How I Can Afford To Travel!

My most REVEALING post to date! If you've been wondering how the hell I've been able to last traveling this long, well here it is! All secrets are out in the open! This post tells you how I do it, and how YOU can do it too!

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Working On A Cruise Ship

I somehow managed to get myself a job working at a Cruise Ship. This post is an inside look on what it's really like to live and work below deck. You never know... You might be enticed to work for one too, and travel the whole world like me! Read on to find out more...

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Scotland: My Favorite Country In The World

I've been to many places in several different continents, and have seen spectacular beauty... But every time I visit Scotland, every other country pales in comparison. Read this post to find out why at this point, Scotland was and still is, in my opinion, the most beautiful place on Earth...

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On Finding My Bliss In Italy

When you go on big trips like this, however cheesy it sounds, you always do end up 'finding yourself'. And there are moments... difinitive moments when you achieve clarity, contentment, and pure happiness. This all happened to me in Italy. Read my most soulful post to date, inspired by the full moon in Italia...

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On Being Featured In A Documentary

I somehow managed to get myself featured in an upcoming documentary about "Voluntourism". This may be the big break I've been waiting for! The trailer is out - and I'm in it! It looks so good, I'm so excited! See for yourself... watch it here!

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An Epiphany At Cinque Terre

The Cinque Terre is one of my favorite places in Italy. We hiked 5 villages in one day, and it was breathtaking! But something completely unexpected happened on the hike... An encounter with a complete stranger made me realize possibly one of the most important things I need to do with my life...

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My Ayahuasca Experience

Ayahuasca, is by far, the most INTENSE thing I have ever experienced in my life. I died and was reborn. It is both horrific and beautiful at the same time... I can't explain it in a few words. You HAVE to read my story to believe... I promise it will be worth your while...

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Thursday, February 22, 2018

20 Life Lessons I Learned From Traveling

My 5 year anniversary is coming up... That is, the anniversary of when I quit my corporate job to travel full time. Since then, my life has been quite controversial. I backpacked all over the world, cleaned hotel rooms and toilets, babysat demonic children, taught English and got paid under the table, worked at a Cruise Ship and sailed around the Caribbean and Hawaii fighting a debilitating motion sickness, and now, snowboarding in Alaska... among other things.

My journey has taken me to the most amazing places, yes... but what I am most grateful for are the lessons I've learned both from the experiences, and from the people I've met along the way.

Life has taken me on a journey - one I feel I was always meant to take. It's definitely not over yet, but it's been an enlightening adventure thus far. I have been changed for good, and for this, I am eternally grateful. 

I picked up a few life lessons on this expedition... lessons I'd like to share... in case any of these bring you as much growth as they did me. 

Here they are: Earth2Eartha's 20 Life Lessons Learned from Traveling

1. The more things you own, the more they own you.

Before I started traveling the world, the hardest thing I had to do was let allof my possessions go. It was then that I realized I had accumulated a lot of CRAP over the years, and all that clutter didn’t really have a place in my life. They had “sentimental value” but they had no purpose. And even if I shed a tear for everything I had to give away or sell… once they were gone, I didn’t even think about them. Not once. And I felt FREE…. Like a weight was lifted off my shoulders. I’ve learned that living a minimalist kind of lifestyle is beneficial to your soul. Things are just things… What we need to invest on are relationships. They last more and are worth more.

2. Society’s definition of “Success’ is not everyone's Truth

I know this because I was brainwashed as well… I bought into the idea of success being equated to money + car + husband + kids + mortgage. This was what I was working towards for the majority of my adult life… And sure, people thought I was pretty successful… I certainly thought I was doing pretty well for myself, sans the husband and kids, but I wasn’t happy. Not deeply. Not genuinely. I thought I was, but deep down I knew there was something missing. When I quit my job and let go of “security”, people thought I was nuts. Ballsy… but nuts. 

