I got my first passport a few months ago, and for the first time ever, I had the opportunity to travel outside of the United States [insert cliché airplane emoji here]. A few good friends and I hit the road air, and headed to the Philippines and Australia for a little less than two weeks. Keep in mind, prior to this experience, the idea of a 2.5 hour plane ride made me cringe; try 17 hours one way, with a cumulative of ~50 hours round trip. You can see a quick overview of my itinerary below.

Oh, also, this is my first blog post ever. I’ve been drilling myself to be less lazy and create more, so we’ll see how this Summer plays out. For now, let’s cheers to the fact that I made it home in one piece from my first trip abroad, and that I broke the lazy cycle to give you a glimpse at my 13-day journey.

Itinerary Overview

  • New York
  • Layover in Tokyo
  • Manila, Philippines
  • Cebu, Philippines
  • Sydney
  • Manila, Philippines
  • Layover in Tokyo
  • New York

Departure From JFK

It all began with a seemingly endless line for international departures, a tiny bit of travel anxiety, and the incessant “oh my god did I turn off the stove” thought (which is very likely since I don’t cook). Fast forwarding past the sub-par airport food and the embarrassment of failed airport flat lays, the flight wasn’t bad at all; the first leg of the flight actually flew by (no pun intended), and the view was crazy – especially over Alaska.

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Anchors Up: Pandanon Island, Philippines

After landing in Manila and staying a night, we headed to Cebu and spent our first morning cutting through waves on an all-day boat rental. Note: The Philippine’s heat is real, and by real I mean not reapplying SPF 50+ every hour will leave you fried up and shriveled on the shore. Lucky for me, my pale skin acted as a reflector, so I didn’t have to worry about the sun getting the best of me.

Our boat anchored at Pandanon Island – a tiny getaway off of Bohol, Philippines – where we disembarked with an over-abundance of food, and headed to one of its many tiny huts (pictured below), and ate lunch. The scalding sand and stray dogs kept us off our feet, but the food made it all worth while. After eating we hopped back on the boat, and anchored off-shore, where we all took a plunge into the crystal-clear water and swam until our rental timed out.

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I didn’t get a chance to take too many pictures on my boating adventure (largely due to the fact that my camera and the ocean don’t get along too well), but here are a few snaps that I was able to get before I headed back to shore.

Beachside Coconut Sippin'

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When we got back to Cebu, we loaded up our car, headed to Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort, and spent the rest of our day poolside. The next morning we stuffed our faces with an extremely decadent buffet breakfast, then headed to the beach where we sipped coconuts by the water before jet skiing around the resort.

Australia bound. Please keep your seatbelt fastened.

Hour One In Australia: Feenin' For Brunch

After landing in Manila and staying a night, we headed to Cebu and spent our first morning cutting through waves on an all-day boat rental. Note: The Philippine’s heat is real, and by real I mean not reapplying SPF 50+ every hour will leave you fried up and shriveled on the shore. Lucky for me, my pale skin acted as a reflector, so I didn’t have to worry about the sun getting the best of me.

Our boat anchored at Pandanon Island – a tiny getaway off of Bohol, Philippines – where we disembarked with an over-abundance of food, and headed to one of its many tiny huts (pictured below), and ate lunch. The scalding sand and stray dogs kept us off our feet, but the food made it all worth while. After eating we hopped back on the boat, and anchored off-shore, where we all took a plunge into the crystal-clear water and swam until our rental timed out.

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food

coffee

Out + About Bondi Beach

Aside from the food, my favorite experience in Sydney was definitely the Bondi to Bronte coastal walk. The views were unreal, but also mildly terrifying. Climbing rocks that overlook a 75-foot drop into rough waters isn’t exactly the most secure feeling in the world. We walked from Bondi Beach to Tamarama Beach, then took an Uber to Bondi Junction before heading back to Town Hall.

Slightly Overcaffeinated (But Not Complaining)

Being abroad, my need for coffee was at an all-time high, mainly due to a perpetual time shift from flying between so many time zones. As I mentioned earlier, drinking iced coffee (my usual go-to) in Australia isn’t typically the norm, but thankfully, standalone coffee shops had us covered. While we were in Sydney, we hit up two extremely cute standalone coffee shops – Reuben Hills and Brewtown Newtown – both of which won my heart in different ways.

Reuben Hills

This modern cafe probably had the coolest interior of any cafe I’ve ever been to. Walk down an alleyway, enter a garage door, and feast your eyes on exposed brick, neon lights, plenty of trendy baristas, and huge plants that contrast the industrial-esque space. Brunch here was great, and the cold brew wasn’t too shabby (as a side note, getting cold coffee abroad isn’t the bestidea unless it’s a cultural norm wherever you’re visiting – stick to what the locals are having and you’ll be happy).

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Brewtown Newtown

This cafe took on a more rustic-industrial vibe; exposed brick and rusted steel beams are contrasted with geometric tables and wooden accents. My favorite part of this cafe was definitely their pastries; trying to make a decision on what I wanted was practically impossible because everything looked so good. Again, the cold brew was pretty good, but I would have definitely preferred going for something hot.

And that’s a wrap! Most of my trip was spent making memories myself rather than capturing them digitally, and overall it was one of the best experiences I could have asked for. This trip has really opened my eyes to a world outside the United States, and I definitely plan on traveling more because of it.