Preventing Lost Luggage

There are plenty of nuisances while traveling.  Just recently I experienced a brain-fart delay of 2.5 hours.  Why? Malaysia Airlines has a culture of being late.  On top of that, I was late again coming back to Thailand.

If we talk about other annoyances, lost luggage could be the absolute worse one.  Sitting here typing this and still sweating from the problem I had 11 years ago with Southwest Airlines torments me in my dreams.  Well, not really….I got my luggage back after five days.

Now, how can you prevent the silliest things from happening? Can I say fly Emirates from New York to Los Angeles? Absolutely not…because Emirates doesn’t fly domestically in America.  It’s all about doing research on the airline.  Southwest Airlines apparently is the most notorious for lost luggage with a whopping 400,000 complaints having been filed in the last calendar year.  Which is the best domestic Airline in America? Apparently United.  UNITED! Is it worth the risk? Nah, I won’t be evil.

Personally, I can go on with stories, but out of all the years I’ve flown, my luggage, going from Las Vegas to Phoenix, was lost for five days.  Apparently it went to Chicago.  That feeling of being at the conveyor belt and it suddenly stopping…I knew I was in it, and not to win it, either.

Since that happened, every time I go to the conveyor belt, I sway from side-to-side biting my knuckles.  Shame on you, Southwest!  Flying internationally and losing your luggage along the way could be the worst feeling ever, but it’s never happened to me before.  So, let me just give you some simple steps.

  1. DON’T FLY! Ship it!

I’m kidding.

2. Identification for your bag! Yes, it could be a microchip or just filling out the basic information in the side panel of your luggage.  For example, I bought a wonderful bag tag and strapped it up to my luggage with my name, email address, and international phone number.  If my luggage disappears, they just have to email me and that’s the end of it.  Look how easy THAT IS!

3.  Double-check the check-in counter.  That’s right, I wait until they print my ticket to see if it has the correct arrival destination acronym on it.  If I’m going to Thailand, I better see BKK.  Since doing this, I never lost my luggage again and I’ve never even seen a misprint.  Please, it doesn’t hurt to look on the belt and see her strap it on…securely.

Podcast if you want the audio version and the funny stories…….

https://www.spreaker.com/user/thearseniobuckshow/prevent-lost-luggage

 

4. Take photos! It’s not that difficult.  When you’re done packing, take a photo of the size, width, and everything dimensional about the luggage so you can send them an email of what it looks like.

5.  Get a FREAKISHLY ugly color.  No one gives a damn about what color suitcase you have; and if they do, it’s none of your damn business – quite frankly.  I have……an off brown Bonny luggage and a gorgeous chocolate brown with lime green stripes type of luggage for my dispersion.  Yes, they’re way different from the standard and ridiculous black one you see coming out one-by-one.  Get a “viva Las Vegas” luggage.  Hell, I recently saw a shocking yellow – National Geographic one.  Stand out from the rest so no one dares to put hands on yours.

6. Check-in right when the gate opens and avoid short layovers.  These hilarious stories are on my podcast….so tune in, damnit!

Get ready for handful of blogs and podcasts coming soon from my Maldives trip!

Vacation: Malaysia Airlines, Sheraton Hotel, Spartan Race & Amazing People All Around!

What a trip!

I can’t emphasize enough that doing my podcast recently on self-control helped me out tremendously upon flying here to KL.

2.5 Hour Delay!

Honestly, there was absolutely nothing I can do about it.  Who knows what the story was (although someone said something about a plane being in a hanger somewhere at KLIA1 at Kuala Lumpur International Airport).  2.5 hours camping out at the gate after security – was brutal….but I was able to finish a good amount of blogs and communicate with folks.

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More Delays!

