The best travelers aren't those with the fattest wallets, but those who take planning seriously. Imagine if Mike might jet off to Asia as a free spirit, with no real itinerary — and return home full of complaints about how expensive and stressful it all was. Whereas Mary, who travels with good information and a detailed day-to-day plan, returns home with rich stories of spontaneous Asian adventures. It's the classic paradox of good travel: "Winging it" can become a problem of too many decisions, too little information, and little time to relax. Adding some structure in your travel plans rewards the traveler with more freedom.
I like to plot my travel details in a chart organized by date. I collect all my reservations, travel times and other notes and reminders in one document. As I travel, I can see at a glance where I'll be sleeping a week from now, or what time the boat, bus, plane leaves on Saturday. Here's how to create your own vacation plan.
1. Decide where you want to go in the Philippines and create a budget. Do your research to create a wish list, using the most up-to-date guidebooks, travel apps and websites. Outline anticipated expenses, allowing for airfare, transportation within your destination, room and board, sightseeing and entertainment, and miscellaneous costs.
2. Establish a route and timeline. Figure out a logical geographical order and trip length. Consider how weather, crowds, geography, time of day and your personal travel style will affect your plan. Balance big, intense cities with cozy small-town stops.
3. Decide on the cities you'll fly in and out of. Flying into one city and out of another is usually more efficient and economical (when you consider the time spent returning needlessly to your starting point) than booking a round-trip flight. Think carefully about which cities make the most sense as a first stop or a finale.
4. Figure out other transportation. Base this not solely on cost, but by what's best for your ideal trip. Study the many ways of getting from point A to point B — whether flying, riding the bus, driving, biking or hiking. For example, bus travel is often more economical for solo travelers, while hiring a personal driver saves money if you're with a small group.
5. Make a rough itinerary. On your chart, write in the number of days you'd like to stay in each place — knowing you'll probably have to trim it later. I recommend minimizing hotel changes to save time and money — and to better get to know the town. One-night stops are less efficient than stays of two or more nights. Take advantage of weekends to stretch your time and minimize lost work days.
6. Adjust by cutting, streamlining or adding to fit your timeline or budget. If two destinations are equally important to you but you don't have time or money for both, cut the place that takes the most time, hassle or expense to reach. Don't try to do everything on one trip. Assume you will return to visit the Philippines again.
7. Fine-tune your itinerary. Study your guidebook and get advice from friends, blogs or fellow travelers. Be sure crucial sights are open the day you'll be in town. Remember that many restaurants and sights close one day of the week (often a holiday). And many of the most important sights now require or highly advise reservations in advance (easy to get online). Note that if you're flying from the United States to Asia you'll generally arrive the day after you fly out.
8. Organize and share your itinerary. Whether you want to meet up with friends along the way, let family members know where you'll be, or just corral all your travel details in one place, make an itinerary chart (for example, as a Word document) so that you can easily share your plans. Tools such as TripIt can also help; using your confirmation emails, the app creates an itinerary — with maps, directions and recommendations — that you can access and share from your smartphone.
9. Consider an All-Inclusive Trip to Make Traveling Easier. If all this planning seems to complicated or troublesome, then consider booking an all-inclusive trip to the Philippines. For example Philippines Sailing Tours will be offering airport shuttle service, island tours, food & beverages, and lodging. (www.PhilippinesSailingTours.com).
Planning is always worth the effort: Anticipating obstacles, knowing your options, and living within your budget are fundamental to a good trip. Now you're ready to enjoy the freedom that rewards good planners and turn your travel dreams into smooth and affordable reality.
Please Share with someone you know.
Islanders believe it is just the harbinger of summer. Others see it as sign of worsening pollution. (story by The Inquirer - a Philippines national news agency)
If the water is GREEN then it's NOT Clean - Keep you & you Children Healthy.
Boracay is as close to the tropical ideal you’ll find in the Philippines, especially the island’s gentle coastlines and transporting sunsets. Add in a thriving nightlife scene and you have one of the top tourist spots in the region, according to Condé Nast Traveler.
Today, however, that “tropical ideal” is besieged by green algae growth—a cause for concern on the shore of Boracay’s central tourist hotspot.
The algae, which can be seen in Stations 1, 2 and 3 of White Beach, is most visible in Station 2, where most of the commercial establishments are located.
It’s easy to blame it on Boracay’s rapid development which affects sanitation and environment controls.
But, is the algae growth a sign of worsening pollution?
According to its findings, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) said the island’s sewage system can no longer accommodate the burgeoning population.
While Jica agrees that tourism helps the Philippine economy, the agency likewise implores Boracay stakeholders to be more keen in protecting the island resort’s marine resources.
Dr. Miguel Fortes, University of the Philippines scientist and member of the Coastal Ecosystem Conservation Management (Cecam) project, noted that untreated sewage on the eastern side of Boracay has reached alarming levels.
And while the Environment Management Bureau says the water condition in Stations 1, 2, and 3 at White Beach on the west side is still OK, longtime residents of the municipality of Malay, Aklan, where Boracay is situated, claim that the algae are harmful.
‘Number One Beach’
Boracay is the country’s pride, consistently topping the the list of summer travel destinations for local and foreign tourists.
In 2008, the Department of Tourism (DOT) named Boracay as the “Number One Beach” in the Philippines, after it generated P11.6 billion in revenues that year, according to the DOT-commissioned Boracay Island Comprehensive Land Use Planning: Vol 1.
It was the top pick of Condé Nast Traveler’s Readers’ Choice Awards in 2016.
Included in the same edition are two more Philippine destinations on Condé Nast’s Top 20 Best Islands in The World list: Palawan, No. 2, and Cebu, No. 5.
What can people do to save Boracay?
For starters, and as a form of activism, tourists should ask Boracay business establishments and government officials what they are doing for the island. People should ask hotels and restaurants if they have programs to help in the sustainability of Boracay’s environmental condition.
It would also be beneficial if Filipinos could pressure lawmakers and the local government of Boracay to enact stricter policies to protect the island and to better regulate the opening of businesses.
Everyone who has ever been there can contribute in ways big or small, so that Boracay does not end up as paradise lost. —CONTRIBUTED
Read more: http://lifestyle.inquirer.net/258878/boracays-green-algae-growth-exactly/#ixzz4gD493XF7
The previous story is from a Philippines' news national news paper called The Inquirer. I thought it was worthy of sharing with our readers so that they are informed, safe and healthy.
Suggested alternate destinations:
Over the past few weeks while I was visiting family and friends in the USA, I noticed that many of the people I encountered were not living a Positive Lifestyle. What do I mean by Not Living a Positive Lifestyle? In our fast-paced, competitive culture, we tend to notice and worry about what’s lacking in our lives. Because of our drive to succeed, we focus on what stands in our way. We tune in to the things we don’t have — material items, body type, status, money, perfect relationships. But when we view our world from this perspective, we set ourselves up to measure our worth by our deficits rather than our successes.
