MI, short for Maria Ingrid, is an accountant by profession and a blogger on her free time. Currently living in Doha, Qatar but hailed from Manila, Philippines. Join me as I explore and write about the places I’ve been to, the food that I’ve tried, my lifestyle, and my personal experiences and thoughts on everything that I would love to share with all of you
Travelling can be such a fulfilling experience, but it can also feel daunting or stressful. While it’s a wonderful thing to see the world, it can seem as though everything is a little bit noisy or hectic. It doesn’t have to be this way, however! There are plenty of ways to experience true peace while you travel and here are my six top tips.
Become one with nature
My first tip is all to do with the destination. If you want to experience peace and serenity while you travel, then look for places that will let you become one with nature. You could head off on a safari in Africa, volunteer at an animal sanctuary in Asia, or even set up camp in a rainforest in South America. There is something so calming about being around nature that it can refresh and revitalise you for the rest of your trip.
Head off the beaten path
One of the most stressful things about travelling can simply be the sheer number of other people around. If you head to popular tourist hotspots, then be prepared for crowds. However, if you head off the beaten path a little bit, you may find it a lot easier to experience some peace and quiet. The Secret Traveller blog at 1Cover has a whole list of destinations no one knows about, such as Puros in Namibia and Zipolite in Mexico.
If you do want to travel to somewhere that is popular with tourists, it doesn’t mean you’ll never be able to experience any peace on your trip. However, you may want to set your morning alarm a little earlier! Some of the world’s best tourist attractions are extremely busy during the day and at sunset, but practically empty at sunrise. If you want to witness an empty Rialto Bridge in Venice or take uninterrupted photos of Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro, get there for sunrise.
Pack some essentials
It’s not just about where you go or how early you wake up, you’ll always want to start your trip fully prepared. Think about the travelling scenarios that cause the most stress, such as the airport, the plane, and being in busy crowds. What can you pack to help these scenarios feel more relaxed? Perhaps a copy of your favourite book, some essential oils, a travel pillow, noise cancelling headphones, and an eye mask.
If you don’t already meditate, then it’s time to jump on the bandwagon! By learning how to meditate even the most stressful situations can feel peaceful, particularly while you’re travelling. There are plenty of apps that will teach you the ropes and take you through short guided sessions that will strengthen your ability. Start practising a couple of weeks before you head off, so you can put what you’ve learnt to good use when you need it on your travels.
Know when to take time out
Travelling is an exhilarating time, but it can also take its toll. We can often fill up our itineraries so much that there isn’t a spare minute to stop and take it all in. Make sure you leave some space in your busy travelling plans just to relax. You don’t want to get home feeling like you need some more time away, just to get over the last trip.
These six tips should help you experience more peace than stress when you’re travelling, which hopefully means you’ll be able to travel more.
Do you have any other suggestions to add to the list? Please do let me know in the comments.
Last November 30, 2018, Tep and I, together with our friends, joined a tour called the Wilderness Exploration at Umm Tais. This particular tour was hosted by Qatar Natural History Group and Richer Environment, and headed by Dr. Aspa, a Desert Ecologist.
I was supposed to write a blog about our experience during the tour, but due to a lot of videos that I took when we were there, I decided to make a short clip about it instead, which you can watch below.
Wilderness Exploration at Umm Tais | Maria Ingrid - YouTube
It was a fun and informative tour, though it entails a lot of walking. So if you are up for some adventure or you just want to do something new in Qatar, you may check this tour out. For more information, please check the FB page of Qatar Natural History Group and Richer Environment.
Fee: QAR 50/person What to bring: Water, Food (snack and lunch), Extra clothes, Swim wear, Sunblock, Hat, Towel and Aqua shoes. What to wear: Comfortable clothes and Swim wear since the water can get up to the waist level.
Seven years have passed since I gave birth to Matteo, our first born baby. Over those years, a lot of people thought that we were having issues and difficulties in getting pregnant again, but the truth is, I was not ready emotionally and I was so afraid that the same thing might happen to our next baby. Last year, I must admit that I was pressured because I felt that my time is ticking, I am on my 30s and most of my married friends already have babies, some of them even have two. Whenever I see them playing with their kids, I knew then that I wanted to have one. I remembered praying to God, telling Him to be in control of everything. If having a baby is part of His plans for us, then let it be, but if not, we will accept whatever it is that He has in store for us.
