Fiji Getaway

This country in the South Pacific has been in my bucket list for years. Having live in New Zealand made it more possible for me to set my foot in Fiji. The day before my last day at work, I called Flight Centre to see what they can offer me for a short getaway. The representative gave me a great deal to Fiji to leave in 3 days. How great is that? I grabbed it. This is my first time to use a travel company. For a roundtrip flight, 6 nights resort hotel accommodation with breakfast and airport return transfers, I paid a total of NZ$1,724.84 which for a last minute trip I think is such a good deal.

I had to use Fiji Airways which has a direct flight from Wellington to Nadi. The flight was average. There were shared overheadΒ screens which showed a movie I already watched at the theatre. I wish there was a seat-back TV. Although, I guess it’s okay not to have it for a flight that’s just about 4 hours. My airport transfers was through Pacific Destinations. Someone was waiting with a board that says the company name instead of mine so I just approached and followed them. The driver was nice, he stopped at a store for people to buy supplies as everything at the resort will be more expensive. Although, they are most likely getting commissions there. I did bring my snacks from NZ so I didn’t need to buy any food. I did buy a bottle of water though but my hotel has drinking water available at the restaurant daily so I didn’t need to buy water anymore. My accommodation was at the Fiji Hideaway Resort and Spa on Coral Coast Sigatoka. I was at a Frangipani Bure room 74 which was close to the main restaurant and bar and pool. I love the big room, bathroom and outside bath. I was going to upgrade to sea view room the next day but I didn’t like the room as it was smaller. Yeah, I chose bigger space for myself rather than an ocean view. The ocean was literally just a minute walk from my room anyway.

All the staff at Fiji Hideaway Resort and Spa were amazing. They were so friendly and they remember your name even you only had one interaction with them. They were always smiling and everyone says “Bula” (Hello) to everyone. The events staff has something going on daily for the guest like quiz night, shows and movie night. The buffet breakfast was a good addition, although, during my 6 days stay there, the selections didn’t really change so you kinda get sick of it after couple of days. The fruits were fresh and delicious specially the papaya which I indulged on daily. The bar has a good selection of cocktails. The restaurant food? I tried their steak which didn’t impress me but I loved their curry.

I kept checking the weather prior and it always says thunder but I was blessed to have beautiful weather all throughout my stay. The sunrise and sunset were pretty every day. The blue sky, the clear water, the comforting breeze all made my stay pretty sweet.

I availed two group tours. The first one is called The Jewel of Fiji Day Tour for FJ$194. Got picked up at the hotel around 9am. I think it was an hour and a half drive to get to where we took a boat to cruise the Navua River. The boat was at least 45 minutes. We past through villages, farm lands, tropical rainforests and numerous waterfalls. The main destination is the Navua River’s Biggest Waterfall which was just about 5 minutes walk from where the boat dropped us off. A little bit of bamboo rafting was also including in this package which was interesting. The last part was the Fijian Village Tour where I experienced an age-old customs and traditions specially the customary welcome yaqona (Kava) ceremony. I unfortunately didn’t have the courage to try Kava. I know it’s a sign of respect to try it but I’m glad they also respect that you don’t need to try if you don’t want to. We witnessed food cooked underground, women plating Fijian mats, war dance performance, women folk dances, painting and singing. I arrived back at the resort around 5pm. This tour is definitely worth it for people who likes to explore culture.

My second tour was the highlight of my trip. It’s called the Whale’s Tale for FJ$229. The package included unlimited drinks, lunch and snorkel at the private island. We got picked up at exactly 7:20am. We had to go to Port Denarau which was couple hours drive from my hotel. The schooner has a length of 100ft, a beam of 20ft 4 inches and weighs 90 tons. We were greeted with drinks and breakfast. It was an hour and 45 minutes beautiful cruise. As we approached the island, it’s like arriving at a paradise. I enjoyed snorkeling and just relaxed. I was lucky to find a group of 7 Australians who invited me to join their group since I was traveling alone.

I spent around NZ$2100 for this 6 days trip including my souvenir and the FJ$70 Vodafone sim card which gave me 22GB data during my stay. Getting this sim card is definitely worth it as the signal was better than the hotel’s wifi.

What a wonderful, relaxing, spontaneous trip. I love the people of Fiji. I love this paradise. I didn’t get to explore more of their nature but I’ve seen enough to fall in love with this country. I will surely come back when I can. Bula!

Dunedin, NZ

Dunedin is one of the places I didn’t get to visit when I was backpacking New Zealand for 6 months in 2016. In April 2018, I met a co-worker who’s also a traveler and we spontaneously booked flights to Dunedin for the middle of May. We luckily got a $100 per person roundtrip flight from Wellington.