My life of travel isn’t perfect. I struggle financially every now and then, and I do not have the "security" I once had, but I find myself happier and more fulfilled now having less than I was when I was living in excess. I'm not saying that everyone should quit their jobs and do what I did… because I do know a number of people who are quite happy and satisfied with the career they have made for themselves, and the family that they have built. I’m just saying – if you’re not happy working towards *that* particular societal standard, that’s not your only option. You can do whatever you want and should never base your happiness on what society dictates.

3. Breakthroughs usually happen in moments of Silence

My most significant and memorable travel experiences did not happen while I was skydiving in Hawaii or partying with the Greeks in Corfu… Yeah those times were fun but were never the reasons why I wanted to travel to begin with. Most of my aha moments happened either while I was alone in thegreenest mountains of New Zealand, or sitting on a random wall with 2 of my newsoul mates in the remote city of Gubio in the heart of Italy. In these moments I felt the most grateful for the life and path that I chose. Silence (and a beautiful view) proves as an awesome caveat for you finding your inner voice… to hear what your heart is really telling you.

4. Traveling alone doesn’t mean traveling lonely

I have tried, countless times to convince my friends who have been “waiting” for someone to travel with before they go anywhere. “I’m not like you,” they say.


Guys, you’ll be waiting forever if this is your game plan. There is plenty of opportunity to meet people on the road! In fact, I can attest to this method being more effective than Tinder! There is a certain kind of freedom to making your own plans and going off on a solo adventure. If you stay in a hostel – you’ll meet people. If that’s not your thing, then go on those walking tours – guaranteed, you’ll meet people. Go on any of those excursion tours – you’ll meet a whole bunch of people. Don’t be shy… You will find that everyone else is just as hesitant as you are in making the first move in saying hello. The best opener is – “Where are you from?” – 100% that elicits a conversation. I. Promise. You.


5. Learning a Different Language is Good for You

It’s great for the brain! Plus, being able to speak that language in its native country is wonderful and allows you to connect with more people. And the effort that you put in learning the basics (hi, hello, thank you, cheers!) in the country that you are in, really makes a positive impression on the locals. I think it shows that you respect their culture, and they appreciate it when you try. Don't be one of those people who expect everyone in the world to speak English. In fact, if you encounter one of them - avoid them like the plague.

This is how people say "Hello!" in the Color Run!

6. But language barriers aren’t always “barriers” to communication

I’ve met people with a lot of hesitation traveling abroad because of the fear of not speaking the language, but in my experience, words aren’t always necessary to get your point across. I have found that body language, big animated gestures, and a giant smile can go a long way. In this day and age where Google Translate is also readily available on one’s smart phone, it has been significantly easier to alleviate this issue altogether.

7. Courage is not the absence of fear.

I've had a few friends call me “brave” – referencing what I have been doing with my life from the moment I quit my corporate job to - well, to now (which is essentially snowboarding my way through the winter in Alaska). For me it’s really not about bravery, but rather about making a life choice and committing to it. I get scared all the time! I’m a worry-wart and I don’t know what I’m doing half the time. Before I quit my job on the ship, I was a big ball of fear, not knowing what will happen next or if the move to Alaska will be successful… But I knew in my heart it was time for something new, and I took a huge leap of faith anyway in spite of my fear. And that, I think, is what makes the difference. Anyone can do what I’m doing… Anyone can do whatever they want for that matter… All you need to do is DECIDE what you want, and see it through… whatever it takes.

8. Down with Prejudice; Up with Openness

You will have a tendency to meet people who were brought up differently than you have – in fact, this is expected. They may have different religious or political beliefs, different habits, and even different hygiene. Hold off judgments because you may be surprised to learn that beneath those layers, you may find someone that you would come to admire, respect, or have a genuine connection with. I have made a fool of myself on many occasions by misjudging someone just because of where they came from, what kind of religion they had, or what they smoke. Different doesn’t mean wrong. Different is just different – and I’ve learned to celebrate these differences and learn from them!

9. People are kind

I’m one of those people who truly believe that humans are innately good. I have found kindness in the most unusual places and the most unexpected times, and these moments have restored my faith in humanity.  Surprisingly, my favorite people have come from the places that the media has taught us to fear the most because of the higher probability of danger and crime (like Brazil, Argentina, The Middle East, and including my own home country, The Philippines). I believe in Karma… and it is true that you get what you give. I have learned that if you just have an open mind and an open heart, and if you treat people with respect, you usually always get it back. It’s called the Golden Rule for a reason.

