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!

Read More

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...

Read More

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...

Read More

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...

Read More

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!

Read More

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...

Read More

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...

Read More


Thursday, April 25, 2013

My RTW Update: 1 Week Till Takeoff

Earth2Eartha holds Earth

A little more than 6 months ago, I made the decision to quit my job so I can travel the world.

About a month ago, I got up and went to work at Bosley for the last time and I said goodbye.

I have been unemployed for almost 4 weeks, bumming around... recovering from my first tattoo, my eye surgery, trying to enjoy my time here at home in Manila as much as I can.

Next week, on Friday to be exact, I leave for Australia... and the Round The World Trip begins!


A little freaked out, I have to be honest. I mean, I'm excited - but still nervous. I'm leaving in a week!!! Plus, it's just been increasingly difficult to be productive without being able to SEE clearly yet. AGH! All the preparations that I should have done the past few weeks I'm only able to do now because I could hardly even see my own reflection after the surgery, let alone the computer screen! Thank goodness I'm getting waaay better now, and I'm doing my best to catch up on some prep work for the trip.


What kind of preparations, you ask? Well... there are a few. First, I need to sort out my Travel Insurance. I'm sooo tempted not to get one to save on some cash, but with everything else that's happened to me in the past, I'd rather not risk it -- and by that, I mean - I have a tendency to get really weird illnesses. Long story.

Anyway - I'm getting one, and I'm just trying to compare prices. At the moment, it looks like World Nomads is the leading contender on travel insurance. It is highly recommended by all the travelers I've been in contact with, and they seem like a pretty legit company.


I've recently realized that the Glagla Water Shoes I purchased a few months ago although very practical and efficient are not aesthetically pleasing. They make my feet look as big as Ronald McDonald's. And so I found these new ones from K-Swiss... they are called "Vertical Tubes Recovery Shoes" and look like a cooler version of Crocs sandals. The function is the same (good for water, walking, working out, etc) and they look better on my feet.
I got my tetanus shot a couple weeks ago - the last remaining one I needed to be fully vaccinated. YES!

I have a Runnur Personal Cargo Pack I purchased months ago for this trip. It's basically a "Hands Free Carry All" sling, which is sort of like a Messenger Bag without the Bag. I got a white canvass pack in the hopes of getting it designed and painted - and my graphic designer friend, Jamnagar, is working on it as we speak.

Runnur Cargo Pack
One of my best purchases!


This is probably the biggest cause of stress at the moment. I'm only going to bring one small backpack, and as I am slowly trying to lay out the clothes I'm going to bring, my heart palpitates due to the fear of not being able to fit them all. I'm going to try and do a packing "trial run" this weekend, and pray to all the masters of the universe that my compression sacks will do the trick. IT HAS TO! And I will post about my "Ultimate Round The World Trip Packing List" next week before I leave. Wish me luck!

Packing List for Travel
Agggh What a mess!


I've also had to deal with issues regarding trip itineraries and flights. Due to unforeseen events, my travel buddy won't be able to join me in New Zealand anymore, so I had to make some changes. I was quite upset at the beginning... I mean who doesn't when things don't go according to plan, right? Well, I've come to terms with the fact that things sometimes just have a way of working things out... and that I just have to trust the course of nature and the universe. As I was making changes and arrangements, I started to realize my itinerary was shaping up to be a lot better than it would have been... No offense to my travel buddy - but because she can't make it to New Zealand with me, it now seems like I have been given more time to explore the areas I want to visit! :)


I was also invited to speak at a Travel Massive Manila event, to talk a little bit about my story, and how I deal with "Culture Shock" when I travel. It was quite astounding to realize that most of the people who came already knew who I was... these are people who have been keeping tabs on me through my blog! Amazing like-minded people who also have a passion for traveling! I can't tell you how thrilled I was to be around them!

@earth2eartha meets @mylifeonboard


Since I've been here, I've received nothing but good thoughts and support from my friends and family - which is great! It helps ease the fear somehow. And because everyone knows I'm on "frugal mode" at the moment trying to hold on to every last penny I have, they have been taking me out, treating me to dinner, movies, drinks... I am being treated like a queen, basically. My friends are amazing. I feel the love... :)

On this final week of bumming around in Manila, I'm basically going to run around, get my teeth cleaned, buy last minute travel necessities, print all my documents, get a few hangs in with my friends, and spend some quality time with my family. After that, there will be nothing else to do but leave...