I don't know about you, but I would rather choose to live a Positive Lifestyle. With that being said, let me share with you what I do to Live a Positive Lifestyle, and the benefits I derive from living a positive lifestyle.
1. Living a Positive Lifestyle is a Choice
Several years ago I had a setback. If you have read my book, then you'll know what I am talking about. I was at an all time low - I was 7 figures in the whole and homeless - even though I was working 2 jobs. But one day while I was out for a walk and I met a happy guy living behind a sign in an upscale community. He said that where he lives doesn't make a person happy or unhappy, but it's how you choose to feel about about your life. You can choose to let life get you down, or you can choose to count you blessings and be happy. As we parted, he told me to have a good day, and he shared a smile.
Try doing this exercise. It's easy and it's FREE. It's called smiling. Try smiling. Smile i contagious, and It will make you feel better (see my article on the benefits of smiling). If smiling doesn't make you feel better then it might make the people around you feel better. If it doesn't make the feel better, then at least they will either think you are a happy person... or crazy. My suggestion, give them reasons to think you are happy.
3. Put your Goals in Front of you
What I mean by this is write out what you want to achieve. I do this in several places - sometimes I even write it on the bathroom mirror with a bar of soap. But I will usually write out my daily goals and my longer term goals. I keep them in places where I can see them often so I can review how I'm doing. Sometimes I even rewrite my goals so I can prioritize them. I also add a check box or I cross them out after they are accomplished - this makes me feel better for accomplishing one of my tasks. But if you aren't sure what your goals should be, then let me give you a few that I think are a must & they are FREE:
4. The 3 R's
I'm not talking about reading, writing and arithmetic or what a pirate says. The 3 R's are:
Respect for Others is when you are being a role model for others. Consider yourself a promoter of a positive lifestyle. Promote who you want to be. Keep doing this until it becomes a habit. Then it will become a lifestyle. Remember, this is a choice you want to make.
Responsibility for Your Actions. As you know, you have the freedoms to choose. This doesn't mean that things are FREE. It means you are free to choose the path to success or the path to failure. It also means that you own the results from your choices. Therefore, choose wisely. But if you should happen to make a bad or poor choices, then take immediate steps to correct your poor choices.
5. Count What Counts
At the end of each day, I write down my daily successes. I also write down what I could have done better. Notice that I am not writing down my failures. Instead I am taking note of the positive things. Plus I am working on how I could improve. This way I focus on the positives, and it keeps me in the improving and constructive mode. Personally I feel better helping people, and I think people appreciate being helped too.
If you think my tips for a Positive Lifestyle are helpful, then please share them with others that you care about.
Learn more about why Island Life is Awesome from the American Expat Living in the Philippines. www.IslandLifeIsAwesome.com
About 2 weeks ago, my family and I traveled nearly 8,000 miles to the USA to see my relatives. As many of you already know, I am an American expat, who moved to the Philippines 11 years ago. Since living in the Philippines I have created a wonderful family & lifestyle with the woman I married. But what I want to share with you today are the Things I Noticed when I Returned to America.
As we were getting our luggage, I kissed my wife - ZAP! We got a static shock. We never experience static shock in the Philippines. So before every kiss, we made sure we touched hands before engaging in any lip locks.
In the airport, the malls, the homes - everywhere we go, we are walking on wall-to-wall carpeting. In the Philippines, we have tiled floors. Either clay, marble or some other exotic stone. But in the USA, we noticed lots of carpeting. What I like about the carpeting is that it dampens sound and prevents echoes. Carpet also feels nice underfoot, but this is only if you are not wearing socks (I never wear socks with my sandals in the Philippines).
3. Ring-Ring! Ring-Ring!
As soon as we picked up our bags from the luggage carousel, my cell phone began ringing. I answered and we greeted by a telemarketer telling me that I have been pre-approved for an equity line of credit. Really? In the Philippines, I don't ever recall getting an unsolicited call from a telemarketer.
4. Car Rental Service
Before leaving the airport, we stopped by a car rental agency and picked up our rental car. In the Philippines I have never seen or experienced a personal rental car. Yes, you can hire a car with a driver, but you cannot rent your own car. But in the Philippines, you can rent a moped or motorcycle. On our island people use Tablas Scooters.
5. How do I Start this Car?
Keyless cars. After we loaded into the car, I picked up the key fob on the car's dashboard. 'Where's the key?' I asked the rental agent. As he's walking away he shouts over his shoulder, 'It's keyless. Just get in and push the button and it will start. Easy-peasy.' Easy-peasy my behind. I'm pushing the button and nothing is happening. I put on my seat belt. I push the button - Nothing. I say, 'Start' while I push the button - Nothing. I step on the brake, push the button, 'eureka!' it starts. I put the car in gear and begin to drive. 'Play some music Daddy!' Oh know. How do I turn on the radio?
6. Driving in the City is Not Stressful - Organized Roadways & Hi-Ways
People aren’t cutting me off all the time or running red lights. The roads are big. Signage is often clear and well in advance of where you need to turn. I was so glad to experience a city with organized roads, hi-ways and people who understood the rules for driving. In the Philippines it is extremely evident that the roads are congested, the hi-ways are undersized, and that most people have no idea what the rules are for driving. (Yes, people have driver's license, but this is another story).
7. Monster Trucks
Wow, pickup trucks in the USA are HUGE! I didn't know that personal trucks were made this big. Some of these are so high and wide, I'm sure they could haul a tank.
8. Cheese & Sauce (or is it Cheesy Sauce?) on Everything
Before visiting my family, we stopped to get something to eat. Looking through the menu we noticed that everything is covered with cheese, lots of sauce, or both. Maybe this is why my wife and daughter were telling me that everyone in the USA looks 'BIG' (I guess they were inferring girth not height). Fortunately, the waitress was able to put the cheese and the salty sauce on the side of our massive meals.
9. FREE REFILLS
Free Refills on all of our drinks: coffee, water, iced tea, soft drinks (and I'm sure they would provide free refills on cheese and sauce too). I guess people need to drink a lot to compensate for all the salt in the sauces.
10. Decaf Coffee
I think this is a good idea for the USA. Everyone we encountered in the USA looks stressed and in a rush. I guess the decaf coffee is one way to counter the stress. At home we use massive doses of Vitamin Sea to counter the effects of stress. You know, I don't think we have many cases of hypertension (high blood pressure caused by stress) in the Philippines.
11. Grocery Stores?
Before stopping at my sister's place, we decided to grab a few groceries, so we stopped at Walmart. When we started looking for fresh produce and meat, we noticed that everything was the color of fresh, but it wasn't really fresh - it was pre-ripe (which means it won't be as flavorful). Also the meats are different. Yes, it is farm raised, but our livestock is free range or fresh from the ocean. Here it is definitely something different (because when we ate the food, we became constipated and gained weight**). My daughter asked us why there were so many aisles of boxed, canned, frozen and bottled food. At home, our groceries are sold fresh so it can be made the 'old fashioned way' - not by adding water and tossed in the microwave.