10. It doesn’t hurt to know a little self defense though

Being a woman especially… knowing a little bit of self defense is vital. Goodness knows it’s saved me from undesirable situations in the past. I think in general it just gives you a keener sense of awareness, and a little more confidence in yourself, knowing that you can at least put up a good fight and defend yourself --- just in case.

11. Travel in Europe can be CHEAP

Prague is SO beautiful, and surprisingly super affordable! My hostel here per night was just 15 Euros, and food cost is significantly cheaper than most European standards.

At least A LOT cheaper than you think. Take it from a cheapskate like me. Sure the UK is pricey, and there are definitely places in France or Germany that I wouldn’t be able to afford on a daily basis, but places like Italy, Spain, Portugal, and the majority of Eastern Europe are so much more affordable than most people would think. In fact, there are some places in Eastern Europe like Bosnia, Serbia, or even Czech Republic where food and lodging is cheaper than most places in America and Southeast Asia. Look them up!

This is Kravice Waterfall in Bosnia! It's free to enter, and a cup of coffee is about 75 cents.

12. To Travel in general does not *have to* be expensive

When I finally have my own travel show – I will show the world a cheaper and more enriching type of traveling. No, I will not feature exclusive crazy parties, no 5 star hotels, no dining in 4 Michelin Star rated restaurants. The majority of the world cannot afford those anyway, which is why I could never understand why this is what they focus on on the shows I see on TV. What people *should* see is reality. Street Food! Lodging in an affordable hostel/Airbnb, free walking tours, conversing with the locals, living life through the eyes of a native. This is the experience we should be selling, IMHO.

You can't really see it - but that's me trying to hitchhike from a camel/horse, whichever came first. Wouldn't you want to see THAT on TV? :)

Sure – sometimes it’s great to splurge a little by treating yourself to a nice hotel or a cool helicopter excursion. But these should be exceptions, not the rule. And if you change your perspective a little and learn to be flexible when it comes to the things that you’re used to (No, you don’t HAVE to sleep on sheets of Egyptian cotton every night!) you’ll find that the world is more affordable than you think.

13. When you travel – Pack Light

It’s nice to look good, but you really don’t need 20 pieces of jewelry or 5 stilettos when you’re traveling. You’re out to see the world and explore, so you want to be comfortable anyway. As long as you maintain good personal hygiene, in my opinion, the people you meet on the road hardly ever notice (or care) about what you wear, as long as you carry yourself well. I already consider myself a seasoned light packer, and I STILL wind up bringing more than I need. So toss out the extra weight – your back will thank you for it.

This was me, OVERPACKING on a trip to Europe and annoyed AF at the weight I had to carry.

14. Appreciate your own beauty

I was surrounded by the most beautiful women I’ve ever seen while I was working in both Italy and Brazil. I remember feeling *so* self conscious and a little insecure – but tried not to show it. I learned 2 lessons from these 2 sets of beautiful women. 

From the Italians, whom I became genuinely good friends with and grew to love dearly, I learned that I didn’t need to compare myself to their beautiful skin and tall noses and curvy figures… because I had my own assets (according to them) that I should be proud of! Like (in their words), my “beautiful almond shaped eyes” and “nice Asian glow” and “bella bella smile!” The whole time I was admiring them and wishing I had their ‘this and that’, they were looking at me thinking the same thing!

From the Brazilian women, I learned about CONFIDENCE. Yes, all caps and bold. Walking down the beach of Ipanema, I was wearing a regular bikini feeling overdressed, because all of the women wore thongs! And it’s not what they were wearing that really drew me in – but HOW they wore it! These women OWNED it! They strutted the shore like they were being trailed by the paparazzi! And not all of them had a perfect figure… in fact most of them would be considered plus size women in American standards! But they were oozing with sex appeal and walked with the confidence of Ashley Graham in a photo shoot. Those hips! They were beautiful! All of them!