Dunedin is well-known for this beautiful Otago University. I can’t imagine how nice it could be to be a student here. Heaps of beautiful facilities and there is just that vibrant vibe in here.

This Otago Museum has this interesting architecture which is what Dudenin is famous for as well. Victorian Architecture is pretty much everywhere here so it’s really pleasant to walk around this little town.

Baldwin Street is the world’s steepest residential street. It’s cool but I think the ones in San Francisco, CA is better. πŸ˜‰

My second favorite after the Otago University is this train station. So pretty! πŸ™‚

We didn’t get to do much as we didn’t have a car but these for a weekend in Dunedin was sure fun. πŸ™‚

Marlborough Sounds Getaway

Waitangi Day is a public holiday in New Zealand celebrated on the 6th of February. This year, it was on a Tuesday and I have Sunday and Monday off so I was lucky enough to get a long weekend. I have been in NZ for a year an a half now and I have never taken the ferry from Wellington to Picton and vice versa so I decided to do it this time, my first trip for 2018.

I used BlueBridge and paid NZ$106 for a round trip ticket. It takes around 3 hours each way which is definitely longer than taking a plane but you get stunning views this way.

I stayed at Alicante Backpackers which was just around 5 minutes walk from BlueBridge Terminal in Picton. Very nice and convenient location. Clean but I find the staff or maybe they were the owners, a bit cold! Other than that, it’s worth staying here. My favorite is the hallway which to me looks sophisticated.

I didn’t do much on the first day except going to the waterfront and have my ice cream. πŸ™‚


The next day though was an awesome day. I made a day trip to Lochmara Lodge taking the 9am water taxi from the town.

First thing to do is to have my iced coffee with this beautiful view while waiting for the conservatory tour.

This below while on the hammock is my favorite photo taken here. Spent a few minutes just embracing the serenity of the place.

I walked for about 4 hours return taking the famous Queen Charlotte Track. Tiring but worth it!

Just for $70 I got to soak in the bath house after the long walk.

So I felt and looked fresh afterwards. πŸ™‚


Took the 5pm water taxi back to town. A day spent here can’t be anymore relaxing. πŸ™‚

On my last day waiting for my 2PM ferry back to Wellington, I just did a short walk from Victoria Domain.

What a weekend! It was an amazing experience. Marlborough Sounds is definitely a must do in New Zealand. I’m so happy it’s ticked off my list now. I highly recommend this paradise to anyone who wants to unwind. Perfect for a weekend getaway and definitely a place to go back to. πŸ™‚

31 in Japan

I started doing something big for my birthday when I turned 29 in Peru. I had my craziest birthday ever when I turned 30 in New Zealand. Last October 2017, I turned 31 and I celebrated it in Japan, the 17th country I visited.

I applied for my Japan tourist visa more than 2 months before my travel date. It only took 3 business days for it to be approved.

After a long journey from Wellington, I finally landed in Japan. Been wanting to visit this country since I was in high school.

First thing I had to do was to get the PasMo card for the train. It’s cool you can actually personalize it.

It was pouring when I arrived in Tokyo so I didn’t really get to do anything on that day.

Except of course to have my first ramen in Japan. πŸ™‚

I flew to Osaka the next morning though as I planned on exploring Tokyo at the end of my trip. I wanted to take the bullet train it was just too expensive so thanks to Jetstar instead. πŸ™‚

I love Osaka, I met friendly locals. The food, the drinks, the nightlife, the fun. I had an amazing time here.

Here in Osaka, I had my photoshoot done at Japanese Cosplay Studio run by lovely Japanese and American couple.

Of course I had to visit the famous Osaka Castle before leaving.

From Osaka, I did a day trip to Kyoto to see 3 famous places:


Fushimi Inari-taisha


I flew back to Tokyo and did a day trip to see the beautiful famous Mt. Fuji. Biked around for almost 17k to get these amazing views.

I had my pre-birthday dinner at the Sky Restaurant 634 at the Tokyo Sky Tree. Here, I was treated like a princess. The service was excellent and the food was delicious. For the first time, I tasted Sake here. πŸ™‚

I stayed inside the Disney Resort. The 2 nights / 3 days vacation package allowed me to access Tokyo Disneyland easily. The guests here have some perks like being able to enter the park 15 minutes before opening to everyone. πŸ™‚

The room can’t be anymore comfortable with all the cute mickey mouse toiletries and designs. On the morning of my birthday, I got a voicemail from Mickey Mouse greeting me Happy Birthday LOL! I thought that was cute.

I thought I’d do something different on my 31st birthday. A not so crazy one compare to my 30th. So here at Tokyo Disneyland, I just became a kid again. πŸ™‚

I had fun but it was extremely tiring with all the walking I had to do! Nonetheless, it was great! πŸ™‚

On my last night before heading back to New Zealand, I visited Shinjuku Omoide Yokocho also known as “Piss Alley”. Despite the language barrier, there is no way you can’t make friends in this cramp quarters.

