India is a Fascinating Place to Visit

Having traveled around Asia for close to five years now, I was often asked if I have traveled to India. Unfortunately, I have not for reasons that I was afraid to do so. I have heard news of India being unsafe due to a high crime rate. My friend, who has been there for a workshop in Mumbai, told me that pickpockets were everywhere. She was warned to keep her purse close to her and to be aware of her surroundings. Another friend told us that he lost his backpack on the train while he was asleep. My aunt, who is an Art teacher, was hired to teach in a prestigious private school in New Delhi but she had to turn it down after living there for five weeks. She said that she could not  stand the pain of seeing children begging in the streets and having to face poverty every single day. It was just too depressing.


Traveling to India was never an option until I met a guest priest at our parish who my parents invited to lunch in their home. He was strictly vegan and so my mom made some vegetable spring rolls and tofu steak. She also made sure that my brother and I didn’t expect her to cook any kind of meat dish that day.

Lunch was delicious and Fr. Vanesh loved it. He talked about Catholicism in India, his growing up years in Pradesh, and how he decided to become a priest. What I found most interesting in his stories is his wonderful description of the places where he grew up in. It was as if he showed me photographs of the mountains, valleys, rivers, lakes and seas that surrounded his hometown. He feels sad and quite disappointed that most people have a different perception of India and its people. While he is aware of the poverty and crime happening especially in the cities, he said that mass media has tainted their heritage and shows only the negative side of India.

That night, I called my best friend, Sharon and told her about my family’s lunch with Fr. Vanesh. I also asked her if she was open to travel to India next year instead of South Korea which we initially planned to visit. I was surprised that she wasn’t shocked to hear my suggestion. She said that going to India was  in her bucket list but she wanted to make sure that I was up for it too. Lately, Sharon has been very interested in Ayurvedic remedies ever since her father passed away from lung cancer. She said that maybe I was meant to meet Fr. Vanesh and so that she can finally visit India.

We finally did and it is truly a fantastic place. We stayed in Arunatal Pradesh for four days and were lucky to stay with Fr. Vanesh’s sister and her family who were kind enough to house us and take us around. We also went trekking  and rafting in Himachal and stayed there for a couple of days. Sharon and I didn’t mind not having meat for weeks as we were advised that slightly cooked vegetables are safer to eat than cooked meat in India. And Fr. Vanesh was right. Their heritage is beautiful, rich and very interesting. The people are warm, generous, funny and very entertaining. Sharon and I also strengthened our bond on his trip.


Getting a Tattoo Done in Bali

One of the things I love about backpacking is that I get to meet lots of new people. No matter where I end up, wherever people can speak English, a popular first topic of discussion is usually my tattoo. When they ask where I got it, most of them are surprised when I tell them I got it from Bali.

But unlike a lot of ‘tattoos from Bali’ stories, mine was actually a deliberate decision that came out of five years of planning what kind of tattoo to get and where to put it. Bali gets a lot of bad rep for tattoos nowadays because of the stories of how one can contract HIV through the needles, or of how the color ink fades, or even of how some tattoo artists don’t care if you’re legal or sober so long as you have the money to have an ex-girlfriend’s name sprawled (permanently) all over your chest (or, you know, elsewhere.) The country is notorious for being part of many people’s regrettable decisions while drunk. Yet if you do your research and make sure you’re in the right frame of mind to make such a big decision (and this is really a big decision, I’m not kidding!) then getting a tattoo in Bali from respected and talented artists will definitely be a memorable experience, one to share to the grandkids after said tattoo is sagging on wrinkled skin. I managed to get a quick snapshot of the tattoo shop (photo shown below), by the way check out their website at

tattoo shop in bali

I got my tattoo over two years ago on my own visit to Bali, during my first backpacking trip through Asia with a few buddies. Since getting a tattoo and visiting the rest of Asia were both on my bucket list, it felt only natural to get a tattoo in Bali because of the cheap prices, abundance of different tattoo stores and unique artwork, which draw influence from Balinese culture. I distinctly recall asking the locals during the day where one can get good quality, hygienic tattoo art done and then consulting the rest of the world through the Internet at night, scrolling through various forums and articles. Finally I was able to find a decent establishment with a skilled tattooist, who helped me realize my dream of having a long black Asian dragon snake down my arm from shoulder to wrist for the rest of my life.

I made it back home, and to three other countries since then, without showing any signs of having contracted diseases, and until now my tattoo is still stark as ever. No regrets!

So if you’re heading down to Bali and plan to get tattoos while you’re over there, don’t let the bad press deter you from doing so. All you need to do is research and be careful of who pokes needles into your skin, and don’t make any decisions when you’re drunk!

Bright and Sunny in Perth, Australia

Arguably the world’s most isolated city… Perth. I visited this city in January earlier this year. It was summer during my visit, so if you ask about the weather, there’s only one word to describe it.. hot! In fact, very hot! Lucky enough to know someone in Perth. I stayed at his house in a suburb called Mindarie. It was walking distance to the beach. So that was pretty cool. My friend’s name was Mike and he had a beautiful house. One particular feature of his house that stood out was the “cool to walk” liquid limestone paving done by Stylish Outdoor Solutions. For those who don’t know what liquid limestone is, you should check it out. Definitely the first time I’ve seen this type of paving, not very known from where I came from. At least it made the hot weather a little bit more bearable.

Spent exactly 6 days in Perth. The highlight was the beach visits (at least three times in the week whilst I was over there!) It was absolutely wonderful experience. The beach in Perth is definitely different to what I am used to. Pure white sand and a nice overlapping crystal blue waves. I was going to post a photo I took, but you know what? I won’t for this post! I will try to describe it in words. Imagine yourself lying on your back at the beach… lifting your head up ever so slightly you gaze into the sea. The shimmering reflection of the sun on the gentle blue waves.. gives you a sense of escape. The salty smell and aroma coming directly from the sea.. close your eyes and think of your happy place! There you go, this is how I would describe the place.

A visit to the city shops mid week saw me walked about 10km.. well it felt that way! The city layout was somewhat typical I thought of other cities around the world. Except I thought the big advantage Pert has over other cities is the relatively flat landscape. Price of goods I thought was very fair. Not too expensive.

Came Saturday, I was back on the plane to go home. Perth.. ticked on my list! Have you?

Welcome to my world!

First post.. very exciting! For those who know me… finally I got a personal blog by which I can share my wonderful (and sometimes forgetful) experiences whist overseas.

To be honest, I have gone to nearly all countries around the world. I will try to write a story to publish on this very website. If I don’t get to share with you certain places.. then I apologise!

So watch this space!