What’s it really like moving overseas?

Great morning to everyone from the islands!  It’s been a while since our last blog post – apologies for the lack of updates during the transition, while navigating through the challenges of moving to another hemisphere, terrorism, martial law, and shootings during our journey.  But suffice to say we’re alive and well ….. Our family of five recently packed up our lives into a few pieces of luggage and moved from TX to Southeast Asia this year after having a love-affair with Philippines.  We’ve been living here for almost 4 months now and have been getting a lot of questions about our lives so far.  The first two questions people ask are, “Why did you move?” and “How do you like living there?”

My wife Joan and I share several passions in life, one of which is pizza and another one being Travel.  Our marriage started on a snowboarding trip to Schweitzer Idaho, when I proposed to her in a freezing snowstorm on New Years Eve 2004.  We also had our wedding in Italy in the hill-country outside of Rome and honey-mooned all over Europe, which deepened our love for pizza (and eachother of course ;).  Our travel frequency waned after having kids, but after breaking beyond limiting beliefs about family travel, we started globe trotting all together.  Traveling with kids is another thing people ask us about, but that’s a whole different topic – we’ll save that for another day…. But our exploration of this world gave so much connection to others in meeting people from all different walks of life, and we learned so much about things outside of our normal routine.  We decided to give our family and children the opportunity to get full-immersion experiences to expand their education not just in the classroom but in the small towns in Europe, the coasts of Australia, and most especially about our own heritage and culture in the Philippines.  Plus we decided to take advantage of living in the current and unique environment where technology allows anyone to communicate with world through an internet connection, create income streams to live on and invest/grow wealth, and truly live a laptop lifestyle.


It’s been anything but easy, but it’s been absolutely worth it.  After returning home from a 1 year deployment with the military, my wife and I made the choice to live with no regrets nor reservations.  One of our favorite family movies is the old Disney Classic, Swiss Family Robinson, where a family with 3 sons (we also have 3 boys) gets ship-wrecked onto a deserted island, and watching it with the family sparked a conversation.  The conversation revolved around a few questions: “What if we did what we wanted, when we wanted?  And, where would we live if we could live anywhere?”  The conversation morphed into actual plans and eventually a reality.  So we sold our house, unloaded the bulk of our “stuff,” and packed only the essentials – mainly clothes, books, and laptops. It was pretty therapeutic to donate and let go of the superfluous things we didn’t need.  I’d be lying if I said that leaving our family and friends wasn’t an emotion-filled decision, but we couldn’t escape the dream nor the vision.  Our sense of adventure kept shouting at us until we finally decided it was time.  We’ve been called crazy, reckless, and wild – but we choose to live by the cliche saying: LIFE IS SHORT, CARPE DIEM … (YOLO is a little too new for us old folks 😉

Flash forward to today, we are now living in the La Union Province of the northern Philippines, where the surf is up, the people smile big, and the beer is strong!  The first few months were a huge adjustment getting used new environment.  Spending a holiday at a place is very different than living there.  The true test of a place to call home is moving into a home and getting internet!  We’re still getting used to the pace of things, especially the speed of service and life in general (it took the internet company almost 2 months to activate our service).  There were a number of world-events and irritable situations that made us think about packing up our stuff and moving back to our comfort-zone in Texas, but we talked through the uncertainty and continue to find ways for making our own peace of mind.  It doesn’t take much for the people here living the provincial life to smile & laugh, so we may as well learn from them, adopt the culture, and do the same.  Every day we wake up to the sounds of the ocean, try all kinds of tasty cuisine, spend time with great people, and catch waves when the swell comes in.  Here we get a bite-sized vacation every single day of our lives in La Union, and live a good life with the company and community we’ve discovered.  It was a real treat to discover legit coffee at El Union so good it even impresses Italian travelers; ginormous burgers at Mad Monkeys that give TX beef a run for its money, delectable chocolate perfected by it’s Italian founder at Tigre y Oliva; and unforgettable places to hang out at like Flotsam & Jetsam, where you can escape to a rustic paradise at their hostel, restaurant, and bar.  If these things weren’t enough to put smiles on our faces, the open and awesome group of locals living in San Juan make us feel at home with each person we meet and connect with.  We’re lucky enough to have befriended other people and families who have moved out of their “safe havens” to this cozy little surf town.

There’s a definite shock to the system after the initial move abroad.  It’s tested our patience, discipline, and ability to live in a constant beautiful state.  It’s not like in America, where if you want almost anything, you can easily find a way to get it.  Here, you have to spend an extraordinary amount of time and effort to do even the simplest of things.  Many people look at us like walking ATM’s as they try to charge us triple the price as soon as they hear our “foreign” accents (I do my best Filipino/Tagalog accent, but still sound like poser).  I see things every day that make me say “WTF” on a regular basis, like really bad off-pitch karaoke parties that go into the wee hours in the morning, looking at mirrors that only reflect as high as your chest, the unbelievable ant infestations, or breathing in fumes when people burn their foliage/grass (which they often cut with scissors).  Also, the insects are colossal.  Back home, they say everything is bigger in Texas.  But they haven’t been here, because the cockroaches and bugs (in which the boys love collecting) are like crawling hockey pucks.

Despite our list of complaints, the storm of 1st-worlder-frustration always settles, and we always come to realize the stuff we bitch about here actually is tolerable and not a real threat to our lives or happiness.  Sometimes, we simply have to adapt and compromise some of the little things – like learning to find ways to get comfortable without central air-conditioning or becoming local-vores, eating local food/fruits/veggies instead of what we’re used to in the U.S.  We’ve been forced to learn to be grateful for the things we have instead of counting the crap that bugs us.   Before departure for Asia we planned for the unexpected, but we didn’t expect to throw so many of our plans out the window and have to improvise.  Instead, we get to practice the art of trading expectation for appreciation.  While an element of unknown remains that is both exciting and unnerving, we’re growing more and more comfortable with the uncertainty.   Who knows what we will find or who we will meet in the coming days ahead?   We may find absolute bliss or come across an even greater challenge.  But in any case, you’ll be able to find us spending time as a family, enjoying the beach-life on a surf board, laying in the sand, or eating a fresh catch of the day.  I’ll take that any time of the week instead of the old story of my life sitting at a desk, wasting away working to fulfill someone else’s dream.

If you have any questions for us or would like to drop a line, please comment below.  We’d love to hear from you 🙂  Cheers and Mabuhay!


The Limitless Family

P.S. If you’d like to know more about how we live our laptop digital nomad lifestyle CLICK HERE 

P.P.S. Bitcoins are pretty freaking awesome too… CLICK HERE to know more

“I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.” – Henry David Thoreau, Walden




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 challengingu 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,


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