The Ramble of Positivity: Episode 031 – Singapore, I’m COMING!

Excited, jubilated, in harmony, bliss, serenity. Baby, I’m going to Singapore. Cathay Pacific right into the new Terminal 4 which houses that new magnificent Jewel? Oh, I’m definitely NOT complaining.

Excited, jubilated, in harmony, bliss, serenity. Baby, I’m going to Singapore. Cathay Pacific right into the new Terminal 4 which houses that new magnificent Jewel? Oh, I’m definitely NOT complaining.

Land, catch the magnificent train to my hotel, check in, and have my friend pick me up for some Malay/Singaporean food? CHECK! Friend to meet for drinks after? Aquarium on Saturday?

I’m grateful. I’m excited. This is my first “real” holiday since last August. I had Laos in November of last year, topping off the most FORGETTABLE trip of the last 10 years. Malaysia, which was just below average, continued the soar trend.

So I’m going to buck this trend by heading to my favorite country in Southeast Asia.

Heavy Breathing In The Morning

Anytime I go to the airport, I always think worse case scenario, which is probably not a good thing to entertain in terms of having a though. After getting on an always-crowded-skytrain (in the morning — rush hour), I got to the airport link, had my ticket at hand already and got to the airport.

I followed a couple of students up the escalators before finally reaching Cathay Pacific. The guy at the counter looked new, and Chinese. not that the nationality mattered, but there was a guy overseeing what he was doing and of course, he kinda didn’t know what he was doing. After 4 minutes and without any questions, I received my ticket, went through an always-easy security check, and then to passport control.

This is the place I dread because the could be nasty….however, out of all the times I ever left this country, it was one foolish, old, racist lady that put her glasses on and went through my pages before I started laughing at her bigotry. New passport and guy? 1 minute, stamp, done. EASY!

So, all the heavy breathing, again, for NOTHING.

Going into the airport…some questions may come, but last time I came, there weren’t any. If they ask (and they don’t do so often), it’s because I write something ridiculous on my paper that raises a question. So, now I’m sitting here at the airport and waiting for my departure to an ultra-efficient country!

Podcast

Stephen Covey’s Season 4 – Episode 2: The Economics of Trust

Here we go, people.  Here’s a simple formula that will enable you to take trust from a variable.  Trust affects two outcomes — speed and cost.  When trust goes down, speed will also go down and costs will go up.

When trust goes up, speed will also go up and costs will go down.

Stephen Covey talked about the historic situation that happened on September 11th, 2001.  His trust in flying in America had gone down significantly.  When he would travel before the attacks, it was very easy for him to get through airport security and home in the quick airport routine.  Now there are procedures that take a lot longer at airports.  In recent years, FAA and airport security had come under fire because apparently they were sexually molesting a lot of passengers, including children.  Since then, the reports have plummeted, but you guys get the drift.  His trust went down, speed also went down and the cost went up. 

He also had flown out of a high-risk area in the Middle East.  His trust was super low in this area and had to arrive at the airport four hours before his flight, significantly reducing the speed.  He had to go through several screenings, and his bag was unpacked and searched multiple times by multiple people.  I also saw this when a passenger flying from Dubai to New York (on the flight that apparently 100 people were sick) had the same exact problem.

Clearly, extra security measures were necessary, and in this instant I was grateful for them, but the point remains the same: Because trust was low, speed went down and cost went up.

So, how can I relate this to my life? Well, when I had first flown Southwest Airlines in August of 2006 to Arizona, I flew alongside my friend Ty.  When we took off, I was terrified and tears were running down my face because of the September 11th events. I no longer trusted Americans, flights, airports or anything after that happened.  However, as time went on, I got maybe a fraction better — but still didn’t trust them.

Fast-forwarding it to present day, I live in a hot zone where planes crash quite often (Indonesia).  My students always tell me, “Nok Air and Air Asia are cheap!”  I would say, “I don’t have a cheap life.”  Air Asia, with two inexperienced pilots, got slammed four years ago when a flight going from Jakarta to Singapore fell into the ocean.  The pilots tried climbing elevation too fast and they fell out of the sky.  Human error.

A week and a half ago, Thai Lion Air, which is based at the airport I hate just north of Bangkok, also crashed leaving Jakarta airport.  Jakarta is known for having the worst crash-safety (Russia and north Africa, too), in the world and that scared the hell out of me.

Will I ever fly Air Asia or Thai Lion Air if I go to any part of Indonesia? Absolutely NOT.

I flew Singapore Airlines 2 years ago. Why? Trust is extremely high with them and the speed is fast — however — the cost is high, too.

When the Bali bombings happened in 2003, I asked a colleague (should I go to Bali)? I was terrified of going to Bali after bombings, such as that, had happened.  I then realized my trust in Bali was low because of one event.  If that’s the case, I can NEVER go to New York!