12. Plastic Bags, Bottles and Limited Recycling
When we checked out from the grocery store, we didn't have a cashier. Instead we scanned our own groceries, bagged our own groceries and paid with a credit card. Needless to say, we looked like foreigners in a foreign land (especially when it came to paying). We paid with 'plastic' a credit card. In the Philippines, we almost always use cash to pay for our groceries. We also don't bag in plastic bags - we bring our own cloth bags or recycled boxes. Sometimes we will bring used bottles and top them off with a new supply of vinegar, oil or other spices.
With fatigue taking from travel taking its affect on us, we decide it is time to make it to my sister's place where we are greeted with warm a welcome, lots of hugs, and the frequent question, 'Aren't you glad to be back in the Real World?'. We all hugged back, smiled, and are genuinely happy to see everyone, but we all silently agree that we prefer living in what we know to be the 'real world'.
** I contacted my doctor and we discussed the unusual gain in weight, constipation and gain in weight. He explained that due to the amount of antibiotics injected into the US meats, that the probiotics (that are used to naturally digest the food in the gut of our bodies) were being killed. He suggested that we get a quality probiotic to restore our bodies to a healthy level. We bought a quality probiotic and we are feeling better and our clothes are fitting better.
When people think of you, they'll smile.
My father told me those words because he was instilling in me the seeds of a positive life.
Living a positive life is a choice that I chose to live by, and I want to share one of the simplest steps with you. It's the Smile.
Smiling is simple, it's FREE, and it's a universal language. I have traveled to more than 30 different countries, and the smile seems to be the best way to initiate positive communication.
Believe it or not, a physician, Dr Ward Crampton, would prescribe a 'miracle exercise' that didn't require special medicine, equipment or special clothing. You didn't have to do exercises that left you breathless and exhausted. You could do it standing up or sitting down. But he did suggest doing it in front of a mirror was good, but doing it with another person was best.
Here is Dr. Crampton's miracle exercise:
Have you ever heard of a man by the name of Dale Carnegie? He is the master of making friends. He wrote the following about the power of the smile:
"It costs nothing, but creates much. It enriches those who receive, without impoverishing those who give. It happens in a flash and the memory of it sometimes lasts forever. None are so rich they can get along without it and none so poor but are richer for its benefits.
It creates happiness in the home, fosters goodwill in a business, and is the countersign of friends. It is rest to the weary, daylight to the discouraged, sunshine to the sad, and nature’s best antidote for trouble.
Yet it cannot be bought, begged, borrowed or stolen, for it is something that is no earthly good to anyone 'til it is given away. And if in the hurly-burly bustle of today's business world, some of the people you meet should be too tired to give you a smile, may we ask you to leave one of yours?
For nobody needs a smile so much as those who have none left to give."
Smiles are FREE. Be generous. Give them away often and see the results.
Island Life is Awesome - please share
The most frequently questions that I get are:
I answer, ‘Are you kidding me? I'm staying here!’ Immediately they give me a baffled look and ask ‘Why wouldn’t you want to move back to the USA?’
Common questions like these inspired me to write... My Top 10 Reasons to stay in the Philippines (instead of returning to the USA).’
#1 The Philippines is genuinely the most welcoming country that I have ever traveled. In a matter of minutes, you will be making friends, having fun and enjoying conversations about activities, the world, and your families. What do you have planned for today? Where are you from? Are you married? Do you have kids? Are you hungry? These might seem like personal questions, but the Filipino people want to welcome you and share their hospitality. Where we live on Tablas, it’s very refreshing to take a daily walk through the market or your neighborhood and engage in a conversation. Not only will you learn more about this beautiful country, but you will also gain the wealth of friendship.
#2 The weather in the Philippines is pleasant all year. The temperature in the Philippines is almost always above 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 Celsius). Not only does this mean that I can wear shorts and a T-shirt all year, it also means that we can get out to hike, bike, swim, boat, and travel to neighboring islands anytime I choose. Just last month (in February) we went boating, swimming and diving in the warm ocean. When I was living in the USA the temperatures were so cold that for nearly 7 months of the year I had to wear long pants, a jacket, gloves and a hat. Growing up in the USA, my mantra was ‘I hate the cold, I hate the cold, I hate the cold’. So being in the year round warm weather of the Philippines is Awesome!
#3 The cost of living in most of the Philippines is much less. (There is an exception - Manila, Cebu and Angeles City are about the same price as the USA). As I am writing this, I asked Rose what we normally spend on food, utilities, fuel for the trucks, cell phones and TV. You know - your normal household expenses. I think her answer will surprise you. Rose says that we normally spend about $450 or less each month. This does not mean we are starving or living like hermits. Quite the contrary. We actually eat a great selection of tasty, healthy, home cooked meals, as well as dining out a few nights each week. It’s just that we get more for the dollar in the Philippines. I could write a book on how far the dollar goes over here.
#4 The ocean is always just minutes away. We are close (very close) to the beautiful crystal clear ocean and talcum white beaches. Did you know that the Philippines is comprised of nearly 7,100 islands. This means that you can travel in any direction and quickly be at the beach. Being by the ocean every day, versus looking at a screensaver of the ocean, is very relaxing. STOP! For the next few moments, I want you to imagine yourself holding your favorite fresh tropical drink while wiggling your toes in talcum white sand and listening to the sound of the waves. Do you feel more relaxed? Does your stress melt away? Do you feel happier? Think about it. Which would you prefer: wiggling your toes on a tiled floor, or wiggling you toes inside your shoes on a carpeted floor? I’m sure we all know the answer.
#5 Miles of Smiles. The people in the Philippines are some of the happiest people I have ever met. Their great sense of humor, friendliness, and the ability to appreciate life. Let me share a story with you… Rose took me to her village in the jungles of Leyte where she grew up. Her parents, cousins and extended family are still living in their native homes made of bamboo, leaves and TLC. The shower is the river. Their TV is the fire burning outside their home (where everyone gathers and talks during and after dinner). Their night lights are the stars in the sky. Their music are the songs in the their hearts. And their happiness… it’s difficult to describe… but it’s contagious. I have to say that their happiness and smiles are more genuine than in anyplace I have ever traveled. Pure happiness & friendship is something you must experience in your life. If you need a recommendation on where to visit, let me know. You can experience this on a sailboat tour from Tablas Island.