And on my last day just before I head to the airport, I had to go to Shibuya to cross one of the busiest intersections in the world. πŸ˜‰

And here’s a few of the different kinds of Japanese food I had. πŸ™‚ Since this post is long overdue, I can’t remember all the names of these food. Sorry!

I wish I had more time to spend in Japan but I’m just glad I had the time I had for my 31st birthday. πŸ™‚

Japan is such an organized, safe country. I love Japan and I’d definitely come back when I get the chance.

Sky Tower

Sky Tower is an icon of Auckland's sky line. I recently did the Sky Jump. It's basically base jumpimg by wire 192m off the tower. I have done Skydiving and the Kawarau Bungy Jumping last year so this Skyjump was just okay but still fun. I must admit I still freaked out at the start but totally enjoyed every seconds of it after I jumped. 

They didn't have a photographer. They strapped a gopro and that takes just the video where you can just take a screenshot but mine wasn't thag good because of the sleeves of the suit. I honestly don't think suit was necessary. 

Now, what are the odds that my Queenstown kawarau bungy jumping master Jaime is going to be my sky tower master as well here in Auckland. That was 7 months ago in the South Island and I wasn't expecting to see him again ever LOL. 

Oh yeah, make sure you tie your hair up before you jump!!! 

I checked out the observation deck which was pretty cool. 

I capped off the night with a nice three-course dinner at Orbit Restaurant. 

I also spent some time at the casino. I won some money then I lost all. LOL! I had fun though. 😂

These activities are definitely a must do when in Auckland. 😉

Northland, New Zealand

Retreat 2 90 Mile in Ahipara is a nice, relaxing place to stay when visiting Cape Reinga. 

The sunset was just perfect! 

Ahipara town is about 2 hours drive to the northern end of New Zealand’s North Island. 

Cape Reinga is believed to be the place of leaping for Maori spirits to begin their final journey. 

Breath of fresh air! 😌

With the lighthouse and the sacred tree from afar. 

This is the second northern tip of a country I’ve been. The first was in Cabo de la Vela in Colombia which was equally beautiful. One thing they have in common? Peace! Such a very peaceful place! Definitely a must visit. 😊

Easter Holiday in Canterbury Region

I arrived in New Zealand in June 2015. I have been wanting to visit the famous Mt.Cook National Park during my travels in the country but I didn’t get a chance until now, the Easter Holiday. πŸ™‚ 

I went straight to Fairlie from Christchurch as that’s halfway to Mt.Cook National Park and the accommodation is cheaper. I first visited the famous Lake Tekapo. 

Then the historical Church of the Good Shepherd. 

Saving the best for last, I finally got to explore Mt. Cook National Park. 

I ended this trip relaxing in a private thermal pool in Hanmer Springs. 

12 Days in Taiwan

I decided to welcome 2017 in Taiwan when I found out in October 2016 that Philippine citizens can now enter Taiwan with just a travel authorization that can be applied online (with certain conditions), I immediately  applied for one since I currently hold a valid NZ visa. 

The process took just about 5 minutes and I got my travel authorization.

Finally, another stamp on my passport! My 16th country to explore. πŸ™‚ 

I chose to stay at Flip Flop Hostel – Main. I landed around 3AM and I got to take a bus from Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport For NT$ 125 to Taipei Main Station where my hostel was just walking distance. 

Since I arrived around 4:30AM which is outside reception hours, the hostel made sure I get to my room. It was sure nice to be able to rest right away. 

I decided to visit the Elephant Mountain on my first day. 

And these were my first meal in Taiwan. Delicious beef noodle soup and dumplings. πŸ™‚ 

I attended a meetup on my first night hoping I’d get to meet people to spend New Year’s eve with. The meetup turned out well. A few people showed up. 

I spontaneously planned a trip for the next day and a few of them joined me. We took the train to Reufang about an hour from the city. We didn’t have a seat apparently. πŸ˜‚

We were supposed to go on a hike but the train station was too busy that we missed the train to our destination and the next one was not until after an hour and still no guarantee if we can get in. So the whole plan changed. We ended up on a food tour instead in Reufang. 

Here, we got to try the famous stinky tofu which was good by the way. 

Then, we went to the Cat Village. 

That sudden trip with these amazing people was tiring yet so much fun. πŸ™‚ 

On New Year’s eve, I decided to join Couchsurfing group at the park. The Taipei 101 firework was just beautiful. Welcome 2017. πŸ™‚

Then, we ate before we called it a day. 

On New Year’s day, I went to Tamsui. This place is one of my favorite. 