Confidence and self-love is key. Don’t compare yourself to others because you are unique, and are beautiful in your own special way. You just have to believe it. If you do, then everyone else will. (Watch the upcoming movie, “I Feel Pretty”)

15. When you venture out of your Comfort Zone, life happens.

Cheesy and overused, I know… but it doesn’t make it any less true. There is a saying (that I heard from a very insightful movie called, Kung Fu Panda) that says – A person usually finds their destiny on the road they took to avoid it.  Throughout the years, I have learned to say “YES” to the things that I have feared the most… And the outcome has always been something rather significant. I have either been able to do something completely amazing, made great friends with someone I never would have considered to begin with, or fallen in love with someone completely unexpected.

16. Money is great. But it’s not everything.

I’ve always had kind of a love-hate relationship with money.  I usually say “I hate that we need it”… But I have learned that we only really need enough. Anything in excess of what you really truly need is when it becomes complicated, because it makes you want more things. Things that you may not necessarily need. There certainly is no point in killing yourself in a job that you hate, only to make enough money to pay your bills and support an expensive lifestyle that doesn’t make you happy. They key is to find a balance between doing something you love, and making just enough to get what you need… and maybe have a little extra for rainy days.

Look at this lady I found in Maui. All she had was her chair, sand and water on her legs, the beach, the sun, and her Hydroflask. She was the happiest woman I've seen in Hawaii.  

17. Treasure Relationships, and not Possessions

In the many years I have been traveling, I have learned to value more than ever the people that I have in my life. Family, friends – old and new, and the relationships that we maintain with them is what it’s all about. These people are our greatest fortune. Realizing that you don’t need certain people and the drama and heaviness they bring is something you should act on. It is better to be by yourself rather than in poisonous company. Choose who you surround yourself with and fight to keep them. They are your biggest investment. (And call home, every once in a while… This is something that I always have to remind myself to do!)

My sibs and I :)

18. It’s OK not to have your sh*t together all the time.

One of my lowest points in my backpacking trip was when I decided to go to a big Oktoberfest celebration in a town called Blumenau. It was hours away from where I lived, I did not have a ticket to get in - but wanted to risk it and buy one from a scalper, and I was by myself because none of my friends wanted to go. To cut the long and depressing story short, I went, got inside, had beer spilled on me several times by drunk Brazilians dressed as Germans, had a miserable time, had to pay extra to go back to my hostel early, and when I got there I got extremely sick... Too sick to even go to the bathroom to wipe the snot flowing from my nose from crying so much. And so I lied there, blinded from my tears, temperature through the roof, and alone AF.

Like I said - low point.

Things don’t *always* fall into place and you’re not *always* going to be the happiest and everything doesn’t *have to* be super awesome all the time. And if some people make it seem like it is, then they are probably an android.

You experience being the most human during your breakdowns… and although I do not condone wallowing for longer than a brief period, it’s always therapeutic to have a good cry. Things can suck sometimes, and that’s okay. What matters is what you do after… how you pick yourself up and how you bounce back. You learn the most from these experiences anyway, and they are a vital part of growth and of life.

19. At the end of the day, wherever you are… People basically want the same things.

I was having a conversation with possibly the most accomplished woman I've ever met while I was in Greece. She spoke 7 languages, ran her own business, was so beautiful that she literally was a "Greek Goddess", but in the middle of our tête-à-tête, she asks me why this guy she really liked hasn't text her back. "How long before I text him again, you think?" she asked me.

I was stunned. Holy sh*t. All women all over the world are the same.

It’s so crazy really. I’ve met so many people around the world, and even if we have different cultures, and eat different food, have different traditions and speak different languages… at the end of the day, what I have learned is this: We all want the same things. We want to feel a sense of purpose, experience genuine human connection, and above all else, we want and need love – in whatever shape or form. It is the most basic of all languages, and what all of us would like to speak fluently.

20. To follow your heart is more of a duty, not a suggestion.

The one thing that we ALL have in common is that we are all going to die one day. We only have this one chance at life, and so it is our duty to make the most out of it by following our hearts. 