See how silly that is?

So I went, and it was the best trip of my life.

Anytime I travel now, I take the best airlines.  Travel to HK? Cathay Pacific.  Back to America? Singapore Airlines.  As of this year, I told myself I’ll never fly Air Asia again.  The flight attendants are stupendously unprofessional and don’t care about anyone.  The last time I flew with them it was a shaking rollercoaster and a tube with F1 Race car seats inside. I can’t do it anymore.

When I fly now, I fly out of the main airport.  I don’t go to the old airport anymore in the north. Why? I don’t trust the security, check-in, staff, food, or ANYTHING there.  Sure, the speed is high and the cost is low, but without trust, I just can’t do it.

 

Podcast

Next Trip: Hong Kong & Macau! Pre-Bookings & Efficiency!

Oh, how unbelievably elated I am to announce my first ever trip to HK.  I was suppose to go there last year on a layover, but I cancelled my trip back home to America (for so many different reasons).  So, discussion ran rampant in class one day and I was trying to tell my students to list the pros and cons of going to specific countries and it went a little something like this.

First, when deciding a flight, always look at multiple sites.  I’m telling you this because I almost paid $450 USD for a flight that was jut under $300 USD on another website — a whopping 33% difference.

After searching for flights, and with along some other students at another location, it came down to the Philippines and Hong Kong for my August travel (and again, hopefully this is the last travel until October/November).  After reviewing the metrics and figuring out what Manila had to offer, of course I went with Hong Kong, a city that has so much more to offer and a ferry ride to Macau.

So, here I am on the cusp of going to Hong Kong, a country I never thought I’d go to while highlighting one of my goals on my 101 goals list (flying 5 ***** Cathay Pacific) and I’m just amazed how I’ve kept at my goals and aspirations.

Was Not Going Back Home Suppose To Happen? How The Universe Truly Works

Late October

Told my friend that I had an ominous feeling about going to America.  Without consulting her, I took the matter into my own hands and trusted my gut-feeling, cancelling the trip and throwing our 11 year relationship into disarray.

November 16th-18th

I received an email from a coordinator regarding my removal from a company where I taught.  I was completely confused by the ordeal, and my students were the one that ultimately suffered the most because of personal preferences.

Later realized that the excuses to my removal were controversial.  I began to believe that I was the epicenter of a racial attack, and then the verbal threats from my coordinator began.  It’s hard to see eye-to-eye when one is Anglo and another is African American.

November 18th – The Evening

After hearing such disgusting remarks, I didn’t look at the insults by face-value, but rather by the emergence of something so wonderful and so magnificent that was trying to make way into my life.  I applied for about 50 jobs in over 6 different countries.

Monday, November 20th – WHOA!

Ten jobs in China, one job in Honduras, another job in Costa Rica and others scattered around the planet — begging for my services.  Unsung hero came into my life the morning of Monday, asking me if I was still working at my present job. LOL! Was that a coincidence?  She told me about a very significant project she would like me to do.  Three hours later, I was given another project.  Three hours after that, around 2pm, I received an anonymous text message from someone giving me the biggest project of my life, teaching people from an embassy.

The week of the 27th…

I was offered a job and now the attachment with my present job no longer matters.  If something does arise, and it will, I can leave without any equivocations.  Just a few days later, I looked for high-rise condos in the heart of Bangkok since that is going to be my next point of living (Costa Rica job never contacted me back after emailing initially).

Today

I will be moving into my new condo the 22nd of December — marking the best present I’ve ever received in my life.  I have four new jobs who will want my services very shortly.  I got new projects, viewership, and so many other unbelievable things happening in my life.

Get this, everyone.  This all came from what? Being removed from a company because I’m African American.

Now ask yourself…….”wait, how? Another racial issue that’s about as common as seeing a bird came roaring into your life, and now you have 6 projects, a job offer, and four other suitors? How do you do it, Arsenio?”

Not only that….if I had gone to America this upcoming December, I wouldn’t have been able to move into my new condo, negating a big move to Bangkok which would’ve resulted in losing some of my projects and possibly even a job opportunity.

Breadcrumbs.

Podcast

Putting Dale Carnegie’s Book To The Test: Round 1 – Travel Dynamics

People! Welcome back to my blog and it’s going to be HAD!

I’ve been under-the-weather the past couple of days and couldn’t focus whatsoever on typing because of my constant runny nose, so I apologize for being away (somewhat).  With that being said, I had a situation that came up in regards to a couple of voice notes that could help some of you analyze worry situations.

Best Friend + End-of-The-Year Trip

As some of you may know, I’ll be hopping on a Cathay Pacific flight to head back home to Phoenix, Arizona to spend the holidays — or am I?