#6 Asian Medicine. Rose comes from a family of doctors. Ok, she comes from a family of ‘Witch Doctors’. At least that’s what she calls them. But in the USA we would call them Homeopathic Doctors, or using herbal medicine, or massage therapists, or aroma therapy. I think you understand what I am trying to say. Here on the island, it is not uncommon for someone to receive herbal treatments for a cough, cold, or flu. I know when I start getting a cold, I get fed a soup made with tree leaves, a hot tea made with several different juices and herbs, and I might even get a 2 hour herbal massage. These treatments not only work, but they feel so good, that I sometimes want to fake being sick just so I can get the massage.
#7 Tropical fruit and organic vegetables. The Filipino farmers’ produce is so much better than the farmer’s markets in the USA. Why? Because this is not just a weekend hobby. It’s how we get our produce everyday. Also our produce is non-GMO, organic, and the seeds can be replanted (unlike the sterile produce grown in the USA). What this means is that not only can I eat these delicious fruits or vegetables, but I can also save the seeds and replant them. It also means that I need to be careful where I spit my seeds. Plants grow fast here in this fertile Filipino soil.
#8 The Dining Experience - The Recipes and Food are delicious. No matter what you desire, the variety and flavors of the Filipino food are awesome. The traditional food can be savory to sweet, mild to spicy, or smoked to barbecued. I like dining the Pica-pica method. This means that the food is served on a long table covered with banana leaves. Then the food is neatly presented on top of the banana leaves. Then after everyone takes pictures and selfies, it’s time to eat! But NO forks and NO spoons allowed. You can only use your hands. Needless to say, it’s a fun and enjoyable experience.
Before we go on, let me say that the Filipinos are not only known for the traditional food that I enjoy. Let me share this expample. Our neighbor’s personal chef prepares an array of International recipes from Asian to European to American. One evening, Harold the Chef, prepared a dream like setting on the beach with candle lanterns in the trees and a bonfire on the beach. Harold prepared hand made pasta, sushi rolls, pizza and roasted hotdogs (fire roasted marshmallows for desert). Not to be outdone, our domestic helper Mayca makes delicious meals too! From a chicken cordon bleu to a coconut butternut squash soup to a savory shish kabab to a Tuna Dynamite. Needless to say, we need to stay active around here or else we are going to grow a larger waist line.
#9 Family Fun for Everyone - Everyone in the Filipino family is Included and Valued. I love that everyone in the family is included in going out to either a family social event, a fiesta, and a night at the disco. One evening, Rose and I went to see an RnB cover band. Before the show began, a large family (more than 20) came to enjoying the show too. What struck me as endearing is that the family included their small children, the parents, the grandparents and the great-grandparents. And when the music started, even the great-grandparents got up to dance. Everyone in the disco was encouraging and supportive. Rose told me ‘Age is just a number. Even though the our bodies gets old, the mind, spirit and soul are still young. This is the only chance we get at enjoying life. So the Filipino people help everyone to fun & enjoy life to the fullest’.
#10 Home is Where the Heart Is.
I hope you have a better understanding of our great way to Enjoy Living and Life. Knowing this is how my life will be in the Philippines, I feel in my heart that this is Home, and the place for our family. Not only for today, but for the future… and beyond.
Island Life Is Awesome
Of course we have more reasons of why we choose to stay in the Philippines. So subscribe using the RSS Feed in the top right corner so you can see more reasons why we choose to make the Philippines our home.
Are you looking for some Fun? Then why not come and enjoy the Fun in the Philippines?
Here are a X Reasons it's More Fun in the Philippines
#1 Flying in The Philippines
I feel safer, happier and more relaxed already as I enter the Philippines & travel to Tablas Island. Cebu Pacfic Air is the airline of choice when flying to Tablas.
#2 The Jeepney - Public Transportation in a Public Utility Vehicle (PUV)
Jeepneys follow specific routes. I will gladly ride a Jeepney on Tablas Island, but I will not ride a jeepney in Manila - this video will explain why. I prefer taking a Jeepney in the rural areas (the provinces) where it's safe - like Tablas Island. In the province it's a great way to see the sights for only a few coins. Plus the Jeepney drivers will deliver large loads of goods & supplies to your home for a reasonable fee.
#3 The Filipino Trike - a motorcycle with a side car.
Because I am kind of tall, this isn't a comfortable mode of transportation for me. But they are great for going from 1 specific point to another. Don't be surprised if you see 10 or more kids riding in and on the trike on the way to school.
#4 The Banca Boat - The Filipino Outrigger
I enjoy riding shorter distances - less than 15 miles - in the banca boats. Sometimes the crew will let you get out and ride on the outriggers
#5 Tablas Sailboats, Ecotours, Adventures & Island Hopping.
Ride close to the water and enjoy the sound of the wind rushing through your hair. Ride in a Filipino Banca boat, or the larger catamarans & trimarans. Either sail for a few hours or for a few days. This is the best. more info -> https://goo.gl/PkiuuL
#6 Scooters & Motorcycles - A great way to get around with your friends or by yourself. A helmet is highly recommended. You don't want a coconut or a mango dropping on your head. I highly recommend talking with Sherlyn & Jeff at Tablas Scooters. You can find their information at www.TablasScooters.com
#7 My Favorite mode of Transportation - My Wife & her Truck
Rose enjoys driving her 4x4 through town (with her booster seat - Rose is only 4 feet 7 and 7/8 inches tall). Both are mighty and My favorite way to get around and tour Tablas Island.
COMING SOON... Who Likes Sailing & Adventure!
Very soon we will have Catamarans & Trimarans for sailing around Tablas Island. Day tours and Adventure Exersions. 1 to 5 day tours.
For more details, www.XSailing.net
It amazes me that many people think I am living a deprived life because I live on a remote, tropical island. I'm not sure, but I think they believe that a mall or a cinema is necessary to survive. Then it shocks me when they ask me what could I possibly find to entertain myself. Pulling out my cell phone, I begin to tell them a story about how we spend an typical afternoon. By the way, here are a few pictures of how us unfortunate people survive without a mall...
Yes, we could have gone to the mall too, but an experience with family & close friends is far more entertaining and valuable. Come to think of it, I think our entire day was cheaper than a date in the city. C'est la vie!... I mean, 'Tulad ay buhay!'
Island Life is Awesome...
To see how I became an American expat living in the Philippines, then get a copy of my book 'Like Winning the Lottery'. The link is in the upper right margin -->>
It’s true, that when most people think of taking trips to South East Asia, they usually jump at Thailand, Malaysia, or Bali, before considering the Philippines. This is probably because The Philippines hasn’t become commercialized or mainstream. It’s often overlooked.
Now that I am living here permanently, I'm glad it is overlooked because I don't want the Philippines to lose it's exotic and intoxicating charm.
So let me share with you the Reasons Why Life is Better in the Philippines.
1. Over 7,100 Islands to explore and savor. Each island has it's own unique personality, flare and flavor. Take your time, don't try to do it all in 1 day.
