6 Reasons To Make The Philippines Your Next Vacation

Earlier this year, our family of 5 went on a tour of the Philippine Islands and it was one of our most memorable trips EVER, if not the most memorable one.  We saw so many breathtaking and unforgettable places and met so many of the happiest people on earth; but there’s so much more to explore and discover.  The Philippines archipelago is comprised of over 7,000 islands, and we only experienced a minuscule fraction at 10+ islands.  Needless to say, we cannot wait to come back again to uncover even more, and are planning another trip already.

If you’re into aesthetically stunning white-sand beaches, exotic turquoise waters, mouth-watering food, and experiencing adventure, then the Philippines is a MUST for your bucket list.  Here are some top reasons to visit:

1) To experience several of top beaches & islands in the world

You have to see it in real life to truly know just how stunning the landscapes are.  According to Conde Nast Traveler, El Nido was voted #1 as the most beautiful beach IN THE WORLD for several years now.  Travel & Leisure Magazine also lists 3 of the world’s 10 best islands in the Philippines (#1, 2, & 6) with El Nido being #1 (Travel & Leisure Best Islands in the World)
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2) It’s unbelievably inexpensive
It’s almost like shopping at the dollar store: San Miguel and Red Horse Beer for $1 , Bottle of Tanduay Rum for $1, Haircut $1, straight-edge shave $1, Full meal with drinks $2, $3 Pedicures, Full body 1 hour massage for $4, Fresh oysters and scallops for $6.  And for you long-term travelers there is “done-for-you/perfectly folded laundry” for $3 per load (usually charged by kilogram)
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3) Amazing Underwater Sealife – snorkeling and diving are pristine and spectacular, with an abundance of exotic animals and lush plant-life
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4) The Sunsets are unforgettable
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5) Delectable Food – you can get a myriad of native Filipino cuisine (lumpia, pancit, lechon), seafood treats fresh out of the ocean, and the sweetest fruits, many you’ve probably never even heard of.  There’s even mango-pizza in Guimaras, which is fantastic!  If you’re tastes are flavored for conventional food, then rest assured that many well-known American & International restaurants are available throughout the country.
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Fresh Oysters and Scallops out of the ocean

6) The People.  Filipinos are happy, always smiling, and love to make friends.  We were even invited to a pig roast when we befriended some locals in Siquijor
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Here’s some useful info to make your trip more enjoyable and to limit the stress of traveling to a minimum.

Navigating around the Philippines:
Air: Manila, Clark, Puerto Princesa, Cebu, Tagbilaran – strict luggage allowances for both carry-on and check-ins, pay for meals/drinks
Sea: Ferry, Boat (Ocean Jet, http://www.oceanjet.net/, SuperCat, http://www.supercat.com.ph/)

Land: Bus, Jeepney (usually only 7 Pesos/person, Tricycle (usually around $1 per ride), Scooters, Taxi (Uber and/or Grab is available in Manila and Cebu), Hire a Van & Driver for the entire day (usually for about $70, includes gas)

Lodging: Hotels, Pension houses (hostels), AirBnB, VRBO (Home Away), Citi Prestige Credit Card was very helpful with the (4th Night Free benefit).
Shopping:
The Philippine Peso is the national currency, and at the time of this blog post the exchange rate is 1USD to 49.73 PHP.  Credit cards are not widely accepted, except for major metro areas.  International ATM fees rack up very quickly, so check with your bank for your most convenient access to cash.  There are plenty of currency exchange places in the big cities and malls, but are hard to find on the remote islands, so plan ahead.  In El Nido, for example, be prepared to pay for everything in cash.
Helpful things to pack/have:
– water shoes (some beaches have coarse rocks and coral you’ll be walking on)
– mosquito repellent
– portable battery chargers (for cell phones and cameras – your camera will be working extra hard!)
– electrical adapters (two pronged and three pronged converters).  Most electrical outlets are 220V with two prongs.
– Uber app (for Manila and Cebu).  Grab app (similar to Uber)

– Cash, ATM Cards (activated for overseas use), Credit Cards (with no international fees)

