Anya Resort in Tagaytay: Your home away from home

“Welcome home.” -A phrase I heard at least twice a day at Anya.

Anya Resort Tagaytay

Anya Resort Tagaytay is one of only three Small Luxury Hotels in the World in the Philippines. The service and attention to detail sets this resort apart, and personalized touches make it a worthy getaway for rest, relaxation, and pampering.

Before you arrive at Anya, you’ll receive an email asking for your preferences. This includes whether or not you’d like your bags unpacked, which scent you prefer for your room, and whether you’ll need reservations for their spa or restaurants.

Their rooms are comfortable and welcoming, with a beautifully landscaped view. I enjoyed their tea and fruit on our patio, overlooking their garden and pool. This was their junior twin suite, on an overcast day.

The heated pool is nice in cold weather, but I imagine once you get out it’s extra cold. I went for a bubble bath in their spacious bathroom instead.

Their night views were excellent, and the cold weather made for a nice evening walk. We visited the reception area bonfire and the pool.

After having breakfast, which wasn’t stunning but adequate nonetheless, we enjoyed a spa treatment at Niyama.

The level of service and attention to detail was uniform throughout the entire resort, which is a testament to the knowledgeable staff and company-wide customer service training.

Learn more or reserve your stay at

Tip: If you bring a driver who needs accommodations, a representative from Anya can arrange a room with two meals for P1,000/night. Just reply to the welcome email they send and let them know you’ll be needing it.


3 years and 12 countries: No longer a digital nomad

After 3 years and 12 countries as a remote worker, I’ve decided to stick to one or two places for the foreseeable future. It has been a wild ride, from learning to ride bikes in Japan’s bamboo forests, to flying over New Zealand’s Milford Sound (it’s a fjord), to eating my way across half the world (the street food in Korea really stands out).

Here are the places I’ve spent at least 3 days at in the last 3 years. I’ve spent at least a week in most of them and a few months or more in many. I’ve been back to my favorite cities multiple times, and hope to go back for long-term trips in the future. For now though, I’m hanging up my digital nomad days for a major change (more on that later).

  • Thailand (Bangkok)
  • Indonesia (Jakarta)
  • China (Hong Kong)
  • Philippines (Manila, Coron)
  • Taiwan (Taipei)
  • Japan (Kyoto, Tokyo, Osaka)
  • Korea (Seoul)
  • Singapore (Singapore)
  • Canada (Vancouver, Richmond)
  • USA (Seattle, Issaquah, Spokane, Portland, Eugene, Ashland, McMinnville, Newport, Redwood City ie. Bay Area)
  • Australia (Sydney)
  • New Zealand (Auckland, Queenstown)

I’ve learned some important remote work lessons along the way, such as how to stay productive and what tools to use. Most importantly, I learned how to be a good visitor and plant roots in multiple cities.

3 reasons I’m pausing my global journeys

As an over-analyzer, I’ve ruminated on many more reasons than the three below, but these are the major arguments for the “stay” camp.


This is the biggest reason. A family member got sick, and I wanted to use the flexibility my work provides to travel back and forth for treatments (our surgeon/doctor is in another country).


I’m fortunate enough to be able to choose who I work with, so I love all my clients. I believe in what they’re doing and am proud to be learning from them every step of the way (even when I’m doing strategy for them–there’s always new results to learn from).

That being said, I was recently asked about joining a client’s team full-time.

I’m still struggling with this decision, but no matter what happens in this particular case, it feels like it’s time to either grow my own services (perhaps by partnering with other professionals and starting something bigger), or joining a company full-time to immerse myself in a single brand for a period of time.

I work with long-term clients, so I understand all of their brands well, but I suspect it isn’t the same as having all my time devoted to a single focus.


The final reason I’ve decided to stay put for the time being (country undetermined) is I would like to start investing in long-term relationships and assets.

I’ve met some amazing people along the way, but many of those friendships don’t go very far with one lunch a year. I want to work on building history with my friendships, making smart investments and manage property, and I want to adopt pets!

Reminisce with me

Here are some of the posts I wrote during my travels. My months in Australia and Canada are underrepresented here not because I didn’t enjoy them, but because I had to prioritize clients over blogging during those trips.

Thanks for following along!

