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, November 27, 2014

On How I Managed To Get Hired To Work On A Cruise Ship

Secret's out! I'm goin' on a Cruise! 
The inspiration came when a friend of mine sent me the Yahoo News article, How I saved $24,000 While Traveling The World. He said the article made him think of me. 

This is Wandering Earl

This guy, Derek, from the website, Wandering Earl, describes how he earned that much money while working for a Cruise Line. When I read it, it just hit me. BAM! That's it! That's what I'm supposed to do after Brazil! I could work for a Cruise Ship for 6 months, save some money while traveling, and then use the money to travel again! DUH! So simple! How hard could it be to get a job working on a ship? It should be really easy, right? Right?


Boy, was I so wrong on so many levels.


I started applying to all the Cruise Ships at the beginning of August - right around the time the article was sent to me. I even bought Wandering Earl's E-book about how to work for a cruise ship, to help make sure I had all the bases covered.

I went all Type A on it, I swear. I could not have been more anal about what I did. I basically made about 10 different versions of my resume. One resume for each position I applied for... with a Cover Letter to accompany each application. There were openings for Guest Relations Officers, Group Coordinator, Program Coordinator, Receptionist, Hostess, Shore Excursion Staff, Training Specialist, etc. These were the positions I had the experience for -- but not necessarily qualified for.

Most of these positions I mentioned required experience working for a cruise ship, OR a 5 star restaurant or resort. PLUS... almost all of them needed the applicants to speak several languages FLUENTLY. English PLUS Italian OR Spanish OR Portuguese OR German OR French.

Sure, I could get by in Brazil with the little Portuguese I knew... And I have a little French tattoo on my wrist... My Spanish was pretty decent in Peru - but it all dissolved when I started learning Portuguese. English was all I really had --- and even THAT was deterioration... Deteriorates... Deterior?

Screw that. I applied anyway. I applied to ALL the Cruise Ships with job openings... Carnival, Disney, Norwegian, Royal... 18 of them to be exact. All with a tailor fit Resume AND Cover Letter. I rocked it. I OWNED the applications!


After NOT hearing from any one of them for a month, apart from ONE rejection letter... Well, my confidence just sank. It didn't help that when my friend, Eduardo, applied, he practically got job offers a week after. He didn't take the job though, but still... It just reinforced the fact that my lack of languages and experience in the hospitality industry made me unqualified to work for the ship.

In my head, I just quit. I got a little depressed after that. 
Just a little. 
No, I lied. I reached my lowest point, I turned bipolar. 

I just thought I had everything figured out. I thought I had a new path and a new journey ahead of me that will allow me to keep traveling... but the plans crashed and burned.

I needed a new plan.


What I really needed AND WANTED was just to earn money. I needed to work and save some money for a few months so that I can travel again. So I decided I would go back to The Philippines. I could go home, get a job, and live at home with my parents, who will let me live and eat there, free of charge... they'd even lend me a car! And I could get a corporate job... A temporary one, just for a few months so I could save up... Then pack my backpack and travel again!

YES! It was a GREAT plan! I spoke to my friends, they've started looking for job openings for me... and just like that, I had potential jobs lined up for me in Manila! Beautiful! My friends are awesome!

Because it was going to cost me a few hundred dollars more to fly straight from Brazil to Manila, AND because I wanted to meet my brand new nephew (who was born in September)... I booked my ticket to LA first. The plan was to stay there for a couple weeks, and THEN fly to Manila. It was cheaper that way. Besides, I REALLY wanted to see my brother's baby.


I booked my ticket from Sao Paulo to Los Angeles... but I didn't book my ticket from LA to Manila. I stalled. I figured I'd book it later. For some weird reason I didn't feel like it just yet.

Well, a couple days later, I figured out why.

Norwegian Cruise Lines had responded to my online application, and they wanted to move forward with it. After almost 2 months of not hearing from anyone (apart from one rejection)...SURPRISE!!! All of a sudden, I was back in the game!