Once we arrived, it seemed as if the biggest cruiseline in the world docked at the airport and unloaded all their passengers to clear customs and immigration.  45 minutes in the line with people from I-Dont-Know-What-Country looking at me and making comments about me in their language.  YAWN! At the same time, I was nervous about someone taking my luggage, given the fact it had been sitting there 45 minutes.  Nonetheless, I had to be one of the very first of my flight to get through the extensive lines before rushing to the conveyor belt – only to find that my luggage WAS STILL THERE! *Hands to the sky*

Sheraton Hotel = True 5 Star Hotel

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The check-in, service, elevators, unbelievable breakfast buffet, stunning food, state-of-the-art facilities, wonderful steam room, comfortable bed, desk in the room, tub, shower, meticulous room service, shoe shine service…..not sure if I should keep going? Sheraton was exceptional.  I have to say that checking in and having them hold a crazy deposit on your debit/credit before charging you a full amount after is extremely excessive.  There has to be another way around it.

Uber and the MegaMall

This was my first time ever taking an Uber, and man, what a success! He picked me up right at the train station and took me to my destination in a hurry.  The second Uber was even better because he was very attentive and interested in my life, just as the reception at the Spa/Massage on the 5th floor was (minus the pushy-trying-to-sell-you-stuff method). Uber is the next wave of getting around, and it’s much safer, especially in a country like Thailand because taxi drivers have the worst rep of them all.

Mid-Valley MegaMall had tons of shops; however, I had to take a train and walk for 25 minutes to get there.  Oh, I should’ve taken an Uber. LOL.

The Spartan Super – the good, the bad, the ugly, the ‘COMMON, MAN!’

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The Good

Met the most wonderful muslim who had the hazel(est) of eyes that I have ever seen.  OMG! She was awesome….later, met a a cluster of Malaysians from all types of backgrounds who were just incredibly personable and charismatic.  Also, met a South African who I had a wonderful pleasure of talking to at KL Sentral before going in different directions (and who also did the race).  Ahhh…just wonderful.  Nexus International School is WONDERFUL! Perhaps a new place for employment in the future? The students there were splendid in both the English Language and in regards to their personalities.  Doors are wide open for a relocation!

The Bad

Stood outside for 1.5 hours to get into the venue.  That was a complete discombobulation on Spartan Malaysia’s side, given the fact they held registration in a very confined area.  YIKES! Starting heats were backlogged up to an hour.

The Ugly

The comradery and cooperation I’ve seen at other Tough Mudder events worldwide just wasn’t there.  It was difficult getting through the race when you had only yourself and others just minding their own business.

The ‘Common, man!”

Water, water, water! By the time the afternoon rolled around, the water supply was diminishing like crazy.  This apparently was a problem the last time the event was held in the same location.  Yes, I understand it’s a lot, but you have months to prepare a good amount of water that needed to be used for all spartans post-race.

Oh, can I mention the cooperation again? Come on, man! Honestly, indigenous Malaysians didn’t have a problem, but I do have to state the obvious whereas Chinese Malaysians, Chinese Singaporeans, or mainland Chinese (the most obvious) people just stay within their own circles.  Like NO ONE matters but only them.  I just don’t understand the “Chinese” culture, but perhaps someone can help me understand….because I’m at a loss of words with that.  However, I know the Spartan Spring that’s approaching in Thailand is going to be comical beyond belief.  These people will trample each other. LOL!!

Achieved!

Focusing on the grand of achievements, what a difficult race! Carrying a bucket of rocks 600meters and sandbags over your shoulders before trekking into a gorge was unbelievably strenuous – and I thought it was a bit over-the-top.  Hey, I get it, it’s a competition, but being a competitive event and borderline insanity should have a very fine line in between. In summary, this was the most brutal event I’ve ever endured in my lifetime. It was only 13km! I know what parts of my body I should work on going forward when the absolute BEAST comes up on October 8th.  I’m still contemplating doing it, though.  If I do, I’m going to allow myself two days rest and leave on a Tuesday rather than a Monday.  Carrying luggage after having a vicious deep-tissue massage AFTER the most difficult race in my life is a NO F*** NO!

And now, as I write this blog at the airport, I’m deeply saddened for leaving KL.  That same feeling I had when I left wondrous Bali – heading back to doomsday.  It’s hard, but opportunities are still there in Thailand.  When opportunities run dry, I’m heading for the hills – the luscious green hills of Malaysia.

Follow me…..