Travel Tips

After taking my first international plane ride at 1 year old, I’ve racked up a lifetime of travel in all different styles.

My travel experience ranges from first class and 5-star hotels that were almost uncomfortably extravagant, to economy in a rickety airplane and “hotels” that shouldn’t be allowed to call themselves that.

Here are a few tricks and tips I’ve picked up along the way.

  • Put an email address on all of your luggage tags to make it easier for any good Samaritan to find you. It also protects your privacy, since you can avoid listing your home address. I set up the account plsreturnmybag[at]
  • If you have a long stop over (10+ hours), find a lounge with refreshments and WiFi. Your back will thank you, plus you can get some work/reading done.
  • Research how you’ll connect to the Internet before you get on the plane. Otherwise, know exactly how you’ll get to your hotel beforehand.
  • Planning to travel often? Fast passes (ie. Nexus, e-pass, TSA pre-check, etc.) are worth it, sooner or later.


Ie. Frequent travelers can skip this section

  • Pack an extra outfit in your carry on. If you lose your luggage, side A/B of your undies may not be enough.
  • Bring a snack, but don’t eat too much unless there’s water available somewhere in the airport.
  • Always keep your passport and boarding pass somewhere easy to access.
  • Remember where you put your bag claim tabs! You need those stickers to get your luggage.
  • If you’re bringing a laptop in your hand-carry, place it near the top because you may need to run it through security separate.
  • Wear shoes that are easy to get on and off.
  • On long flights, figure out a hairstyle that you can sleep on that will still contain your hair so it doesn’t look like 1,000 furbees died on your head with all the static. I’m a big fan of the half side ponytail.
  • If they offer free wine, take it. Wine will put you to sleep on a plane, beer will make you pee every 15 minutes.
  • Bring a toothbrush on all flights longer than 5 hours (translates to roughly 2 meals).
  • Dress comfortably but look your best, because you never know who you will be traveling with.
  • Wear an appropriate outfit for your destination. Flying from the tropics to Canada in the winter? Dress warm.
  • Smiles are a human language. Smile at people, especially the people helping you.

A note about airports

Airports are strange things. Being in transit is a strange thing. You’re sad because you just left something and excited because you’re still going somewhere. For anyone who feels this way when you travel, get excited for the things you’re walking into, because all the stages of our lives have an entrance and an exit. You’ll be walking out of whatever you’re walking into before you know it, and just like now, it will be too soon.

Afternoon tea at the Fairmont Olympic Hotel, Seattle


If you’re feeling fancy or are in the mood for a nice cup of tea, The Georgian Restaurant at Fairmont Olympic Hotel in Seattle offers a great backdrop for afternoon tea with friends and family.

Like all afternoon tea sets, you select your tea and enjoy it with pastries, sandwiches, and sweets. This set also included a refreshing berry starter.

Attire is smart casual, and reservations are recommended. You can give them a call at (206) 621-7889.

Museums of Seoul

A quick Google search will show you that Seoul alone has dozens of beautiful, interesting museums. I’m willing to go on a month-long trip to Seoul just to explore the history that’s captured there. Unfortunately, we were only able to stop by one museum on this trip, but I list a few other museums I’d like to visit on my trip  back.

Note: Amazingly, museums in Korea don’t have an entrance fee (unless it’s a special exhibit). Most museums, palaces, and other historical sites are closed on Mondays. The museum we went to is open 7 days a week.

National Museum of Korea

The National Museum of Korea has three floors of artifacts and stories, so wear your walking shoes. There are plenty of cafes scattered throughout where you can take a break, and the museum has free WiFi for when you want to enjoy afternoon tea and reconnect with the world.

In addition to the main museum, they have a special exhibit and children’s museum. If you want to see the current exhibit in particular, I recommend going there first, or you may find yourself too exhausted after making your way through everything else.

When you’re done exploring the exhibits, head outside to the nearby Yongsan Family Park and go for a walk.

Other Museums of Seoul

Seoul has so many amazing museums I doubt I could visit them all (comfortably) in less than 2 months. When I return, here are the top 3 on my list that I’d like to visit.

