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Couple Travels: 2015

Thanks to Magisto, R and I were able to curate our travel highlights for 2015 without us having to go through painstaking video editing sessions!

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One of our favorite things to do: snacking!

Our short video can be found here.

Can you guess the 20 countries we’ve travelled to in 2015 (separately and together)?

Hints:
Hangeul
LKY
Heineken
Sound of Music
Carpathian Basin
Bratislava
Cobblestones
Pascal Noppe
BND
Xinhai
J.K. Rowling
CERN
Carpets
Ionian Sea
Mother Teresa
Duklja
Split
BAM
Salaria
Han

Contact me here for your answer and winners get one-week unlimited access to Magisto! Valid until June 15, 2016 🙂

(Update as of June 5: I’ve been receiving messages this quiz is just too difficult to get perfectly right. So for those who get at least 50% of the list, you get a free ebook entitled The Opportunity Analysis Canvas by James Green, valued at 4.99 USD! My biggest thanks to Gumroad for sponsoring this contest!)

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Congratulations to Ray and Maylyn Pang of Malaysia for getting the highest score of 17/20! The couple received an ebook copy of The Opportunity Analysis Canvas.

Thank you very much to everyone who joined this contest! 🙂

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Defining My Happiness

This post was written by my other half, R, as a response to my previous post entitled “Define Happiness“. I wish to make a follow-up on R’s post some time soon. The original post can be seen on his blog 🙂

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It has been said: no one in the whole world can ever dictate what will and can make, and makes us happy. The secret to happiness does not exist—it lies within. Eloquently said and even if I tried I wouldn’t be able to phrase it better because it’s perfect. Short, concise, powerfully motivating and I for one am definitely a believer of such a phenomenon.

When he sees her, he sometimes trembles for he does not want to disappoint her, anger her and more importantly be the catalyst for a stressful day. It’s only just hit midday and on most days as his day ends, hers hasn’t slowed down from the time they both started.

What’s a boy got to do?

“How can I help?”

“Everything ok?”

“Have you eaten?”

“Can I give you a quick hug and a kiss?”

She works hard long hours, far harder and longer than he does. Thus he can’t be mindless, not wanting to disrupt her perfect flow and finesse, like the flames of a perfect solar flare. She makes it look like art and though challenging, it’s never too hectic or boring as he knows she enjoys every bit of it and nothing brings more light into his dark world than freely witnessing this passion that most can only imagine.

He doesn’t know how to express it, through words, language or even actions. Yet all he wants to say is: You make my day, every day because you are you and I am me. It’s beautiful chemistry, sometimes mysterious or makes no sense yet incomplete without the other. Hand in hand, side by side, sometimes ahead yet not far behind.

It’s dinner time.

“Let’s pray!”

She listens to her body and so does he—exact opposites they are, yet satisfied no less than the other. The dry sweet textures melt in her mouth as he stuffs his face. It’s that time and moment when nothing else matters except the bond between them: truth, honesty, devotion and love are the foundations that no amount of hindrance could ever tear down.

No matter how the days, weeks and months race by, there is certain harmony in this chaotic world that’s forbearing and compassionate, no matter how zombie-like it feels. When they have their will, there will always be their way. Nothing makes him happier knowing she’s content with her happiness completing the whole picture.

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How I choose to spend my every day. Happiness ^^ ~ Reilentless

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Surviving an LDR

*This article was featured on Rappler on Jan. 15, 2016 🙂

I’ve been on a long-distance relationship (LDR) with R for over a year before he moved to the Philippines to be with me. We’ve had our shares of ups and downs, from him upgrading his phone plan to make more international calls and me learning to be more techie, to us fighting over small things because we are just so tired and can’t be bothered talking on Skype.

An LDR at the beginning of our relationship has definitely worked for us with the lessons I’ve highlighted below:

  • We learned to be more patient because we understand that we can’t have everything we want right here, right now.
  • We learned to make more compromises.
  •  We got to build our relationship on trust, commitment and connections, rather than on physical things. For example, when we need encouragement, we can’t simply expect the other to give a hug so we are able to define what we feel in words. When we are frustrated, we can’t simply walk away for we have to talk over things to make things better. At the end of the day though, it’s all about the choices we make.
  • We learned to sustain a relationship while not having to compromise our time with family and friends. Best of both worlds!
  • We learned to be more creative. More on that later.