FB: The Arsenio Buck Show

Twitter: Arsenio Buck Show

Instagram: The Arsenio Buck Show

And if you’re interested in listening rather than reading, http://www.spreaker.com/user/thearseniobuckshow

Podcast: https://www.spreaker.com/episode/12301589

Podcast: https://www.spreaker.com/episode/12311173

Podcast: https://www.spreaker.com/episode/12314079

How To Be More Interesting (Men & Women)

When I came back from Australia, I had NOTHING in common with anyone in Las Vegas. Yes, that mass of desert with a population shy of two million – all of whom never travel abroad.  I remember I was at a bar and this girl ranted, “America is the greatest country in the world!”  After hearing such lunacy, especially after living in gorgeous Melbourne and Sydney, Australia, I was appalled by that comment.  Both her and I not only had ZERO things in common, but someone else named Steven agreed with her, too.  Oh, who’s Steven? My blood brother.

And with that being said, some of the most awkward conversations came when I spoke with Las Vegans because they seriously believe the world revolves around America.  Everyone seemed uninteresting to me because in American society, you get seven days paid vacation every year.  OUCH! No wonder why they don’t know where Denmark is! Not taking shots at Americans, but some of them have mindsets such as what I see here in Thailand.

Anyways, what’s the first thing you can do to become a more interesting character?

TRAVEL!

I’m not saying save 3k$ a travel to Japan for a week.  No, no, and no.  You have the Central Americas and literally South America in your neck of the woods.  I’m not saying go transpacific or transatlantic.  Get your feet wet by checking out what’s next door before going to the other side of town.  This will increase your ability to create conversations with strangers, let alone you’ll be able to add things to conversations, too.

Expand Your Knowledge 

The more you know, the more attractive you become.  No, I’m not talking about the ‘circle of concern’ such as monotonous politics and controversial topics such as religion and Trump; I’m talking about what are you reading.  What are you doing with your life and more importantly…what are you feeding your mind? Are you working at your local grocer or are you an entrepreneur in and Asian country, teaching while managing your own website, podcast, and writing a book? See, what looks sexier?

Improving Your Personality

You are who your five closest friends are.  If you’re not happy about who you are or what you represent, it’s time to do something about your circle.  How can you go about improving your personality? Well, the world is your oyster.  Napoleon Hill said you knew a man who picked out different qualities and attributes from Abraham Lincoln and four other prominent figures at the dusk of the 1800’s.  He would go onto visualize being that person.  And you know what? It happened.  Who’s personality do you admire the most? Start figuring out what they do with their lives in terms of daily routines and adopt a system that’s suitable for you!

More on my podcast: https://www.spreaker.com/episode/12139019

Life Begins At The End of Your Comfort Zone

Track & Field in high school

Those 200m, 300m, and 400m intervals that made me feel faint, dizzy, legs burning, and wanting to throw up after practice everyday were grueling.  As an athlete, these days, including heels and bleachers, are the days we dread.  The days I used to dread.  However, little did I know it was preparing me for getting out of my comfort zone.  This type of maniacal training after school on weekdays prepared us for the track meets, which we performed at such a high level.  If you look at any of the greatest athletes around the world, their working out regimen would make you hurt while watching it.  Usain Bolt’s regimen was unbelievable and often had him regurgitating practically everyday.  This is called “stepping out of that comfortability zone.”

Moved to Australia

I wish I can get back the lost time I had in Australia.  This was the most discomforting I’ve ever been because I was trying to be someone I wasn’t.  Because I have such a wonderful personality (haha), it was hard for me to acclimate in a society where not many people smile.  Is it because I was living in the CBD of Melbourne? Possibly, a blend of Chinese, Mauritian and French cultures is extremely difficult, which brings a mixture of personalities together that are completely different, but it also revolved around my physical environments.  My work places (dental offices) were tragically terrible (longest story ever) and my living situation was appalling to say the LEAST.  When I hauled over to Sydney for the remainder of the 9 months on my visa, it got probably a tad better, but I have to say I was uncomfortable the entire time.  On the other hand, this prepared me for Thailand.  Wonderful ol’ Thailand whereas if I didn’t live in a foreign country before Thailand, I would’ve given up quickly because of the animosity dished out towards me.  I’m glad Australia prepared me for the madness within these borders.

Thailand boosted my uncomfortability to unspeakable heights. 

