9 Cultural Travel Experiences You Should Not Miss On The Road

9 Cultural Travel Experiences You Should Not Miss On The Road

It's understandable that when you travel to a new place, you don’t want to skip the main attractions. At least, I am not one to miss all the touristy stuff. I don't mind being labeled a tourist, because hey, I am one! But from my days on the road, I have also gathered a list of other things I wouldn't want to miss while traveling; after I am done taking selfies in front of the city's landmarks: all the cultural experience.

Gap Year Tradition And 5 Reasons You Should Rethink It

Gap Year Tradition And 5 Reasons You Should Rethink It

Many of us have thought about it, mostly while daydreaming in our cubicles, the rest while crying in the office bathroom: we need to take a gap year! A gap year is a period to take a break from life to pursue whatever that is you want, usually, it’s right after college, but some, myself included, do it later; sometimes it involves quitting the job and traveling, while it’s not always the case.

Tarot Reading Is The Next Best Thing To Visiting A Shrink

Have you ever got a tarot reading done? My friend once said that the fortune teller is the second best thing to shrink. And it's cheaper. Although I am a frequent patron of Spellbox, which has been my version of Diagon Alley, I had never booked tarot reading session, nor had I have any interest on it as I had never been much into divination.

I preferred the future unfolds itself and surprises me -- hopefully with lots of good news. Or for me to read my own future, like when I took a crash course to master tea leaf reading.

I have been to fortune tellers before

Thrice to be exact.

First was a rune reading for a major life event which made everything worse; then, a numerology reading for an investment which gave the answer I didn't want to hear but came true anyway.

Lastly, in Singapore, I had a BaZi reading done by a Feng Shui master who couldn't speak English at all and a translator who I suspected didn't do a good job because at the end I got the vaguest answer ever. Something along the line: it will happen in the future. Ugh!

In conclusion, my past fortune telling experiences weren't exactly pleasant.

Tarot Reading Is The Next Best Thing To Visiting A Shrink

So, I am not sure why the morning after the boozy heart to heart session with my friend, I followed up on her advice and booked the tarot reading slot for the weekend. I told myself the tarot reading is a part of my new year's resolution to experience new things.

Saying that tarot wasn't a completely new thing for me. I have a tarot deck and I had my college friend read my tarot cards for me back in 2008. I remember that she consulted her tarot book to interpret the spread and was being almost correct in profiling me and my life.

Still, I wasn't fully convinced of paying a stranger to dictate the future, my future, to my face.

The night before, I googled my tarot reader.

Unfortunately, without knowing her last name, I couldn't find anything much. Only that she is a DNA healer, which was pretty rad! Then and there I decided to give this tarot reading a try. 

Tarot Reading Is The Next Best Thing To Visiting A Shrink

Next day, in the afternoon, I went into Spellbox almost an hour early, roamed around the small new age store, picked a few things (travel enhancing crystals, aura cleansing salt, and a wish-granting candle) before instructed to go up to the second floor which usually is restricted to the visitors.

I went up, walked past a small alley stacked with various tarot and oracle cards and into a small room. The room was pretty dim despite having a huge window overlooking the arcade, from where I could see people walking and going about their lives. There was a bright-haired lady wearing multiple necklaces sitting behind a roundtable.

The table was covered with a red patterned cloth. On it, there were at least three decks of cards, a notebook, and a few crystals. 

Calming, familiar, incense smell filled up the room.

We introduced ourselves. Bright pink haired lady as Sandra and I, Kal. After apologizing to each other for being late, I sat down and she asked me to shuffle the deck of cards in front of me. I nervously did while my heart started to beat a little faster.

Midway Sandra stopped me. She said she is not getting anything from me. As in she couldn't pick up my energy and asked me to keep shuffling the tarot cards while focusing on opening up myself to be mindfully there.

I continued awkwardly. A few cards kept falling off from the deck.

In the meantime, we started chatting.

She wanted to make me feel comfortable so that my energy would let her in. I guess it worked because after some time she told me to stop and pass her the cards.

She spread it on the table, asked me to ask a question and pick seven cards from the spread.