Then, just before 2017 came to its end, we received one of the greatest blessings, I am pregnant and the monthly journey towards motherhood began.
Exactly a year ago, around 9 in the morning, Tep and I were excitedly waiting as to whether the stick would give us a one or two line result. I was already delayed by a few days then and the day prior to taking the test, we were at the mall, watching a movie while munching on some nachos. Surprisingly, I did not have an appetite for the nacho chips and cheese, instead I gobbled down the salsa which satisfied my craving that time. I had a clue that I might be pregnant then, but since the symptoms of my monthly period were also showing, I didn’t take it seriously.
After a minute of waiting, ALAS, there were 2 lines, it’s POSITIVE, I am PREGNANT!
Upon knowing this, we went to a Filipino OB Gyne doctor later that afternoon. Ultrasound was done and it was confirmed that we were pregnant, but no heartbeat was detected yet because our little one was only 5 weeks old that time.
First Ultrasound at 5 weeks.
I was ready for another ultrasound because I can’t contain the surge of anxiety that my whole body was feeling then. I know I needed to be strong , but because of what happened to my first pregnancy and to my first born, the fear that something wrong might happen got the best of me.
The doctor began the ultrasound procedure, I was happy to see my little one who was about a few inches then. We also heard the heartbeat and it somewhat lessen all my worries.
Everything felt so perfect that time, but just a few days before Christmas, I experienced light spotting and this made us panicked. I had another ultrasound then and thank God, our little one was very fine. My doctor put me on bed rest for a week and I was glad that the light bleeding eventually stopped.
Christmas maternity shoot.
The start of the year was somewhat refreshing because I have a baby growing inside my belly. But it did not last long, since this was also the time that I have experienced morning sickness. I felt nauseous all the time and I was also very sensitive to smell. There were even times that just the thought of a certain food makes me vomit. I can’t remember if I have a specific food craving, but all I wanted that time was anything that is cold and sour.
Ultrasound at 12 weeks
The morning sickness still continues by this month. I was always feeling tired, hungry and I had insomnia, there were nights when I wanted to cry because I can’t sleep. At some point, my immune system probably dropped, the reason why I had sore throat and colds. My doctor gave me medicines that time, but I never took any of them because of fear that something may happen to our little one. I felt better after a few days of drinking lemon water with honey and gargling warm water with salt.
I was scheduled for a congenital anomaly scan for this month. Even though I was feeling a bit worried, I stayed positive and let God be in control of everything. My first born Matteo (now an angel in heaven), suffered from congenital heart disease, which we didn’t know until he was born.
The scan went well, I was able to see those tiny hands and feet. All of his body parts and organs were well developed, and the heart, where my doctor focused more, was pumping perfectly. As for the gender, we decided to hold it off since one of my friends planned to throw a gender reveal party, which happened a week after the scan.
We initially wanted a simple lunch for the gender reveal, but I was surprised that my friends prepared something better. There were balloons, decorations, games and they even prepared a very creative way to reveal the gender. They even put bets at QR 10 per person.
“It’s a Baby Boy. Tep and I didn’t expected it. All along we thought that it would be a baby girl because of my severe symptoms.
Another scan called echodiagram was done 3 weeks after the congenital anomaly scan. My doctor wanted to make sure that everything on my little one’s heart is perfectly developed. The result was good and that was the only time that I had a peace of mind.
After a week, my doctor required me to have the glucose screening test, which is a routine test for pregnant women to check the sugar level. I was asked to do a food and water fasting for 8 hours so they can get an accurate result. During the test, I was instructed to drink a glucose solution which tasted like a very sweet Tang orange juice. Blood was drawn 3 times and my urine was also tested. The whole procedure lasted for around 3 hours and the usual side effects of this test are fainting, feeling lightheaded, dizziness or excessive bleeding. Glad that I didn’t have any of it, in fact I was able to report to the office after the procedure.
The result came after 3 days and everything was normal.
May 1st was the day that I have been looking forward to because that was the time that I flew back to the Philippines. We decided to give birth there due to a lot of reasons and one of that was, I want my family to be by my side once I delivered our little one.
At Hamad International Airport before our flight to the Philippines.