It's hard to believe that after EVERYTHING that happened over the last 6 months, I'm finally here at this point. It's been QUITE a journey already, and I haven't even officially started yet!

Get ready, folks. This is going to be one crazy year. :)

Hi There! Have we met before? You look familiar! Those shoes look great on you, by the way! I’m Eartha and I recently decided to quit my job to travel the worrrrld! Join me in my adventures by checking back on my blog, and leaving me a comment or two!
  • Subscribe to my blog and get updated every time I post here!
  • Add me to your feed reader here!
  • Wanna be Facebook friends? Like my page here!
  • Are you as epigramatic as I am? Tweet me @earth2eartha
  • Do you have cool photos on Instagram? Check mine out too @earth2eartha
  • Or if you want to leave me a message or a limerick, email me here!

Come and visit me again soon! :)


Thursday, April 18, 2013

Rowing In Manila

Rowing at the Pasig River

This week, my doctors gave me the go signal to start exercising again! WHOOPEE! Thank goodness... I don't know how long I could have lasted being a useless bum.
Ever since the eye surgery at Asian Eye Institute, I have been forced to stay on my butt, unable to do anything. I couldn't see well, for the most part I couldn't really go out much, and it was a struggle to even watch TV or go online!

It was starting to get a little intolerable and I was ready to pull my hair out... but I keep reminding myself that this is just a necessary evil, and that this will all be worth it in the end when I finally have perfect vision. I'm still lucky I'm not working anymore, and that I have all this time to heal before I leave for my big world trip in May.

Anyway, this week I went straight back to boxing -- my regular workout. It felt SO GOOD to be moving and punching something again!

Apart from that, I also looked into ROWING at the Manila Boat Club.


I found out that Manila Boat Club offers free clinics to anyone who ever wanted to learn how to row. You get three rowing sessions free, then you can decide to either continue rowing after that and pay a minimal fee, or be a member!
I actually used to take sculling classes about 4 summers ago in Marina Del Rey. I had a lot of fun in class, and even joined a rowing team for a bit afterwards, but I just couldn't commit to it because the marina was too far, and their rows conflicted with my work schedule.
Now that I'm not working anymore, and the Manila Boat Club offers free clinics - Why Not?? :)


I was astonished to find out that they rowed at the Pasig River. First thing I thought of was - will we be able to move the boat with all that garbage in the water? I don't know if I've just been away from Manila for too long, but this is how I remember Pasig...

Pasig River Dirty
A river so filthy, it was declared "dead".

What I didn't realize was that even before I left for the states, the government had put together a rehabilitation plan to clean up the polluted river... It's been almost 14 years since that project started, and apparently, their efforts have started to pay off. This is what the Pasig River looked like when my sister and I arrived at 6am the other day.

Pasig River Now
No Filter. I swear!
Not bad at all! No foul smell either! Good job, Manila! :)


I took my sister with me for a little sculling action. Call time was 6am, and there we met James Stratton, the director of Manila Boat Club, and Coach Benny - our sculling coach! Everything was pretty simple. First they took us to the rowing machine to show us basic form and technique, then after 5 minutes of that, off to the water we went! That was it! No more bells and whistles! I've never been a fan of learning by theory... I learn by doing! And that's what we did!

Four of us climbed on to a boat. My sister and I were in the middle, James controlled our pace at the front, and Coach Benny was yelling out commands from the back. It's really easy... just stroke when they stroke and go with the flow. Even my sister who has never sculled in her life got the hang of it pretty quickly!

Rowing with Manila Boat Club

We were out rowing for about 40 minutes or so... got a good sweat in minus the killer Manila heat - one of the upsides to getting out and about by 6am.

I had such a great time! The repetitive motion is really therapeutic, and it's great exercise too - mostly benefits your arms, quads and abs! My sis and I have gone twice this week already, and will continue to go for sure.

This isn't exactly how I pictured my "bumming days" in Manila would be... Honestly, I would have loved to be basking in the sun on some remote island I haven't visited yet... but AGH I can't see very well and I'm not allowed to swim yet! First it was because of the tattoo, now because of the operation... AARGGGHH It's driving me NUTS!

