Sunday, February 28, 2010

Do you feel the need for speed?

Perhaps out of sheer morbid curiosity, I put "Go on a speed-date" on my 30 Before 30 List. Now that I've started doing research, I'm kinda glad I did because it's been hysterical looking at speed-dating websites! The most popular and highly recommended speed-dating service on Yelp was so I checked it out. I had a pretty good laugh browsing all the crazy speed-date themes. To name a few:

  • "Rescue Me" Fireman Singles Party (which I must admit, I'm considering after seeing some of FDNY's finest in the flesh!)
  • Cougar/Boy Toy Night (tagline: "Can't find a good man, raise one!")
  • "HUNG" Speed Dating (Do they get measured before being given a name tag? I'd like to know)
  • "Non-Practicing" Jew Night
  • "Flying Solo" Night (a.k.a. speed date a flight attendant)
  • FINANCE-ista Speed Dating (for the classic pairing of bankers and fashion industry girls)
Most of the themes truly make me cringe (particularly "Asian Persuasion Night"—the last thing I need is some dude with yellow fever). But one theme actually made a lot of sense to me: "Have Passport, Will Travel" Speed Dating. I could totally relate to the description:
Have you ever been on a date with someone who'd never left their hometown and had no aspirations to do so in the future? You on the other hand, have been all over Europe, to South Asia and are currently looking for someone to go on safari with in Tanzania. Meet your mate and potential new travel partner at this speed dating event geared towards "worldy singles".
They kinda nailed it! It's so important to me that the guy I'm dating is well-traveled and cognizant that there's a big world out there. So now I just have to work up the guts for this. It might help if I con a friend or two to join me too! Any takers?

Have you been on a speed-date? What was it like? Do tell! 

Saturday, February 27, 2010

I want to jump off this bridge

At #8 on my 30 Before 30 List, I've got bungee jump, so I've been researching on cool places to do this. I think I've found my dream location. I want to jump off this bridge:

This is the Navajo Bridge, which crosses the Colorado River's Marble Canyon in Arizona. It's the only roadway crossing of the river and the Grand Canyon for about 600 miles. This same bridge allows travelers to get to southern Utah and the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park. Since I also have "See the Grand Canyon" on my to-do list, I think it would be truly amazing if I could jump here. Bungee Expeditions does bungee jumps here a few times a year, so I'm waiting to hear back about when the next two jump dates are. The height of the bridge above the river is 470 feet (143.256 m), which pales in comparison to Macau Towers (the highest in the world at a whopping 233 m) but it's still pretty effin' high. What I really want to go there for is the view, though. Wouldn't you love to have this view while you jump?

It's $175 for the jump, and in a perfect world I'd incorporate this with my cross-country road trip plan. I would feel like a rockstar if I managed to plan this out perfectly: a cross-country road trip (#11), seeing the Grand Canyon (#9), and bungee jumping off the Navajo Bridge! Terribly exciting.

Have you bungee jumped before? Where did you do it, and tell me all about it! And do you have dream bungee jumping spots to share? 

UPDATE: I can't jump off this bridge! Weight restriction: 115 lbs. minimum. No way I can make that while I'm training for the marathon. Boo ... it sucks being a munchkin sometimes.

When Saturn Returns

When I started 30 Before 30, I knew that it wasn't exactly a novel concept. Thirty has long been a dreaded milestone, so I wasn't surprised that so many people could relate to the idea—they've either done it, are already doing the same thing, or now feel the urge to make bucket lists of their own. But what is it exactly about 30 that drives everyone into a panic?

I'm pretty sure it has to do with Saturn Returns. I still remember the first time I heard about the concept from my friend Katrina Holigores back when I was in my early 20s (oh how far, far away 30 seemed then). She told me about this astrological phase that takes place between the ages of 27-30, 58-60 and 86-88. A Saturn Returns phase refers to when Saturn makes one full revolution around the sun and "returns" to the spot it was at when you were born. It sounds innocuous but Saturn's return usually brings about a big test in your life. It is, after all, the planet that "represents our limitations, our restrictions, yet it is also our inner mentor and teacher" (thank you, Wikipedia). Upon reaching their first Saturn Returns, most people find themselves thrown into chaos. Relationships may break down, careers may be questioned, and life in general probably just seems to have you perpetually thinking, "WTF am I doing?" Saturn Returns can be a painful period because it forces you to confront the situations and people that are impeding your progress in life. But it's also a time of new beginnings, because with all the clutter removed from your life, it becomes easier to see what you really want out of life and go for it.

