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. 

5k Fun Run (Gazley Volkswagen Wellington Marathon 2016)

I used to be active in running. My last run was back in January 2012 in Cebu, Philippines where I ran half marathon. After a while and with no practice at all, I did this 5k. 

I was kind of anxious prior because there was this pressure of breaking my personal record for 5k which was sub-30 back in June 2010 at the Nike Women’s Fitness Festival in Sacramento, CA. 

I realized it would be impossible to break my record so I set in my mind that I will not think of the time and just enjoy the run. Which I did! 

We started at 9:30am from Westpac Stadium. The weather was perfect. Cool, a little bit of sunshine and nice breeze during my run. The route was flat so it was easy. I ran continuously until I reached 3.5k mark where they were giving out drinks. I slowed down here, walked a little bit. Next thing I know, I was back to the finish line. My aim was to go under 40 minutes and I think I did a pretty good job considering I haven’t ran since 2012! 

Here’s the official result and I am extremely satisfied. 🙂

And here are the photos from the run where I was obviously having fun!!! 😂

How happy was I approaching the finish line!

Overall, it was such an organized and fun race. So happy to have experienced this during my first two weeks in New Zealand. 😊

The Best Birthday I’ve had so far!

I spent my 29th birthday on top of Machu Picchu which was exactly what I wanted. 

The entrance fee was PEN 142 (around US $42) which includes the entrance to Machu Picchu and the Machu Picchu Mountain. 


I decided to take a bus from Aguas Calientes which costs PEN 78 (US $24) roundtrip. The first bus leaves at 5:30AM. I left my hostel with my dorm mate at 4:30AM. My hostel is just couple minutes walk to the bus station but when we got there the line was already long. We go on the second bus and it left at 5:25AM. The ride was around 20 minutes and it was a beautiful, beautiful ride. 

We arrived at 5:50AM so we had to wait until they let us in at 6AM. At the gate you have to show your passport along with your ticket. 

I walked around with my dorm mate from France and we took beautiful pictures before it got really crowded.   

We were hiking different mountains so we separated our ways 15 minutes before 7AM. I went to the entrance of Machu Picchu Mountain and waited 5 minutes to open. Taken from the main gate to Machu Picchu, here’s what I was going for and man it’s high. 

We started at exactly 7AM. I was walking with Mr. and Mrs. McMillan from Georgia, USA. They are cool couple celebrating their 20th Anniversary in Peru. We took turns taking our pictures. We stopped on almost of the stops! LOL!!! The stairs are tiring. From normal to small to huge steps! 

We had fun walking our way up. We were all determined that we’d reach the top no matter what because that’s where they’ll sing happy birthday to me. 

Here are some of the pictures taken along the way.

 After 2 1/2 hours, we finally reached the top and we screamed for being so happy and then they sang happy birthday to me. 

Here are some of the pictures taken on top of Machu Picchu Mountain. 
Going back down was just as hard which took us 1 1/2 hour. Our legs were like noodles and going down seemed like forever. 

We decided to have lunch and the couple invited me to join their tour because they will get a guide and they enjoy having me around. They said I won’t have to pay anything for that is their birthday treat to me. 🙂 

After the big lunch, Mr. McMillan found Marco Guevarra as our private guide which cost US $60. The others will charge you US $150 for private tour. 

We had an awesome two hours tour in Machu Picchu Pueblo. Knowing the history is amazing. I wish there’s a video I could watch because I just can’t imagine the life of people who used to live there many years ago. 

And I finally got Machu Picchu stamp on my passport! 

We then headed our way back around 3:30PM and boy we were beat! 

The day before my Machu Picchu adventure, it was raining all day and all night in Aguas Calientes. On my birthday, the weather was perfect just like what I prayed for. 

I had my birthday dinner at Indio Feliz. I then called it a day. 

This was so far the best birthday I’ve ever had. I am blessed. I am grateful. I am Ryshel and I am now 29 years old. ❤️❤️❤️


Cusco to Aguas Calientes

I was going to buy my ticket in Lima airport but they only accept credit card there. As soon as I arrived in my hostel in Cusco, I went to Peru Rail office to purchase my ticket and the representatve Isabel was very nice when assisting me. I got the Vistadome class which cost US $184 roundtrip. 

This is the current timetable they have. 

I opted for the one that leaves at 8:25AM. It departs from Poroy train station which was around 20 minutes taxi ride from Intro Hostels Cusco and cost 35 PEN (around US $10). 

This is what the Vistadome class looks like. 


We pretty much left on time. The 3 1/2 hours train ride was just astonishing. It was beautiful! I just can’t find the right words to describe how amazing this experience is.    

Below is the famous insane SkyLodge where I would’ve stayed if only I could afford it.


I think PeruRail could’ve served better and more portion of food. Yeah, this is the only snacks you get for the price you pay. 


Overall, the train ride was absolutely worth it. Something I will never, ever forget. 

My Dream Travel to South America

After I backpacked in Asia for a total of 10 months, I wanted to travel South America next. I was volunteering to teach English in Thailand when I finished my online TEFL course. I immediately searched for job postings and I found one located in Peru. On April 17th, I hit the submit button to apply for a job as an Instructor in a language center. I got an email from the company on April 22nd inviting me for a Skype interview on April 29th. I was so happy and so excited. After the interview, I did not feel good about my performance. It was my first official interview for a teaching job and I thought I messed up. I went back to the Philippines on May 5th and as soon as I arrived home, I got an email from the company inviting me for a second interview that night. After the interview, I was told that I will get an online training schedule next week but I did not hear from them again until May 19th. I had the online training from May 25th to May 29th. While on training, I was discouraged because I found everything to be difficult. To my surprised, I passed the training. Next step? Fly to Colombia! OMG!

On June 9th, the HR sent a copy of my flight ticket from Singapore to Colombia for June 23rd. I was like, is this really going to happen?

I flew to Singapore on June 22nd. I stayed a night because I will have a long flight to Colombia. Here comes the 23rd, my flight was not until 10:45PM. I was going on a tourist visa even though I will be working. I was in Changi Airport by 5PM because I wanted to have time in case I get some problem with the immigration. I have a copy of my job contract and all other documents sent by the company for getting my visa. With the helpful and friendly British Airways staff, I got my boarding pass with no problem at all.

I was still not confident about the whole thing though because I was still unsure about the immigration in Colombia. I was not worried though because I know everything will go according to God’s plan. So for me, whatever happens, I know it’s for good.

After more than 30 hours of flight time, I landed in Bogotá, Colombia on June 24th. I got through  the immigration with no problem.

I got my bag and a taxi sent by my company was waiting outside holding my name.

It was only 8 degrees celcius when I landed which I found very nice. I am in South America! This is really for me. ☺️

Around 6PM, I arrived in the hotel which my company provided. Perfect, just perfect after the long flight.

South America is one of my dream continents to visit. By the end of March 2015, I told myself that South America is my next destination. I got to set my foot in South America on June 24, 2015. I did not expect it to happen that quick. I’m now about 11,000 miles away from home and in one of my dream destination. 😉

Dreams do come true if you pursue them. ☺️