If you want to become successful, you’re going to have to put yourself in a very uncomfortable situation.  Am I talking moving to Asia as an African American or moving to South America as a Caucasian? No.  Do the thing you’re afraid to do. Period.

Living here in Thailand is basically living in a ball of hate for me.  The ignorance I receive on a daily basis is jaw dropping and that’s me being honest.  The rewards on the other side, however, is blissful.  It’s freedom.  The story I’ve created being here has inspired the masses around the world.  I’m saying to you today that life doesn’t begin until you test yourself in deep waters.  It’s like jumping into the deep-end, which I did when I was young, and almost drowned.  Yes, my pseudo-cousin said I wouldn’t die, but I got really close to dying; thus why peer pressure was never a problem for me.  When you’re way in over your head, the light will be above you.  You may not notice it, but through all the thick-and-thin, problems, transgressions, and a variety of other things that will come forth….just know that those are questions that will be answered by you.  Only you can go through this.  No one else can.

I’m grateful for everything I’ve experienced in my life because it prepared me for where I am today.

Podcast: https://www.spreaker.com/episode/11822230

Mongolia – The Unspoken Country

As I turned right heading out of the elevator during my lunch break, I wanted to check the geolocation of my podcast listeners, which always throws me off seeing who tunes in.

Topped at number 3 on the chart, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.

*Jaw Dropped*

You’ve got to be kidding me!

I ran into my class where one of my students were preparing for an IELTS examination – completely elated and ecstatic beyond comprehension….SHOUTING AWAY!

This country, which has always been an infatuation within me, is now listening to my podcast.  PEOPLE IN MONGOLIA are now listening to my podcast.

This is a country whereas their average winter low temperatures plummet to an unspeakable -40 C.

A country that’s so remarkably rich in culture; a culture preserved since the Genghis Khan era.

These are the types of unknown territories which our parents, from a very young age, would tell us NOT to go to.  I remember sitting at a brunch table at Jerry’s Nugget during brunch in May of 09, breaking the news about buying a ticket to Australia and my brother erupted in furious anger, “WHY THE HELL ARE YOU GOING TO AUSTRALIA?!”

At the time I didn’t know why, but then realize there was something outside the borders of America calling my name.  It was freedom.

Mongolia, being one of the most remote and not-talked about countries on the globe, is my ultimate destination.  If I can make visitable a word (as it’s not showing up with the red dotted lines beneath it – so perhaps it is), May-August (maybe even just June and July) are the only months I could practically visit.  Snow falls at the end of September!

Another sign was listening to a 7 minute recording about the rich, cultural nature of Mongolians singing in front of a fire while teaching one of my students.  This is almost unheard of around the world….countries preserving such unique cultures such as Mongolia.

The same itch of wanting to travel to Mongolia came at the hands of the second worst earthquake in the history of Japan back in the mid-1990’s.  17 years later, I visited Japan.  I had a Singaporean friend 7 years ago and developed that itch of traveling there….5 years later – BOOM!

Now, this would be the biggest accomplishment in the history of my family if I can get to the capitol of Ulaanbaatar and get the visa stamp (although I don’t speak to my family); also, the message it could send to all African Americans worldwide who think small.  I love experiences, and the more I have, the greater and more inspiring the story becomes.

It’s time.

Reward Your Inner Child

People have forgotten about laughter being one of the greatest elixirs on the planet.  When you laugh, not only does it help your abs (for my fitness enthusiasts), but releases endorphins and feel-good brain chemicals.

Will Smith, who’s a remarkable and iconic figure (not just a movie star), has sent shockwaves across the planet with his interview just before New Years (somewhere in England).  His 30 minute talk inspired thousands upon thousands here in Thailand and someone even translated his entire speech  into Thai.

Children absolutely love to laugh.  Children love to play around and they certainly don’t care about criticism of others.

However, you know that childlike ego does what all children do – it whines, begs for attention, craves hugs, and acts out when it doesn’t get what its needs met.  As we go through life, it’s almost as if we have that 3-year-old child holding on to us and constantly asking “why are we sitting at this desk? Why aren’t we having more fun? Why am I still up at three in the morning? Why am I reading this boring report?

