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I got the super amazing opportunity to fly Cathay Pacific business class from Philadelphia to Hong Kong, and the perks were unbelievable. For a bit more context, PHL to HK is about a 16 hour flight – flying business class made it seem like a 2 hour flight! Here are a couple things you didn’t know about flying business class:
The air hostess always referred to me by my last name which I found super interesting. She’d ask super politely, “Ms.Arinze would you like some more champagne”…my answer was always yes.
Business Class Lounge
Did you know that airports have secret lounges where the rich and well-to-do hide from us commoners?? Neither did I! These lounges are stocked with meals, snacks, and you guessed it…bottomless drinks! Feeling guilty for spending so much on first/business class tickets? – here’s where to really get your money’s worth.
The Cathay Pacific lounge in HK has private, super cozy, shower rooms. I was able to freshen up and look brand new after spending 16 hours napping :D.
Full Horizontal Recline
No exaggeration…I literally napped for most of this flight. When I wasn’t sipping champagne, I was full on sleeping. That’s how comfortable theses pods were.
Meals Served in 3 Courses
I will say, I missed the economy meals – they’re a bit more filling. In business class you get a few courses of nicely arranged scraps. I got fruit, salad, and salmon pictured below.
Never Wait in Line
You always get to board the plane first! Running late from the lounge? Not a problem at all! You get to cut the line and board asap – I found this especially funny.
Overall Flight Experience
Do you have friends that constantly tell you, “you can’t”? How about a family member that belittles all your accomplishments? These types of people can significantly hinder your success, and here’s why you should create some distance asap:
Type 1: The “Belittler”
This person constantly belittles your accomplishments and never acknowledges your hard work. Got a new job? You couldn’t have done it without the help of someone else. Bought a new car? The sales guy would have never given you that discount if he didn’t find you attractive. Got an A on that big test you’ve been studying for? It was an easy exam anyway.
Why to ditch: The fact here is, there is no way in the world that every single success you have can be 100% attributed to someone else or something else. Sure, your friend may have helped you study for that exam, but you wrote that exam on your own. We all have a little help on our journey to success, but if you have someone in your life that never acknowledges the role you play or the hard work you put in, this means that they don’t believe you deserve that success. If you want to be successful, why hang around people who don’t believe you deserve to be?
Type 2: The Naysayer
In the eyes of this person, everything you set out to do is impossible. Want to switch careers? Nah dude, it’s just too hard for you. Want to travel around the world? Girl, you’ll probably end up broke.
Why to ditch: World famous life coach Tony Robbins(who came from a broken home to later build a $6 million empire) has been quoted saying that attaining success is 80% psychology and 20% skills. This doesn’t just apply to business, but to every aspect of your life that you set out to grow. What he means by this is, you MUST have the mindset that you can in fact achieve what you set out to achieve – and how can you have that mindset if you surround yourself with people who constantly say that you can’t?
Type 3: The Denier
This person is similer to the “bilittler” but worse. They deny that you have any success at all. Bought a new house? So what? Others can afford mansions. Got elected as VP of the USA? Well you’re not president, so who cares.
Why to ditch: Encouraging friends will always be proud and happy to see you worked hard and got what you wanted, whether or not their definition of success differs from yours. If you notice that a particular friend can never simply tell you “Congratulations, I’m super happy for you” when you accomplish one of your goals (no matter how big or small), then maybe they just aren’t happy that you’re reaching the goals you’ve set out. The good news here is that it doesn’t matter whether they’re happy for you or not, all that matters is that you’re proud of your own accomplishments and know that they’re stepping stones to your continued growth and success. However, don’t keep these people around, they’re soul draining and add 0 value.
Here’s the key thing to understand here, when you work hard to attain something, and you attain it, then you are successful – and it’s encouraging/motivating to surround yourself with people that recognize this.
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Oh Thailanddd…where to begin. This is going to sound totally ridiculous but I found myself halfway across the planet almost completely by accident. For someone who travels a lot, it’s still a bit difficult for me to believe that this happened to me – let’s start from the very beginning.
I was living in the suburbs of Pennsylvania, against every single life goal and dream bone in my body, and it wore me down emotionally daily. I often felt stuck in a cycle of work and life that I didn’t want to be a part of anymore – but had no idea how to break free. One night, I had gotten into a huge fight with my ex boyfriend at a friends dinner party and completely lost it. I let all my life frustrations out on him in public and we weren’t even together at the time so it was extra awkward. Maybe I had been holding things in that I should have said when we initially broke up, or maybe I was upset that he hadn’t changed and was still the asshole that would show up 3 hours late to one of his “bestfriends” birthday dinners with a random girl on his hand. Whatever it was, it caused me to have a complete out of body experience that landed me on the island of Koh Samui.
