My body officially has no idea what time it is...

Just returned from my brief stint back in the states - I was only home for about a week. Although I wanted to stay longer and see some more familiar faces, I didn’t want to risk fully adapting to the US time zone and then readapting to SG time zone when I returned. That being said…I’m still exhausted. For whatever reason, I feel like my body gets hit with jet lag harder than most others. Regardless, it was great to to catch up with friends and family and of course witness 2 of my amazing friends get married (congrats Sally and Sergio!!). 

I got back to Singapore around midnight last night and I am now back in the airport again (it’s about 9am) awaiting my flight to go to Malaysia. I’ll be heading to the archipelago of Langkawi (99 islands) for a week to relax and celebrate my 25th! Langkawi is a bit of a quieter vibe but that’s typically what I prefer anyways. I’m getting way too old to go clubbing and what not. Ready to do some island hopping, hiking, and just bumming on the beach. 

I know I have been slacking on updating this site with pictures - hope to provide you guys with some cool shots from Langkawi!

My Morning Routine

I’ve been finding a lot of inspiration from Tim Ferriss lately. He frequently interviews some interesting people via his podcast and has also recently written the book Tribe of Mentors (probably my next purchase). He interviews a variety of successful individuals ranging from athletes, entrepreneurs, filmmakers, etc and asks them a series of questions.

There’s a saying that you are the average of the 5 closest people around you. Some people don’t have the luxury of keeping 5 people around who can continuously challenge themselves. Through Tribe of Mentors, Tim provides insight into the personalities of various successful people who anyone can find inspiration from.

When asked if there was a consistent habit among all the people Tim interviewed, he responded that they all had a morning routine. Everyone has their own opinion on why morning routines work, but for the most part it’s always about accomplishing small tasks to get you physically and mentally prepared to take on the rest of the day. I’ve never maintained a morning routine in my life, so I decided to give it a go. I’m about 2 weeks in and things are going pretty well!

Here is a glimpse into my routine:

It’s nothing fancy, but it’s made.

It’s nothing fancy, but it’s made.

1) I make my bed. Everyone preaches about why this is so great. It means that once you’ve woken up and made your bed, you’ve already “accomplished” something. This is a simple task but for anyone who knows me well, this is actually a big deal. I never make my bed. Before I started my routine, I could probably count the number of beds I’ve made on my two hands, and all of those occasions were probably when my ex-girlfriend was busy and asked me to do it for her. Fortunately my bed here in Singapore is pretty small, so making the bed is easy. Baby steps.

Many expletives mumbled on this floor every morning now.

Many expletives mumbled on this floor every morning now.

2) I foam roll my legs. This is a really good way for me to wake up my body. i do about 10 slow rolls on each leg for my glutes, hamstrings, calves, quads, and groin. No matter how tired (or hungover) I am in the morning, once I get to foam rolling, I have no choice but to wake up.

3) I have my cup of coffee. Obviously. Step 3 can be repeated “X” amount of times.

So that’s all. Just 3 basic steps that I’m committed to for now. Depending on my schedule for the day, I may have time to go for a proper workout, read, or just head out for the day for meetings. That being said, I definitely feel as if I am more productive in the mornings. We’ll see how long I can keep it up and if I add any more steps to the routine.

I quit my job 1 month ago: 3 things I have to say so far.

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Background:

As my graduation date fast approached, I spent nearly every day submitting multiple job applications with hope that someone would give me a call back. Just a couple weeks before graduation, I accepted a full-time offer in corporate America as a business analyst. This entire process was not so much focused on finding a job that I would love, but rather something that I just felt I was obligated to do. I graduated with a double major from the School of Business, so getting any sort of business analyst role meant that I was on the right track, right?

From day 1, I made it my mission to: work harder than anyone else, get promoted as fast as possible, and earn as much money as possible. I was a top soccer player as a kid and also earned a scholarship at my university to play on the team; this was my competitive nature coming out. Looking back, I achieved everything I set out to do. I was well-respected and known as a go-getter by my colleagues, I earned the promotion I desired, and I was making a healthy salary. Then one day, even with another promotion likely around the corner, I decided to leave it all behind and move to Singapore in order to pursue a role with a startup.

