling about and then missioned off to Port Barton for 2 nights.

Port Barton is your quintessential small beach town. luckily I was told about the no electricity during the day and I was used to the cold showers by now and really bad wifi. It was just great to unplug and soak up the beauty and quiet. Going to sleep listening to the waves, waking up and watching the sun kiss the beach was great. Here I also did another island hopping tour snorkeled and sunbathed ate an awesome meal on the beach saw the biggest starfish ever it was great day making new friends too.

I finally got time to relax, read, take pictures, go for walks and be alone with no noise around me no crazy nights out and hardly any drinks. Just the escape I needed from the freezing snowy Korea. and just like that my time was up I flew back to Manila for one night before heading back to Korea and jumping into my year.

Peace love & Happiness

Cherry ♥

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My festive season hopscotching through Korea!

Where have I been? (good question) I have been living life in the fast lane but its time to get back to this sharing some tid bits from my life abroad and other travel and inspirations that inspire me to write. I promise to be better at updating I have big hopes and dreams for this blog I best get the started no more excuses. So here we go first of many posts I have lined up. To set the scene let’s go back in time to about  Late December early January.

My festive season, it was such a crazy month of hop scotch through Korea as if I was the KTX going at high speed!

Started off with a 12 pubs of Christmas bar crawl singing Christmas carols in the streets of Downtown Daegu a week before Christmas and then my Christmas spent in Cheongju with my girls we dubbed it “Queensmas”it was a fun weekend we even had a proper Christmas meal from turkey to roast beef and all the trimmings.

 My first Christmas in years that felt like Christmas from gifts to the food and the friends that felt like family!! 

Then my best friend from home came for a visit it was great to have a piece of home with me and show her around! We celebrated New Years in Busan lit lanterns on the beach (clearly a new tradition of mine) and danced the night away making new friends and great memories! Needless to say, a very hungover New Year’s Day was filled with tons of greasy food and laughs about the night before.

The next week I had to work but it was nice coming home and taking my friend for walks and listening to her tell me about new discoveries she found wandering the streets of my new home she even got a cheeky tattoo from the infamous Daegu Tattoo from Artist K who speaks no English and has a side guy who does all the speaking this place is very well known especially around the expat community.

I was so proud to see her get lost and dive into a very foreign country nothing like South Africa or the touristy stops that everyone is used to. She got to truly experience my new life and made really good memories.

We spent our last weekend in Seoul shopping eating way too much and buying all the crazy Korean socks! As soon as she arrived she left again but we had great fun!

One of the highlights was having her here for my birthday too she really did spoil me from breakfast to gifts and it really made me feel special. The last thing anyone wants on their birthday is to be alone and even better I had my best friend from home. I am not a big Birthday person but it was nice to have a low-key Korean BBQ and drinks with my close friends.

And just like that the year was kicked off at record breaking fast speed I didn’t even know what was happening all while working our extended hours because my hogwan (korean after-school academy) does a winter camp program while the kids are on their winter break.

While I was truly happy and living life I was burning out quick trying to burn the candle on both ends of the stick in my social and work life. I needed to pause take stock and get out of the depressing cold so what did I do I hopped on a plane to the Phillippines for a week of rejuvenation more about that soon.

Peace love & Happiness

Cherry ♥

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That time my family came to visit & we ended up in the Sex Capital of the World.

I haven’t seen my family in  13 months, and I was so excited to see them. My sister who was 16 when I left her now fully legal 18 years old I was overjoyed and nervous to show them a glimpse of my travel life. I had changed so much too, and I was scared, would we get along being a solo traveller for so long and so used to doing my own thing will I get on with them.

While anxiously awaiting their arrival all these thoughts were popping into my head, and I was nervous to see them. They made the long haul flight, and I saw them hugged each of them overjoyed with happiness. My sister’s first words to me were,”why are you so thin it looks like you walking on your arms” hahaha my fondest memory.

A few minutes went by, and we could not find the person who was meant to pick us up family argument number 1. In those very stressful 10 minutes I knew I was in for a bumpy but fun family vacation. I have mastered the art of patience, but this was a new ball game I was about to start playing. Thankfully before I tried to navigate Bangkok with my family and truckload of luggage, we found the transfer and we were off to our hotel.

We chilled for the rest of the day making plans for the next few days in Bangkok. We ended up doing the floating market visited a temple. The evening I took my sister to Kho San Road (if you have never been read my Kho San Road post here) I showed her how the backpackers/travellers do things. The night was so fun filled with street dancing scorpion eating and plenty of the famous Thai bucket drinks. I was so happy to share my life with my sister and just give her a taste of what my life has looked like for the past three months roaming around South East Asia.

After many hours shopping with mother dearest and sister, Dad could not be asked to join so he let us go while he sipped beers in the pool making friends we were all happy this was good.

We headed off to our next destination Pattaya we had been previously warned not to go to this part of Thailand due to its seediness and it being the Sex Capital of the World but no let’s spend Christmas in this seedy place. The key to a good family trip is to do one thing that each person wants to do even if it’s not what you want to do compromise is key.