I remember waking up the next morning super embarrassed and thinking, last night would have never happened if I had the courage to follow my dreams and get the hell up out of PA.
I had the sudden urge the leave asap but I didn’t have a plan.
I vaguely remembered a former boss that had told me about a trip she booked using Contiki Tours. She’d gone all the way to South Africa with a friend, but most people who used this tour company were solo travelers that’d get to travel in a group. It was perfect!! I fired up my laptop and booked the cheapest trip that I could go on as soon as possible…”Thai Island Hopper Tour”. It only cost about $650 (which at the time surprised the heck outta me, since I was silly enough to believe it included airfare…it did not). For some reason I thought that they were selling the trip at a super discounted price since it was two weeks out and they needed to fill up the rest of the spots.
I was pretty calm once I figured out that airfare was not included, after-all, how bad could a flight to Thailand be? I was completely delusional!
The plane tickets cost twice as much as the tour itself and it would take me THREE planes to get there! What?? The total journey would be about 23 hours. I was under the impression that it’d take something like two 7 hour plane rides. When I think back on it now, I’m not sure how I could have ever thought that – but I’d already spent over $600 and I wasn’t going to back out.
So I went on the island hopper tour! And here’s what happened:
1. Tourists would constantly ask to take pictures with me
Most people were polite enough to ask, but I once caught a group of women who claimed to be from a rural part of Italy, taking pictures of me in a bikini….awkwarddd. My guess is that a lot of them hadn’t seen someone this dark before.
2. I second-guessed every single action item in the itinerary
The jumping from boat to boat to get to another boat…climbing uneven rocks…riding in open vans with no seat belts…snorkeling when I didn’t know how to swim. It all seemed a bit too dangerous, but I’m glad I did it all.
3. I got bitten by a spider!!
…or a baby mosquito. The lady at the pharmacy wasn’t quite sure but my legs were covered in mosquito bites and this one looked very different. I’ll spare you the details here.
4. This man made me take this super awkward picture
…I’m sorry elephant. I don’t know why he made me do this!! but I’m so glad he did because it’s hilarious to look at now. Also, I was wearing that rain poncho(that I had actually bought in Sintra, Portugal the year before) because I guess it must have been raining season on the Thai islands and we were constantly caught in unpredictable downpours.
5. I made friends with complete strangers!
…one of them got attacked by a monkey, lmao! luckily it was caged. Traveling solo really helped me discover who I am on my own, and how I interact with others when I’m out of my comfort zone.
It was a total blast! and an amazing life changing experience.
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First off, let me start by saying, yes! That’s actually me photographed above. I’m a huge believer in self discovery through solo travel, and I’m super excited to share some Bahamas solo traveller tips with you all.
Day 1 – Friday Night
- I was super nervous! I landed at Lynden Pindling Intl. airport at about 11:00pm, so it was a bit late and I’d heard that traveling to the Caribbean could be dangerous.
- I hadn’t made any travel arrangements to the hotel. Totally fine! There were taxi’s waiting outside.
- ATM at the airport was broken 😦 but luckily for me, I did find a taxi that was able to take credit cards.
Tip: USD bills are accepted Nassau
- I stayed at the Comfort Suites on Paradise Island. Right across the street from Atlantis Paradise Island.
Tip: You get a pass (pink wristband) to go to Atlantis for free for the duration of your trip without having to pay crazy Atlantis prices.
- I was extremely tired once I got to the hotel, so I went to bed. It was about a 20 minute taxi ride from the airport to Paradise Island (we had to pay toll to get in but the driver took care of it).
Day 2 – Saturday
- I was even more nervous! I had no idea what I was doing, and being alone made me even more unsure of myself – but I’d spent the money to get there so I was determined to make it worthwhile.
- Comfort Suites serves complimentary breakfast from 7am-10am. I was pleasantly surprised that I made it down in time to eat.
- I headed over to Atlantis! I got my pass and a map, and headed off to find the closest bar.
Tip: If you’re looking for an alcoholic beverage, you won’t find one in Atlantis before 11am.
- I wandered around the resort and took some amazing pictures till about 11:30am.
- Then I headed over to the bar (Plato’s) right outside the casino in the Royal Towers to get a mimosa! The staff were super friendly, and I began feeling a bit more comfortable being on my own.