Mobile phone use:
T-mobile users have free international roaming texts and data (4G LTE in Manila and Cebu, 3G and wi-fi in most major metro areas) – check with your provider (click here for T-mobile Roaming info (T-Mobile Roaming).  You can also rent pocket wi-fi devices for extra connectivity.  The remote islands have VERY slow cellular & internet connections, if any.  You can also get a local cell phone where you’ll have to load minutes and data with SMART & GLOBE providers.
We are offering world-class guided tours to Palawan starting this Winter (Nov/Dec), if you’re the type of person that would love to experience the beauty of the Philippines without the hassle and stresses of traveling to an unfamiliar country.  If you have any questions, want to know more, have any good tips or spots to add, please leave a comment below; we would love to hear from you!  Cheers to tan-lines and sandy bottoms!

Follow Up – The Home Of Love

HUGE THANKS  TO ALL who contributed  and donated to The Home of Love.  Your generosity resulted in positively impacting the lives of so many women and children!

For the past few months we have been sponsoring an organization that is really close to our hearts, Mary Queen of Heaven Missionaries’ Home of Love – a special sanctuary for women and children who are victims of sex-slavery, trafficking, and prostitution.

This January, we had the most epic experience visiting the group and meeting these amazing women and children who have completely turned their lives around.  They are a true testimony of what it means to live a meaningful life regardless of the circumstances.

I can honestly say that we visited at the perfect time.  They had a formal graduation for the women that completed a 5 year program.  Added to that were games, performances, and distribution of food baskets for the members of their educational assistance program, which is another effort that sponsors needy children to promote education and take a proactive approach to human trafficking.

Once being rescued by the nuns, who go undercover to bars and clubs, the women find their safe haven at the Home of Love and start their new lives anew.  They re-learn regular living habits and social interaction.

They also go through basic education (math, reading, writing language, arts, sports etc), and take classes in life and faith formation.

I was surprised that day by having the honor to present the graduates with their awards and certificates.  As their names were called out the emcee gave a brief description of the graduate, and I heard the stories of how some of these women are single moms, some were very young, and most of them struggled with lack of dignity and self doubt as they went through the program.

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Here is a photo of all the graduates and award recipients along with their children

Several of the women gave truly moving and emotional speeches that gave me a renewed faith in humanity in that there is still good in this world.  I really commend these ladies for really pushing through uncertainties, self doubts, challenges, and real struggles (when I say “struggles” I mean beaten, drugged, abused, and raped).  And let’s not forget, that as a result of their circumstances  some of these women have gotten pregnant and become single moms.

They could have used any excuse not to complete the program, but they didn’t.  They persevered, built faith, and tasted the sweetness of accomplishment.

My favorite part of our day was interacting with the women and children… our boys were able to play with the kids and give out food and treats, which everyone thoroughly enjoyed!!

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Another magical moment was when the women got up and sang “Go The Distance.” Many of them got teary eyed and you could just feel the hurt they have been through but you can also feel the conviction in their victory.

Again, a MASSIVE THANK YOU for all who contributed an donated to the Home of Love!! You can still donate by clicking HERE http://www.mqhm.org/

Now that I’m teary eyed by reminiscing about our visit and all of the love and gratitude I feel right know…. I’ll leave you with the lyrics of:

“Go The Distance”

I have often dreamed of a far off place
Where a hero’s welcome would be waiting for me
Where the crowds would cheer, when they see my face
And a voice keeps saying this is where I’m meant to be

I’ll be there someday, I can go the distance
I will find my way if I can be strong
I know every mile would be worth my while
When I go the distance, I’ll be right where I belong

Down an unknown road to embrace my fate
Though that road may wander, it will lead me to you
And a thousand years would be worth the wait
It might take a lifetime but somehow I’ll see it through

And I won’t look back, I can go the distance
And I’ll stay on track, no I won’t accept defeat
It’s an uphill slope
But I won’t loose hope, ’till I go the distance
And my journey is complete, oh yeah

But to look beyond the glory is the hardest part
For a hero’s strength is measured by his heart, oh

Like a shooting star, I will go the distance
I will search the world, I will face its harms
I don’t care how far, I can go the distance
‘Till I find my hero’s welcome waiting in your arms

I will search the world, I will face its harms
‘Till I find my hero’s welcome waiting in your arms

Love To You All,

The Limitless Family

 

 

 

 

Seitan Limania/Stefanou Beach

Shhhhhhhh …

So, I really debated whether or not I should share this beach.. it’s definitely one of the many SECRET beaches in the island of Crete in Greece and the locals want to keep it that way…

But I trust you all will keep it a secret! And if you go late May or late August (just before peak season hits or just as peak season is dying down… hardly anyone will ever know!) The beach wasn’t too crowded when we went, and towards the end of the day the numbers dwindled down.

