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I Am the Luckiest Niece in the World

Well. It was a flipping journey to get here…. Late night flight to Kuala Lumpur. Curl up in the airport lounge that I dished out $45 for, feeling desperate levels of exhaustion and willing to do anything to avoid a night on the airport floor (as the chairs had armrests… bastards!). Then a 7am flight to Clark airport in the Philippines and what I thought was a “quick shuttle” over to Manila… that turned out to be 2hrs away. Racing through Manila airport, literally running, I made it just in time to board my tiny little 78-seater aircraft for my 30min flight to Catlican. The winds were strong and the plane shook on descent. Passengers around me crossed their hands in prayer and the sweat beads rolled dramatically down their foreheads. But alas, we landed, safe and sound, in Caticlan.

Not Boracay, Caticlan.

Because that wasn’t it just yet! There was still a tricycle taxi to the ferry dock, then a rocky, wet little ferry across to the little island of Boracay. The beautiful little island with white sand beaches and shockingly turquoise water.


I pulled up to my aunt and uncle’s apartment, where they had been staying for the past month, and where I would be staying for the next week, and was BLOWN AWAY! They had a top floor penthouse with a spectacular view of the entire island from their wrap around balcony. Oh, and then there was my suite. My very own private luxury suite. A one bedroom palace with a full kitchen (which I’m proud to say I did use once on my very last day to make a delicious ravioli in butter sauce… I know, you’re all shocked), flat screen wall-mounted television with 80-some channels and a deluxe king size bed. No, I’m not joking. What a remarkable contrast to the dingy, barely sanitary room I had rented my last night in Bali. And now, on my final day here, as excited as I am about Cambodia and a change of scenery, how I will miss this high living. (And boy oh boy, publishing this now from Cambodia… wow, what a change of scenery it is!)

So the beach massages here are cheap and incredible. Worth getting a few, definitely. One every day if you can manage the 350 peso price tag… which equates to about $7 or $8. The restaurants we tried were fabulous (although it seems most drink orders take an absolute eternity to arrive). The Filipino people were helpful and amiable and everyone spoke remarkable English. Although I can’t speak for the rest of the Philippines, in a place like Boracay, they’re accustomed to heaps of tourists. One side of the island was Bulabog Beach, speckled with kite surfers out all day long (where a friend of mine spent a month doing exactly that last year). And the other side, appropriately named White Sand Beach… I know I’ve already mentioned it but the most dazzling beach I think I’ve ever seen. Any beach lovers out there – get your butts to Boracay. It’s incredible.


But with everything I’ve said, the best thing about my time here was seeing my family. Hands down.

My aunt and uncle have been living in Qatar for the last four years so I haven’t seen them in eons (although thanks to the beauty of Facebook, we’ve kept in touch). My cousin Alex, who I’ve literally grown up with (being that we are exactly one month apart in age) I don’t see often enough, although we both live in Calgary (I know, we really have no excuse), And then Aunt Sherri, who has known me since I was just a wee thing and couldn’t even tell you the last time I saw her. Words cannot describe how fantastic it was to reconnect with everyone.

And, in a paradise like that!

We ate. We drank. We talked. We laughed. We hugged. I don’t even know what we did for three days besides enjoy each others company. There’s just something about family. Sometimes, nothing beats its. When you’re halfway around the world, after the zillions of delayed flights and cold water showers and non-existent boat tickets to Gili Islands… it’s absolutely magnificent to all of a sudden find yourself in a bubble of warmth in the company of your very own. And of course, family doesn’t have to be blood (although in this case, mine was). We make our own families in life. And we can never be too thankful for all that they bring our lives.


I even got to have a somewhat technically challenging but absolutely heart warming Skype conversation with my house family back home in Calgary on little Zach’s 3rd birthday. Got to see Erica and Savannah’s smiling faces. And little Makenna and Zach blew me kisses. I have permanently stilled the image in my mind for safe keeping.


Anyway, before I sign out I want to send a special blog thank you out to my dear, sweet, generous relatives: Scot, Leslie, Sherri and of course Alex. Thanks for all the love and the unforgettable memories. It meant the world to me and added so much to my trip. Wouldn’t be the same without you.

And now it’s off to bed in my comfy cozy air-conditioning before my 4am wake up call and my final flight journey until home time. Phew. By tomorrow night, I’ll be in Cambodia.

P.S. In case anyone’s wondering, my tan is coming along quite nicely.




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I’m a traveler. I want to see the world, or at least lots of it. So far, I must say I’m on a roll. I look at it as an investment, bringing me a richer life and a greater perspective.

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