Oyyyyyy... it's okay. I do what I can. Boxing is fun. Rowing is fun. And I know, a few months down the line, seeing the beaches in Greece with my newly improved 3D vision will make this all worth it. :)

Rowing at Pasig River Sunrise

Hi There! Have we met before? You look familiar! Those shoes look great on you, by the way! I’m Eartha and I recently decided to quit my job to travel the worrrrld! Join me in my adventures by checking back on my blog, and leaving me a comment or two!
  • Subscribe to my blog and get updated every time I post here!
  • Add me to your feed reader here!
  • Wanna be Facebook friends? Like my page here!
  • Are you as epigramatic as I am? Tweet me @earth2eartha
  • Do you have cool photos on Instagram? Check mine out too @earth2eartha
  • Or if you want to leave me a message or a limerick, email me here!

Come and visit me again soon! :)


Thursday, April 11, 2013

The One About My Eye Surgery

Eye Surgery

I am typing this blog post, silently thanking my high school typewriting teacher for making us memorize the qwerty keyboard, and for ordering us to spend hours typing with our heads covered by masks... a more creative way of blindfolding (my mask of choice was a "Polgas" paper mask -- the dog from my fave Filipino comic book, Pugad Baboy).

It has been almost a week since my Eye Surgery at Asian Eye Institute, and I am still visually incapacitated. In fact, I may as well still be wearing my Polgas mask right now because I'm typing with my eyes closed. I am peeking every now and then to check for spelling errors. None so far. Woohoo!

Anyway... nothing to fear though because all of this is expected and pretty normal. As I have mentioned in my previous post, my doctor, Dr. Ang, recommended that I do the Photorefractive Keratectomy (PRK) surgery instead of LASIK because of several issues surrounding my eyes.


PRK is a type of refractive surgery to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. The difference between that and LASIK is that in LASIK, they create a thin flap on the cornea to access the treatment area, whereas in PRK, the cornea's entire outer layer is removed, and no flap is created.
The upside to PRK (in my case) is that since my cornea has a very irregular shape, not creating a flap is safer for me... Plus, since I do a lot of contact sports (like Boxing and Muay Thai), there is less risk for "flap complications". Dr Ang also said that if he did LASIK on me, because of my eye situation - there would have been a possibility that 5 years down the line, I might start losing my eyesight again... 

I read up on Dr. Ang. He is the only doctor in the Philippines to have finished two sub-specialty programs at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Harvard Medical School.

Harvard Med.

OK. So whatever Dr Ang says, goes. End of discussion!

The downside to this is that my recovery time is longer. If I had LASIK done, I'd be typing with both eyes open by now, enjoying my perfect vision. Since I have to wait for my "epithelial cells" to regenerate, they say it might take several weeks or even months for the full effects of the surgery to manifest. I suppose it's a good thing I have a month of bumming around to do here in Manila anyway...  might as well use it to heal and recharge!


Pre-Surgery Look
Me, pre-surgery looking like a public school
lunch lady.
I'm not gonna lie. I was pretty freaked out while waiting for my turn at the surgery room. I was dressed up in scrubs and a hair cap, and I was with two other people, comfortably propped up on one of those massage chairs.
I heard it wasn't going to hurt at all... but I mean they're my EYES. The windows to my soul!!! The thought of having them poked and prodded would make anyone nervous, right?

I went into the surgery room, and I was helped into the little bed where the "laser" was. I honestly thought they were going to give me some Valium or Diazepam beforehand, but I was wrong! I guess I got so used to being in the states where they give you a drug for everything!

Dr Ang warmly greeted me, and said he was going to talk me through everything while it was happening. He explained once again why he thought PRK was the best and safest route for me, and I appreciated the reminder. It helped calmed me down, knowing I was in good hands.

Then as he was giving me some anesthetic drops for my eyes, he said, "OK! You are on your way to having perfect vision for the rest of your life!" My heart jumped to my throat and my hands gripped my sides. Here we go...

First, there was an instrument that was placed over my right eye to keep them open. Dr Ang asked me to focus on the red light. Then he placed an instrument over my eye and I felt a little pressure... like he was pressing down on it, but it didn't hurt. Then they counted down 30 seconds - I have no idea what for. Afterwards, he took out the instrument, and I vaguely saw him take out what looked like a contact lens from my eye -- I guess that was the outer layer of the cornea.


Laser Dr Evil

One of the things I was nervous about was - what if my eyes moved around? Will the "laser" zap the wrong area of my eye? What if I shifted around because of nerves? I just thought so many things could go wrong... but here's a tidbit I read from Asian Eye's website:

Asian Eye Institute uses the latest technology to ensure the highest level of safety for its patients. At present, it is the only eye care facility in the country that uses Active Control Eyetracker (ACE) and Iris Registration (IR). 