  1. The War Memorial of Korea – It’s fascinating to see how different countries’ museums depict wars. I love the soberness of it all.
  2. Dongdaemun History & Culture Park – I caught a quick glimpse of this on our last night, but sadly the museums had already closed.
  3. Cheonggyecheon Museum – We took a free walking tour along the stream, where we learned a little about its history, but we ran out of time for the museum. I recommend taking a walk along the stream after your visit.

Seoraksan and a New Shabu-Shabu Experience

Seoraksan National Park is a beautiful place if you love mountain views. It has multiple hikes to choose from, but we decided on the one that included a cable car ride.

After the cable car, we climbed a few steps up the rest of the way to Gwongeumseong Fortess, where a castle used to stand. Wear shoes with good traction, because once you get to the mountain itself there are no more stairs. We visited on a dry winter day, so the ground was rough and had good grip.

After the mountain, we stopped for lunch at Chaesundang Shabu-Shabu, where they served amazing veggies and a new experience for me.

After our meal, they added rice and later an egg, then made congee! It was delicious, and everyone should do it.

Go on a hike, grab some hotpot, ask them to make porridge (jook).

Cheonggyecheon (Cheonggye Stream)


Cheonggyecheon was a natural stream that was polluted, covered up, and restored too quickly to go back to its natural process. Today, it’s a man-made stream and a lovely place to go for a walk.

We took a walking tour provided by, a great resource to anyone who is planing their trip to Seoul.

The stream itself is beautiful, the seasonal decorations are cute, but the history of the stream was the most interesting part of the day.


The stream started out as a center for people to do things like gather water, do laundry, and the like. Eventually, as the city and surrounding areas urbanized, it got so polluted that the government decided to cover it up with an elevated highway. Eventually, as the highway got older it became unsafe to travel across.

In 2003, the mayor of Seoul, Lee Myung-bak undertook a giant restoration project that was initially met with public criticism. Many said he was doing it too quickly, and the stream would go from a natural stream to a man-made one. Even today, the maintenance fees of the stream are high–the water must be pumped from the bottom of the stream back to the top to start the flow again. There’s also a section of the stream that must be restored after every flood season.

Waterfall in Cheonggyecheon

There are generators under this waterfall

Today, the stream is much-loved, and a popular place for tourists and locals alike. It’s also a popular date place, so beware of this area in the evenings if you’re PDA-averse.

A little further down from the bridge that we stopped at (with the market nearby) is a museum and palace you can explore.


Fun fact: there are rocks along the stream, which serve three purposes. 1) to slow down the water current; 2) to serve as stepping stones if you must get across; and 3) to increase oxygen levels in the water.


Our tour guide mentioned that there are plans for a series of small projects aimed at turning the stream into a natural, self-sustaining stream once again.


Old City Walls and Samcheong Park

Nearby the cafe-lined streets of Bukhon Hanok Village is Samcheong Park.

Whenever you go to a new place, it’s always a good idea to visit a museum and a park to get a glimpse into the past and present life of the place you’re visiting. Plus, parks are awesome.

Samcheong Park is a great place to go with kids, pets, or alone. They have a library/cafe, mulitple playgrounds and hikes, and an awesome place for people to work out. Most of the people who came to exercise were “ajumas” (grandmas), but I guarantee they were more capable than I was.

There’s a mountain trail that will bring you to a section of the old wall that used to surround the city.

The climb up to Bugaksan Seoul Seonggwak-ro had a lot of steps, but the view was worth it. It takes you up to a section of the wall, past tall trees through old sentinel lookouts. By the time I was out of breath, multiple older couples passed me, and we met a couple who were 70+ and did the hike every week! Putting me to shame.

From the top of the mountain, you can continue on Waryong Park, or continue on yet another hike.

It could take weeks to explore the entire place, and was an awesome find just strolling past. If you’re in Seoul, the park is a simple pleasure but a must-do for my list.

Hanging out at Incheon International Airport

As far as airports go, Incheon int’l is probably one of the best in the world. We rode Asiana, and it was smooth sailing from the time I did our mobile check-in.

Right after immigration, check out the Korea Cultural Heritage Foundation. They make a great effort to introduce the local culture to foreigners. We stopped in and painted our own personalized magnets based on traditional temple patterns called Dancheong.

They also have a ton of other free cultural experiences, like picture taking with the royal family. They rolled out right behind me as I was painting, so I’m positive my backside photobombed a few tourists’ photos.