The tarot reading session

Sandra revealed a lot of things.

Some good things and some reminders of difficult things. But most were interesting things with a few goosebump moments in between.

She told me that I am a writer a few minutes after I sat down, even before I picked up the cards. I told her that it's true, I have a blog and that I actually mentioned here on the blog that I am going to ask her whether I will ever publish a book. She said yes, yes I will. Oh wow, time to start writing that book!

I liked her more when she told me that I was practically still a 'baby' after I shared my birth date and age.

At the same time, she also told me I am an old soul. That I have been born into the world multiple times. Well, it explained my obsession with Moon River, the song. Maybe it's also why I never get the cool abbreviations kids these days use. Even when I was one of them.

She said that I am will be traveling in April. I am in fact going to Bali then.

She described the bullies at work in details and told me to stand up for myself because these bullies represent the bullies I had avoided during school time, years ago. And that if I don't, they will keep revealing themselves in various life stages until I do stand up for myself.

Sandra told me that I am an observant leader and didn't flinch when I told her I want to be the president, which made me like her even more. That, great things will start to unfold itself after my next birthday and that I have a guardian angel. Someone in my family bloodline who she described really well. Someone who told her they approve of my love life. 

She also told me I would be able to retire in my 40s, which is great because it has been the plan all this while.

I also asked her whether I will ever have kids, she said yes.

She kept reminding me that I need to think and decide with my heart and trust my gut feeling and that the things I desire are just around the corner.

I need to believe to receive it.

Tarot Reading Is The Next Best Thing To Visiting A Shrink

Lastly, she advised me to connect to the earth, my element, as much possible;  and most importantly to have fun. With that, we were done. 

I thanked her and was on the brink of hugging her before I stopped myself as I wasn't sure whether it's even appropriate to hug your fortune teller.

The tarot reading, which lasted for an hour, has been the most empowering moment I have experienced lately, excluding the daily dose of support I get from Fafa. It's a time and money well spent. I beamed with presidency glow for the rest of the day.

Soon after, I managed to convince my best friend to do a tarot reading when she visits next time. And I am planning my other friends, who are visiting Melbourne this month, to Spellbox too. 

Eep... I am falling deeper into the new age rabbit role you guys!

Have you had a tarot reading done before? Would you? Subscribe to my newsletter, I will do it for you, free of charge!

Tarot Reading Is The Next Best Thing To Visiting A Shrink

Help! I Got The Japan Fever and I Want To Live There

I got back from Japan last week. And for the most part of this week, after spending 8 nights in a hotel room about the size of the bed at home, I am glad to be back. It was my fourth time in Japan, and I thought Japan finally stopped being magical for me.

This time, when I went back to Japan for the fourth time:

I Got The Japan Fever And Wish To Go Back to Japan Again

I had a bad bowl of ramen in a well-known restaurant in Ginza, wasn't happy with my sushi platter, and didn't eat my favorite Japanese snack in Japan, onigiri.

I also encountered a semi-rude waiter, really cold weather, and way too many tourists.

In Harajuku, I queued in the Harry the Hedgehog cafe line for a half hour before realizing it wasn't the famous ramen shop queue.

And the bookstore, Tatsuya, in Shinjuku didn't sell books nor stationeries. It just had Starbucks coffee.

I took a wrong train route and ended up in a rural area outside of Tokyo, took another wrong train and had to run to a tour meeting place before 7 AM, and took yet another wrong train before deciding to just simply throw the ticket away and find my own way back to the hotel.

Disney Sea was a letdown

I left by lunchtime after only spending a couple hours, and a couple hundred dollars, there.

Gasp! I know! How could I not enjoy Tokyo Disney after wanting to go there for years and years? But yeah, I didn't.

I got into an accident. I fell on the train station stairs, which of course seems inevitable as I have yet to acquire the skill of running on stairs while wearing a puffy jacket and juggling a heavy backpack and various paper bags.

To top it all I, together with 20 more people, was held hostage by American tourists for three hours in Nikko's Toshogu Shrine car park, in the cold and in the dark.