Plus, I must WARN you that it is an adventure in itself to get to this beach! Some reviews have said, “This is NOT the place for for the common traveler”

We stayed in Chania.. and from Chania to Seitan Limania is about 40 Minutes

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Towards the end of the drive the map starts to look like this:

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Don’t worry, its a beautiful drive through some mountains and you’ll pass plenty of goats so the kids will get a kick out them! We played a game to see who could spot the most goats and the kids even found some of the goats on the vertical sides of the mountain!

And if you come across a wire gate as you descend towards the beach, you may open the gate to get through, but be sure to close the gate behind you … for the sake of the goats

But when you get to the parking lot this is what you see..

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If you are facing the beach, the trail head to the beach is on the right, its about a 200 meter hike to beach

I thought the trail head was somewhere different and that led us to a very dangerous path.. so be sure you get on the trail!

I’ve seen some people in flip flops going up and down the trail, but I would recommend getting everyone in athletic shoes.

If you have any toddlers 2.5 years and younger I suggest wearing the baby with a carrier if possible. We did not have a carrier so Daniel manually carried our toddler. He made it look like a piece of cake.

This is the start  …

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Here we are at the halfway point:

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I can’t get enough of Greece’s azure blue waters.. very very very addicting!

Almost to the beach…

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And we made it!!!!

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The shore line was perfect for the little ones. The waster was crystal clear, perfect for snorkeling and swimming.. and lots of cliffs to jump from!!

We spent the whole afternoon here!

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At every beach we visited in Greece the kids made rock formations to leave their mark

Here is Daniel jumping off one of the cliffs

And just one of me swimming around

After full afternoon at the beach, it’s time to say goodbye… be sure to leave before the sun starts to go down…

Here is the ascend up the trail:

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Here’s a rundown of my tips and hacks for visiting this beach:

  • Wear athletic shoes but bring aqua shoes if you want to cliff jump
  • Bring food and beverages down in the beach there isn’t a place to buy food or water
  • Take your time going down the trail
  • My boys were 6, 4,2 at the time. The 6 and 4 year old naturally love to climb so they did wonderful – I’d suggest building a toddler carrier for anyone 2 and under. So just use your good judgement you’d like to take your littles here.  However I did see a 3 year old little girl dominate the hike with flip flops on.
  • Camera or cell phone with lots of memory and battery
  • Go either in mid to late May just before the peak hits or late August as the peak starts to die down
  • Be sure the check wind speed before you go, luckily the waters were calm when we visited, but I have heard that the waves could get dangerous when its windy

Please contact me if you need more insights on Seitan Limania/Stefanou Beach

Love to you all,

The Limitless Family

P.S. Learn how we travel for FREE —> CLICK HERE

P.P.S. Check out how we are able to work from ANYWHERE

Elafonissi Beach

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Geeezzz… I don’t even know where to start with Elafonissi Beach.

I guess I’ll start with the basics, we stayed in the island of Crete in Greece in the city of Chania. From Chania to Elafonissi was about 1.5 hours —>Totally worth it

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I honestly couldn’t believe my eyes …

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Seriously, it was like I had jumped into my screen saver

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The boys loved it!!

We found some rocks with tide pools with fish.. this kept them busy for hours!!

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The weather was warm and water was a little chilly, but we still played in the water.

And this is one of the few beaches in the world with PINK SAND!

The beach offered a bar and plenty of water sports – wind surfing, jet ski’s, parasailing & snorkeling.

I couldn’t believe how sexy, stunning, & breathtaking this beach is! I highly recommend this experience!

Tips:

  • Be sure to bring enough food and water for you and your family
  • Bring cash if you want to do any of the water activities
  • Bring lots of Sunscreen
  • Be sure you phone or camera device is charged or extra portable battery charger
  • Depending on where you are staying be sure to leave well before sunset to avoid getting lost driving in the evening

Love to you all!!