So enough of Taipei for now. I took a train to Kaohsiung on January 2nd. Highspeed! The supposedly 4 hours drive took 1.5 hours on the train. It did cost about NT$ 1500. 

I only stayed couple days here and visited just two places. 

I took the 8:45AM Harvard Express bus from Zuoying station at platform 2 to Fo Guang Shan Buddah Museum. I love this place! 

Lots of walking and it was hot and humid but definitely worth it. I decided to try their vegetarian buffet for NT$ 100 and yes, that was worth it too. 

I then went to the Lotus Pond. 

I went up the tower and this was the view. 

After a long tiring fun day, I had seafood at the Liuhe night market. 

Before heading back to my hostel, I went to see Ai He (love river). 

Found this beautiful church on my way. πŸ™‚ 

Don’t forget to check out the Dome of Light at Formosa station. 

My next destination was Hualien. It was about 5 hours train ride from Kaohsiung.

On my first night, I met this lovely girl at FH Hostel and we went to the night market together and we literally ate a lot. 

The next day, I joined a group tour to Taroko National Park. I ended up having fun with 3 Chinese girls in the group. πŸ™‚ 

On my last day in Hualien, with a Dutch guy from my hostel,  we rented a bicycle for NT$ 100 for 4 hours. Just beautiful! 

I returned to Taipei couple days before my flight because I wanted to get a tattoo. My first! I chose 13 Ink Social Club and this little cute tattoo costs NT$ 3000. I’d say it’s worth it and definitely not something I’d regret. πŸ™‚ 

I got to meet the family of my Taiwanese friend I met in NZ. Her family was amazing. They took me to lunch and we ate a LOT! 

On my last night, Nina, the girl I met through meetup on my first night in Taipei met with me again. She accompanied me to Shilin Night Market to eat again! πŸ˜‚

Before leaving Taiwan, shopping is a must. So I did!!! 

It was such an amazing 12 days in Taiwan. I wish I had more time to explore more of this beautiful country. I’m so thankful for this opportunity. 

“Taiwan Number 1” as they would say. 😊😊😊😊

Queenstown, Wanaka, Β Glenorchy, Te Anau, Fiordland (New Zealand)

So I recently turned 30 in New Zeaand. It was such a sweet and crazy celebration for me. Check outΒ My 30th Birthday CelebrationΒ andΒ Skydive at 30Β πŸ™‚

As part of my 30th birthday celebration doing Queenstown bungy jumping and skydiving, I also got to wander around Wanaka, Te Anau and Glenorchy and Fiordland Milford Sound.

Prior to Queenstown, I was in Fox Glacier for a month so being in a city was not so exciting for me.

I went to Wanaka to see that famous tree. πŸ™‚

Then to Hawea Lake which I fell in love with.

Glenorchy was also my favorite. The views were just amazing.

Te Anau was also nice.

But Fiordland (Milford Sound) was incredible.

I stayed at Milford Sound lodge and booked their cruise as well.

It was such an awesome 30th birthday celebration. I’m so blessed. Thank God! 😊

My 30th Birthday

My 29th birthday last year was my best birthday ever because I was on top of Machu Picchu in Peru which was my top dream destination then.

They say “life begins at 30” so I decided to start mine crazy. I had the craziest birthday ever on my 30th.

I initially wanted to do Skydiving on this day but the mother nature didn’t cooperate. I went bungy jumping instead for the first time.

I did the 43m Kawarau Bridge Bungy in New Zealand through AJHackett for NZD 195. The photo and video cost NZD 80 and they were having a promotion then to just add NZD 15 for printed photos on USB which I availed as well.

It was a little scary just before I jumped off the bridge but just a little! As you can see, I was having fun. 😊

Awesome staff who made my day.

Adrenaline rush indeed. Here’s the bungy jump video. 😊


Was that crazy? Yes! I still went to do something crazier than that though couple days later. My first ever Skydiving! 😊

Skydive at 30Β 

I wish I got to do this Skydiving on my birthday itself but due to the weather, I ended up doing Bungy Jumping instead.

However, mother nature gave a lovely weather couple days later which allowed me to Skydive. That’s right, I DID IT! Skydiving has been in my bucket list for a long time and I finally got to tick it off for my 30th birthday.

There are several beautiful places in New Zealand where you can do skydiving but I chose to do it in Queenstown through NZONE.

I decided to do the TROPOSFEAR for NZD 339. There was about 15 minute scenic flight to altitude then I jumped from the plane 12,000ft above New Zealand’s stunning alpine scenery. It was a 45-second freefall at 200kph which was the craziest, longest 45 seconds of my life so far! Then, there was about 5-minute parachute ride above New Zealand’s stunning surroundings.