2. Tropical Weather, Sea Breeze, Talcum White Beaches, Exotic Sunsets.
3. The Filipino People are the friendliest you will ever meet. I have more friends in the Philippines than I do anywhere else in the world, and I have visited more than 40 countries. Visit and make several new friends. Their friendship will last a lifetime.
4. Coconut Juice - locally known as buko (boo-ko) juice. Nearly every morning, we'll ask the gardener to climb a tree and pick us some fresh buko so we can enjoy the juice all day long. It's refreshing and very healthy for you too.
5. The Philippines is Affordable. Compared to North America, Europe, & Australia, the cost of living in the Philippines is 1/8 to 1/10 of what people are accustomed to spending (this excludes Manila and Cebu). Can you imagine running out of fun before you run out of money? Island Life is Awesome!
6. SCUBA diving and Snorkeling. The water here is crystal clear, and warm, so you can dive or snorkel year round and enjoy some of the world's best diving. Enjoy the corals, the fish or the ship wrecks. On Tablas island, we have some great diving. Have you ever been to a Blue Hole?
7. Tropical Fruit Smoothies are Fresh with the Ripest Fruit. A must have when you are in the Philippines. Consider adding a shot of the local rum as a fun flavoring.
8. English is Spoken Here. Yes, the english language is spoken here. The Philippines is the 4th largest english speaking country in the world. This doesn't mean that the spelling will be correct, but communication is not a problem here if you are uni-lingual.
9. Spas & Massage. Who doesn't like an hour long massage for the price of a Big Mac meal. Yes, you can get a 1 hour massage for about the same price you would pay for a Big Mac, fry & Coke. While you're at it, get a manicure and pedicure. It's worth the extra $2.
10. Foreigners, Tourists & Locals treat each other with respect. The people here are Awesome!
11. Experience secluded beaches that are untouched by mass tourism. We love having a beautiful beach all to ourselves. (If you visit one of the beautiful beaches, please be respectful and keep it beautiful and clean).
12. Enjoy 1 of the country's favorite food items - Lechon Baboy. This is a pig roasted over hot coals. Crispy on the outside, while juicy on the inside.
13. Outrigger Island Hopping or Transportation. Locally they are called a 'banca' (bon-ka) and they are hand made from local materials. 95% of them are powered by little motors, and these local boats can be used for fishing to transportation. Some of the bancas will transport up to 50 people from 1 island to the next. Exciting and a unique experience.
14. Buy a bottle of flavored rum for less than what you'd buy a bottle of water in the USA, Europe or Australia. On my first week in the Philippines, I ordered 1 coconut rum drink at a restaurant. When the waiter brought me out a full bottle of coconut rum, I pointed at the menu and said, 'I want only 1 coconut rum drink. Not the bottle,' and I pointed at the price. The waiter said, 'Yes Sir. This is the 1 drink for that price.' Lucky me!
15. Mangos in the Philippines are the Best. Philippine mangos are unique because they are sweet in flavor and like jello in texture. Make sure you try a ripe mango. You'll become addicted immediately.
16. Ripe, Fresh Produce picked that day. Enjoy delicious organic produce that has the most outstanding flavors. We buy it fresh every morning, or we pick it from our own gardens. Yummy!
17. Happy, Smiles from locals. I highly recommend that you try smiling back, waving and enthusiastically saying, 'Hello!' You'll love the response.
18. Live Music! I really think the Filipinos are the best at live music. The arrangements and sound is awesome. Spend an evening with friends and enjoy the music.
19. Fire Dancing. I love this native dance. Not only is it spectacular, but audience participation is a must. Be entertained as locals spin balls of fire at the ends of chains while they dance to rhythmic music. Have your camera ready!
20. Laughter. The Filipino people love to laugh, smile and have a good time. Their happiness is contagious. Their happiness is the contagious disease that I want to catch, and never be cured.
21. Come back later and I'll share more reasons Why Life is Better in the Philippines.
A friend of mine told me this story, and it changed my outlook on life to the point where SOLD everything, moved to a friendly little island to start a family farm with my wife and daughter.
So What is this Life Changing Story that motivated me to move 8,000 miles? Let me share it with you...
One day a rich dad to his son on a trip to a village. He wanted to show him how poor somebody could be.
After they spent time on the farm of a poor family, the father says, 'Did you see how they are? What did you learn?'
The son replied, 'We have 1 dog. They have 4. We have a swimming pool. They have a river.'
'We have a lantern at night, but they have the stars. We buy our food, but they get to grow their food.'
'We have walls to protect us. They have Friends. We have encyclopedias. They have the Bible.'
As they headed back, the son said: 'Thanks, dad, for showing me how poor we really are.'
I thought I'd share a few photos with you so you can appreciate our Happy Farm Life.
There are many people like me that have a permanent residence visa, and there are others who have a 'Long Stay' temporary visa (59 day visa). Each type of visa holder gets issued what is called an ACR I-card (Alien Certificate of Registration Identity Card). An I-card is a microchip based, credit card-sized identification card issued to all foreigners who wish to stay in the Philippine for more than 59 days.
The process is relatively straightforward, but tedious, and it is done at the same times as the application for a visa.
For the temporary visa, the application has to be processed before your 59 days of allowed stay. For the Permanent visa the application has to be processed within the first 60 days of the calendar year if you’re renewing your ACR I-Card; otherwise, you’ll face jail time, a fine, or deportation.
Normally the application filing is done at the same time you apply for a visa extension, but for those who would like to voluntarily apply for an ACR I-Card or renew theirs, here are the steps you need to take:
Make sure you bring your ACR I-Card & passport with you at all times. Losing your ACR I-Card will mean going through the application process and paying a new I-Card fee plus a P1,000 express fee.
Where can you file?
See the Bureau of Immigration website.
Overstaying is a serious matter for anyone who’s looking to visit the Philippines. Much like how Filipinos get deported when they overstay with a tourist visa overseas, any foreign national caught overstaying will get deported.
What is overstaying?
You’re an overstaying national if you’ve exceeded the maximum number of days your visa allows. This poses a problem, though, as 163 countries are allowed visa-free entry into the Philippines for anywhere between seven to 59 days.
Out of these 163 countries, only Brazilians and Israelis are allowed to stay for 59 days without a visa. Anyone who wants to stay beyond 59 days will have to be brought up with the Bureau of Immigration (BI); otherwise, you’ll be sent home packing, no questions asked.
You won’t be able to get away with overstaying in the Philippines since you’ll be deported and blacklisted, i.e. you’ll never be able to go back in the country again. If you want your Black List Order (BLO) lifted, you’ll have to file a letter of request addressed to the Commissioner of the BI. It’s best to get assistance from an immigration lawyer to have this arranged for you.
What to do if you’re about to overstay your visa or visa expires?
If you’re about to be tagged as overstaying, there’s really only one thing you can do: go to nearest immigration office or the BI main office seven days before your visa expires and settle everything that needs to be settled (fees and documents).