The Limitless Family

P.S. Learn how to travel for free …CLICK HERE

P.P.S. Check out how we work from ANYWHERE!

 

Human Trafficking Sanctuary

Over 2 Million women and children world-wide are victims of human trafficking & sex slavery.

Over 200,000 of these victims are in the Philippines alone, which ranks 4th in countries affected by trafficking.

They range in age from 15-20, but some are as young as 8 years old. Even infants as early as 9 months-old are taken from their families and sold into sex slavery.

They are forced into 5 to 10 sexual encounters nightly (at a wage of 100 pesos or \$2 for each encounter). These girls often get pregnant and their children too are brought into the sex slavery business. Most are drugged by their owners to endure the horror and are also hooked on narcotics. Many want to escape but have no where else to go….

In Cebu Philippines, a group of nuns have dedicated their lives to stop this vicious cycle. They go under cover in the night to rescue women who want to escape and take them to their sanctuary they have created called The Home Of Love – a safe haven of unlimited help and love.

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The organization provides shelter, food, education, health care, counseling, job skills and spiritual growth to the women and children whose lives are forever changed by these circumstances. (check out their website

But they are in need of help to continue their mission…

In January 2017, our family will be volunteering at The Home Of Love, and need your help to arrive with gifts that will massively help the women and children.

You can make a direct impact to rescue and rehabilitate victims through your donations and/or the following supplies:

-microfiber bed sheets -school supplies -underwear (women, boys & girls) -socks (women, boys & girls)

All monetary donations will be used either to purchase supplies or gifted to The Home of Love to be spent on other needs

CLICK HERE TO DONATE!

Much love and gratitude to you all!

Love,

The Limitless Family

P.S. If helping victims of human trafficking strikes a chord within you.. please SHARE this post

2 Tickets To Unleash The Power Within With Tony Robbins GIVEAWAY

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When my dad passed away suddenly and unexpectedly in 2008, I was completely crushed and had a an extremely difficult time dealing with his death.  I had so many questions and wasn’t getting any answers.

And I do believe that God puts the right tools, people and resources in our paths for a Divine reason.

One day I as cleaning out my dad’s library and I found a Tony Robbins book. And since then, we have been reading his books and listening to his programs and CD’s.  We have always wanted to attend one of his events, but for some reason our schedules and finances were never matched up to attend his events.

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Finally, this past June 2016 we were able to attend Tony Robbins’ Unleash The Power Within event.

A 3.5 day, 50 hour, experience that changed not only my life.. but also the LEGACY that I leave behind!!

During the event we learn the best version of YOU in personal development, spiritual development, relationship growth, emotional growth, business, career, health and wellness…

… and my absolute favorite part of the event…. we learned how to walk on FIRE and live to share my story!

The GIVEAWAY:

We are giving away 2 VIP Tickets to Tony Robbins valid for the next 2 years. The next event is in San Jose November 10-13 2016

To enter in the raffle be sure to FOLLOW our blog then  CLICK HERE and follow the directions on the video or comment below and tell me why you want these tickets and how it would change your life!

Feel free to add me on Facebook too!!

Be Limitless

Love

Joan – Mrs Limitless

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Operation: Get My Life Back

Exactly 1 year ago today I finally returned to my TX home after leaving my wife, kids, family, and friends to serve a 1 year tour to Africa.  It was challenging to leave all the people and things I loved in the good old U.S. of A, and the separation from family, the hectic schedule & transportation, sacrifice of everyday comfort & freedom, the rigor of war-time operations, and the miserable heat of the desert were enough to make me think hard about why I chose to join the service in the first place.  My own friends and family in their own way of caring would ask if I was sure that this was a good choice.  To me, it was absolutely, without a doubt the right thing to do.