The best part about it was that --- out of all the jobs I applied for, out of all the Cruise Lines... This was the job I really wanted. It was for a Trainer position. A job I've known and loved almost my entire corporate life. In fact, on my little note pad where I wrote down a list of all the cruise ships I applied for, and what position, Norwegian Cruise Line had 2 stars next to it, with a little scribble that said, I want this job!!!
I kid you not.

Holy shit. I know, right?

As soon as I saw the email, I had a feeling. A gut feeling. A really good one. :)


5 weeks, 3 Skype Interviews and a Teaching Demo later, I was offered the position of On-board Training Specialist for Norwegian Cruise Lines.

On-board, meaning I train the staff and crew members (on Customer Service, Rules and Regulation, Safety, etc) on the ship! I get to join different ships as well... Ships that travel to different destinations.

My first assignment was supposed to be on a ship headed to Bermuda. But since I had a few delays due to my medical clearance,  my due date was moved a week later --- and so was my destination!

I am now leaving from Los Angeles to New Orleans to board a ship that is headed to The Caribbean, on Sunday, November 30th. 

I'm on a "26 Weeks On, 10 Weeks Off"contract that starts on the day I board.

I'm a little freaked out but also excited. I'm leaving in a few days but everything is still a big question mark. I haven't met anyone in the flesh, I don't know what my schedule is, I have no idea whether I'm going to like working there or not, I have really BAD motion sickness so I'm a little nervous, too... So yeah. I'm a hot mess... but all in a good way.


...when life doesn't turn out the way you planned, I have learned, that you should get down on your knees and thank the Universe... because most of the time... and in my case, ALL THE TIME... things turn out better than what you've ever even imagined.

I don't know what's going to happen once I board the ship on Sunday. I don't know if I'll like the job, or if the long working hours will drive me crazy, or if my 7 day work week will kill me... I have NO idea what to expect... But I know I'll make the best of it like I always do. I know I'll work my butt off and TRY... And I know I'll do my best in trying to keep this blog running while I'm on-board, if only to keep my sanity in tact. :)

So wish me luck, you guys! The next time you hear from me, I'll be bitchin' in the Caribbean... as my awesome friends put it. :)


Brilliant Image courtesy of Eduardo and Maria :)

Sunday, November 23, 2014

My Life In Brazil

After not reading any posts from me for a few months, a friend of mine who doesn't have a Facebook account said to me -- "Éartha, I lost you in Brazil!"

Shame on me. I know. :(

But I'm still here!!! Alive and very well!

I'm so sorry for disappearing without warning. I don't have any excuse to offer apart from --- Brazil Happened. Really. Its lame, I know.

If you let me... I'd like to catch you guys up on everything that went on in the past 4-5 months I have been on hiatus. This will take a few blog posts to go through EVERYTHING in proper detail... but it will be worth it. :)

First, let me start where I left off...


To anyone who paid attention, Brazil was slaughtered by Germany... and it all went downhill after that. The energy in Sao Paulo died down, but the parties still continued. I've actually never seen so many Brazilians cheer for the Germans in the finals, considering the massacre that happened... but apparently that's just how much they didn't like Argentina. Germany won, everyone was happy again... and life in Brazil slowly went back to normal.

For me, that meant going full swing with my teaching!


Just to give you guys a little refresher... I got a job teaching English in Sao Paulo. I got hired by a few schools to give Business English lessons to intermediate to advanced students... Most of them worked for finance. Sao Paulo IS the financial capital of South America after all. I also got a few private students through word of mouth... And that's pretty much all I did for the entire time I was in Brazil!

I was very surprised at how easily it all worked out for me. I don't have any TOEFL certifications or whatnots... I didn't have a working permit either... None of that matters in Brazil though! All they were looking for were Native English speakers. Of course it helped that I had a teaching background --- but that only meant that working on lesson plans was a lot easier for me. A lot of my co-teachers didn't have experience whatsoever, but they were hired because they had the right passport! It's a little crazy... but I wasn't complaining! It meant I could survive and earn a pretty decent living in one of the most exciting countries in the world! I was golden!

My schedule was a little odd. I had to give classes either before work, during lunch time, or after work. Which basically meant I was at the students offices at 7am, 12:30pm, and 6pm... and I'd use the time in between to eat, commute, prepare classes, and sleep!