This was a once in a lifetime experience for me so for my proof/souvenirs, I opted for The Ultimate Combo for NZD 319 which includes 4GB NZONE Skydive branded USB containing 40 mixed photos (although mine got 52 photos in it) and HD video footage combining freefall and handicam.

The photos were uploaded online 30 minutes after the jump and I got my USB after couple hours. I received my certificate to my email 3 days later.

I didn’t find NZONE’s staff in Queenstown’s office friendly except for Bill who was amazing. Other staff didn’t do anything but chat to each other despite having customers in front of them. The staff, the tandems (specially my tandem, Lima) and photographers at the drop zone are nice, friendly, crazy people though. Other than the bad customer service in Queenstown office, the overall experience was amazing.

I don’t think I got scared, okay maybe a little. I’d say bungy jumping freaked me out more than skydiving. I guess it’s because I jumped with a tandem so I felt secure. Here’s an awesome video of my Skydive! πŸ™‚



This once in a lifetime experience for my 30th birthday costs NZD 658 and is definitely worth it. I’m 30 baby! 😊

Fox Glacier, NZ

I stayed in Fox Glacier for total of 33 days doing help exchange at the Lake Matheson Motel. I apparently liked this place a lot since this is the first time I stayed at one place for more than two weeks during my travels. This small town boasts a beautiful view of Mt. Cook and Mt. Tasman. 

The best thing to do here is to do the heli hike which I couldn’t afford. πŸ™‚

My favorite place is the Matheson Lake of course. 

There’s the Lake Matheson Cafe with good food. I had breakfast and lunch here with my hosts and colleagues. But of course, this is perfect for coffee and a slice of cake.

I highly recommend The Last Kitchen restaurant though if you want good food. 

There’s the Fox Glacier viewpoint which was just okay. 

Franz Josef is the nearest town. Here, you’ll have more options for restaurant, they have a cinema and hot pools! I paid NZD 8.00 since I was with a local.

There’s only one store in Fox  Glacier and it’s expensive so people usually buy food before coming here or go to Franz Josef for Four Square. 

The good thing is there’s no shops to shop at so if shopping is your problem like mine, this is the place where you can save money LOL. 

Westport, New Zealand

This town is famous for gold and coal mining. I think there is not much to do here in Westport but I stayed here doing volunteering work for a week anyway.

Aside from my wonderful Punakaiki trip that I did while in Westport, I liked the Denniston Experience which is just around 17km from Westport.

I also visited the Seal colony but the viewing deck was too high so it’s far from the seals to get a good photo but I’ve seen a few of them and certainly was entertained. I took this photo because I saw a baby seal being breastfed so it’s up to you to find them among the stones. πŸ˜‚

From the seal colony viewing deck you have an option to walk to Cape Foulwind which is 2km, one way. Taking this track instead of driving was super nice and worth it. The views were stunning.

There’s also this newly opened track just by the fishing wharf. I forgot the name of it. I went but since it’s new, don’t expect anything but a walkway.

Pretty much these are all I’ve got to see while staying in Westport since I didn’t have a car. Not much but I still had a great time. πŸ™‚

Punakaiki, New Zealand

Punakaiki is located between Greymouth and Westport on the West Coast of the South Island of New Zealand. It is best known for its Pancake Rocks and Blowholes which are both a picturesque must-see when visiting the West Coast.

I was staying in Westport when I went here. It’s about an hour drive and some are winding roads. 

So this is the walkway to the pancake rocks and blow holes. Beautiful walk!

Almost there…

Lots of pancake rocks! πŸ˜‰

And you just have to wait for the sea burst for those holes to blow! I did!!! πŸ™‚ 

Luckily, the weather was beautiful.

And on the way out is just as beautiful as when you enter. 

After enjoying the spectacular views, I’d say that Pancake Rocks Cafe is a good place to eat. They serve pancakes of course! I was with a french woman who never had pancakes before so we shared it with pepperoni pizza. Each meal cost NZD 18.50. They were both delicious and I highly recommend to try this cafe. 

Just about 3km away is the Truman Track which is just 15 minutes walk down to the beach. Be sure to check this out while in the area. 

Punakaiki is truly one of the must-see places in New Zealand. 😊

Murchison, New Zealand

I spent two weeks in this little town in Tasman region of the South Island. Murchison is also known as the “whitewater capital” of New Zealand due to nearby rivers. 

I stayed at The Lazy Cow Backpackers which is an excellent, cozy place.

Right across is the Ultimate Descents where I’ve done my first whitewater rafting for free! This is because they just needed people to fill the raft for the practice of their future instructors which I believe are students from Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology. How lucky were we! Thanks again for this opportunity guys!

Me and this German girl, Beate were going to Kahurangi National Park but didn’t make it. These pictures are just on the way. πŸ™‚ 

I went to Maruia Waterfalls with the Swiss guy, Christoph. 