Why would I be willing to depart from my beautiful wife, fun-loving sons, and everything near & dear to me to go to a barren, scorpion-filled desert?  You have to know a little about my family history first…

 

“No history; no self.  Know history; know self” – Dr. Jose Rizal, Filipino revolutionary and national hero

 

My family immigrated to the USA for the opportunity of a better life.  My paternal Grandfather (Oscar Dizon), an artist and a writer, moved to the US for freedom of speech upon becoming a target of supposed treason by Ferdinand Marcos.  After writing in the local newspaper column about the political corruption of the Filipino president and becoming a target of the regime, my grandfather and our family escaped to America.  My maternal Grandfather (Guillermo Joya) was a fireman by day and singer/actor/musician by night.  His home was burned down in World War II by the Japanese and in search for a better life, they looked for a land of safety, security, and freedom.  My mother would tell me stories where she had to eat ketchup and rice because that’s all they could afford to eat while living in their humble province in the the Philippines.

I don’t know where I would be, or IF I EVEN WOULD BE here had it not been for my family’s chance of moving to a free country.  In my twenties, I felt so much gratitude for this I wanted to pay it forward.  Inspired by my late father-in-law, LCDR (ret) Eleno Corpuz, Jr and Godfather, LCDR (ret) Winston Centeno,  I submitted an application/package to be a U.S. Naval Officer.  (Contrary to popular belief, it was NOT Tom Cruise or Val Kilmer in Top Gun that moved me to join)!  In 2010 I received my commission, and trained at Rhode Island, California, Florida, Texas, South Carolina, and Virginia before deploying to Africa for one year leaving my wife and kids – ages 5, 3, and 8 months-old at the time.  I wanted to pay my dues to Lady Liberty, and this was a chance to serve the people of the USA by following the sound of chaos and fighting in the war against terrorism.  I felt moved to live out the things I valued more importantly than simply talking about it or thinking about it.  To be in the arena was a different ballgame than watching from afar – and it excited me.  I felt and still do feel that if I die, then I’m going to die proudly.  The worst thing for me is the thought of living life with nothing to die for.  I know that when my time is called to knock on St. Peter’s door, the earth will still turn, the sun will still rise, and the Dallas Cowboys will still remain winless in the Playoffs (so long as Jerry Jones is GM).  And if I’m taken from this world, I hope the example I embodied showed my children even just a little something about character, values, and morals.  My prayer is that my wife and kids will take all they have been blessed with and serve this planet to their greatest ability – even more so when I die.  But the fact is I’ve already lived enough life in the back seat and now I’m at the helm.  So I put on my big-boy drawers, fit into my Kevlar vest, and went on an extended “all-inclusive” desert expedition.  To be perfectly honest with you, I walked away at the airport on the way to my first training-stop bawling my eyes out when my wife, sons, and mother-in-law turned around and walked off, knowing the count down to seeing them again had just begun.

 

“A true soldier doesn’t fight because he hates what’s in front of him. He fights because he loves what he left behind.” – G.K. Chesterson

 

The year went by super fast and super slow at the same time.  I had some really great times during the deployment.  I met some of the best human beings on the planet and shared an espirit de corp with my brothers and sisters in arms.  They showed me what Honor, Courage, and Commitment looked like in real life.  To this day, I still keep up with them and plan for the next reunion we can get together again in some part of the globe.  But I also faced some tough times as I battled myself, my fears and limiting thoughts.  For those married couples out there – imagine fighting with your spouse while thousands of miles apart, or hearing about the difficulties of your wife/husband/kids without the ability to be right there.  Or hearing others complain about their comfortable life that seemed to burden them like it was the end of the world, when people in poverty or civil/political upheaval were facing real problems like not knowing IF they could eat or feed their family, or whether they would live to see the next day.  When things got serious overseas, these kinds of thoughts left a bitter taste in my mouth and would keep me up at night.  But I learned to accept things I couldn’t control.  If people were oblivious to the destruction, death, and despair in other parts of the world, then that would mean that people of service were doing their jobs.