I would earn anywhere from 80 to 120 Reals per class, depending on the length of time or the distance... I worked Monday through Friday, and on my busiest day (which was a Thursday) I had 5 classes back to back. (I called it Terrible Thursdays) I got paid every month in cash, and for private students, they either pay me for a few classes in advance for a discount, or pay me after each meeting.

So all in all, I'd say it was a pretty good gig! I do love teaching and I loved my students. If you guys ever make your way down to Brazil, teaching English is a pretty sweet way to make some cash. I totally recommend it!


When I am not teaching... I have fun. Or at least I try to. :)
Sao Paulo is known for the night life, so my weekends are usually spent with my friends, going out to pubs or bars or karaoke joints around the city... Rua Augusta, Vila Madalena, Liberdade, Moema, pretty much everywhere and anywhere where somethings going on.... and Sao Paulo doesn't run out of it.

On sunny days, we hang out at Ibirapuera Park and make friends, play music, or go skateboarding...

On really REALLY sunny days, we go to the beach! Sao Paulo isn't a beach city like Rio, so beaches over there are a little farther. The closest one is about an hour by bus... The closest decent one takes about an hour and a half.

On occasion, I help my friends out by working at the hostel they own in Vila Madalena called, HBB Hostel. I work the night shift every now and then, and sometimes help them out on their events. Those are the MOST fun.
With Alessandra, My Brazilian mom - as we were working during a World Cup Event

Me, working as a Shot Girl on HBB's 1 year anniversary


I was only really only supposed to stay in Sao Paulo for 3 months... Then I extended it to 6... Potentially, I could have stayed longer if I wanted to... But I think as I was nearing my 5th month, I started feeling like maybe it was really time to go. That 6 months would be enough.

It's not that I didn't like it there - I loved it! The Brazilians are amazing people... They remind me so much of Filipinos... They're my peeps! But I was never meant to settle down in Brazil to begin with... It was never my intention. All I wanted was to experience it... Work, live, have a good time, immerse... make friends... make a difference! And I think I've managed to accomplish all of that... and learn a little Portuguese on the side!

Its just that --- things started to feel like a routine. Teach...Commute... Go out. Lather... Rinse... Repeat. Everything became familiar --- which is both a good thing and a bad thing. Good, because I was slowly starting to blend in, and BECOME a local. People actually already started thinking I was a Brasilera! Which is a compliment!
But bad because I left my life in LA for several reasons... And one of them was because I was done with the whole "routine"... The "daily grind"so to speak.

When I realized that I put myself in a situation like that again... I had to plan my next move. I had to go. It was time to move on.

Besides... even if I was making a pretty good living teaching English, I couldn't save. I was literally breaking even. Yes I had enough to eat, live, and have fun... which would have been okay if I wanted to stay in Sao Paulo and live there forever --- BUT I didn't. I don't! I want to keep traveling... and I need to earn and SAVE money to do that.

And so I formulated a plan...  to help me do just that! A plan I will share with you in the next week...'
Earn and Save Money - to be able to keep traveling! I'll tell you what it is very soon, I promise. It's pretty exciting!

So anyway, I finished working at the end of September... Then I traveled around Brazil for a couple weeks to relax and decompress... Went back to Sao Paulo for my farewell party, and finally, said goodbye and flew out of there...

It was kind of bittersweet, my departure. Brazil is the longest I've stayed anywhere on this trip. I have made the most amazing friends... learned SO much about the country, the people, and myself. I will always have a home there now, and I will look back on these past 6 months with so much warmth and so much love.


I am writing this post from Los Angeles. Well... Orange County, actually. My brother's house... where I have been for the past few weeks, spending time with my family. It's SO GOOD to be home. I have to savor each moment because I don't have much time left. Pretty soon I have to leave again...
But that's another story all together. ;)

It's good to be back. Follow-up post will be on in a few days. YES a few days... not a few months. Haha :) Can't wait to share the good news.

Talk soon!

(P.S. -- I know I said this post was supposed to go up last Thursday, but my laptop - which is still in Portuguese by the way, crashed AGAIN. O_O  Black Friday is coming up. Let's hope a good Samaritan gifts me a new laptop.)