We also spent more than $100 shopping at the Duty Free in the terminal, so I was able to enter a game, and I won the most adorable passport holder!

I recommend saving any leftover paper momey for your next trip, but if you have any coins left, you can donate them with one if many convenient boxes around. Here’s the one we chose.

Myeong-Dong Shopping Street

If you ever visit Seoul, the Myeong-Dong area is a must-see for foodies and anyone who likes skincare products. The streets are lined with shops, and at night (around 6 p.m.) the food stalls open up and it turns into a gastronomic dream. There are so many things to do, places to stay, and shows to see you could easily spend a month in this area alone and still have plenty to discover.

Where to stay

We stayed at Hotel Creto, close to the well-known Sejong Hotel (named after the Korean king who created the Korean alphabet). Shout-out to the friendly staff, who helped us get a lost phone back–and even charged it and cleaned it while it was waiting for us at the front desk!

Street food

More than one person has told me about the street food in Korea, so of course I had to check it out.

Once offices get out, colorful, interesting food can be found on the streets of Seoul. Myeong-dong and Insadong, are excellent streets for street food and shopping.

Go for dinner, enjoy the lights (Seoul is a city to see once it gets dark), and let your taste buds wander.

My favorites: Tteok-galbi meatballs, pomegranate juice, and the cheese butter baked scallops.

Warning: The snails made my niece sick. I spit them out after I took a bite.


The Myeong-Dong area has plenty of awesome restaurants to choose from. Three of my favorites were a dumpling and noodle shop, a Korean barbecue restaurant, and a local hangout with awesome kimbap (pickled radish, carrots, meat, and cucumber rolled in rice and seaweed).

Myeongdong Kyoja

Myeongdong Kyoja was established in 1966 and is still going strong until now. It’s known for knife-cut hand-made noodles, and delicious broth. I was a huge fan of their dumplings (akin to a meatier xiao long bao) and noodles. The soup was savory, flavorful, filling, and perfect in the cold weather.


We were drawn to Ouga because of three large ceramic pots outside that sparked our curiosity.

Ouga is a Korean barbecue restaurant that has delicious pork and beef dishes. I love the vegetables in Korea. Wrapping the meat in different types of leaves made a huge difference in the flavor–bigger than I expected. My favorite was the kale + beef short ribs.

Korean Style Pancake

Right in front of our hotel was a local hangout spot. I know this because as we were looking at the menu a Korean man came out for a smoke and told us it’s delicious in there.

I couldn’t get the English name, but it was just to the right of the street in front of Creto. It also had red tarp that advertised “Korean Style Pancake.”

They had amazing kimbap, bibimbap and Korean pancakes. Basically everything we ordered there was a hit, right down to the kimchi side dishes.


The norm for restaurants in Korea is one menu per table, not per person. It isn’t a tipping culture (although I’ve noticed people are grateful if you do tip, especially if they can tell you’re foreign), and if you don’t see utensils anywhere check the sides of your tables for hidden drawers. It’s also customary to have one order per person, ie. they don’t like it if three people share two orders.



Nanta is a non-verbal cooking-themed comedy show that’s right in the Myeong-dong area. We got our tickets, did a bit of shopping/eating, and then hung out in the theater cafe before the show.

I recommend seeing the show. It’s hilarious, the actors of the night were awesome, and they’re good with audience participation.

Cat Cafe

Last but not least, if you’re into animals or want to try something interesting, grab a cup of coffee at the cat cafe. I didn’t know what to expect at first, but the cafe was overflowing with cats (usually hanging out in boxes) and they were unusually calm. My favorite thing to do was hold their paws while they napped. The coffee wasn’t bad either.

My favorite one was a little cross-eyed, but that just made me like him/her more.

Nearby: Insadong


A 20 minute walk away from Myeong-dong is InsaDong, a street that has cool street food, old fashioned houses-turned-restaurants, and cute boutiques to shop at. I also found a gallery to explore. Don’t forget to explore all the side streets you can turn off into, since that’s where we found some awesome tiny cacti.

Insadong is where to go if you want Korean-made products. I found things a little more affordable than Myeong-dong, plus it’s close to the SaChoom Theater, where you can catch some cool shows.