When I took Ayahuasca and was induced to a state of enlightenment, I was shown that I already had the answers to all of my greatest life questions. At our very core, deep within our souls, we already truly know what we want to do... and the only thing stopping us from achieving our full potential is ourselves... because of fear.

Live your truth. Do what makes you happy. We are not meant to just have one path in life… We are not meant to do just one thing. Take classes, explore, learn a new language, travel, go back to school at 50, have children, don't have children, do everything if you so desire. You are never too old, and it is never too late. Always choose (to do what you) love over fear. If you do this, you win, every time.

"When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it"

I have lived that quote, over and over again once I started my path to following my bliss. It is truth. And it is known.

Onward and UPward, guys! ;) UPward! Get it?? Haha :)

There you have it, everyone! My 20! I genuinely hope that some of these have resonated with you. Are there any lessons that you have picked up from Travel (or from life) that you'd like to share? I'd love to hear from you! Please drop me a line below!

Thursday, January 4, 2018

The Alyeska NYE Torchlight Parade

I've celebrated New Year's Eve throughout my lifetime in a very "standard" fashion. No matter where I am, it usually consists of either a ton of firecrackers or some fireworks, plenty of food, and great company.

Celebrating New Year's Eve at Alyeska, I expected something similar to the above, give or take a few... But not a burning mountain!?

The Torchlight Parade which is an Alyeska Resort Tradition, consists of volunteer skiers and snowboarders in a procession down the slope creating a stunning visual effect! What makes it prettier is that they have a fireworks display right after.

Most of the participants of the parade are Alyeska employees. In essence, I could have participated -- but you have to be an *expert* skier or snowboarder to do so, and I'm no where near that level - yet. You have to have an incredible ability to control your movements down the slope, specifically because all the torches are real! As in REAL FIRE!

Well... Flares, actually.

I remember seeing the ski patrol coming down the mountain with a girl in tow in a sled and a blanket... With paramedics waiting for her at the bottom. My exact words were - "Yep. That would have been me."

It was snowing pretty heavily that night too, so the conditions weren't too ideal. The danger factor made the whole event a lot more impressive! As a Game of Thrones fan, it also dawned on me that I was having a real Ice and Fire moment!

Since I had never heard of the Torchlight parade before, I thought it was an exclusive Alyeska tradition... but after doing a little digging, I realized that these parades are quite common among Ski Resorts around the US and Canada.

Take a look at some of these photos.

Silver Star Mountain, Photo by Josh Latham

Alyeska Resort by Tim Grams

Winter Park Resort (From their website)

Alyeska Resort by Eric Teela

Taos Ski Resort (

I had a little difficulty finding anything regarding the history of this unusual parade. I've asked some of the locals here, and all they could say was - "They've always done it".

The closest thing to "historical" I could find was this little article about Granilbakken.

Granilbakken is a ski resort in Lake Tahoe, CA. In 1932, it was the host to the Olympic Ski Jumping trials, and the athletes allegedly ski'd down the slopes holding their own torches on Christmas Eve. It became a yearly tradition for them since then.

I could only assume that this is where the torchlight parades of different resorts got the idea from... just changing Christmas to New Year's eve. I may be wrong... Perhaps it originated from somewhere in Europe? Switzerland or Austria maybe?

Nonetheless - I think it's a pretty great tradition! And I can say with utmost confidence, that with all the snowboarding I've been doing here at the resort, I'm pretty sure I can qualify for the 2018 Torchlight Parade... Whichever Ski Resort I may end up this winter.

I still have a few months left to practice. 💪

How did YOU spend your New Year's Eve? :)

Happy New Year from me and my friends :)

*Check out my Instagram Page for some of the videos I shot of the event.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

My Frozen Life In Alaska

Since I moved here, I can proudly admit that I have only sang "Let It Go" out loud, once.

It was when I was walking down a beautiful snowy path in the forest in the dark (probably at around 4:00 PM), and I thought I'd distract myself from the fear of being attacked by a random moose.