- I walked about a bit more, grabbed lunch at one of the outdoor beach bars (Breakwaters Grill) – which I wouldn’t really recommend unless you absolutely love McDonalds quality burgers.
- After asking a ton of people if it was safe (because I can be a scaredy cat too), I went to Dolphin Cay and booked the shallow water experience with the dolphins!
Tip: Dolphin Cay runs scheduled experiences, so chances are that you won’t be able to just go there and get into the water with the dolphins. You’ll have to schedule in advance. Though if you’d just like to go watch the dolphins in their habitat from afar, you can do that too!
- The experience ran for about 30 minutes, and the dolphins were very well behaved! Totally not scary at all. There’s a trainer with each dolphin at all times.
- I wish I could remember the name of the lady that sold me the tickets. She was super kind and remembered my name when she ran into me the next day.
- I got a dolphin kiss (pictured above)!
- After swimming with the dolphins, I got a drink with someone I met during the experience, and then I went to bed! I was super exhausted from all the walking (it’s a big resort!!).
Day 3 – Sunday
- I really really wanted to go into town but was skeptical of leaving the touristy places on my own.
- While eating breakfast, I looked up guided tours of Nassau but couldn’t quite find one with all the things I wanted to do.
- After talking to the concierge at my hotel, I decided it was safe enough to get into a taxi and head to “John Watkins Distillery“. Where I accidentally joined a tour group and got a free pina colada sample! (I later bought a whole drink because it was so yummy).
Tip: Being friendly opens doors!
- After mingling with a few people on the tour, I learned that they were visiting other historic sites that I wanted to see.
- Queens Staircase, Straw Market, etc…
- So I asked the tour guide (Marley) if I could tag along, and he let me join for a discounted price!
- After the tour was over, I got dinner and drinks with a super friendly couple from the tour group!
- Then I sent Marley a message on WhatsApp asking the best way to get back to my resort – which was a great idea because he offered to come back, pick me up, and take me back to Paradise Island.
- Then it was time to get shower and get ready to watch the big game!!
- Atlantis had a few places to watch the game, but I decided to watch it at Plato’s since I was already familiar with the staff there.
Day 3 – Monday
- Time to go home 😦
- I checked out of the hotel, and they let me store my luggage in a secure room – I had some hours to kill before going to the airport.
Trip Rating: 9/10
The men stared a bit too much here, but overall it was a pretty good trip.
Hotel Rating: 7/10
Wasn’t luxurious but it was clean. The Atlantis passes were the biggest perks. Some of the Comfort Suit female staff could work a bit on their attitudes.
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In the summer of 2017 I got this insatiable urge to quit my job. It wasn’t like I’d never wanted to quit before; after all we’ve all had those Monday’s where we wake up calculating all the different permutations and combinations of things we can do to never have to go to work again. This time though, it was different. It wasn’t the laziness behind not wanting to get out of bed, or the dread of having to mingle with my coworkers for 7.5 hours. It was the realization that I was completely wasting my life and potential doing work that was utterly meaningless to me.
When you realize that this is your only life to live, and you’re living it fulfilling someone else’s purpose, every single minute that you don’t make a change becomes unbearable.
So I quit! and here’s how I did it…
Mentally take note of what’s holding you back
If you’re anything like me, you’ll know what it feels like to crave financial security. Of course I wanted to leave, but I didn’t want to be poor. I’d secured a great reputation at my job as one of the top performers and was making more than enough money to live comfortably. So I wanted to quit but…
- I didn’t want a reduced standard or living.
- I didn’t want my financial independence to be negatively affected.
Outline what you want to gain
So I didn’t want to be poor! Great! and I didn’t want to live someone else’s dream. Ok! but what did I want?
- I wanted to spend my time doing what matters the most to me.
This was all I knew at the time, but it turns out that it was more than enough to work off of.
Figure out what matters the most to you!
Here’s where I hit a bit of a roadblock. I had a good idea of what mattered to me…
- Spending time with my loved ones.
- Traveling around the world.
- Immersing myself into new cultures.
…but how on earth does one monetize these things? No one’s gonna pay you to spend time with your family(unless you’re Kimmy K). So how do you make money and do what you love at the same time? You start by…
Talking through it as many times as you need to
If you haven’t figured it out already, I’m a big advocate of therapy or life coaching. Making big decisions is tough, and the answers to achieving your dreams usually lie buried somewhere in your subconscious. Talking through your goals and desires with someone who just let’s you talk often leads to discoveries, which then lead to actionable steps.
