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, 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!