1) Excelling at a job you don’t love will lead to a dead end. Pursue your passions instead. 

With my relentless work ethic, I rapidly earned the respect of my colleagues and “climbed the corporate ladder," so to speak. Many members of management would frequently joke that one day they would all be working for me. While the praise was flattering, I didn't truly feel excitement at the thought of sitting in that sort of chair anymore. So what happened to the guy who wanted to earn promotions and earn as much money as possible? Wouldn't this be the dream scenario?

Don't get me wrong, I had a fantastic job and worked with wonderful people, but I knew deep in my bones that I was no longer fit to stay in corporate America anymore (particularly in the industry I was in). When I accepted my initial offer, I didn't pay attention to the industry nor what sort of role I would play. Instead, I treated my career as a competition against myself and my peers to earn money and respect. Once I had achieved that, life at work started to get increasingly boring because I simply didn't feel a connection to the work I was doing. At the end of the day, the amount of effort and hours I expended didn't feel gratifying anymore.

I consumed countless articles, videos, and podcasts that preached about doing what you love. Friends of mine were off starting their own businesses, going back to school to further perfect their craft, and others even went off to travel the world. I envied their ambition while I sat in an office every day. Finally, instead of aimlessly wishing, a switch in my head went off. I sat deep in reflection and discovered that my passions aligned with: entrepreneurship, the green economy, the shared economy, health & fitness, and food & beverages. I knew I wanted to pursue a career in one or more of these industries, and I longed to be able to see direct and positive impacts on other people's lives as a result of my work.

I'm sure many of you are curious, and no, I have not found a job yet. I am actively spending my time researching various startups that peak my interest and also furthering my knowledge within these industries. Dedicating my time to research and to explore what is truly meaningful to me has done numbers for my mental health and self-satisfaction. Although I have not picked up a paycheck for a month, I can say without hesitation that I have not wasted a single minute of any day since I left my job, and that is powerful.

Bye bye Bali

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It’s my last full day in Bali and I’m back to Singapore in the morning. I didn’t get to write nearly as much as I wanted to, and so much has happened that it’s going to be hard for me to remember everything. I’m currently sitting in Ubud enjoying the views of the rice terraces and sipping on various (free!!) coffees and teas, while relaxing to Khalid’s new album. I’d say this is the perfect way to end 2.5 weeks of an action-packed holiday. 

Bali has been quite an experience. I spent the first few days in the south in Uluwatu to relax on the beach and catch a few more waves. 

Pumped to catch my first waves without an instructor!!

Pumped to catch my first waves without an instructor!!

The next 3 days were dedicated to tattoos - 1 was spontaneous and the other 2 were planned (sorry, Mom).

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Seriously cannot believe Bourdain drank 3 of these in 30 minutes…

Seriously cannot believe Bourdain drank 3 of these in 30 minutes…

Additionally I’ve just been cruising on my scooter and checking out various food spots. Last night I checked out a spot called Naughty Nuri’s which specializes in spare ribs and cocktails. The late and great Anthony Bourdain is on the record saying it serves the best martinis in the world. 

Everything has been great fun, but the real highlight of the trip has been meeting absolutely incredible folks from all over the world. As I bounced from hostel to hostel I made friends that I only got to spend a few days with, but it feels like I’ve known them my whole life. It was refreshing and enlightening to sit around a table with various people from different backgrounds and simply talk about anything and everything. This trip definitely would not have been the same without meeting them, and I’m thankful to now have more friends from all over the world. More excuses to travel!  

Indonesia tempted me to continue the backpacker life, but I’m eager to get back to my new condo (!!) and start the grind.  

Trekking to the Crater Rim of Mount Rinjani

Whilst at the hostel in Lombok, my friend Elle asked if anyone was up for doing a 3 day trek to the crater rim of Mount Rinjani. Without batting an eye, I said yes. Those who know me know that I’m always up for a solid hike with beautiful views.

The itinerary for this trip:

  • Day 1: Travel from Kuta, Lombok to Senaru, Lombok. Spend 1 night in a homestay in the village of Senaru.

  • Day 2: Hike 7 hours up to the crater rim of Mount Rinjani (Pelewangan Crater Rim). Set up camp and catch the sunset over Mount Rinjani and the crater lake.