The process will depend on the length of your stay, but the most you can extend is 6 months. You can still stay in the Philippines without actually extending your stay for 6 months as long as your passport remains valid, but you’ll already be tagged as overstaying the moment it goes beyond what your visa or visa-free entry allows.
As most foreign nationals visiting the country are from countries that do not require a visa for a visit of at most 30 days, we’ll put a focus on getting a Visa waiver, issued to tourists who want to request for an initial extension of 29 days.
If you want to go beyond 59 days, you should get a Long-Stay Visitor Visa Extension, or LSVVE. The process is similar to getting a visa extension, but it will involve a much higher fee of P11,500, broken down as follows:
Fine for overstaying is at P500 per month. You’ll also be charged an additional P500 if you go beyond the maximum allowable stay or if you’ve overstayed for more than 6 months to get a Motion for Reconsideration on Updating and Extension of Authorized Stay.
For more information on visa fees, fines, and processes, please visit the Bureau of Immigration website.
IMPORTANT NOTE: My experience has been that it's wise to dress conservatively when visiting the immigration office. I have seen people being told that they could not enter if they were not wearing slacks and a nice shirt.
I hope you found this useful. Keep coming back to learn why Island Life is Awesome.
How do You Feel when you are near the ocean? When you see the blue sky? When you hear the wind blowing through the palm trees? When you feel the powdery sand between your toes?
How do you feel when you are away from the beach and the ocean?
Do you ever feel:
The reason I'm asking these questions, is because I am away from the island this week, and and I'm having several symptoms of Beach Withdrawal.
Did You Know...
Since ancient times, people have assigned healing and transformational properties to water? In early Rome, baths were an important part of cultural life, a place where citizens went to find relaxation and to connect with others in a calming setting. In ancient medicine and modern medicine, we still use water for healing.
Today, people still turn to water for calmness and clarity. Many of us spend vacations (or our lives) on the beach; get exercise and enjoyment from water sports like surfing, scuba diving, sailing, and swimming; refresh ourselves with long showers and soothing baths, and often build our lives and homes around being near the water.
... and when when people are away from the ocean, it feels painful. Like your Teddy Bear has been taken away...
So what should I ask my doctor?
I think I'm going to ask him for a prescription of Vitamin Sea with instructions to confine me to the beach.
Island Life is Awesome!
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Can you imagine traveling on a beautiful vacation and...
For some reason, China believes that people should not freely be allowed to browse the internet, or publish blogs, or look at their favorite website.
This got me to thinking...
After I landed in Seoul, South Korea, I did some research and I discovered that certain VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) can provide a secure internet experience. I also learned that some are more secure than others (FREE VPNs will help, but they are not secure). One of website's fans (Paulina Lif...) is helping us find the best VPN to help us do secure internet browsing.
9 reasons why you should use a VPN everywhere:
When I find a VPN that works really well, I will share it with all of you so you can be safe online too.
Standby for this important update... I don't want any of you to lose your life savings.
UPDATE: HACKER PROBLEM SOLVED
Island Life is Awesome!
The Binucot Beach Resort OktoberFest on Tablas Island was a Great Success! Two of the resort hosts are from East Germany, and they wanted to spread the Fun of their homeland here on Tablas Island. Their was LIVE music that made us dance, Great food that made us eat, and adult libations that made us be silly.
Games & Laughs
Speaking of being Silly, there were traditional German drinking games, and then there were the Fantastically Funny Filipino games. If we can get some pictures of these crazy games, then I will share them in our Newsletter.
One of the aspects of living here in that I really Love, is that everyone is always welcome. Ages ranged from 8 months of age to 80 years in age. Cultures ranged from The Philippines, USA, France, England, Australia, Austria, Italy, Canada, and Germany (of course).
Since the Oktoberfest was such a great Success, I asked Peter & Uwe what could we expect next. 'Christmas is Big in Germany. Maybe we can have a Merry Christmas celebration... with Filipino Bier & German food of course!'
So this begs the question... Will you be joining us for the next party? We hope you'll join us.
Good Morning from Paradise Everybody! Today we had an awesome morning.
Since the weather is perfect, we decided to walk to beach to dip our toes in the water, and for a photo shoot. The photo shoot is mostly for fun, but it's also to promote the Re-release of my book, 'Like Winning the Lottery'. It was a #1 Best Selling book in family humor in 2015. Now I am fixing a few things in the book and re-releasing it in November 2016.
Back to the Beach...
We arrived at the beach around 9am and as you can see from the video, the sun is shining brightly, and I have to squint. How in the heck do models keep their eyes open. I'll have to ask our friend Sasha Tajaran (from Calatrava) how she keeps her eyes open during a photo shoot. Ouch!
As soon as we stepped on the beach, I wanted to skip the photo shoot and just jump in the ocean and play in the surf. I love getting a good dose of Vitamin Sea. I was informed that after the photo shoot that I could be a kid and play in the water. I was happy and motivated. 'Let's Get it On!'
It it obvious that we should have worn sunglasses for this? Fortunately it was over with quickly. Did you notice any of the kids on the beach? They looked hungry to us, so Rose purchased some cookies and snacks for the cute kids of the village fishermen.
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'Like Winning the Lottery'.
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Natural Catastrophe In other parts of the world come in the form of Hurricanes, Monsoons, Tornados, Blizzards, Tsunamis, Flash Floods, Forest Fires and more. Here in the Philippines, they come as Typhoons. Normally we will have 3-5 that will make land fall, while the others are near misses. But even a near miss can have catastrophic results. In the past week, we had 2 major typhoons make landfall on the big island of Luzon which is about 260 miles north of us on Tablas Island, but we still had strong, gusty winds and bands of heavy rain throughout the week.
Below you can see video how a typhoon affected us here on Tablas Island.
October 20 - early morning
October 20 - late afternoon
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It's my first day back home after a whirlwind tour around the globe. While I was away, I was:
Now I'm home and up with the chickens at 3:46am. I actually think I was awake before the chickens today, but since we have a full moon this morning, I think the roosters are confused and began crowing upon seeing it instead of their normal time at sunrise.
On this trip, I traveled to Japan, South Korea, China, Taiwan, Singapore, India, The United Arab Emirates, Germany, and the USA. (Some of you probably saw images of my trip on my Facebook page).
Here's What I Discovered
Since I was on a trip to promote commerce, Island Living and changing lives, I was speaking with the people who choose to work for a living (versus speaking to the people who are choosing not to work for a living). I discovered that there are lots of people who feel trapped in their lives.
How are they Trapped? It's like this...
Their stories sadden me, while at the same time they motivate me. They motivate me because it's in my nature to want to help people who want to do more with their lives. I want to help those who are willing to give just another 10% so they can free themselves from their cages. I want to help those people so they can enjoy a happier, healthier and better lifestyle. Be it on the beach, on the lake, on a farm or in the mountains.