My sister had friends staying here from home, so we planned to meet up with them and go to the Cartoon Network waterpark that’s how we ended up in the sex capital of the world, haha

Our days here were interesting; the hotel was lovely but right in the middle of all the bars and clubs, so it was loud. I had not seen so many Thai women, ladyboys and old white guys together it was shocking. We never felt comfortable going to beach or taking our clothes off without men staring in that pervy way it was just a shit show to say it politely as possible. There is a walking street where all the clubs and bars are and people luring you in its insane to see, but so sad at the same time. Filled with Russians and Thai prostitutes let’s put it this way even though myself and my sister are adults it’s still not a place for a family vacation. This is just the best, the tagline for Pattaya is “Good guys go to Heaven bad goes go to Pattaya” so you know I am not making any of this up.

We made it to the Cartoon Network waterpark it was fun, and we found a foam party at the hard rock café which was great, and it was nice to be around faces I knew too. So we made the most of a very dodgy situation but were happy to get out of there.

We headed to Krabi for the last leg of the holiday it was so fantastic we stayed in a beautiful hotel in Ao Nang, This felt like a vacation so chill with the most epic sunsets. We all immediately felt relaxed. We booked an island hopping trip visited the beautiful Maya Bay and Phi Phi islands. My mom suffers from severe motion sickness the poor thing didn’t have a great time, but she’s a trooper for sticking it out.

Our days consisted of beach days, the best street food, beach dancing by night it was a good time. New year’s eve we spent on the beach lighting lanterns and watching fireworks it was incredible. The best part was my sister on the mic shouting Happy New Year 2016 to hundreds of party goers because obviously, she made friends with the DJ a few nights back.

It was a great night and the first new year and Christmas I had spent with my family in over two years so it was not traditional at all but it was magical because we were together. As quickly as the trip came, it ended, and we were on a flight back to Cape Town. I never felt more nervous to go home in my life.

I know we more than halfway through the year, and this post is like eight months late but rather late than never they said, right.  I promise to be more consistent with my posts and so much more travel bits to fill you all in on.

Peace love & Happiness

Cherry ♥

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5 Tips to make it out of Khao San Road Bangkok Alive!

My love-hate relationship with Bangkok still continues as you can read from previous posts you can find here and here.

The first time I visited Bangkok in 2013, I never visited Koh San road the 2nd time I visited Bangkok I did for a very brief moment. I was alone and felt incredibly overwhelmed by everything.

If you have never been to Khao San road, you won’t know what I am talking about. Give me a second to paint you a picture. Koh San Road is the main backpacking touristy area. It is one street that stems off to many other streets equally as busy but not as crazy as the main Khao San Road.

Khao San Road is lined with hotels, hostels, bars, restaurants, nightclubs, ping pong shows, clothing or anything you can imagine markets. It is incredibly overwhelming as I have mentioned before, with people trying to lure you into their bars and individuals selling you things you don’t need. I remember the first time the taxi dropped me off I was afraid holding onto my bag but as you keep wandering and getting to grips with the area it’s not as bad as what I thought it was. Don’t get me wrong it’ still pretty crazy to say the least.

This time, around I got to experience Koh San Road in all its crazy glory with some of my friends I have been travelling with from Pai. We arrived at 6 am from a 12-hour bus journey that completely messed my neck up, delirious and confused we hopped into a very overpriced taxi to Full Hostel about a 5-minute walk away from Koh San Road.

Follow these tips below and you will be just fine 😉

  1.  If you plan to stay in this area try to find a hostel nearby to Khao San road because if you find a place on the actual street you will never get any sleep with loud music going all night.
  2. If you planning on drinking pre-drink hit 7/11 as the drink prices can get crazy in this area due to the fact it’s one of the main tourists hot spots.
  3.  Remember where your hostel/hotel is or stick with a friend the last thing you want is to get lost on your drunken walk home or not being able to tell a taxi or tuk-tuk driver where you are staying.
  4. Take only the essentials with you, money, phone and keep it in a safe place. The area is reasonably safe but it does get very busy, and it can make pickpocketing very easy.
  5. You will be proportioned to go to a ping pong show or any seedy strip shows. If this is your thing have fun but just be careful. They will often say the show is free you just have to buy a drink or two they make these drinks expensive and challenging if you cannot pay. So keep an eye out for this.

Needless to say, Khao San is a fun place you will make heaps of friends dancing on tables drinking one too many buckets than you should but as long as you keep my handy tips at the back of your mind I am sure you will have a blast of a time. Until you wake up the next morning with a deadly hangover and wander down Khao San road again and think to yourself: was I seriously having the time of my life in this mess of a place lol. It’s one of those things you have to experience at least once in your life.

We had so much; we were all safe and have good blurry memories of that night lol.
The rest of the weekend was bittersweet spending the last days with my friends that have become a family saying my Goodbyes as we all dispersed back to our own parts of the world.

While I was still hanging about in Bangkok for another week and then off to Pattaya and Krabi with my family who came to join me.
More about my family adventure in my next post. Hope you all are still enjoying these travel posts and welcome to all the new followers that have come to join my travel journey.

Let me know if any of you have any crazy Khao San Road stories in the comments below.

Peace love & Happiness

Cherry ♥

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