I underwent a c-section to my first born, thus the possibility of having the same procedure was high, but my doctor in Qatar told me that I still have a 75% chance of normal delivery (they call it VBAC or Vaginal Birth after a Cesarean). We had our hopes high, that by this time, I will get to experience a normal delivery which was actually my dream (essence of being a woman? hahaha).
I discussed VBAC with my doctor in the Philippines (who was also my doctor before), and she discussed to me the pros and cons of having it. During that time, all we wanted was for our little one to be safely delivered to this world, thus the reason why we ended up choosing a scheduled CS.
The weather in the Philippines that time was so toxic for me. I just feel that I needed to be in an air conditioned room all the time. I can’t stand the heat and the humidity.
When I was on my 33rd week, I experienced light bleeding and pain on my lower abdomen. This prompted us to go to the hospital and have an ultrasound. I didn’t know that there were contractions that time and I might give birth any time. I was confined for 3 days and was put on bed rest until the end of June. I was given 2 shots of steroids as well in order to develop the lungs of our little one, just in case I gave birth that time.
Ultrasound at 33 weeks
It was the most boring time of my pregnancy. I can’t go out, I stayed on my bedroom, I was not able to attend my friend’s wedding and I can’t have my pregnancy pictorial. But I told myself that I was doing these for the safety of our little one.
Tep and I decided to schedule the c-section by the 9th of July (my Grandma’s birthday). However, during the first few days of the month, the light spotting appeared once again along with the lower abdominal pain. Again, I had the ultrasound and our little one was fine, though it was unsure whether we can reach the initial c-section date that we have chosen.
We stayed in the hospital that night, and then, around 9 in the morning the following day, our little one was born and we named him Pio Jose.
Our Pio Jose
It was a rollercoaster ride of emotions on those nine months. I remained strong and kept my sanity despite all the worries and anxieties because I have my supportive husband, family, friends and above all, God who backed me up.
I never lost hope, that is why I wanted to share my pregnancy journey to all the married couples out there who are having a hard time or afraid to get pregnant. Don’t feel pressured, don’t lose hope, have faith and put everything in God’s hands, anyway His timing is always perfect.
Are you a Mom? How was your pregnancy journey? I want to know your story.
I just want to give a shoutout to my amazing doctors, who took care of me and always assured me that everything is alright.
For many of us, a safari holiday is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. It’s not like a weekend at the beach, it’s an amazing adventure where there’s so much to see and do that’s just not possible in other places. So, if you’re going on an epic adventure like this, you’ll want to be extra organised – here’s my guide on how to prepare for a safari holiday.
Choosing your experience
The first thing is to plan what type of safari you want to go on. There are so many ways to personalise your experience, so it helps to look at what’s on offer and what you want to get out of it.
For example, certain places are better than others for particular animals, as are specific times of the year. You can also choose a walking safari, one in a boat, or even one where the guide focuses on photography to make sure you get the best shots . At the end of the day you’ll need somewhere to rest your head, whether that’s in a basic tent or a luxury villa. These are all things you can choose to create your adventure.
What to pack
When it comes to packing for a safari, there might be some things that are a little different to your usual holiday. For example, although you’ll still need sunscreen (this is very important as you’ll be outside for a lot of the day), you may also want to take a good pair of binoculars with you, as well as a camera to get those amazing pictures. Guidebooks will also enhance your trip, as you’ll be able to learn more about the animals you see.
At the same time, don’t forget to cover up to protect yourself from the elements – lightweight, long sleeves will serve you well! Pants that zip into shorts will also be useful when the weather heats up throughout the day, plus a hat to keep you cool. Hiking shoes are also recommended, but make sure you break them in before your trip to avoid blisters!
Prepare for every eventuality
Sometimes things go wrong and it can be a stress, but the more you prepare, the better! Make sure you get to the airport in plenty of time and have more than one copy of all your documents.
If you’re traveling with a group, spread your clothes out between all the bags just in case one goes missing. Have a first aid kit with you for any small injuries (although your guides will likely be able to help with these) and extra supplies of any medications you take. Be prepared for things to go wrong and be grateful when they don’t.
These are my top tips for preparing for a safari holiday – the only thing left to do is get excited! If you’re on a guided safari, your guide will know all the most likely places to find the animals, so you have the best chance of spotting them. It really will be a holiday to remember!
Do you have any of your own tips for preparing for a safari holiday? Leave them in the comments.