Yes. That's what it looks like at 4:00 PM.
Why the song choice, you might ask? Well... apart from the obvious --- that everything around me was, in fact, Frozen, it was also all very fairy tale - like sparkly! I had never been around snow very much in my life to even notice how it sparkles. It's a Disney-esque moment! It was also *very* cold that afternoon, but the fear of being attacked by a random animal in the dark made the cold not bother me too much anyway. 

(See what I did there?)

No surprises, folks. It's cold in Alaska. The *surprise* is that it's actually not as cold as I expected it to be! The weather here is steady. Not windy nor painful. The temperature could be -9 like it is right now, but the air is crisp and it doesn't hurt. All in all, not too bad - considering the fact that I used to "live" in Hawaii.


I have taken up a seasonal employment at the Alyeska Resort. A beautiful year-round getaway place, which is a haven for skiers and snowboarders in the winter, and a playground for the outdoorsy in the summer. It's a very popular hotel among the locals of Anchorage, with it being a 45 minute drive from the city.

Everyone says that Alyeska's premiere season for tourists is the summer. There's so much to do here then... from hiking, to bike tours, to glacier tours, whale watching, etc. There's about 18 hours of sunlight here then (as opposed to the 5.5 hours I have now), so these tours sell out like hotcakes.

In the winter though, it seems as if the only thing that you could ever do out here is ski or snowboard... which is a big bummer for me because I was really hoping to do a lot of the Alaskan tours I've read about so much... but they all close down during the winter.

It's a good thing I *do* like to snowboard! So all my weekends here will be spent sashaying down the slopes! Not too bad, especially since it's free!

I won't be here to see Alyeska in the Summer... but from what I have seen so far - Winter here is BEAUTIFUL!

View of the Alyeska Resort from the Aerial Tram!


Did I mention I had weekends off? Wild, right? Going from working 70 hours a week, 7 days a week, to barely 40 hours a week with two full days off? I have no idea what to do with myself.

Oh that's right - I snowboard! Ha!

As employees of Alyeska, we get a free season pass, which - I checked - costs about $1400 USD! It's a really great benefit... that even if I'm really not that much of a snowboarder, I'm most likely going to end up being a pro by the time I leave because - who wouldn't take advantage of being able to ski/snowboard for free anytime?

I remember having to shell out almost $200 for every trip up to Mount High in California anytime I wanted to snowboard with my friends or family... Lift tickets plus equipment rentals plus food and gas - they all add up.

Here, I basically roll out of bed in my snow gear and walk 5 minutes to the hotel, they hand me my board and boots and vavavoom!

Once a year, every year, anyone who dresses up as Santa, Ski's for free! (Photo taken from Alyeska website)

That's another thing I'm pretty grateful for - the noncommute! I got so used to living and working at the ship that I was worried about ever having to drive or commute to work again! Thankfully, the Employee Housing is just a 5 minute walk from work. I essentially live right by the hotel parking lot, which is awesome! The walk isn't too bad, either!

My Daily Commute!

Also. It's beautiful here. Just look.


Ugh. Everything in Alaska is expensive. YES - more expensive than Hawaii!
I moved here on December 11. I haven't even been here a month, and have already spent more than $700 on groceries! I really have no idea why we spend so much on food here. Am I just adjusting to the fact that I now have to buy and cook my own food? (As opposed to having everything given to me on the ship)

Employee Housing is pretty expensive, too. I'm staying in a 2 bedroom unit, sharing a house with my forever roomie, Velma, and my Filipino Mafia housemate, Ate Naida. Our house lacks one more person because it's meant to be for 4 people... but each of us still shell out $477 a month.

So this small 2 bedroom apartment costs $1908 for 4 people. I think that's pretty steep... because we don't earn very much out here, and as I've said - it's pretty expensive to live in Alaska.
But I have to say, it's a really nice and refreshing change to have somewhere to come "home" to after work again. It's been a while for me to have a place to hang my hat, having lived a vagabond existence for the past few years.

I also have nothing but praises for our housemate! She is amazing, so kind, and she's basically given us everything we didn't have just to be more comfortable here. Oh, and she has a huge freezer full of SALMON that she willingly shares! We basically have Salmon for life. Free Salmon... For Life... For Free. That's a LOT of Omega's!