  • Day 3: Catch sunrise and then begin the 5 hour trek back down to Senaru village.

Folks used to be able to hike down to the lake to swim/fish and also trek all the way to the summit of Mount Rinjani, but unfortunately those paths have been too damaged due to earthquakes in the area.


Before I get to the actual hike - a quick word on the village of Senaru. Earthquakes are frequent in Lombok (the latest one on March 18, just 3 days before I arrived), and the village of Senaru has been absolutely decimated. Walking through the village, you can see the remnants of restaurants and homestays that used to flood the streets. While family’s homes and businesses have been destroyed, every single person that I passed on the street still greeted me with a smile. Even without proper housing or running water, they are still so optimistic about life. It was a humbling experience and I’m glad I was able to see the village and talk to some of the locals - it definitely allowed me to take a step back and appreciate the basics of life and not to take anything for granted.


Doesn’t look as steep in photos, but this was essentially a landslide going straight down.

Doesn’t look as steep in photos, but this was essentially a landslide going straight down.

The next day we began our trek roughly around 7:30am. The hike was broken up into several phases which took about 1-1.5 hours each. Fortunately the first 4-5 were all in the shade for the most part. One of the craziest things during the hike was seeing an area where there was a major landslide. Considering an earthquake just happened a few days ago, I was a bit nervy when I came at this stretch.

A good boy who followed us all the way to the top! We named him Electrolyte, because we were all lacking them.

A good boy who followed us all the way to the top! We named him Electrolyte, because we were all lacking them.

When we made it about 75% up the mountain, we had to camp out under shelter for a few hours due to heavy rain. We waited for nearly 3 hours, and at one point our guide suggested that we just set up camp at this section and finish the hike early in the morning. Luckily, the rain finally stopped and we had about 1.5 hours to get to the top. This was by far the steepest and most dangerous stretch of the hike, and I have absolutely no idea how we would have managed to do that at 4:00am in pitch black the next day. We completed the hike around 6:00pm and had just enough time to settle our things and watch the sunset. There was an amazing 360-view of Mount Rinjani, the crater lake, and the Gili Islands. The 10.5 hour journey was 100% worth it, and I can say with confidence that being up there for sunset was one of the most rewarding and peaceful moments I’ve experienced in a long time.

The next morning we were up early again to catch the sunrise before heading back down to Senaru. The hike downwards was shorter (5-6 hours), but basically because we were forced to almost jog down the mountain. The final 1.5 hours was completed in absolute downpour - and although most people would complain, I actually found it to be a refreshing and peaceful way to end such an amazing journey. I’m grateful to have had such an experience and met some amazing people along the way. Keep an eye out for more images on my photos page for more updates (the wifi in Bali is too slow to upload all of them). Additionally, I have lots of footage of the hike up, so will post a link to the YouTube comp when complete!

After 10.5 hours, enjoying peace and quiet at the top.

After 10.5 hours, enjoying peace and quiet at the top.

Up early for sunrise with the squad. It was freezing and we basically slept on rocks :(

Up early for sunrise with the squad. It was freezing and we basically slept on rocks :(

First week in Lombok -

Just a couple weeks ago, I had never even heard of Lombok. Luckily, a friend I made in Singapore recommended it to me. He suggested that I skip all the touristy hustle and bustle in Bali and go straight to Lombok. He was absolutely right. I still plan to go to Bali towards the tail end of my trip, but I fell in love with Lombok so much that I extended my stay here.

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The vibe on this island is just what I needed. The locals and the travelers passing through have all been amazing and kind - and just in a week, I’ve already made some incredible friendships. Not to mention, the island overall is simply gorgeous. Whenever I hop on my scooter and cruise around enjoying the sights, I find myself with the biggest smile on my face.

So far my first week has been filled with:

  • Beach bumming

  • Surfing

  • Hiking/camping the crater rim of Mount Rinjani (more to come on this later)

  • Literally chasing waterfalls

I was supposed to leave for Bali today but I plan to get some extra surfing in and also enjoy the peaceful vibe before I head to Bali to do the usual Bali things…

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When I say the last couple days have been rough...