When I finally quit my job in September, I had a rush of people who couldn’t wait to tell me how brave I was, and how they could never quit. What they didn’t know was that it’d taken me two sessions with an expert to make the ultimate decision to leave. Here’s what my therapist helped me uncover:
- Success was ingrained into who I was, not where I was. If I had worked hard to be successful there, then I could do it anywhere.
- I didn’t have to have everything figured out right away. I just needed to take the process one step at a time.
- It didn’t matter what others thought about what I decided to do. What mattered was that I’d be happy doing it.
- I eventually wanted to to work for myself/own my own business.
- …and most importantly; She helped me narrow down my urge to travel. I learned through talking that really wanted to live in Europe. I had family there that I wanted to spend more time with, and living there would enable me to explore the continent with ease.
Make a plan
Once I figured this out, it was time to write out just how I planned on getting myself there.
- Research. How had others achieved this goal? What were the requirements to live/work there? What specific country did I want to live in?
- Brush up my resume. I started this step by asking myself what kind of job would help me develop the skills I needed to one day branch off on my own, and then I tailored my resume to fit those jobs.
Tip: Look up jobs you’d like to have, pick the skills/qualifications from the job description that match your skillset, add those skills to your resume.
Take a leap of faith!
Warning! None of the above steps will be easy. I applied to a ton of jobs and didn’t hear back. I’d resolved to quit my job in 3 months regardless of whether I found a new one or not and just keep trying. Luckily for me, with a ton of hard work and perseverance, it didn’t take up to 3 months to land the job of my dreams! and you can too!
Need some motivation to take that leap of faith? Fill out your info below to chat with me!
I never learned how to swim growing up like most of my friends did. I was always that awkward kid (then adult) that hung out in the shallow end of the pool afraid to venture deeper in, afraid to play water polo or any other kind of water sport, afraid to let loose in any capacity at all. As I got older, I developed a different kind of fear – FOMO (fear of missing out). I’d watch my friends go snorkeling on our beach vacations and hear their awesome stories of the beautiful creatures at the bottom of the ocean floor.
The FOMO hit me so hard that I once tried to go kayaking with friends in Malibu. They’d convinced me that all I needed was a life vest and I’d be safe if I fell into the ocean. Not long after we’d pushed off the shore, a huge wave towered over us. I’d never been more scared of the water than at that moment – knowing I’d be emptied out of my kayak and that we were deep enough into the ocean that my feet couldn’t touch the ground.
I didn’t just survive that incident. I came out of the water that day determined to not be crippled by my fears anymore. Here’s how I achieved that goal.
Face your fears head-on
In order to understand a fear you wish to overcome, you first must expose yourself to it. I put off swimming lessons for so long. I was always too busy – working or traveling or some other excuse I’d make up as to why I couldn’t do it. These truly are just all excuses. I’ve found that I’m never ever too busy to do things I actually want to do – and neither are you. Extra motivation can come from finding a friend to face it with you, or consulting a professional. In my case, I found a certified swimming instructor that worked with me at my pace.
Make a mental “5 Why’s” diagram
I like to think of my fears as being 3 dimensional – they aren’t flat and they have some depth to them. I use the 5 Why’s technique to peek beneath the surface of my fears and potentially get to the root cause. I truly used to believe that I was afraid of the water itself until I began taking swimming lessons. We’d been doing breathing exercises for some time, and my instructor decided that it was time to teach us how to float. This is where there fear kicked in! I began to ask myself why I was so scared. Here’s what that process looked like:
Why don’t I want to float as instructed? Because I’m afraid of the water.
Why? Because I could drown.
Why? Because anything can happen to me when I’m in water.
Why? Because the water is more powerful than I am.
Why? Because I can’t control it.
I learned from this analysis that my true fear wasn’t of the water itself – but of the lack of control I had when submerged. This was a huge deal for me! If I were to have stopped my analysis at the first why, I would have been completely paralyzed. There’s no way to conquer something so abstract as “I’m afraid of the water”. Understanding that a deeper fear was not knowing how to manipulate the water around me gave me my first actionable step: learn techniques that make me feel like I have more control when I’m in water.
Do NOT give up – ever!
If there’s one thing I can guarantee, it’s that you will want to give up. Facing your fears is difficult – it will not be a walk in the park. As you continue to brave down this path and dig deeper, you might discover deeper or even scarier fears at the root of your surface level fear. I can’t tell you how many times I wanted to quit swimming lessons. It was difficult, I cried, and at times I even felt like a loser for being so scared of something “everyone else” knew how to do. I never gave up, and I’m the better for it.