Active Control Eyetracker – Eye movements are unavoidable during surgery. Asian Eye uses a multidimensional eyetracker that detects movements and adjusts the laser several hundred times a second to ensure that the laser pulses are fired at the correct location on the cornea. It is best used for high grade and astigmatism treatments.

Iris Registration – The iris has different patterns that differentiate one eye from another. At Asian Eye, the patient can be sure that someone else’s treatment will never be applied on his or her eyes. This equipment also detects the change in the eye position due to a change in body position. The iris registration, combined with the active control eyetracker, automatically aligns the treatment pattern once it detects the change in eye position, increasing the accuracy of laser pulse placement.

It pays to do research - and this information definitely made me feel a lot more at ease. In fact, everything about Asian Eye Institute was very comforting and professional. Everyone was so nice and accommodating. :)

Before the "laser" started, Dr Ang said it was going to smell like there was something burning, but that it was normal. He really wasn't kidding! The burning smell was pretty pungent. My heart was beating really fast and it was a little scary, but it didn't hurt at all. In fact, I didn't feel anything. The "laser" was over pretty quickly, I don't even know if it lasted a minute. After that, my eye was doused with cold water --- and that one I felt. It was fine... just felt, well, cold!

They repeated the exact same process on my left eye, and it was over in a jiffy. Doc placed a bandage contact lens over each eye and they're still on at the moment. He takes them out on Saturday, a week after the surgery.

And that was it! Tadaa! Surgery finished! Didn't hurt a single bit! I don't know what I was nervous about! They sent me home after explaining some post-op reminders and that was that! Voila! Piece of cake!


I am going craaaaaazy!!!!
I can't swim, I can't do any exercise, I couldn't go out much... AAAGH!!!

Alas... it is all part of the healing process. The first night was very uncomfortable, I couldn't really do anything else but sleep it off. The next three days got better, but it still felt like there was something stuck in my eye, like a contact lens not put in properly... or a piece of sand that won't go away. It's better now, but I still can't really see that clearly yet. It's like everything is illuminated and bright and scattered. I mean I can walk around fine and I can see, but it's difficult to read a book or write on my computer or watch TV. I have to constantly protect my eyes with these super cool glasses they gave me... I even have to wear them to sleep to prevent accidental sleep-poking! Oh and I also have to keep lubricating my eyes with these drops they gave me every four hours.

Again... this is all apparently very normal. It will take a while for me to achieve perfect vision, but I have to be patient and take it one day at a time. I am sooo looking forward to being able to work out again. If I can't see properly, I'd like to be able to punch or kick something (or someone) at least!

I have a follow up appointment on Saturday (a week after surgery), and then another one right before I leave for Australia (a month after surgery). I am crossing my fingers that my vision would be significantly better by then! I take comfort in the fact that I see an improvement everyday so far... Hopefully my next update about my eyes will be crystal clear!

**Click on the poster below to see about what Asian Eye Institute offers! :)

(**Read about my Lasik Screening at Asian Eye Institute here)

Hi There! Have we met before? You look familiar! Those shoes look great on you, by the way! I’m Eartha and I recently decided to quit my job to travel the worrrrld! Join me in my adventures by checking back on my blog, and leaving me a comment or two!
  • Subscribe to my blog and get updated every time I post here!
  • Add me to your feed reader here!
  • Wanna be Facebook friends? Like my page here!
  • Are you as epigramatic as I am? Tweet me @earth2eartha
  • Do you have cool photos on Instagram? Check mine out too @earth2eartha
  • Or if you want to leave me a message or a limerick, email me here!

Come and visit me again soon! :)


Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Woes of Traveling Blind

Bad Eyesight

I've been wearing glasses since I was 11, and contact lenses since I was 19, which basically means I've struggled with poor eyesight for more than half of my life. I would have carried on with the hassle of wearing my lenses everyday if I weren't as active as I am, or if I didn't travel as much.

The thing is, contact lenses and everything else that comes with it are expensive... especially since my eye grade changes constantly. Plus, my lenses have to be especially made too because of my astigmatism and dry eyes. My lens solution also has to be a specific brand, and when you add all of that up, it ain't pretty.

And there's also the water dilemma. Those of you who know me well, know that I am practically a mermaid. I swim, I do triathlons and I surf. There is always the internal debate on whether or not I should wear my lenses before those water activities. If I did, it's not safe. If I didn't, I won't be able to see. Aaaagh! It's so inconvenient!!!