 

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”  – T. Roosevelt

 

Day by day, another wake-up and task was completed until my mission finally came to a close.  I was so excited to get back home, but at the same time I was just hoping that I could pick up right where I left off the year before; and that same love could burn for my wife, sons, family, and friends.  And homecoming was even better than expected.  The taste of freedom was oh so sweet – the endless choices of how to spend time, people to connect with, places to see, different food to eat, what type of adult-beverage to drink – I was like a starved fat kid at the pizza buffet.  But soon after the ‘honey-moon’ phase of partying, celebrating, and feasting ended, reality struck.  Joan and I had to re-learn to live as a husband and wife again in the same house.  I had to re-learn how to be a Dad, and peel off my cover as a warrior, officer, and manager.  We also had to make some critical decisions that would affect our lives forever.  After my wife guided me to sit still, meditate, and pray again we decided to sell our house, our stuff, our material things, and do something we love to do together – TRAVEL.  People must have thought we were a little crazy, wild, and volatile for choosing to give up that life of comfort and live a nomadic and improvised lifestyle.  I had to trust that our daily needs would be taken care of by pure faith alone.  But I knew without a doubt that I didn’t care about my house, swimming pool, toys, and comfort more than I cared about my wife, sons, and our freedom to live life on earth on our own terms.  The decision didn’t come easy or without debate, but I’ll tell you that this past year has been THE BEST of times.  We reconnected with family & friends back in TX, did the Disney World thing in Florida, visited family in Jacksonville, celebrated with my sister’s family & friends at her wedding in Colorado, moved my parents to Arizona, visited family in California, and explored Europe this year – all together as family even with the kids. The chance to stand still, enjoy “carefree timelessness” with my family, quiet the rapid blabbering story inside my head, and regain the sense of living life to its fullest is something money can’t buy.  And we have more adventures on deck: Las Vegas, NV, Fort Myers, FL, Pensacola, FL, and the Philippines!  To say that we’re excited to travel, reconnect with friends & family,  meet new people, and help others along the way is an enormous understatement.

 

“What’s the use of a fine house if you haven’t got a tolerable planet to put it on?” -H.D. Thoreau

 

I have to call out and thank my wife, Mrs. Limitless, for putting up with me and my crazy ideas and projects.  She helps keep me grounded when I start flying off into chaotic territory.  I can’t tell you enough about how much this woman does for me, my family, and for others.  She has this brightness about her that can make a blind man (me) see the light.  I’m not shy in saying quite literally, “I LOVE YOU TO DEATH!”  I’m so very grateful for my three sons, even though they may not understand this story now.  But they served as well and continue to serve our world by being the strong, independent, and curious little guys they are.  I’m really having the time of my life seeing them grow into awesome young men, and they surprise me with their humor and gifts every day.  I’m also thankful for my parents for always supporting me and the family – to my Dad, Mom, and Mother-in-law: You’re the best parents anyone could ask for!  To my Father-in-Law up above – I hope to make you proud and look forward to the day we catch up on life.  To our friends and family and the people who are always there, both near and far, and share both the good & bad times – y’all make life fun and worth living for.  Thank you to all the Sailors, Marines, Airmen, Soldiers, and Coasties that I had the pleasure to serve with.  Your friendship, mentorship, and followership will never be forgotten.  And last but not least, thank you to the warriors and heroes that are away right now, defending freedom & democracy around the world, and bringing the fight to terror’s soil – thank you for your service.

It is,
D

 

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Agnadi Villa

Before we adventured to Santorini, I was online for HOURS and HOURS looking for the best place to stay in Santorini.

If you are planning  on going to Santorini with kids, I hope that this article will save you SO MUCH TIME and money.

After about 1 hour of researching, out of all the cute little towns in Santorini, I narrowed our desired city to Oia.  (Mainly because all the reviews about the killer sunsets).

Then I spent MORE time looking for a place to stay… and then I found this GEM

Agnadi Villa was about a 5 minute drive from Oia’s city center, affordable price, quiet, pool, spacious villas, incredible views!!

Love,

Joan

P.S. Here are more photos!

P.P.S. To see my other article on Santorini CLICK HERE

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When a fire burned our house…

Today marks the day that changed our lives forever. 5 years ago our family personally experienced something that’s normally only heard about in the news.

