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.

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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!

Love,

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

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The Kid Friendly Road To Hana

So, we were in Maui and The Road to Hana was a MUST-DO.. It’s basically the road to take to get to Hana, its famous for the scenic drive on the coast of Maui.  However, it is a winding road with lots of sharp and hairpin turns.  And if you one that gets motion sickness very easily (ahem- ME) it didn’t sound like something I would enjoy.. nor would my kids because they tend to get motion sickness as well.  BUT…. we wanted to do it anyways because everyone said that it’s totally worth it.  Here are a few tips and trick to doing the Road to Hana with kids!

  1.  Start early get there no later than 9:45am, and remember the road is more crowded on the weekend.
  2. Eat a light breakfast.
  3. Plan this out as a day trip.. do not try and make this a half day trip.
  4. Dramamine -helps with both the motion and it will make the kids nap for a good portion of the drive.
  5. The adult who is most prone to motion sickness should drive.
  6. Go as slow as you need to go.. just be sure to pull off to the side if there are a lot of cars behind you.
  7. Do not stop at everyone point (map out the ones you want to stop at).
  8. DO stop at the points where there’s some room for the kids to run around (Mile Marker #13 Kaumahina State Wayside Park,  Mile Marker #34 Hana Town, and Mile Marker #42 Kipahulu, Haleakala National Park)
  9. Watch the time, make sure to leave Hana a few hours before sunset, you do not want to drive in the dark.
  10. Drive the backside of the Haleakala, when exiting Hana – the road isn’t as winding .. it’s a much smoother drive – you’ll see the gorgeous sunset and beautiful countryside.  You’ll also see lots of cows… the kids loved this!
  11. Keep the stops fun and exciting for the kids.  Have them notice all the different trees, plants and bugs.  Let them climb the trees and discover new things!
  12. Allow extra time to spend time at the beaches and parks along the way.
  13. Portable DVD player kept the kids entertained, but I always had to make sure they weren’t getting motion sickness.

BONUS TIP – I was really on the fence about going on the Road to Hana with the kids, but I prayed and kept a positive attitude and everyone had a wonderful time!! ATTITUDE IS KEY!!

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Mile Marker #13 Kaumahina State Wayside Park

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Mile Marker #34 Hana Town

 

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roan to hana, things to do in maui, hana Here we are the last stop in Hana at the Seven Sacred Pools

Also, you are usually able to swim in the Seven Sacred Pools, however if there has been too much rainfall they close the pools because the tides get too strong, so you may want call Kipahulu, Haleakala National Park ahead of time.

It was definitely worth the drive!!

I hope you visit beautiful paradise soon!!

Please comment below if you would like to take an adventure on the Road to Hana… Or if you have been there comment and let me know which part was your favorite!

PAX, and Love,

Joan

P.S.  Here is how I continue to be a stay at home mom AND able to travel this amazing earth CLICK HERE

P.P.S. Grab by free ebook!

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CLICK HERE FOR MY FREE EBOOK

 

Must Read Poem For A Badass Day

I have been listening to the audio version of Outwitting The Devil by Napoleon Hill (By the way, this book is so real that I can’t believe I hadn’t read it sooner).  He mentions that this poem played a vital role in his life.

Napoleon-Hills-Outwitting-the-Devil-2769113… and I want to share it.

If you have read the book.. This is a good reminder to have a badass day..

If not, I hope you read this and have an extraordinarily badass day…

 

Invictus

By William Ernest Henley

Out of the night that covers me,
      Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
      For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
      I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
      My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
      Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
      Finds and shall find me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
      How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
      I am the captain of my soul.

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The Sex Life of a Military Wife

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My husband is deployed on the other side of the world.  We have an eleven hour time difference.  We are able to squeeze in a Skype or Facetime conversation about once a day, twice if we are lucky.  Most of our talks are limited in time because of the time difference and in that short amount of time we divide the talking time between myself and our 3 boys.  So, most of the time our chats are brief and I would say about 2-3 times a week my husband and I can have a decent conversation on the phone with no interruptions from the kids and no time constraints.  And all of that, depends on if we have a good internet connection. 

During the daytime I’m with the kids, and we normally keep busy to make the days go by faster.  At the end of the day, the kids go to bed, and the house is finally quiet.  There are some nights that I’m so exhausted that I fall asleep with the kids and there are nights that get incredibly lonely. 

I miss having my husband’s shoulder to rest on my head.  I miss being held by his strong arms.  I miss the taste of his kiss.  I miss the comfort and warmth of us just holding hands.

I miss having physical contact with a man.

I struggle and I think about the options I have to relieve the void of loneliness and disconnection.  Surely there is a solution to end this problem.

I could seek another man for fun and for the sake of fulfilling sexual desires.  It would be a heated love affair, a secret that no one needs to know about.  We would have evening or early morning rendezvous.  My needs would be easily satisfied.  It would be hot, steamy, new and temporary.

OR

I could go to the nearest adult store and get the most popular adult toy and batteries.  Then, get on my phone or personal computer and download some porn that is readily available.  I could please myself without involving anyone else.  And in my research this kind of self pleasuring is “healthy.”

Which did I choose?

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Well, let’s put it this way, 85% of of deployed military including military spouses cheat.  (I’m going to have to round up it up to 90% for this next example) That means roughly 9 out of 10 military and/or spouses have affairs.  That means maybe 1 or 2 are faithful.  Clearly, in this sex crazed world, it has become the norm and almost expected. 

So, WHICH DID I CHOOSE?

NEITHER….

I chose complete CHASTITY (definition below, in case we forgot)

chas·ti·ty
ˈCHastədē/
noun
noun: chastity
  1. the state or practice of refraining from extramarital, or especially from all, sexual intercourse.
    “vows of chastity”
    synonyms: celibacy, chasteness, virginity, abstinence, self-restraint, self-denial, continence

 

No other men, no porn, no toys, no batteries.  I am the part of the few, faithful 10-15%. 

WHY?

First and foremost, faithfulness and fidelity were instructions by God through our wedding vows

Priest: (Name), do you take (name) to be your husband? Do you promise to be true to him in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health, to love him and honor him all the days of your life?

Bride: I do.

Second, in this time of struggle and suffering, at a point in my life where I need love, strength, faith and hope the most – why would I sabotage my mind and body with anything artificial that doesn’t promise me love, strength, faith and hope?

And in this time of pain and loneliness – there is meaning.  Which leads to my last reason of staying chaste.

Lastly, when sex, self pleasure, porn, infidelity and temporary comforts are running rampant and available to us everywhere we turn in all forms of media today … how much more will our minds be polluted 5-10 years when our children are older?  In the path that this society is going, will the future generation picture love as disposable, temporary, and self indulgent?  How would you want your kids to treat love and marriage?  Will our boys grow into true gentlemen?  Will our daughters become ladies?

“The great danger for family life, in the midst of any society whose idols are pleasure, comfort and independence, lies in the fact that people close their hearts and become selfish.”-St. Pope John Paul II

Chastity isn’t easy – my meaning to this suffering?  I believe God put me in this situation to bring balance to our hedonistic society.  That maybe my story will bring hope and inspiration to for men and women to set much higher standards for themselves when faced with challenging and painful situations and in sexual decisions- and have a ripple effect to our children of the future.

Chastity, like honesty, is a civic as well as a personal virtue. When a society loses chastity, it begins to destroy itself. —William Schickel