Capturing memories through photography has always been essential to most of us. Whether our purpose is for safekeeping, for documenting our daily lives or for sharing to our social media accounts, it is vital to have a good camera handy to keep us company to our day to day activities and one that will give us a picture-perfect result.
Few months ago, Fujifilm launched an addition to its X-series camera called the X-T100; a mirrorless digital camera with 24 Megapixel sensor, 3 way Tilt touchscreen LCD and wireless connectivity. It only weighs 448 grams and delivers a retro look, thus making it portable, sleek and stylish at the same time. This camera have loads of specifications and features, which I won’t be tackling here, but if you want to know more about it, you can check it out on this link.
Over the weekend, I was lucky enough to borrow and try X-T100 from Fujifilm Qatar. Even though I was not able to fully utilize it due to the bad weather these past few days, I was amazed with its clear and vibrant photos, lightweight feature, as well as with how easy and comfortable it is to use. Because of that, capturing memories would be so much fun and easier now with just one click of X-T100. So every time you:
Are eating at a restaurant and just wants to recommend the food that satisfied your hunger, capture it with X-T100.
Are on the road and something wonderful caught your attention, capture it with X-T100.
Are feeling pretty and wanting to take a selfie, capture it with X-T100.
Are pleased with all your recent purchases, capture it with X-T100.
Are in awe with the beauty of your city’s skyline, capture it with X-T100.
Are daydreaming and just gazing at the wonderful moonlit sky, capture it with X-T100.
Are mesmerized by the love of your life (cheesy), capture it with X-T100.
Time flies so fast and we tend to forget things over time, that is why it is always better to have something that will make us remember those fun, quirky, embarrassing and even those sad moments that we had.
Another innovative product by Fujifilm is the Instax SP-2 Printer. A great tool that can print transferred photos from your phones and cameras within 10 seconds. With its weight of 250g, it is a portable printer that you can bring anywhere you go. So after capturing those memorable photos, don’t just keep it on your hard drives. Print it.
Fujifilm’s X-T100 Camera and Instax SP-2 Printer are your perfect buddies to capture and keep those lasting memories. Have you used X-T100 and Instax SP-2? Let me know how it goes on the comment section below.
P.S.: All photos (except those with the camera and printer) used on this blog were shot using the X-T100 and did not go through any form of editing. The weather was bad during the time that I had the camera, the reason why most of the photos were either taken indoor or at night.
I would like to thank Fujifilm Qatar for letting all those present during the Pinoy Content Creators Meetup 2.0 to borrow the X-T100 camera and to use the SP-2 Printer. This Meetup was held at the Fraser Suites Westbay Doha last October 5, 2018 and was organized by Zeke of Best Life Qatar.
If you want to see more photos and videos taken during the meetup, you may check the following hashtags on Instagram: #PinoyContentCreatorsMeetup2 #TakingYouHigher #FraserSuitesWestbayDoha #FujifilmQatar #BestLifeQatar
A lot of traveller says that getting lost is one of the best ways to explore a new place. While I would have to say that this is true, but if your time to travel is limited, getting lost would only hinder you from seeing the best things a certain place could offer.
In this age and time, where technology, internet and mobile applications are readily available, it is very easy to plan your travels and make the most out of it without being lost and without the need to hire a tour operator.
Recently, I have partnered with a mobile application called GPSmyCity . It is an informative app that can help travel enthusiasts to plan for their trip, particularly in exploring various cities. For a limited time only, we will be giving away free one year subscription of the travel app priced at $18.99 to 10 lucky readers. All you have to do is read on and follow the mechanics at the end of this post.
What is GPSmyCity Travel App?
GPSmyCity is an IOS and Android application that features self-guided city walks in over 1,000 cities around the world. Each walk contains a few to over a dozen attractions in a city and is fitted with a detailed route map. The application virtually turns a mobile device into a personal tour guide, allowing travellers to explore on foot the best local attractions at their own pace. Apart from the guided walks, you can also find thousands of travel articles that can help you in effectively planning your trip.
Features and Highlights of GPSmyCity
How You Can Win One Year Subscription to GPSmyCity App?
The application can be downloaded for free from Apple Store and Google Play. With this, you can already access various travel articles and limited city walk guides. In order to have access to the full version function of the app, you must subscribe and purchase it for $ 18.99 per year.
But you can have this annual subscription for free. All you have to do is follow the mechanics of the contest below.