If you had a 3-year-old ing eat life, yo might say, “Mommy has to finish this proposal in the next twenty minutes.  But after Mommy’s done, we’ll go for an ice cream or play a video game.”  Your real-life 3-year-old would probably answer, “Okay; I’ll be good because I know i’m going to get something good at the end of it.” – Jack Canfield.

I rewarded my inner child recently when I traveled to Singapore, Tokyo, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Sedona, Los Angeles, Seoul, Singapore, and back to Bangkok.  My inner child, at some point, needs to know that I’ll be taking a break or a vacation.  My inner child right now knows that I’m going to Fiji in August.  My inner child knows that I’m always in high spirits in the morning when I do deadlifts.

A big part of creating more success in your life is rewarding yourself when you succeed. In reality, rewarding yourself for your successes keeps your inner child happy, right? If you don’t, you begin to get grumpy at everything.  after a while, it knows it can trust you and eventually deliver on your promises.  If you don’t, just like a real child, it will start to sabotage your efforts by doing things like getting sick, having accidents, or making mistakes that cost you anything and everything in life.

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!

Travel Is Finished – My Review of Singapore Airlines, LA, Mesa & Sedona, Arizona.

Ahhhh, this American trip has come to an end.  The great thing about this is it’s not like my past life where I had to force myself to go from Australia….back to America and feel miserable.  No.  Times have changed.  I’m literally going back with two big projects on my hand and loads of other opportunities.  This is one of the biggest stepping stones for me because I don’t feel a bit of sadness whatsoever.  What I took away the most from this trip was just being around Americans.  Hearing the “hello” and “thank you” was literally music to my ears.  Time to cover some of the highlights of this trip.

Singapore Airlines Regressing?

Other than my last flight from Tokyo to Los Angeles, it seems like service on Singapore Airlines is slowly regressing….or maybe they’re just getting on the level of every other airline in the world.  From the crazy angry flight attendants on my first flight from BKK-SIN, to the disappearing act and “male nodders” (asked him a question and he kept shaking his head up and down without saying a word) on the second flight.  Going forward, I might still take Singapore to the neighboring countries of ASEAN, but I’d much rather check out Qantas, Fiji Airways and a couple of others.  I will say that I don’t have problems with the passengers, though.  That seems to be the biggest problem with flying on particular airlines.

No Japanese Food On Flights

My first day on American soil was the worst. EVER.  Having got the worst food poisoning of my life, I was literally by the toilet for the first 8 hours of the day at my friend’s home in Beverly Hills.  What a disaster! The next day I was beyond weak trying to make my way through LAX, but upon landing at Sky Harbour International Airport and devouring some Chipotle, I was ready.  Not necessarily ready for Tough Mudder, but ready.

Get Out & Life = Movies of the Year!

Get Out was just simply amazing and never, from a vantage point, has there been a character in a movie who’s actually an “audience response” character.  Just remarkable all around.  Ending could’ve been better.

Life makes you think just how dangerous it could be to find life.  Here I am thrilled knowing NASA finds habitual planets throughout the universe yearly (which almost seems like monthly); however, now I’m very apprehensive.  Stunning movie and depressing as hell to say the very least.

Tough Mudder

I didn’t work out for the last four days, no pre-workout….just oatmeal and motivational videos on YouTube before my Tough Mudder.  The first mile was all jitters, but when you meet another samaritan on the course….boy! Does it go FAST! Especially if they’re gorgeous German women.  That was an awesome experience that left me sore as hell….in a good way.

Sedona, Arizona = Not The Same

Sure, a lot of you would much rather travel to Sedona in wintry weather (as I did the first time), but this time was different.  The vibe was off.  I wasn’t that excited and it probably revolves around not making prior arrangements.  DOH!

On top of that, we almost got extorted for a half a grand, but we did manage to climb a wondrous mountain and meet wholehearted people along the way.  Massive shout out to the Italian (family owned) pizza parlour heading outside the town.  Best pizza I’ve ever had in my life.