I used to think all this was mumbo-jumbo until I hit Saturn Returns, and sure enough, life as I knew it was upended. Saturn teaches its lessons by making harsh realities very evident, and that's exactly what happened to me. I was forced to stop harboring illusions and see things for what they really are. And that, while excruciating, is totally worth it in the end. I haven't quite finished with Saturn Returns yet but I am beginning to see the lessons quite clearly, and for that I'm grateful. That's why I'm trying my darndest to seize control of my life with this 30 Before 30 Project. I'm taking full ownership of my life, and I want it to be about maximizing triumphs and minimizing regrets.

To close, let me share this compelling quote from
If the Saturn Return teaches us anything, it's that we should never give away the authority in our lives. Saturn reminds us that time is indeed ticking; that it's now or never if we want to accomplish anything in this world.
And so, here I am in full on, now or never mode.

If you want to find out more about Saturn Returns, click here.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Going Green

Out of all the things I've written in my list so far, nothing has struck me with more fear than what I just put down:

#24: Give the vegetarian thing a shot for one month.

Skydiving, swimming with whale sharks, bungee jumping ... none of that scares me as much as the thought of giving up meat for 31 days. I'm freakin' hyperventilating here. What in god's name possessed me to write that down?! ME, the person who waxes poetically over steak, bone marrow and foie gras on a near daily basis. What have I done?

But I've always wondered what going veg would be like, if I could hack it, if I might actually like it ... so what the hell, just give it a shot right? Gotta try everything at least once. So here goes ... one month with nothing but these babies ...

Incidentally, I'm starting the 30-Day Bikram Yoga Challenge on March 1 so I'm hoping that all that yoga will complement this slightly mad attempt at going vegetarian. Maybe it'll make me feel like eating healthy stuff anyway. Or at least I hope so, for the sake of everyone who has to interact with me on a regular basis. I only see two things coming out of this experiment: either I turn into this completely Zen chick or one raging B!TCH.

Stay tuned.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Motherland's Calling ...

As you know, I'm in the process of building up my 30 Before 30 list, and so far it's looking like a lengthy trip to the Motherland will be necessary. Filipino friends have been reminding me of some very cool things that I have yet to do in the Philippines, and I'm not letting 30 come without gettin'er done!

One thing that I already had on the list is swimming with whale sharks in Donsol, Sorsogon. It's always been a dream of mine to swim with these majestic creatures. The whale sharks, known to locals as butanding, migrate to the waters surrounding Donsol to feed on plankton between the months of November and June, with numbers peaking between March and May. In case that picture there hasn't driven the point home that these are some massive creatures, here's a stat: the largest whale shark ever measured was an impressive 12.65 meters in length and over 21 tonnes in weight! Tourists flock to Donsol every season to leap into the waters from chartered fishing boats and get up close and personal with these gentle giants. Next year I intend on being on one of those boats! You can read up on Donsol here.

Since a plane ticket from JFK to the Philippines costs a pretty penny, I thought it would probably be best to add the Philippine adventure trips that I've put off for way too long to my bucket list. Upon the suggestion of my friend, Mitch, who I fondly dub Ms. Philippine Tourism, I've decided to beef up my list with these two adventures:

- Spelunking in Sagada.
- Trekking to the crater of Mount Pinatubo.

Sagada has been a dream destination of mine since my college days, but I kept putting it off because it is entails a loooong and rather uncomfortable drive from Manila. But I've heard many wonderful stories about all the wonderful things to see: the lush mountains, gorgeous waterfalls, fascinating hanging coffins, and of course the spectacular Sumaguing Cave. (I should also mention the Sagada gold, but I won't. Whoops, just did!) There are over 60 caves underneath Sagada so it must be an amazing place to go to for caving and spelunking. But from the pictures, it seems like spelunking in Sumaguing Cave alone is worth the crazy-long drive. The stalactite and stalagmite formations are supposedly pretty fantastic. More information, including rates for guided tours, can be found here. And you must see this guy's truly breathtaking pictures of Sagada. If that doesn't make you want to pack up your bags and go, I don't know what will! 

Finally, I think it's high time I trekked to the crater of Mount Pinatubo. I still remember when this volcano erupted back in 1991. I was on vacation in Hong Kong with my family and ended up getting stranded there because Metro Manila had gotten coated in ashes from the one of the largest volcano eruptions in history. Almost 20 years later, Mount Pinatubo has become a popular tourist spot, with trekking tours to the crater, swimming in the lake and hot springs, and even a volcanic ash spa! It seems to be an easy day trip from Manila, which makes it all the more plausible for me. Tons of pictures and info on trekking Mount Pinatubo here. The amazing picture above taken by this incredibly talented fellow has got me jonesing to go NOW.