My English host Ali and Phil were kind enough to show me around. They first took me to see Rotoroa Lake in Nelson Lakes National Park which is so beautiful. 

Then, we had lunch at The Red Barn Animal Park and Cafe where I fun feeding these cute living beings. 

I did the Skyline Walkway which was harder than I thought it would be but the views were amazing so of course it’s worth it. 

Here’s the view of this little town taken while I head my way up to Skyline Walkway. 

Just the day before I left Murhison, I got to do whitewater rafting again but this time we had to pay NZD 20 per person which is super but this time, they had professional photographer so all these nice photos in action were captured. What a lovely experience! 

There is the Cow Shed Restaurant. Phil makes perfect cappuccino. πŸ™‚

Ali cooks delicious, yummy, sumptuous  food! These are what I got to try. Just yum!

And here are some beautiful photos I’ve taken during my stay in Murchison. 

Most people stay here just for a night to rest from a long drive but Murchison has a lot to offer and is worth staying for 3 days or so. This is now one of my favorite places in New Zealand. πŸ™‚

Ryshel The Explorer

For those of you who doesn’t know my story, I spent almost 8 years being the breadwinner of the family. I supported my two younger sisters from high school to their college even though I didn’t get to have my own college diploma.

Thanks to Call Center industry in the Philippines which paid well so that helped me a lot to help. Most call center companies hire people without a college diploma as long as you can converse and comprehend in English language well. This industry taught me to be punctual at all times. One second late is late and late is not a good record and I don’t like any bad records. If you maintain a good record of attendance, quality, AHT (Average Handle Time) and a great attitude towards work and co-workers, you get rewarded by either recognition certificate, gift certificate or cash. I also learned how to be patient, how to empathize, how to sympathize and specially how to give an exceptional customer service, all over the phone or through email which I also get to apply in my daily life.

When my younger sister graduated in 2012, I felt somewhat free. When she got a job few months after, when both of my younger sisters are finally making their own money, I finally became free from the financial responsibilities I voluntarily took over for years. Then the ME time started. I work. I travel.

I first started my adventure when I went to Doha, Qatar to visit my best friend. I got a job in logistics after couple of weeks so I stayed. After almost a year, I went back home and worked again in call center for a year. I walked to and from work everyday which usually takes 30-40 minutes. I packed lunch. I resisted frequent clothes and shoes shopping. The money I saved from doing all these went to travel funds. I then quit my job in June 2014 and took off to Singapore in July  where my whole backpacking started. I traveled solo for total of 10 months in Asia where I had such a wonderful experience by volunteering. I still remember how tough and fun my first farm experience was.

I didn’t want to stop exploring the world so I took a TEFL course online and I got my certificate after three months which landed me a job in my dream South America  in the middle of 2015. The company paid for my roundtrip flights, visa fee and accommodation. How blessed I am that I got to work and travel within Colombia and Peru for total of 9 months. Here, I got to spend my 29th birthday on top of Machu Picchu mountain. 

From South America, I went back to Singapore in April 2016, I traveled to Thailand to visit my first ever help exchange host and to India where I attended the Indian wedding  of two of my good friends. I then flew back to my home country, The Philippines.

After couple weeks catching up with my family and friends, I felt my itchy feet. I felt like I gotta get out again, go somewhere again, meet new people again, make memories again. I booked a flight to Singapore, then to Malaysia and the next thing I know, I was back in Singapore again for my New Zealand tourist visa.

New Zealand is the 15th country I got to visit and I’d say it’s the most beautiful country I’ve even been SO FAR. I got to extend my visa until December 15th so I am here to explore the country for total of 6 months.

I am jobless right now but of course I have to get a paying job soon. I mainly do help exchange to keep me traveling, to meet new people and to experience the local life. Since people speak English here, teaching won’t work for me. I started doing housekeeping instead. Who likes doing household chores? I just had to do it to keep me on the road. I learned interesting and fun handy jobs though and I acquired new family and friends.

My work varies. Usually only 2-4 hours of work so I still get lots of free time to travel.

I got to feed cows.

I got my hands dirty by doing some gardening tasks.

I walked and played with dogs.

I played with my host’s kids.

Read books and even put some of them to sleep.

I also do help exchange in hostels.

I change bed sheets. Put them in the washing machine, dryer and fold them.

I split kindling and keep the fireplace going for the cat… I mean for the guests.

I wipe surfaces, clean windows, sweep, vacuum, clean bathrooms and sometimes cook Filipino dish for my hosts. All these in exchange of food or accommodation or sometimes I get both. If I don’t get food, (mostly in hostels) I settle for instant noodles and bread but I treat myself to a good meal or ice cream once in a while. For transportation here in NZ, I sometimes hitchhike or just walk for hours to save money lol. Most of the time, my hosts are kind enough to drop me off to places and pick me up.