The Takeaway

The people.  Man, oh man….I’ve missed Americans.  I’ve missed strangers smiling, talking, and the use of basic social etiquette.  Yeah, you might think I’m crazy, but now you have a thorough idea of life in Thailand.  Also, there weren’t any dirty looks (except Globe, which is my friend’s hometown) which are very apparent in Thailand. I think this trip in general has made me become a much more grateful being in general.  Knowing that there are lots of people, including in my native country, who don’t care about skin color.  That’s one of the most wonderful feelings ever.  Going back to Thailand now….I’m just going to completely ignore the nonsense.  The white is better than black endless conversations and playing victimhood.  No more chemical reactions.  I now know my true self-worth, and man, is it amazing!

Podcast: https://www.spreaker.com/episode/11616909

Travel: Sedona, Arizona + Timeshare Warning

First and foremost, do not travel anywhere without booking a hotel – period.

Now that I’ve emphasized that, I have to tell you that Sedona, Arizona is a highly sought after destination for everyone around the world.  I heard people speaking Korean, Japanese, and heard a few Aussie and Kiwi accents throughout the day yesterday.

This is the ultimate travel destination for those crazy enthusiasts who love hiking/trekking and even the uber rock climbers.  The paved “pinkish” sidewalks, the rocks that match them, the red rocks looking over the town, the unbelievable smiles and super delicious food (not even mentioning the best weather I’ve been in the last four years) all makes for an unforgettable trip.

The Wonderful

There are bars and places placed conveniently throughout Sedona and these places have the most delicious cuisine that’s perfectly seasoned, wonderful drinks that aren’t oversaturated with alcohol, and wonderful service (for the most part) that you can’t get anywhere else.  Sedona Hotel, which we stayed at by a narrow margin (worse case was the Holiday Inn which was a staggering $229 USD a night), was right in the epicenter of it all.  This place was $150 bucks walking-in and had a heater in the restroom (speaking a restroom, don’t say “toilet” to Americans…they’ll think you’re crazy), gorgeous flat-screen TV, and ultra-comfomty beds.

Devil’s Bridge

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Folks standing by waiting to get their picture taken from someone across the gorge. 

This is a trail a highly recommend for everyone.  What’s really convenient about this trail is you can take a buggie, ATV, or any type of quad (some of them looking like the ones in the first Jurassic Park movie), through the dirt road instead of walking.  The trail itself takes about 20 minutes to go up and another 20 back down.  For those of you who have bad knees, I wouldn’t recommend it because the last 10 minutes is a bit steep and involves high-stepping galore.

Anyways, the views are unbelievably spectacular.  The people who actually go up it are openly friendly.  I, and a few other people, initiated conversations so easily.  The kids of parents were blown away and in awe when they got to the top.  It was a feely of pure serenity….especially hearing the wind blow through the trees that were a bit higher up (wish I had gone up more).

The Ugly – Beware of Information Centers 

So, my friend and I walked into an ex-KFC place that had a bunch of travel brochures and things to do.  There were two representatives there and I asked one about places to hike.  He went from talking about places to hike, to talking about helicopter rides while throwing in odd questions throughout the conversation which my friend and I didn’t pick up so easily.  He said he was willing to offer a place to stay for $40 dollars a night, plus a helicopter ticket for $100 dollars (although it’s unknown if it was total or per person).  We needed to use a credit card instead of debit red flag and always remember that.  He asked us about what we did for work yellow flag, and salaries per year red flag.  We had to sign a contract whereas we had to deposit $220 dollars orange flag for a “gift” purchase.   Um……what’s the f’ing gift?

“Ask for the DVD when you get to the resort.”

Ummm…..why? Orange flag.

The helicopter ride was in the evening barely can see the mountains = a dumb flag, and we had to do a 1.5 hour tour of a timeshare the next day biggest red flag ever.  So, there were hidden fees just about everywhere, people.  It was suppose to be a total of $360, but he never said it with his own words.  The figures just weren’t adding up.  After thoroughly looking through the “contract” (after my friend’s card denied the entire transaction which was a gift), there was an additional $100 gift.  So that would’ve amounted to a staggering $320 deposit (with $100 of it non-refundable) and he never said “this is $140 total”….therefore, my bet was it was $140 per person.

The entire cost would’ve been $600 dollars (although he said $360 dollars initially).

