This week I’m super excited to introduce you to former AFAR co-hort, Arnette of Round the World Girl. This world traveler (19 countries in 19 months anyone?) and Instagram sensation never stops! Like my good friend Nyssa, she is looking for experiences. Sometimes that means budget. Sometimes that means luxury, Arnette doesn’t let the price tag influence her decisions she seeks out the experiences that make great stories.
Let’s meet Arnette!
When and how did you become a traveler?
I had my first passport when I was 1 when my family and I moved from the Philippines to Canada. I still have memories of exploring Hong Kong, Tokyo, and the Philippines with my parents as a child. We also took a lot of road trips up and down the coast from Canada to California. Traveling has always been a big part of my life but I really got thrust into high gear on my round the world trip.
Where do you love to travel?
I love traveling everywhere but going to Asia always feels like going “home”. I also love exploring Canada. I grew up in Vancouver but always traveled away from Canada when I lived there. Now that I am based in southern California, I love going back and experiencing the country’s different regions.
Most memorable travel moment:
While I was in Bali, a local friend invited me to his grandfather’s ngaben or cremation ceremony. After losing a few important people in my life I became quite interested in how other cultures viewed death. It was surreal watching a live cremation yet comforting to see that the Balinese Hindu were not shedding tears or mourning how we Westerners do. They believe in reincarnation so it is more of a celebration of one’s life.
What won’t you travel without?
My iPhone. I love apps and it’s handy having a camera in my pocket.
A day isn’t complete until I…
Doesn’t begin without a strong cup of coffee
A quirky daily habit of mine is…
Not really quirky but I’ve recently started to meditate in the morning. I’m learning to be still and clear my head out of “too much” at the start of my day.
Travel essential – 3 things you always travel with
2. Another camera (my Sony micro 4/3)
3. an external battery
Name one thing people would be surprised to find in your travel bag:
Eyeglasses. I am never seen in glasses unless you see me at home or in my hotel room. I wear my contacts all the time but I cannot travel without my glasses!
Perfect travel day from start to finish.
Wake up in a really comfy hotel bed. Get dressed and find a local roaster/coffee shop. Walk around and explore. Head to a museum/gallery. Find a food market or a popular lunch spot. Walk around some more and look for great photo vantages points, maybe catch a sunset.
Dinner. Cocktails at a really nice cocktail bar or craft beers at a brewery. Head back to hotel and chill out.
What are your favorite food cities? What restaurants do you go to in each?
Hong Kong for Asia Chicago in North America San Sebastian in Europe.
Yardbird, Ronin and Sunday’s Groceries in Hong Kong – my Canadian friend opened them and I can’t get enough when I’m in town.
Chicago – anything by the Boka Group Little Goat, Boka, Girl and the Goat and Chicago Distilling.
San Sebastian – tortilla at Bar Zabaleta and then pintxos all over Parte Vieja especially Bar Zeruko and A Fuego Negro.
Have you been anywhere which turned out to be totally different to how you imagined? If so, how?
I didn’t think I would like Bali that much. When I went there on my RTW trip I knew it was going to be touristy and presumed that I would go, do a bit of surfing and move onto the next destination. I did hate it the first few days. It was so touristy. Kuta is pretty awful. Luckily for me I met some really cool travelers and we went exploring. I also met some really friendly locals who showed me their Bali. Being open to new things and giving a place a chance allowed me to have some of the best experiences of my life.
What has travel taught you?
That even in the darkest days and hours, you can still find beauty in the world. And even when you can’t speak the local language, a smile goes a really long way.
Best and Worst place you’ve been to and why?
There are so many amazing places. I probably sound partial saying the Philippines since I was born there but it’s amazing. The islands are lovely and the people are so friendly.
Worst place? I like to give places second chances so even though I’ve had not the best experiences in some places, I’d like to go back and give it another go.
What’s one location on your bucket list?
I really want to travel to Iran. I have a lot of Persian friends and I’d love to explore since it’s a place that is not commonly traveled to.
Hotel: Tough. There are many hotels that I love but I’ll say that love the Sonora Resort in Canada. It’s a Relais and Chateaux property and you have to get there via helicopter. If you go out fishing, your fishing guides are marine biologists. The food is impeccable. The staff love working there and it shows.
Airline: My favorites are Cathay Pacific and Emirates. If I have to choose domestic I’ll say Horizon Air – they give you wine or craft beer for a 25-minute flight!
Airport: Hong Kong. I love Airport Express and being able to check in your bags ahead of time.
Mode of Transportation: Currently enamored with helicopters and float planes
Travel snack: Almonds. I always carry some sort of granola or energy bar in my purse too.
Travel Gear: I love the brand DSPTCH. They are a SF based brand that makes backpacks, packing cubes, and camera straps, all made in the USA.
Travel App: Google Maps
Travel Book: (I’m much more of a non-fiction person so I don’t have anything travel related)
Travel Mag: AFAR. I know I’m partial since I’m a local expert but they really do produce great content.
Travel Movie: Lost in Translation and Baraka
Song on your smartphone: Lovely Day by Bill Withers
How about you? What would you like to know about Arnette?