Now let’s go with the many ways we used to survive an LDR:

  • Connect via all channels available: Skype, Viber, Whatsapp, Email. Our favorite which truly is a hidden gem, is Lovebyte! We totally love this app as it allows us to share privately encoded messages, list down our goals and lessons learned, and highlight our relationship milestones. The app truly personalizes the whole sharing experience.
  • Here is Lovebyte’s official video to give you a better overview of the app:
Lovebyte

Lovebyte: every couple’s must-have!

  • Celebrate milestones together. Even together or apart, make time for each other on those special occasions. No one’s too busy unless we say we are– “busy” is not an acceptable word in any relationship, whether that is within and with others.

    anniversary

    No excuse to miss anniversaries!

  • Celebrate every day. Every day is what brings us to milestones. Oh, and every day is a milestone too!

    work

    Both on our way to work

  • Do random acts of sweetness. R sent me this message on Viber instead of the usual “Good morning”.

    viber

    Viber doodles

  • Spend weekends together when you can. It is always the least busy, at least work-wise, part of the week so give each other some time to enjoy each other’s company.

    cowboy saturday

    An impromptu Cowboy Saturday

  • Surprise each other! R sent me a framed embellishment for my wall, which originally was just a simple grid photo I sent him on Viber.

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    A Viber photo now on my wall

  • Reunite when you can! All hard work, patience and sacrifices are always rewarded in the end. Now, the Slurpee Couple is not just a Viber photo or a wall embellishment.

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    Together at last!

I am definitely happy with how things turned out and this just proves that distance and time differences will never be hindrances to making a relationship work. They say LDR is not for everyone. I agree with this, but when you put in the equation someone who does not put in the effort, who does not love you back, and who puts in games over talking to you on Skype– being with a person not meant for you is definitely not for everyone. I hope no one tries to fit in this kind of situation because it will never be a happy ride.

Life is short and is meant to be spent with people who really care about you. Say “no” to situations where your life, sanity and whole being are to be put on the line. Respect and love yourself for by doing so you can expect others do the same for you 🙂

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An Ode to 23

Though we are far apart
I know time will tell it’s not enough
That life is more than a tick, a wink, a space
That no one can help be amazed
That is, if we open our eyes
To the world, in all its splendor and glory
The light can turn to gray
If the eyes choose to believe this way
Yesterday seems so near
The future, so far
And the now? No, nothing
I’ve forgotten all about it now
But how is life without the now
When all it breathes and lives for
Is carried at this time, hour, day, somehow?
How do we find what we are looking for?
Life is full of color– of red, white, blue
Hymns that beam, hips that seem
So alive and true
Every word whispers
The chorus of “I love you”
If I choose to savor
The colors in and out of my favor
I would choose to see a life
Full of ups, downs, and of the greatest wonder
Why? Because I choose to see the light
Shining, hovering, over the sadness of yesteryears
I choose to leave the night
And make sense of my past lived in fear
This is my life
I take ownership of it
Although the Powers Above direct me
It is my actions that they see
And I want to know in me
That life is truly beautiful
And I want to know in you
That you add more color to the already beautiful
Life– a world made of fools
Like you and me
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The Perks of Traveling as a Couple

While traveling alone has a beauty of its own, traveling with a significant other has its share of perks as sampled below:

Drives

Long drives move from boring to fun!

Groceries

Grocery shopping can turn into discoveries of each other’s likes and dislikes (and patience)


Fries We Love

Creativity in different flavors


Collage

Getting to share and tolerate annoying poses


Hikes

Creative shots that make your heart melt ❤

While I thoroughly enjoy traveling alone, at this stage it gives more meaning to me to be able to share the joys of experiences with the people I love and care about the most. It is not about dependency or insecurities; it is about furthering the love and beauty of life, knowing that we only live once and we never know what tomorrow may bring.

We may move at a much slower pace bringing grandma to travels; going shoe shopping with mom even if we abhor it; or avoiding spots that our partner feels uncomfortable with– but, who cares? Why go in a rush?

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And have I told you lately I love the number 23? 🙂