A troubled situation came into full-circle when I heard from my best friend that she could be in a relationship by years end.  Now, some of you are probably wondering, “how is that a situation?”  Given the fact that I’ll be staying at her house, spending Christmas and New Years with her family, and even a snowboarding trip on the horizon…..this could be a recipe for disaster.  The dynamics could be completely thrown off because someone is being added to the group; and not only do I not know what his personality is, but also the fact that he’s my best friend’s boyfriend.  So, what did I do to figure this out?

Put A Stop-Loss On Your Worry

This is the most critical when it comes to friendships.  Putting your feelings out there and calling it for how you see it.  If you don’t do this, you can let things fester which then leads to a debacle.  Get out on the table and then the “ball is on their court.”

What’s The Worse That Can Happen?

Well, if I cancel a trip that’s already book, it could possibly make the relationship regress.  Why? Well, cancelling a trip it not only offensive, but having already booked it….that means I seriously believe that something is imminent.  So, I asked myself this question and well….the worse is that her and I will not talk as often as we do now.  In the future, who knows if I ever go back to America to visit (within the next five to ten years) because she has been the only person worth saying (the story about my family is a hefty one). That’s about it though.

Also, I’ll end up going to UBUD in Bali for a getaway in a sanctuary….that’s literally the worse.  Or, I’ll go to the bustling heart of HCMC in Vietnam.  Funny how I deem those two options as the “worse case scenario.” LOL

How To Analyze And Solve Worry Problems.

What am I worrying about?

What can I do about it?

Here’s what I’m going to do about it.

When am I going to start doing it?

These techniques are GOLD! Start implementing them in your daily life!

Podcast

 

How To Book Flights & Save Money

My friend, who is now a flight attendant for Spirit Airlines, first introduced me to travelocity.com 7 years ago.

My first 2-3 flights on there I booked directly through the 3rd party site.  Sites like these are good to find general flights, but don’t book directly through them because you can lose between 200-400 USD in doing so.  I’m going to show you some tips and provide guidance in regards to booking flights.

Now, is this for budget friendly people? It could be….and so I’ll give two perspectives for a backpacking traveler and a traveler who travels based on safety first (lol).

The Example

All right, my next big trip this year will be Nadi, Fiji coming up August 3rd-9th.

The first thing I did was look on travelocity and see what they had….

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So, on Travelocity, this is $1,216 USD.  Remember, I live in Bangkok now and this flight indicates flying into Sydney first, then go to Nadi, Fiji from there.  Personally, I believe that there was a shorter route because flying from Bangkok to Sydney (almost 9 hours) and then another 4 hours to Fiji is a bit too extensive.  Maybe there was a more direct route?  Also, who wants to hang out in an airport for almost 5 and a half hours? Let alone Sydney Airport (which doesn’t have much of anything).  So, I said….hmmm, well, Singapore is the biggest hub in Southeast Asia.  Perhaps I can fly out of there?

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Boom! Price at $866, I found a flight from Singapore to Fiji with a layover in Hong Kong.  I get to fly Cathay Pacific (five star airline) then Fiji Airways (to get the Fijian experience) while going there.  However, flying about 4 hours to HK and then a 12 hour trip to Fiji is just too much for my liking.  Although it might not be good for me in terms of layovers, I found cheap flights from Bangkok to Singapore in case it worked for anyone else.

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For $138 USD, you can fly from Don Meung (just a little bit north of Bangkok and a ten minute bus ride from my condominium) to Singapore and the total price of the ticket would be just shy over $1,000 bucks.  So, you’re already saving $200 dollars just by checking out different ways of flying there.  If you’re not keen on flying from the smaller airport, fly out of the main airport for an additional 30$ dollars (minimum on TigerAsia).

Last but not least, I decided to go on Fiji Airways website (remember, the goals is to not book on third part websites, but rather find the flights before going on the main website to book) and this is what I found.

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From Singapore, I can fly for as low as 991 Singapore dollars if I plus or minus the dates, but if it’s on August 3rd, I have 1079 to pay.  What’s that in USD?

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$771 usd! That’s if I fly directly from Singapore to Nadi which would be essential and just a 8.5 hour flight.

That means if I do decide to fly Air Asia to Singapore for $138 dollars, my entire trip would cost $909 dollars – a $300 dollar difference from the original!

This is how important it is to know how to shop.  Let’s go through the steps thoroughly.

  • Shop on travelocity or some other third party flight to see what airlines go through your destination.
  • Look at different airports to fly out from.  Example, flying from LAX was cheaper than flying from SFO (San Francisco) to come back to Thailand.
  • Look at connecting flights if applicable.  Buying a cheap flight and biting the bullet is often a better way….just fly the big airline for the long-haul.
  • ALWAYS book directly through the Airlines main website.  I saw that Cathay Pacific is outrageously expensive on Travelocity, but if you book on their website, you can get RT tickets from BKK to HK (Hong Kong) for $300 dollars versus $1000 dollars on travelocity.

If you have any questions, ask away!