I go couchsurfing when I’m not volunteering. So far, I’ve got good reviews from all my hosts. πŸ™‚ 

This is how I get to travel for those of you who’s wondering. I mostly live day by day. Enjoy the moment as it comes. 😊

I’m not a rich kid at all. I am just blessed for having a good heart I guess. I share and give as much as I can and in return, I receive lots of blessings in so many different ways. 

“Help someone not for the reward but for the sake of changing a life.”

I may not have a degree nor a lot of money but I have a lot of genuine family and friends all over the world. I have a lot of good and not so good experiences, memories. I learn from them, I treasure them, I share them. πŸ™‚

If you truly want something, YOU make it happen. 

So . . . Travel if you can. Travel when you can. Travel while you can. 

I am Ryshel. 😊

Nelson, New Zealand

I started my South Island trip in Nelson on August 15th. I stayed here for two weeks doing help exchange. I previously posted World of Wearable Art and Classic Museum and my Abel Tasman Full-day Trip.

I’d say that they are my top two favorites here. But aside from that, I also loved The Centre of New Zealand. It was so only 15 minutes easy walk to the top and the view was just amazing and serene.

There’s Founders Heritage Park which was kind of a throw back. Plenty of interesting little museums. There’s NZD 7 entrance fee for tourists.

The Queens Garden was also nice but since I came during the winter, still not much flowers.

Who would want to miss the Saturday market in Nelson? They’ve got pretty cool stuff and yummy food.

The Nelson Provincial Museum is tiny but worth visiting.

Nearby is church hill.

Tahunanui Beach is my 3rd favorite with another beautiful relaxing views!

And don’t forget to visit Penguino in town if you’re an ice cream lover like me.

And here’s a beautiful view from one of the lookouts.

It was mostly sunny during my stay in Nelson and of course this place is just one of the “a-must-visit” in New Zealand.

Abel Tasman National Park

Located between Golden Bay and Tasman Bay at the north end of the South Island, this national park in New Zealand is definitely a must do specially when you are in Nelson. I availed the full day trip package from Nelson for NZD 67 which was absolutely worth it. Details below;

When we arrived in Kaiteriteri, the bus driver directed us where to get the boat ticket. It was through Wilson’s. A small fast boat and it was full. At least 20 people in there. 

We made a quick stop to this big split rock and the seal colony where we got to see quite a few cute seals. 

It was a beautiful day although it was a little cloudy. 

When we arrived in Anchorage Bay, I was the only one they dropped off so apparently I was the only one doing this package! Well, it’s the cheapest package! Then I was left alone in this island which was quite nice. The boat driver told me I can do the Anchorage loop for 1 1/2 hour before I head to Marahau. I am however anxious about the time so I only went to Te Pukatea Bay which took 30 minutes walk going and back. 

Still alone in the island, I took photos before I headed my way to Marahau using my gopro, thanks for the app I can use as remote control. 

And selfies of course! 

At exactly 11am, I started tramping. So here we go, 4 hours to Marahau. 

I was literally alone but it wasn’t scary instead I found so much sanity walking alone with the mother nature. 

First stop was the Watering Cove, it was definitely worth a stop. 

Super clear water and I had it all for myself. It was so peaceful and I felt so isolated. 

As I continued my journey, there were lovely views on the way. 

Then there’s Apple Tree Bay which I checked out as well. 

There were few creeks along the way and the sound of water is relaxing.

It wasn’t until halfway when I started to come across few people who apparently started where I’ll finish. After 2 1/2 walk, I felt tired but at the same time relieved that I’m closer to Marahau lol. Then I saw the sign 55 minutes to go, woohoo! 

Finally, I reached the end of the track.

I did it! At least 13km walk in 4 hours. 

My feet and legs were sore but it was a good pain.

Accompanied by these birds while resting. 

Until my bus arrived and there I fell asleep on the way back to Nelson. I was beat but feeling accomplished. 

This definitely is one of the most beautiful trips I’ve done.

World of Wearable Art & Classic Cars Museum

I’ve never been this amazed to a museum. Located in Nelson, New Zealand, this museum is devoted to wearable art and classic cars. I paid NZD 24 to enter and I must say it was super worth it. 

Before I went in, I stopped at their cafe and had a cup of cappuccino for NZD 4.50 which is an average price. 

You’ll be impressed right when you entered. Lots of interesting items before you even in the actual museum. 

The wearable art costumes are unbelievably amazing. No words can describe how well the talented artists created these. 

I can’t help but stare.

They even have glow in the dark costumes. 

I love classic cars and they have an amazing huge collection of them.

