Traveling back "Home"

Traveling back "Home"

The long journey of traveling back home and reverse culture shock

Spending time and money on what you love to do is not a loss

It has officially been one week since Raja Ampat. I spent a stupid amount of hours for layover and delays, but well worth my dream trip. Although only 4 days of diving, it was soul satisfying to be back underwater. 

Since moving to the direction of travel diaries, I wanna write about the conversations I had with a few of the people I met. I like traveling alone especially when scuba diving because I am in control of my schedule and activities. There are days when I want to dive and there are days I want to just lay on the beach. Also, when scuba diving, divers tend to be really friendly and always have a story about diving they like to tell. 


I was inspired meeting an independent Indonesian woman with a successful (in my eyes) scuba diving "shop". She is a strong 40 year old woman living the life she intended. Diving everyday is a choice out of pure joy, not financial obligations. She saw Raja Ampat on TV, decided she wanted to go, and 9 years later still living there and running a successful business....the only thing she misses from home is her momma. She talked about how Raja Ampat in prior years had so many whales passing through, but she hasn't seen a whale this year yet. She's had to move her business a couple times, but she possess a non-attachment and ability to pick up and start over attitude that I have too. I felt a sigh of relief for my future when I met her. 

Her business partner Sandy has a similar story. He saw Raja Ampat on TV, decided to move from a landlocked city in Java to Bali to learn how to be a scuba diving instructor. He made his way to Raja Ampat and doing exactly what he wanted. 

We had a conversation about Indonesian's body structure and western body structures. Indonesian have a hard time floating, while my Dutch friend and I need 4kg weights to sink. I got a good laugh at Sandy's reenactment of trying to pass the floating test for his scuba license. 

And it's stories like these, which is the main reason for travel. Meeting Indonesians and listening to their stories breaks all the stereotypical images the media portrays.  

This is scubaThao. Once I get some super glue for all her pieces, She's going to go scuba diving with me too.

This is scubaThao. Once I get some super glue for all her pieces, She's going to go scuba diving with me too.

There's no limit to what you can achieve

When there's a pause or delay, use that time to chase one of the many other dreams you have. I am currently waiting on research permits and official letters to come around. Until then, I just booked the trip of my dreams. Going to where Nat Geo and other documentaries have filmed and I am going to experiences these places with my own eyes. Raja Ampat, here I come. 

rj di r4

beauty beyond measure

a friend who inspires me to chase my wildest dreams @raymondjakub

Why I'm in Indonesia?

Back in 2012, I did a study abroad in Singapore for one semester. Til this day, I still believe that was one of the best decisions I've ever made in my life. I took full advantage of Singapore's international airport to hop all around Southeast Asia. Unknowingly, I ended up making 3 separate trips to Indonesia.... Pulau BIntan because it was a short ferry ride away to chill on a beach with friends. Bali...because it's Bali and I got to scuba dive with manta rays. Pulau Weh in Sumatra to get my advanced open water certification.

If you haven't caught on my now.... I LOVE SCUBA DIVING. One of the greatest lesson's I learned in grad school is how to turn my passion and hobbies into research. Thanks to some incredible advisors, hours of re-writing my proposal, and a bit of luck....I'm back in Indonesia for the 5th time and this time... as a Fulbright Student Researcher. Researching the Indonesian perception about their marine protected areas. I get to do all the things I love: reading, writing, making connections and hearing people's stories, and scuba diving in some of the world's coveted underwater ecosystems. 






Phuket, Thailand 2017

The best way to spend the last day of 2017. 

Thank Goodness Square Space was invented

Research does pay off.

Looking for something in between Blogger (not pretty, but easy to start) and Wordpress (gorgeous themes, but code by yourself). 

I FOUND SQUARE SPACE. Thanks to a couple friends like & Lisa Miles for telling me about it. 

I am in love with the customization, simple design, and almost intuitive design process. 

I finally feel ready to get moving on creating content and tell you some stories about traveling in Southeast Asia, scuba diving, and living in Indonesia.... all through the lens of a Vietnamese-American living the dream she's always wanted. #manifestthelifeyouwant

Let's get it

taken in Malaysia