Water Bunny


I've thought about getting a Lasik procedure done a few times before. I guess I just never got past the fear of doing it, plus the cost. I did have myself evaluated 5 years ago in Beverly Hills, and I was a candidate then. However, the cost was the same as getting a boob job - and I could not afford either (not that I would want my boobs done though). But then a few years ago, I heard a few of my friends say the prices of Lasik have dropped significantly, especially here in the Philippines. A couple of them have had theirs done at Asian Eye Institute for 1/10th of the price I was quoted in Beverly Hills 5 years ago, and they couldn't be happier!

What pushed me to really do it was 3 weeks ago after having an eye exam at an optical shop. My eye grade jumped up to a whopping 525 from 400, and it scared me to pieces.


Asian Eye Reception
Asian Eye's Reception

I booked a screening at Asian Eye a couple weeks later. I didn't really know what to expect, but I had a few fears. First was that I might not be a candidate anymore because of all the weirdness surrounding my eyes (dry eyes, astigmatism, high grade, graves disease)... Second, was that if I were a candidate, doing the Lasik procedure freaks me out!!!

Exam Room
Anyway, I was asked not to wear my lenses 7 days prior to the screening. I was also told that the screening would take approximately 3 hours. I thought they were exaggerating, but it really DID take 3 hours! It was the most comprehensive eye check up/exam I've ever had in my whole life! Talk about being thorough!

At first it was just like a normal eye exam at the optometrists. Then they take you in to see these machines check the size of your cornea, check your retina, check your (or my) astigmatism, the amount of tears you create, then they counter check that with a manual process... These guys mean business! I have to say it was very organized  though... I had half a mind to take a book with me, but the waiting time was very minimal. I was being ushered from room to room quite efficiently.


Because of how comprehensive the exams were, they detected a few problems with my retina. Because of my astigmatism, my eyes stretch out to the shape of an American football, causing my retina to stretch beyond its capability, therefore making them thin. The main doctor, Dr. Ang, called in their Retina expert, Dr. Quilendrino to look further. She confirmed that my retina was close to tearing (in both eyes) and suggested that they do a laser therapy treatment to repair them and make them stronger. (The image below practically shows how they did the treatment on my eyes, and honestly, I was really uncomfortable. It felt like the laser was inducing brain freeze... It really wasn't pretty. I was glad it was over quickly though, and Dr Quilendrino had the nicest, soothing voice that made me feel really at ease.)

photo from


Apart from the weak and thin retinas, I apparently also have very irregularly shaped corneas. Even more irregular than what astigmatism does to them. Dr Ang says that because of this, he wouldn't do LASIK on me, but suggests PRK instead - Photorefractive Keratectomy. From what I understand, instead of removing a flap like they do in LASIK, PRK works by reshaping the cornea using an excimer laser, allowing light entering the eye to be properly focused onto the retina for clear vision.  PRK also falls under the umbrella of laser eye surgeries, but is recommended for cases like mine - meaning people with corneas that are thin, or with unusual curvatures. The downside to it is that my recovery time is a little longer and more uncomfortable, but the upside is that I have less risk for infection. Dr Ang says it is the safest route for me, and I really have no cause to disagree with him.

photo from


At least I AM a candidate and I am scheduled for the procedure on Friday. Am I scared? YES. Am I excited? YES. Bottom line is, I just want to be able to see clearly again without having to rely on lenses or glasses. To those of you who have struggled with eyesight like me, I'm sure you know what I'm talking about. And as for travel, this means not having to worry about buying lens solution or lenses or carrying glasses or worry about whether or not I should wear them before getting in the water. The good always outweighs the fear. I've been semi-blind for too long. It's time to see things clearly.

Wish me luck!!!

Have you struggled with poor eyesight? Ever considered or done Lasik yourself? Please share your thoughts and comments below! I'd love to hear about them :)

Hi There! Have we met before? You look familiar! Those shoes look great on you, by the way! I’m Eartha and I recently decided to quit my job to travel the worrrrld! Join me in my adventures by checking back on my blog, and leaving me a comment or two!
  • Subscribe to my blog and get updated every time I post here!
  • Add me to your feed reader here!
  • Wanna be Facebook friends? Like my page here!
  • Are you as epigramatic as I am? Tweet me @earth2eartha
  • Do you have cool photos on Instagram? Check mine out too @earth2eartha
  • Or if you want to leave me a message or a limerick, email me here!

Come and visit me again soon! :)