If I live in Nelson, I’d purchase the VIP pass for NZD 55 which will allow you to visit all year. πŸ™‚

Hawke’s Bay Region, NZ

Hawke’s Bay is the renowned wine-producing region in New Zealand but I went there on the first weekend of August which is still winter and unfortunately, it was raining most of the days I was there. 

Napier is a coastal city known for art deco. I stayed here for 3 nights with the hope of visiting the nearby towns but then again it was raining. I got couple hours of sunshine before I had to leave though so that’s something. 

I got to visit the National Aquarium of New Zealand which is not that big but this is where I got to see real kiwis for the first time. I watched the cute little penguins being fed and I saw some interesting creatures. They also have a huge squid which I think is better than the one at Te Papa Museum in Wellington. 

I like Napier’s Marine Parade which has the tree-lined waterfront promenade. 

I visited Arataki Honey which was so cool specially the Bee Car. LOL

Of course, there’s the famous Cape Kidnappers which was closed for the winter. Got some nice photos though. 

I went to Te Mata peak but it was just okay for me but maybe this place is better when it’s not winter. 

And the rest are just beautiful random photos taken along the way. 😊

Hawke’s Bay region is definitely a place I would want to go back to after the winter. Nonetheless, it was nice to see it even though I was stuck in the hostel for couple days. πŸ˜‰

Matiu/Somes Island Weekend Gateaway

Matiu/Somes Island is only 20 minutes ferry ride from Wellington Queens Wharf. A roudtrip ticket cost NZD 23 per person. 

The first ferry on the weekend starts at 10am which we took.

We rented the Education House for NZD 200 which can occupy up to 10 people. It’s a beautiful 3-bedroom house, a fully equipped kitchen and has stunning harbour views. You can make a reservation here; 

Since it’s winter, it’a cold and unfortunately, it started raining after we got settled in which lasted through the night so we were pretty much stuck in the house all Saturday. I spent time coloring instead. 

And stayed warm with my cute Kathmandu thermals.

Blessed with a beautiful Sunday, we finally got to explore this little island. 

According to DOC  this Matiu/Somes Island lighthouse was the first inner harbour lighthouse in New Zealand.

Love this super clear water!

That was a great escape. It felt like you are isolated yet the city is still within reach. Overnight or day trip, this island is a must to visit. 

A roadtrip marking my 1st month in NZ

When I arrived New Zealand on June 15th, I got to go on a really nice roadtrip in Wairarapa Region on my first weekend;

And after completing a month, I got to go back to Wairarapa Region on July 16-17. This time, I visited Castlepoint. 

Castlepoint is a small beachside town on the Wairarapa coast about 2 1/2 hours drive from Wellington Central. 

Blessed with a beautiful weather although it was chilly and windy.

I got to see one of the most beautiful sunrises along the Castlepoint Beach. 

Before heading back to Wellington, we swung by at West Wind farm located in Makara. 

Spent few minutes at Wellington Botanic Garden but since it’s winter there wasn’t much flowers. 

Next stop was Shelly Bay where I once again felt in peace. It was just so relaxing here.

Finally, Mt. Victoria before heading home. 

What a productive, wonderful weekend. One month in New Zealand has been completed, 5 more months of NZ  adventure to go. Thank you Lord God. πŸ™‚

The Thermal Wonderland of NZ

Rotorua is famous for hot springs, mud pools, geysers and interesting Maori culture. As I am a budget traveler, I didn’t get to see a lot of what this geothermal city has to offer but I sure had a great time here. 

I first visited Redwoods where I spent at least couple of hours in the woods. You can easily take bus no. 3 in the corner of isite which cost NZD 2.60. 

This is where I get dropped off and the Redwoods isite is just kilometer away. 

Here are your choices. 

I was going to do the Tokorangi Pa Track but when I went up there, there was not one person and I didn’t feel safe doing the trail alone so I went back down and continued on to Quarry Track instead.

Beautiful giant redwoods welcome you ar the start point.

What do you expect in the woods? Of course, beautiful trees along the way! 

Here’s the view from Tokorangi Pa Track where you could see a little bit of the city.

On my way back…

After my nature adventure, I decided to soak myself at Polynesian Spa which was very close to my hostel. 

I paid NZD 45 for the Lake Spa. It includes the use of locker room, towels, shower with shampoo/body wash, conditioner, hair dryer. I rented their swimsuit for NZD 10 where you get NZD 5 refund when you return it. They have 5 pools with different temperatures from 36 to 42 degrees. It maybe a little expensive but I swear it was worth it. I spent at least 4 hours here. I left around 4PM when the crowd started to get crazy. 

On my last day in Rotorua, I just walked around. I went to Kuirau Park where you can see geothermals for free. 

I then went around the lake front where you can see lots of birds and swans. 

And if you walk your way to the Government Gardens, you will pass by the Sulfur Point Wildlife Sanctuary.