Hiking in Anchorage, Alaska

Vacations are the best, especially if you’re going to a dream destination. In the beginning, travel was always to get away from the laborious daily routine for my hubby and I. When it was over, it was sadly over and back to the grind it was. Not very inspiring.

I can imagine it’s this way for many folks out there. You quickly get a chance to go away, relax a bit, have some fun, and then it’s over as rapidly as it started. And then it’s back home to the familiar chaos and you can’t wait to escape again.

The Turnaround Point

It wasn’t until we went to one of our Bucket List destinations, Bora Bora in May 2016, that we began to feel differently about the purpose of travel. Bora Bora is indeed a magical place and it put a spell on us. (Read More about Bora Bora)

Since then, we continue to learn and grow with travel experiences around the world that inspires us to improve our quality home life. I believe we are beginning to experience what’s called Transformational Travel.

Walking to our Overwater Bungalow, Bora Bora


Transformational Travel is any kind of travel that has a meaningful, lasting impact in your life beyond the vacation itself. Think of the movie Eat, Pray, Love starring Julia Roberts whose character is completely transformed after her trip to Italy, Bali, and India. If you’re looking for self-discovery and want to challenge yourself to be a better you, travel with engagement and purpose> like a H.E.R.O. According to The Transformational Travel Council that means:

H | Traveling with HEART — Courage, love, humility, compassion, and empathy for self and others

• E | Seeking ENGAGEMENT with and in the people, places, cultures, and experiences

• R | Having the RESOLVE to work through the challenges that every journey provides 

• O | Leaving your heart, mind, and soul OPEN to the unknown within every journey

We’re nowhere close to Julia Robert’s character in achieving that level of enlightenment yet, but I believe we’re a step in the right direction to self-improvements and exploring the joyful aspirations we’ve been hiding deep within us.

Our Life goals began to change as each of these buried dream ambitions surfaced. We had only serious professional goals when I was formerly a Financial Advisor. Although I found gratification in the grueling profession, I felt there was something seriously missing.

I found I was only focused on professional growth and not nurturing my personal facets enough. A deep fear of mine is keeping myself from self-progression. I used to quantify that by only achieving professional success. But what about the Spiritual, Mental, and Physical growth that makes someone whole?

I began to think, “Why do I travel?”

I started to incorporate more challenging activities into our travels that we can learn from. The result was life changing because of our newfound perspectives, enlightenment, skills, and meaningful connections with new friends from all around the world.

Facing My Fears in Bora Bora

I’m not the best swimmer, I’m more of a floater. So the idea of swimming in the vast oceans always frightened me as well as the predatory inhabitants. But deep down, I am fascinated with the water world and curious to explore it.

Something happened to me after we snorkeled and swam with many large grey and black tip sharks in Bora Bora. I felt both courage and stupidity simultaneously, but was fascinated by how the locals just freely interacted with these fearsome predators.

After I saw a few brave locals underwater grab onto the live shark fins to glide with it, my hubby wanted to do the same and he did! The huge grey shark took a complete nose dive to shake him off. His ears hurt afterwards due to the pressure, but he said it was awesome!

I could see for miles on end under the warm and atmospheric blue waters. I also admired the colorful coral reefs that existed all around the island. It was unlike anything I have seen in the bare Caribbean where over tourism has taken its toll.

I would have missed the beautiful underwater sights if I let my fear takeover, but the risk was calculated seeing a bunch of other tourists in the water and it also helped that I was in safe hands with the local tour guides that knew what they were doing.

I loved this experience so much, it inspired me to get my scuba diving certification soon after returning home. This was something I never thought I’d get because I feared the high risk and dangers that can happen with the sport.

I hated getting my certification by the way. The equipment and lingo was completely foreign to me. The classroom training was easy but setting up the gear and wearing it was uncomfortable at first, and I had issues using all of it properly.

In Hawaii, I thought I was going to quit in the middle of an open water course when I panicked under water and quickly surfaced. I totally freaked out, but the PADI instructors were right by my side and supported me through it.

I was so relieved when I got through the final stages of the open water requirements. More importantly, I was proud of myself for not quitting the process because I wasn’t good at it in the beginning.

My fear of the water-world has been conquered. Since then, we’ve dived in some amazing places….Hawaii, Florida, Bequia, Grenada, and Malta! We’ve seen stunning visions of all sorts of sea life. The Earth is made of over 70% water. I am so grateful for Bora Bora that I now have a whole new world of Oceana to explore!

A quick Vid of Diving in Malta, amazing experience!

I didn’t realize this at the time, but it was only the beginning of our pursuit to accomplish our life dreams. In July that same year, we went to France and Italy where more inspirational moments followed us home. See where I was inspired to play the piano and take French lessons, 2 life long dreams of mine, in Part 2 of this Post. My hubby found his passion for cooking in Europe!

Since I conquered one fear, it did not stop there. I realized a lot of my fears and self-doubt prevented me from achieving some of my life dreams. I thought I was too old to take piano lessons and learn foreign languages. It’s always been my dream to speak 6 of them, my Grandma speaks 5 fluently! I can speak 2.5 so far: English, Vietnamese, and Spanglish, ha! I studied Spanish through grade school and college. It’s helped me out a lot in jobs and travel. Now I am taking up French, oui oui! I also aspire to play some of the most beautiful piano music in the world and have those tunes heard from my own hands.

Dreams do not have to be impossibly grand and pie in the sky in nature. They can be small wins that inspire you to want to achieve greater things.

I finally found my Zen under water. Coral Gardens in Bequia

This concludes Part 1 of the Transformational Travel series. Continue to Part 2: Overcome FEAR.

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