It started off as a normal day as I got up early, kissed my sleeping wife and son, fed the dogs, and rode my motorcycle to the office.  In 2011 we were living in a small country TX town, and I worked about 1 hour away from our house, so it was faster to take my Harley to work.  After finishing the day I rode through the traffic, excited to get home and see my family.  As I entered the neighborhood I saw a dark cloud of smoke rising in the air, and saw our neighbors on their front lawns.  In the distance, down the street we lived on were several fire trucks and fire-fighters all over.
As I got closer I realized they were at my house.
Hastily scanning the scene, I saw my wife’s car was in the driveway, but she was nowhere to be found.  I quickly jumped off my bike not even stopping to shut it off and sprinted to the house and screamed at the first firefighter I saw, “What happened, where’s my wife and son?!”  They wouldn’t tell me anything but kept telling me that I have to speak with the Fire Marshall first.  A million thoughts were going through my mind and the voice inside my head was saying, “This can’t be real,” but I couldn’t talk myself out of reality.  I started to think the worst.  Those few minutes seemed like an eternity, but in an instant I saw my wife running toward me as tears ran down her face.  I ran to her and hugged her tight as I asked where our son was.  She continued to cry and whispered, “he’s fine…. but the dogs died.”
It was a bizarre mix of emotions going through me: I felt shocked that this was really happening to us, relieved that my pregnant wife and son were still alive, distraught that Moby and Radar (our Labrador Retriever and Jack Russell Terrier) died in a fire, but thankful to be alive and have my wife and son.  At that moment in time, I was very sad but also very blessed.  I realized just how precious life is.  And that all the “stuff”, the material things I felt I owned, didn’t matter one bit compared to the family and friends around me.
You may have experienced this type of significant event in the timeline of life.  Where at first glance, it seems like our world is being taken away.  One would ask him or herself, “why would this happen to me?”  But a mentor of mine told me that the quality of our lives is determined by the quality of the questions we ask.  I could ask myself “why” all day long, but my brain would come up with all kinds of answers that would throw me in a loop.  Instead some better questions to ask were, “What am I gaining from all of this?  What can I learn and take away from this?  What about this situation will make me a stronger and better man?”

For the first time in my life, I had nothing but the clothes on my back, but I had EVERYTHING important to me with the people I care most about about right next to me.  And my motorcycle, that was actually still nice to have :).  The days and months that followed were not easy as we didn’t have a home to go back to, our bed that we were used to sleeping in, or any of the things we had the luxury of using in an instant.  Our son would ask us when we could go home, but we had to tell him the truth about how our home burned.  I didn’t have it in me to tell him the dogs died in the fire, so when he asked about them I told him they were now living on a farm.

But we learned about resilience, strength, getting back on our feet, and that people do care.   Our neighbors, family, and friends were there for immediate support.  We were so thankful to the people who gave us the little things that made a HUGE difference.  To have a toothbrush, a shower, toys for my son to play with, and a change of clothes meant the world to us, and the people that made this happen were so great.  I will remember those generous souls forever.

It’s crazy to think about that this only happened five years ago – so much has happened since that day.  Our 2nd son was born healthy the following year, and we had a 3rd boy a couple years after that.  I believe that everything happens for a reason.  EVERYONE has a story.  Often times, we don’t really know what others have gone through, so we can’t really understand why someone does what he/she does or why a person is a certain way.  I hope that this event in our family timeline helps you understand a little part of us, and we would love to know your story as well.
Please comment and/or share our blog – it would mean the world to us!  I’m grateful just to be alive, to have the chance to connect with you, and to have another day to wake up and do something.  Take care and make it a great day everyone!
Love,
Daniel
Moby & Radar
Radar & Luke
Moby & Luke

How would you like to Travel the World for FREE?

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What’s up you sexy beasts out there!

If you’re reading this I’m willing to bet you have a voracious appetite to suck the juice out of life.

My name is Daniel (Joan’s husband), and I have a passion for experiencing adventure all over the world.  For the past year my family of five has been traveling using a strategy that has enabled us to explore foreign and domestic destinations for FRACTIONS of what it used to cost us before we learned a priceless life-hack.  It’s actually not 100% free, but there’s very little cost associated to the abundance of travel we’ve been doing.

We’ve recently trekked all over Colorado, Arizona, Orlando, California, and Greece (the country, not the city) using a simple system, and we have many more global trips on our itinerary using this method.

If you’re interested in globe trotting for minimal expense, I’ll show you how to do the same.  Forget about having to save and cramp your day-to-day living to slowly stash your vacation funds away for next year’s vacation.  You can keep your day job, but you can upgrade your life by increasing the quantity and quality of your well-deserved time off (cue Beyonce’s Upgrade song).