Hearing their stories reminds me of my former self & a sadder time
There was a point in my past where I was:
So, What am I going to do?
Like I said, I am motivated. Motivated by my personal experiences and motivated to help people reach a higher level of financial success. I want to teach them what I did to turn my life around and into something really good. The first thing they are going to need are the tools. Then they are going to need ideas for how they can make this happen. Then they are going to need a script - or a plan - to follow.
I was originally going to put it in the form of a book, but while traveling home, I decided to do it in the form of an instructional video series. I want people can see:
It's Time for me to Get to Work!
Like I said... After a Global Tour of promoting How to Have a Better Life, I learned that People need the Tools to make a Better Life. Now I am creating a program for those who are willing to put in the extra effort to have a Better Life. The first part will be my Essential Tools. I'm not charging for my list of Essential Tools and how to use them, because I think it should be free. Get it! Share it!
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The Western Pacific continues its active streak, with a slew of budding typhoons likely to cause major impact in the coming week.
First, a budding typhoon threatens to blast Luzon Island of the Philippines with flooding rain and damaging winds this weekend, before taking aim at southern China and northern Vietnam.
Meanwhile, a new system is expected to develop over the weekend, setting its sights on the already inundated Philippines for the middle of next week.
Typhoon Sarika, known as Karen in the Philippines, will track very close to the northern Bicol region of Luzon, before slamming into central Luzon and making landfall on Saturday.
Sarika will strengthen into a typhoon with its strength equal to that of a Category 1 hurricane during this time, endangering residents and property across Luzon Island by unleashing flooding rain (up to 24 inches), damaging winds and dangerous seas through this weekend.
As Sarika tracks east to west into Sunday, so does the risk of damaging winds.
Wind gusts of 65-115 km/h (40-70 mph) will also whip the Bicol region throughout the weekend, resulting in power outages, tree damage and minor damage to well-constructed homes. More significant damage will result along the east-central coast of Luzon, where winds will gust to 130-160 km/h (80-100 mph) as Sarika comes onshore late on Saturday.
The eastern coast of Luzon will also be subject to coastal flooding with the highest storm surge near and north of where Sarika makes landfall.
Excessive rainfall totaling 200-300 mm (8-12 inches) will severely inundate the Bicol region and east-central Luzon, resulting in widespread life-threatening flooding and mudslides. There will be locally greater amounts, especially in the higher terrain.
The risk of flooding, power outages and wind damage will expand across central Luzon as Sarika tracks through on Sunday. Rainfall will generally be on the order of 75-150 mm (3-6 inches) with wind gusts of 95-130 km/h (60-80 mph).
"Manila will be spared from the brunt of this future typhoon but will still endure rainfall amounts of 75-150 mm (3-6 inches) with wind gusts of 80-95 km/h (50-60 mph)," AccuWeather Meteorologist Rob Richards said.
Flooding threatens to unfold rapidly in the nation's capital, as most of the rain is likely to fall in just one day.
Sarika has the potential to briefly weaken to tropical storm strength as it passes over land Saturday night and into Sunday morning. However, the storm will likely strengthen again quickly once the center is back over open water on Sunday.
Although the center of Sarika will be pulling away from Luzon on Sunday, the effects of the storm will continue linger. Residual floodwaters, damage and sporadic power outages could cause more disruptions as residents head back to work and school on Monday.
Typhoon Preparation Checklist
Warm Others to Stay Out of the Storm Surge - It May Save a Life
Stay Out of the Flooded Areas (if possible) - Wait for Rescue Responders
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Studies Show that People Average 128 Hours a Year in Traffic Jams
Not only 128 hours per year are lost in traffic jams, but it also costs you an average of US$2,200 in fuel. Ouch!
I dread traffic. I mean I really don't like driving in congested traffic or getting stuck in traffic jams. I think the last time I was stuck in a traffic jam, I told Rose that I just wanted to put the car in PARK, get out and walk.
When Did this Happen?
A few years ago, when we were living in Angeles City, Philippines, we picked up our daughter from school and went to Marque mall for dinner. After an enjoyable dinner Italianis, we got in our car for the short the 3 miles (5Km) drive to our home. (Notice I said a short 3 mile drive). As we merged into traffic, we literally ended up in 6 lanes of stopped, chaotic traffic. What makes this chaotic situation turn exasperating is that this 6 lanes of traffic was happening on a 2 lane road.
Putting the car in PARK, I looked at Rose and I joked, 'Should we walk? I think we'll get home sooner.' We both shook our head. After 3 hours, we pulled into our driveway, carried April to bed, and began sipping on 2 glasses of Cabernet.
'I know we said we were going to wait until 2018 to move to Tablas Island, but I don't want to wait any longer. Would you object to us moving there now?'
And like that, the decision was made to put the house on the market and move as soon as we could to where Island Life Is Better and there are literally no traffic jams (along with no stress & a happier life). See the video below to enjoy the relaxing, stress free drive in paradise.
video by my friend Andrea Rochi.
If driving & exploring our island interests you, then feel free to contact Andrea at www.HermitCrabHouses.com
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How do People Retire Early to Live on an Island? click ->Island Life Income
Before I moved to the islands, I was under a tremendous amount of stress, and my physical health showed. See a few examples below:
Why Stress is the #1 Silent Killer
There's no doubt that twenty-first century living is filled with stress. People's jobs are demanding, the roads are crowded, and even the entertainment is fast paced. Stress comes in many packages, but the overall effect of stress on our lives is easy to spot. There are so many physical and emotional symptoms associated with stress that it has been called the silent killer. What is it about stress that would make it a silent killer, and what can You do to counteract it?
Stress comes in several different types. There are exciting, good things that happen to us, such as getting married or getting a new job. While these things make us happy, they are also changes in our lives. In addition, we have sudden, bad types of stressors, such as a fight with our kids or losing our job. And then there are the day-in, day-out types of stressors, such as money problems, an unhappy marriage, or chronic illness. When we talk about the stress in our lives, we usually are referring to the sum total of the effect on us of all these types of stress.
People are wired to respond to emergency stress with a rush of adrenalin. For example, if you had a vicious dog lunge at you, your heart would beat fast and you'd immediately (1) grab something to fight it off with or (2) turn and run. This is called the "fight or flight" response. During this physiological response, your body is responding quickly because your logical brain is not working logically.
While this flight or fight response is certainly appropriate and useful in some situations, it really doesn't have much value in helping people deal with the kind of stress we experience in the twenty-first century - leaving people with upset stomachs, muscles tension, overwhelmed brains, and taxed cardiovascular systems. In short, stress might be killing you! You might not be aware of it, though, so stress is a silent, sneaky sort of killer.