This is the ugly nature of going into tourist spots.  In Thailand, you have to ask for the price before you get on a moped taxi, tuk-tuk (three wheel trolley essentially), and a few other things.  If they give an outrageous price, don’t haggle him.  Simply walk away because what they’ll do is drop the price before asking for the original price again when you’re on it.  These things happens quite often in Thailand because there’s no regulation or laws.

Conversely, seeing it happen in my own neck of the woods is disheartening and seeing how places like this still operate is quite unacceptable. So, I wanted to warn everyone.  A place that has these things on the window are no-go grounds.

  • Helicopter Rides
  • Anything that emphasizes “free”
  • Free place to stay
  • ANYTHING FREE!

If it’s a small shop and doesn’t say anything on the window, boom!  If it’s a place that says “clean restrooms,” that’s the niche for luring in people.  I EXPECT YOU TO HAVE CLEAN RESTROOMS! Duh!

To close this timeshare out, I heard the women next to us get very adamant and say, “no, I’m going to stop you right there. We don’t want this and we’re going to walk out.” They stayed to pay cash for a dirt bike ride.  When I heard that, I knew something was bad.

So that’s the rundown, people.  Beware of scam artists and companies like this because once you’re in and sign a contract, the damage is done and the months long process and angry phone calls with your credit card companies will ensue.

Nonetheless, this was a magnificent trip.  LOL

Honorable Mention – Bose

Bose in America has the best customer service on the planet.  My earmuffs were having some wear n’ tear, and while I was falling asleep, my friend said, “is that the place where Bose is?” I quickly woke up and saw that there was a Bose store and had her make a U-Turn immediately.  I walked in and told showed them my headphones.  He said, “you can pop them right off and put new ones on for $35 dollars!”  I didn’t have a warranty, but he simply fixed my earmuffs in less than 3 minutes and I went on with my day.  This saved me a massive $350 for some new ones.  BOOM!

Podcast if you want to hear more about what happened during the trip:)

Podcast: https://www.spreaker.com/episode/11609707

Tough Mudder – Tempe, Arizona

I’ve done Melbourne, Australia (the worst mudder because it was the first with massively massive hills) 2 years ago; Bali, Indonesia last year (extremely rough terrain, but absolutely gorgeous); and now Tempe, AZ in the USA.  I got 2.5 tough mudders under my belt, and I was hoping to get my 3x mudder headband, but unfortunately I didn’t do the full.

Nonetheless, here’s a rundown and a few photos of what the dry, deserted-desert area looked like that hand endless dust-devils and other things scattered across the drylands.

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DUST DEVIL!

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Vendors

To have the likes of Jamba Juice there, Mexican food, delicious hamburgers and other things made it the best out of all three mudders I’ve done so far.  Having protein and even a merchandise tent that sold endless apparel and necessities was just amazing compared to what I’ve seen in the past.

The Course

Now, having ran in Australia already, I was a little bit aware of the dry heat.  However, there’s no way you can possibly acclimate to the inhalation of sand.  By the time the race was over, I was wheezing.  Positive: zero hills and running on pretty stable terrain compared to Bali made the course decent.

Comradery

Ahhhh, I went from being alone and bored the first 1.25 miles, to barrelling through the course and being pushed by someone who asked me, “how you doing, man?” We teamed up and started talking about life overseas and our personal trials and tribulations that vaunted our workout status to unshakable heights.  It’s incredible sharing stories with strangers and seeing miles just drop, drop, DROP OFF.  By the time we can across the obstacles where assistance was actually needed, we had met some wonderfully beautiful German beauties (the Pink Team) whereas the course got much funner.  One girl even claimed that she hadn’t worked out since February…..here I am hyperventilating because of my 5 day hiatus.  That’s the beauty of Tough Mudder; let alone Americans.  The forming of an alliance amongst strangers and putting 100% trust into them makes this an obstacle course to remember.

Going Forward

I have a Spartan Race coming up in Singapore next month, perhaps one sometime during the American summer months that will be in Kuala Lumpur, one in Thailand (AROO!) and perhaps a Tough Mudder to top off the year.  Enjoy the pictures and even my podcast down below!

Podcast: https://www.spreaker.com/episode/11587764

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Donating The Shoes

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