For example, our most recent expedition took our family (kids included) to an unforgettable excursion to Greece for just under one month. 

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We booked round trip flights that only cost us $143.00 (no commas in that price) per person, where a regular economy plane ticket would have cost over TEN times that amount; and we even went there during the “high” season, which is typically more expensive.  Since we had extra funds available we were able to wander the gorgeous island of Santorini (which I highly recommend to see during your lifetime), experience the historical sights of Athens, and sail the stunning blue waters of Crete. 

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And we could even splurge a little bit on some finer spirits, quality meats, and mouth watering desserts.  Needless to say it was a phenomenal treat to live in Greece for a short while.  All of this was possible through the know-how of using airlines & hotel rewards programs, credit card hacks, and being open to a little adventure.

There’s basically only two main parts to it: Earning Points and Using Points, but here’s a breakdown of what you’ll need to do in 7 simple steps:
 
1) Sign up for the Chase Sapphire Credit Card®  (which will get you 50,000 bonus points at the time I’m writing this)
 
2) Add an authorized user to earn 5,000 bonus points (no extra cost for this).
 
3) Use the credit card for expenses YOU ALREADY PAY FOR (i.e. groceries, dining out, utilities, gas, insurance, cell phone payments, gym memberships, and any other expenses you can charge on your credit card).  I recommend paying off the balances in FULL every statement so you avoid paying interest.  So you’re basically treating all charges as cash transactions. This will get you at least 4,000 rewards points when you hit the minimum spend of $4,000 within three months of activation, but will likely get more points due to the 2x bonus points when using the Chase Sapphire Preferred card for travel or dining out.
 
4) Transfer your points to an airline of choice in the Chase Rewards Program.  Southwest, United, Virgin, Korean, Singapore, and British transfer directly at a 1:1 ratio.  Use any extra points at a Hotel of choice to book accommodations.  Marriott, Hyatt Gold Passport, IHG (Intercontinental Hotel Group), Ritz-Carlton Rewards are the hotel programs you can transfer points directly 1:1.
 
5) Have the time of your life at minimal cost.  This is what an investor calls, “huge upside with little to no downside.”
 
 6) If you’re an over-achiever and really want to be even sexier, then you can also sign up for the Chase Freedom® card HERE
Hitting the minimum spend of $500 with the Freedom card within the first three months of card activation will get you a bonus of $150 cash back (or 15,000 points).  Plus adding an authorized user will score you 2,500 bonus points at no additional cost.
 
7) Use the extra points (like upgrading your flight to a Business Class fare and fly in luxury).
 
By pairing both cards, you get approximately 80,000 points using the Chase Rewards Program!  To give you an idea of the value of points, you can use 80,000 points to fly BUSINESS CLASS on United Airlines from mainland U.S. to Hawaii on a roundtrip business class saver award flight.  And your spouse or significant other can duplicate the efforts for another 80,000 points by signing up for and using the same two Chase cards.
 
Boom!  (once again cue Beyonce’s Upgrade song) Now you have two business class round trip tickets for two to Hawaii and unlocked potentially thousands of dollars you can use for something else instead of your airfare.

If you’re not into traveling, you can actually use the points for other things like statement credits, gift cards, or merchandise, but you get the most value when redeeming points to an airline or hotel.  If you’re new to using credit cards and don’t have a seasoned credit record, then you can still start with Chase Freedom® card as it’s good for those who are building their credit.  There are other cards that are good for people that are rebuilding their credit too, so stay tuned on our blog for more info and articles.  It’s beneficial to use credit wisely and to know your own credit score and record.  At this link you can get a free annual credit report
So after discovering this strategy, it’s significantly improved our passion for globe-trotting and I hope you gain benefits from our blog.
 
ANYONE can do this and just like everything else in life, it gets even easier as you do it.  If you like what you’re reading, please leave us a comment and share our blog posts!  Besides actually traveling, I love talking about it too, so please let us know about your goals, experiences, and questions!  And you can further support our site by using the links on our site sign up for these great credit card deals that will help you upgrade your travel for nearly for FREE!  Your support by using our links is greatly appreciated as it helps us continue our lives of adventure and furthers our ability to share the value and benefits that we discover along the way!
Happy (FREE) Traveling,
Daniel – Mr. Limitless