Reducing stress, even in today's world, is a real possibility. In fact, it is a virtual necessity. Smart people take care of themselves physically and mentally. Consider adding stress management to your daily goals is a good idea if you are under a lot of pressure from various aspects of your life. And these days, who isn't?
Stress management consists of getting enough rest, eating a nutritious diet, and getting some type of moderate exercise. Specific nutrients that can nourish the nervous system from the ravages of stress include the B-complex of vitamins, calcium, and magnesium. Some herbs that can help are skullcap, St. John's Wort, and chamomile. If getting to sleep is a problem, you might try melatonin or valerian.
Sleep is absolutely essential to good health and stress reduction, although not every person needs the recommended seven to eight hours. Most do, however. Over-the-counter sleep aids made from the drug, diphenhydramine, will help you get to sleep, but the sleep will probably not be as restful as natural sleep. Use it as a last resort.
or... You Can Live by the Ocean for Stress Relief (no Prescription Required)
Since ancient times, humans have assigned healing and transformational properties to water. In early Rome, baths were an important part of cultural life, a place where citizens went to find relaxation and to connect with others in a calming setting. In ayurveda, the ancient Indian medicinal wisdom, and traditional Chinese medicine, the water element is crucial to balancing the body and creating physical harmony. Rivers have long been seen as sacred places, and in a number of different spiritual contexts, water has symbolized rebirth, spiritual cleansing and salvation.
Today, we still turn to water for a sense of calm and clarity. We spend our vacations on the beach or at the lake; get exercise and enjoyment from water sports like surfing, scuba diving, sailing, and swimming; refresh ourselves with long showers and soothing baths, and often build our lives and homes around being near the water.
Our affinity for water is even reflected in the near-universal attraction to the color blue. We’re naturally drawn to aquatic hues — the color blue is overwhelming chosen as the favorite color of people around the world, and marketing research has found that people tend to associate it with qualities like calm, openness, depth and wisdom.
Wallace J. Nichols, a marine biologist, believes that we all have a “blue mind” — as he puts it, “a mildly meditative state characterized by calm, peacefulness, unity, and a sense of general happiness and satisfaction with life in the moment” — that’s triggered when we’re in or near water.
“We are beginning to learn that our brains are hardwired to react positively to water and that being near it can calm and connect us, increase innovation and insight, and even heal what’s broken.”
The tranquil sound of ocean waves is very hypnotic and soothing. These natural sounds are great for general relaxation, for helping you to sleep, or as a peaceful aid to meditation.
Since the beginning of time, mankind has been graced with Mother Nature’s own relaxing sounds. But in the modern era, we have become cut off from the natural sounds of the world. Nowadays so many of us are so surrounded by the noise of modern industry and media that we never have the opportunity to enjoy natures own relaxing background music.
Listening to natural environmental sounds reminds us that we are a part of a greater whole. Nature sounds like this relaxing ocean waves recording remind us that our life extends beyond the walls that surround us at our home or office. These soothing sounds are innately peaceful and have a purity about them that many of us have become disconnected from, and they are wonderful for relaxing the mind. Take a moment to appreciate just how relaxing the sounds of nature can be. Give yourself some time out to de-stress and sink into a state of deep meditative stillness . . . the sounds of the ocean will take you there.
In our everyday lives, we’re constantly bombarded with sensory stimuli, whether from our devices, busy homes and offices, or hectic city streets. Our brains need downtime, but they rarely get enough of it.
Being around water gives our brains and our senses a rest from overstimulation.
“The sound around us, from an auditory perspective, is simplified. It’s not quiet, but the sound of water is far more simple than the sound of voices or the sound of music or the sound of a city,” Nichols tells the Huffington Post. “And the visual input is simplified. When you stand at the edge of water and look out on the horizon, it’s visually simplified relative to the room you’re sitting in right now, or a city you’re walking through, where you’re taking in millions of pieces of information every second.”
When we’re near, on, in or under water, we get a cognitive break because there’s simply less information coming in. Our brains don’t shut down — they keep working, but in a different way, according to Nichols. “When you have that simplified, quieter ‘blue’ space, your brain is better at a different set of processes,” he says.
Water can induce a meditative state.
Many of us love to sit near the ocean or a river and gaze out at the water — often, we can sit for long periods simply observing the gentle movements of the water. Why? Though we may not be conscious of it, the water could be inducing a mildly meditative state of calm focus and gentle awareness.
When we’re by the water, our brains are held in a state of mild attentiveness — what Nichols calls a “soft fascination.” In this state, the brain is interested and engaged in the water, taking in sensory input but not distracted by an overload of it, as we might be with the “hard fascination” we experience while watching an action movie or playing a video game.
Being in a mindful state — in which the brain is relaxed but focused — benefits the mind and body on a number of different levels. A growing body of research has found myriad benefits associated with mindfulness, including lower stress levels, relief from mild anxiety, pain and depression, improved mental clarity and focus, and better sleep quality.
Water Stimulates for a creative mind.
Hopping in the shower, as many people know, can be a great way to trigger ideas when our brains are in a creative rut.
In our always-busy, screen-saturated lives, we don’t give our minds much of a chance to rest and wander freely. But when we do, the mind switches into a different mode of engagement, known as the default mode network — the brain network associated with daydreaming, imagination, consolidation of memories, self-referential thought, insight and introspection. The default mode network is extremely important for creativity — which is often why we find that when we turn off our brains for a moment and get in the shower, activating that default network, that we suddenly come up with the insights and ideas that eluded us while we were sitting at our computers desperately searching for the solution.
“The shower is a proxy for the Ocean.” “You step in the shower, and you remove a lot of the visual stimulation of your day. Auditorially, it’s the same thing — it’s a steady stream of ‘blue noise.’ You’re not hearing voices or processing ideas. You step into the shower and it’s like a mini-vacation.”
Rather than switching off, when you’re showering, your brain switches into a different mode — and while the brain is in a more restful state, suddenly you’re able to make those new or unusual connections. The “Eureka” moment comes at last — the insight or solution “feels like it drops out of the sky and into your head,” says Nichols.
Exercise by or in water is good for our bodies and brains.
Exercise in any setting can improve our physical and mental health on a number of different levels, and can be an excellent way of reducing stress. But you may get even more benefit from your exercise by ditching the gym and taking a swim or a jog by the ocean instead.
“We know that water helps us relax, and we know that exercise is good for our bodies and our brains. If somebody is experiencing a number of problems that exercise and stress reduction may help with, [water] is a good add-on. Find a river trail and run there, or get on a bike, or row or swim.”
Being outside near water while you’re exercising will potentially give you more of a mental boost than exercising in a crowded, hectic gym environment with TVs in front of you and people all around. Many people feel intuitively that being in the presence water provides tangible benefits for their well-being, and as Nichols explains, their instincts are right.
“It’s almost too obvious, and it gets overlooked. But the health and neurological benefits of exercise by water are very real.”
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