So yeah, I'm pretty excited about these new additions to the list! Do you find yourself suddenly wanting to go on a Philippine adventure?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

I joined the lottery


I had lunch with my marathon enthusiast friend Mike today, who has completed the ING Marathon twice and done a number of marathons and races around the world. He convinced me that if I really want to run a marathon, then I have to go for the big one! So I applied for the lottery, and we'll see by the end of next month if the running gods will smile upon my little project. I'll still be looking into other marathons around the country just in case ...

In the meantime, Mike is helping me set up a running program. This is gonna be a lot more intense than I realized! He says I should work my way up slowly to the marathon in the next few months. First of all, I need to commit to running 5 to 6 times a week. And then I need to join a 5K race, 10K race and a half marathon to slowly build up to the marathon. Good god. Oh well, that's the point of this whole exercise right? It's supposed to be a challenge! I'll start training for the marathon in April because I've already set aside March for another physical exercise ... the 30-Day Bikram Yoga Challenge!

God-willing I'll be doing the phenomenal stretch on First Avenue on November 7, 2010 ...

Please pray and cross your fingers for me!

Bungee Jumping Inspiration from Alicia

I was listening to some 90s-era Aerosmith earlier this evening, and as I was lustily belting out the chorus of "Cryin'", I started getting flashbacks of scenes from the epic video. MTV still showed music videos back in 1994 so I watched this a gazillion times. I was at the impressionable age of 13 then, and I'm pretty sure it's the reason why the bad girl in me kicks in every so often. Must be where the nagging yearning for a belly piercing and tattoo during my early 20s came from, and I blame it for the still present jonesing to bungee jump.

Presence of the law and flipping off the nasty ex, optional.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

30 Things to do Before I Turn 30

Today I had something of an epiphany. I was sitting in a daze while waiting for my Bikram Yoga class to begin, and I started thinking about all these things I'd always wanted to do but for some reason hadn't gotten to just yet. Take skydiving, for instance, which I've been dying to do since my friend Tisha jumped off a plane in Long Island back in 2006. Or swimming with whale sharks, which was on my to-do list even when I was still living in the Philippines. Somehow, all these plans got lost in the shuffle while I concentrated on ... well, life.

It hit me. What exactly am I waiting for? Let's face it, I'm not getting any younger. In fact, 29 is just around the corner ... which makes 30 just a little over a year away! *dum dum dum duuuuum* I am thisclose to becoming a bonafide adult, and the allowance for effing around is getting slimmer by the day. If now's not the time to do everything I've always wanted to do, then when's the right time exactly?

So I decided that I'm gonna make up a bucket list of sorts that I intend to finish before May 21, 2011—"30 Things to Do Before I Turn 30." I will chronicle this project on this blog because shame is great motivator to not fail or flake out midway. That said, I realize that I have to be realistic with my goals because there are constraints to my little project (i.e. I am not made of money and I have a day job that I'd very much love to keep). But it has to be meaty enough to actually keep me (and ye readers) intersted. I envision a list comprised of trips I've been putting off, challenges I've been procrastinating on, skills I've been waiting to acquire, roadblocks I need to overcome, and plain old amazing things that I've never even thought about doing before.

I've hit one wall, so far. I've only gotten my list up to 13:
  1. Swim with the whale sharks in Donsol, Philippines.
  2. Party at carnaval in Brazil.
  3. Dance my ass off in Ibiza.
  4. Run a marathon.
  5. Skydive.
  6. Master preparing a gourmet, fancy-schmancy 5-course meal 
  7. Learn how to surf.
  8. Bungee jump.
  9. Do the 30-Day Bikram Yoga challenge.
  10. Go on a cross-country road trip.
  11. Eat the worm in the mezcal. In Mexico.
  12. Record a song. I don't care if the one line I sing gets synthesized to the point of sounding like a pre-op. I just want to one day be able to say, "Hey, that's MY song!"   
  13. Learn how to pole dance. Before any family members hyperventilate, let me clarify that I intend to learn in a class and do it recreationally—no "on the job" training here.
I fully intend on begging/conning/stalking friends into helping me tick items off my list. Marathon runners, surfers, adventurers, chefs, DJs, people with spare couches in distant locales, and those infected with severe wanderlust, I am talking to YOU.

I am also hoping to hear some very interesting suggestions on what else to add to the list. See, I've only gotten up to 13 and as badly as I suck at Math, I do know that's a long way from 30. I need help.

Finally, I would love it if you'd join me in my madness and come up with your own lists—25 before 25, 35 after 35, 11 before 2011, whatever floats your boat. I would love to hear from you. I hope that with this little project, we'll inspire each other to stop putting things off and seize the day.

And so it begins!

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