That's not really a downside, is it?

Well, I'm not me if not a tad optimistic!


I was off to a rocky start when the shock of the expenses came crashing down on me. It's a big adjustment coming from the Ship environment where you didn't have to worry about anything because everything was provided to you - to now having to buy everything from food to kitchenware to bedding! My savings took a big dip, and I haven't received my first paycheck yet, so it's been a little bit of a struggle. But my spirits are high, nonetheless. The beauty of this place hasn't worn off on me yet... and there's still the Northern Lights to look forward to!

I've downloaded this app that notifies me when the Northern Lights are "strong" in my area. It even sends me a text message when there is "more than a 27% chance of viewing! So go outside, now!"
These messages come in the stupidest hours in the morning though - like 2:00 AM or so. I haven't had enough motivation to get out of the house at that time just yet - because in Alaska, during the winter, when there are only 5 hours of daylight, sleep is ADDICTING!

I'll get there! I've only just arrived anyway. I'll get those beautiful and elusive photos eventually! Watch this space!

In the meantime - these purple morning skies will have to do!

Another thing I've been looking forward to is the Iditarod Dog Sled Race. If any of you have ever seen the movie, Balto, this annual race was inspired by those dogs who saved the tiny town of Nome by delivering the dyptheria serum all the way from Anchorage. The race, just like how it was in the 1920's, kicks off in Anchorage! I'm really looking forward to seeing that in March.

Until then, I plan to snowboard my way through the winter months, armed with my boost of Omega 3's!

We haven't reached the peak of the cold in Alaska yet... But I came prepared! Besides... The cold never bothered me anyway.

Just kidding.

It does... sometimes. :)

Thursday, December 7, 2017

WOW Air: An Honest Review

There are a LOT of mixed reviews about the airline, WOW Air, since they started their low cost flights from the USA to Iceland and Europe (mostly negative). At first glance, their prices are insanely cheap compared to other carriers... but really, because it's a very 'bare bones' type of airline, you end up having to pay for everything from carry on luggage, to even freakin' water in the flight.

Whenever I fly to Europe from my home base, Los Angeles, my go-to airline has always been Norwegian Air. They're cheap, comfortable, the planes are beautiful, and I've had only good experiences flying with them.

This time, though - for research and blogging purposes, I decided to book my flight with WOW to see what all the fuss is all about. Is it really as bad as people make it out to be, or is it just a 'you get what you pay for' kind of deal?


I booked a one way ticket to London from Los Angeles this November. Now - because I was booking my flight a little later than I usually do, the prices of all the airlines were significantly higher than they were a couple months prior. The cheapest rate in USD for a one way flight that I saw was $229. It was about $100 cheaper than Norwegian Air at the time... but Norwegian has a direct flight, WOW has a brief layover in Iceland. (If I had booked earlier, the prices would have been as low as $180)

Eh. I was committed. I was gonna fly with WOW even if I preferred flying direct with Norwegian. I really want to see and experience it for myself.

Once you go through the booking process online, that's when you start seeing all the costs that pile up on top of the base fare.

The flight ticket allows you to bring a very small personal item at 17x13x10 inches. If you are to bring anything bigger than that, you will be required to pay for a carry on item for $39.99 at 22x18x10.

See that backpack that I'm carrying? You can carry something like that for free. That's basically the biggest it can get if you don't want to pay for carry on luggage. 

As you can see from the photos above, my backpack barely made it. If you want to carry something bigger, you'll have to pay extra.

FYI - this cost is for the LA to London flight, and the cost AT BOOKING. Other flights to different locations may differ, and the prices hike up significantly if you pay for your luggage upon check in.

I had one check in luggage - which was my trusty backpack. Check in luggage cost $59.99 at 44lbs/20kg.

Seat assignments cost money too. If you want to choose your seat - you have to pay $10.99 for a standard seat in the back, and $11.99 for a standard seat in the front. It's free if you want them to select your seat at random - but will be a little difficult if you are traveling with someone because you will definitely be separated.