I mean they have been ROUGH! To keep it as lean as possible, here is a summary:

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  • I show up to the airport on Thursday 3/21 to depart to Bali then have a panic attack because I can’t locate my flight. I then discover I’ve actually booked my flight for 3/28 instead.

  • I frantically run around the airport looking for next flights outs but the cheapest option is the next day departing at 5am. I decide to just stay in the airport overnight.

  • I land in Bali but then have to frantically head to the ferry port in order to catch a boat to Lombok. I catch a 2 hour boat to Lombok but then discover my hostel is another solid 2 hours car ride away. As you can tell, I did not prepare for this very well at all.

  • Additionally, my SIM card that is supposed to work in Indonesia is somehow not working so I’m essentially doing this off of blind faith from the locals. I 100% got ripped off on a few deals here and there but whatever.

I’ve finally made it to my hostel and you guessed it, it is beer time. I’ll do my best to post pictures throughout vaca as best as I can.

Surf’s up…

An extreme dramatization of my surfing abilities. I’ll be on a longboard riding waves 1/4 of the size pictured here lol.

An extreme dramatization of my surfing abilities. I’ll be on a longboard riding waves 1/4 of the size pictured here lol.

I put pen-to-paper on my condo lease last night! Move-in date is technically not until April 1st, so I am hopping on a plane to Indonesia today for 2.5 weeks in the meantime! The plan is to spend about a week in Lombok, an island just off the coast of Bali, which is known for its surfing. This is only my second time surfing and the last time I went was basically a year ago in Costa Rica. I’m hoping a week will be enough time to shake off the rust and hopefully get even better. Now that I’m in SE Asia, I want to get better at surfing since it’s a more feasible option than snowboarding now.

After Lombok I’ll head back to Bali to spend some time there. I don’t really have a set agenda just yet; I plan to play it by ear. Since I’ve been volunteering at the hostel, condo shopping, and adjusting to the new time zone, I’m looking forward to finally being able to relax and reset. Once I come back to Singapore, I plan to conquer a few goals I’ve set for myself. More to come on that later…

Culture Shock (or lack thereof)

So I just realized I haven’t written much about my adjustment to Singapore in general. For those who are following me on social media, I’m sure it seems that all I’ve been doing is wandering the city and eating and drinking (you are not far off!), but here are some quick bullets about what I’ve had to adjust to:

“Singlish.” I found this meme on Facebook last night which is actually hilariously accurate.

“Singlish.” I found this meme on Facebook last night which is actually hilariously accurate.

  • Metric system: when I speak in feet, miles, or degrees Fahrenheit I get looked at like an imbecile. Seriously, America…why do we do this???

  • People drive on the left side of the road. I keep looking the wrong way before I cross the street, but this is something I already got a taste of in my trip to London recently.

  • People stand on the left of the escalator and walk on the right (same story as previous bullet applies).

  • The heat…or the A/C, actually. Yes, Singapore is hot, but since the bus and MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) system is so well connected and air-conditioned, I rarely find myself dying in the heat. When I stop in a cafe or restaurant, it’s actually too cold sometimes and I welcome the heat when I step back outside.

  • “Singlish.” A few of you have been asking if it’s difficult to communicate with people. English is still the first language here, but locals have adopted what they call “Singlish.” It’s a particular accent/style and they have a few slang words that I’m still trying to get used to.

All in all - I have no real complaints so far. Of course, it’s only been a week and I’m still in “tourist mode,” but I’m sure I’ll hit some culture shock later down the road as this place slowly starts to feel more like home.

OK LIAO!!!

Things are moving along nicely...

It’s only day 3 here in Singapore and I’m happy (and relieved) to say that I’ve figured out my phone situation and more importantly, I’ve found housing already! I’ll be rooming with 2 others in a condo complex that’s centrally located to almost everything. The room has an awesome balcony view and the complex also has several pools, a gym, and a bbq area. And the very best part? It’s cheaper than what I would be paying if I chose to live in Arlington/DC back home. The internet always drags on about how expensive Singapore is, but if you do your homework correctly, there’s a lot of affordable options.

The only catch is that I won’t be able to move in until April 1st or after. Housekeeping duties at the current hostel are getting old very fast, so it looks like I’ll be taking an extended vacation here to kill some time and relax a bit. Time to go flight shopping for Bali…