I Got The Japan Fever And Wish To Go Back to Japan Again

On my last day there, I couldn't wait to board the 11-hour plane ride back to Melbourne.

With all these issues, you might think I would be done with Japan. Hey, even I thought so. For a few days. But now, only a week after leaving Japan, I start making plans for the next trip.

I have yet to try natto and buy Nikka whiskey and corn soup from the vending machines. I want to visit Takasaki (to burn my Japanese Daruma Doll believed to grant wishes), Naoshima, Shirakawago, Nagoya, Okinawa, Manabeshima, Fukuoka, and Shikoku, to name same. I want to immerse myself in Japanese culture once again.

The good news is there is a discount flight from Melbourne to Japan, but the bad news is I don't have annual leave anymore.

This problem would easily be solved if I lived in Japan. I even picked a neighborhood in Tokyo, where I would live, Nakameguro.

For me, Japan is not a love affair, it’s more like a lifetime to be lived.

Do you have a place where you believe where your soul belongs?

I Got The Japan Fever And I Want To Live There

My Reasons To Get A New Tarot Deck

I am in the market for a new tarot deck, mainly because I want to improve my tarot reading practice. Before I decide to buy it, I listed down reasons to get yet another tarot deck. If you also want to get a new tarot deck to add to your spiritual practice, read these reasons and let me know if you can relate to it.

Tarot Deck Personality

My Reasons To Get A New Tarot Deck

I want to know whether it's true that each tarot deck is unique, with its’ own personality and strength.

So interviewed my tarot deck

I have been working with the The Everyday Witch Tarot deck for some time now. And I feel like we work better together after I did the light-hearted tarot deck interview. That’s why I want to interview and possibly work with another tarot deck.

To do a comparison. And I also want to compare the decks to learn about the similarity and difference between the images and the vibe of each deck.

Tarot Deck Connection

Lately, I haven't been connecting well with my tarot deck, which means it's harder to decipher the messages shown in the cards.

My reasons to get a new tarot deck

I had a hunch that it might also due to the moon cycle, especially during waning to new moon. The suspicion was confirmed on the Japan trip, which coincidentally is during the new moon phase and I couldn't relate to the cards as much.

I am hoping a new tarot deck, with a whole new set of personalities, might help with this predicament.

Tarot Deck Usage

The lack of connections might also be because I have been thrusting the tarot deck to do a daily three-card-spread  (the theme of the day, the to focus on and writing prompt) instead of the card-a-day routine we have had established so well in the past.

My Reasons To Get A New Tarot Deck

I also crave for variety and the possibility of combining different decks on a single reading; or using different decks for a different purpose. Maybe a specific tarot deck for personal use and another deck to be used during social gatherings.

Tarot Deck Gift

Lastly, I intend to be gifted the new tarot deck by someone who does tarot reading. To honor the myth that tarot deck needs to be given by the practitioners, as a welcome to the club sign. To be honest, I don't really believe in the myth. Case in point, I bought my first tarot deck. Still, I have always been curious about tradition and any tradition that involves gift gifting is pretty much a yes in my book.

Basically, I have my reasons, many reasons, to get a new tarot deck for my birthday.

Do you own a tarot deck?

My Reasons To Get A New Tarot Deck

Jiro Sushi The Best Sushi Restaurant In Tokyo Japan

Jiro Sushi The Best Sushi Restaurant In Tokyo Japan

Jiro sushi documentary made me fall in love with Jiro's work ethic and his passion for sushi making. I silently vowed that one day I too will eat at his place, making it onto the list shared by Obama and such, and put on my wanderlust list. That "one day" happened last April when I went t0 Jiro Sushi Japanese restaurant, though it's not at the main branch in Ginza.

Fushimi Inari The Most Iconic Shrine In Japan

Fushimi Inari The Most Iconic Shrine In Japan

If there is one shrine you shouldn't miss in Japan, it would be the Fushimi Inari Shrine. The shrine is dedicated to Inari, the god of rice. He is believed to bless his devotees with an abundant amount of wealth, success and good luck to those devoted to him. And His messenger, the Fushimi Inari fox, decorated every corner of Fushimi Inari Shrine.