If you add all that up (and if you select a standard seat in the back), that's an additional $110.97 on top of the flight ticket. And remember - there is no food included here.

Since I was traveling with someone, I decided to purchase the WOW PLUS option, which gives you everything I have just outlined above as a package.

My total cost for the one way flight from LA to London was $319.05. 
Would have paid around $20 more if I didn't do the WOW PLUS Package.


We were going to be on a 9 hour straight flight to Iceland, with a 2 hour layover, and then a 3 hour flight to London... at an airline that didn't give you any water, food, or entertainment. Like I said, bare bones. (Well, they DO give you food and drinks... in exchange for money. Lots of money. Me no likey.)

And because I am who I am, and I saw this as a challenge - I went through great lengths to make sure we were well equipped for this trip!


We had spinach pie with a side of sour cream, hummus and crackers, a huge bag of trail mix, a ziplock bag of chocolates and sweets, a bag of mixed dried berries, and two full containers of water (we filled it up after security check). We also made sure we ate a lot before we flew, bought some extra sandwiches at the airport as well.

They also do not provide pillows and blankets! And so I brought my own blankie!

This is actually a scarf - I call it my blanket poncho scarf. It's multipurpose. I LOVE it.

They do not provide entertainment on board - no mini TV's on your seat, not even big ones for people to watch collectively...
And so I thought - what could I do to occupy myself for a 9 hour journey?
Easy! I learned how to knit!

About a week before we flew - I took to Youtube tutorials on "how to knit a scarf for beginners", bought some yarn and needles - and voila! I am Martha Stewart in the making! (I'm really not. I'm shit at this... but it's so much fun! I have found a new hobby!)

I also downloaded "How to Get Away With Murder" on my iPad (a show I haven't seen, but came highly recommended), just in case the knitting got too boring.


I thought the plane ride was super smooth. The seats actually felt like they were more spacious than what I've been used to on other airlines! I had a lot of leg room- almost like I was on the exit row!

As you can see... my legs are pretty stretched out (pardon my sandwiches!)

The crew were great! They were super friendly, and I have to say - good looking! (No, sorry I don't have any photos. I was already THAT girl, with a freaking picnic basket of food, knitting needles and a weird poncho. I didn't want to be labeled 'the stalker' either.)

The reviews I've read prior were right. They do not serve anything for free... Not even water, coffee or tea. But they are available if you want to buy them. I took the liberty of taking a photo of their beverage menu here to see for yourself...

How about that Icelandic Water for $3.29? :)

Anyway... the knitting was a success, we got through our episodes pretty well... And before we knew it - we were making our descent to Iceland! (They say it's a 9 hour flight, but it's actually more like 7).

The layover in Iceland was short and sweet, and I thoroughly enjoyed the airport bathroom with individual cubicles that felt bigger than my old cabin on the Cruise Ship! And check out this sink!

Little things make me happy.



The short layover was a nice break from the long uneventful flight... and before we knew it, we were on our way to London.

I have to say that the experience with Wow Air was very pleasant -- Mostly because we were prepared for it. The key is to manage your expectations.

I know I can't say the same for a few people ahead of us at the check in counter... They didn't know that there were size restrictions to the carry on luggage, and were outraged when they were informed they had to pay extra.

I also heard a few complaints on the plane from people who didn't realize they had to pay for water or snacks. I know I probably would have reacted the same hadn't I known or done my research beforehand.

The thing is, most of the time, if it's too good to be true, it probably is. For Wow Airlines, you DO get what you pay for... Or rather - you DON'T get what you don't pay for. In this case, the airline literally just flies you from your location to your destination. That's it. And considering the cost of the competition, it's not that bad.

You really just have to know what you're getting into... If you prepare like I did, by bringing your own food, water, and entertainment (or arts and crafts), and if you abide by their guidelines, you'll be fine.

But if you can't be bothered to do any of that - then this airline is probably not for you.

Would I fly with WOW again? If the price is right - most definitely! :)

Did this review help? Have you flown with, or planning to fly with Wow Airlines? What was your experience? Leave your comments below! I would love to hear from you!