Global Warming by Singapore’s Super Tree Grove

Our recent travel adventures took us to Singapore! A city known for it’s cleanliness, passion for sustainability and of course, the Super Tree Grove at the Gardens by the Bay. Although Singapore was beautiful and I could spend weeks exploring it, I was a little disappointed by it’s hypocrisy when it comes to protecting the environment.

Yes, the Gardens by the Bay are an amazing green initiative that uses waste from the city and turns it into energy to power the entire park. Then there’s the tap water, that is cleaned using reverse osmosis which turns sewage into safe drinking water. It’s absolutely genius and the epitome of zero-waste.

Although on a grand scale, Singapore is doing a lot when it comes to sustainability, they don’t focus enough on changing the habits of their people or businesses. Example: When you arrive extra early for your flight at the Changi airport because you want to see why it’s considered the world’s best airport, you may run into a cool wall displaying information about Singapore and local customs…

One of these is the “correct way to drink kopi (traditional Singaporean coffee) where they tell you to do as the locals do and order it in a plastic bag and drink it with a plastic straw. Facepalming did not suffice, I wanted to headtable when I read this…

During my visit to Singapore, I got to meet up with an old friend who I hadn’t seen for years. I told her all about my new zero-waste lifestyle and vegan diet, telling her how amazing it is that Singapore is doing so much to promote sustainability. She smiled and nodded but even she agreed that unfortunately, Singapore focuses too much on the details instead of the big picture.

Visiting the Gardens by the Bay was one of the highlights of my trip. But I was immediately disappointed by what I saw happening in the park. Restaurants, fast food places and other vendors selling food and items unnecessarily wrapped in plastic with no biodegradable or re-usable alternatives. I’m shocked at the slap in the face that these places are to all the efforts made to create this environmentally-friendly place.

Once I get the chance and find the right people to contact, I will issue a complaint to the Gardens of the Bay. They put so much effort into educating visitors and making a step forward but then you can’t even eat there without creating waste.

  • Is it really that hard to at least use paper instead of plastic?
  • Or how about creating a deposit system for nice re-usable containers to eat from?
  • Perhaps with a logo of the place, that can be bought as a souvenir or returned after use? If they can do this with beer cups at festivals in Europe, why not do it at a place that literally exists to promote sustainability and ways to save the planet?

Okay, rant over. Here’s one of the videos that you can watch at the Super Tree Grove about global warming and how we can still prevent the destruction of our beloved Earth.

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10 Signs That You Travel Too Much

This year I’ve been lucky enough to travel. A lot. I spent New Year’s Eve in Seoul during a long layover after visiting the USA already anticipating my trip to the Philippines and Indonesia for Chinese New Year. Between working full time and working on my blog and YouTube channel, I was excited to have some time between the constant flights.

During this free time, I also did what I do best, which is booking more trips… specifically to Taiwan and Singapore for two long upcoming weekends. On my way to work one day I got a frantic call from my husband. The Shanghai metro was crowded as usual and all I could make out were the words ‘Harbin’, ‘weekend’, ‘cheap flight’ and with a sigh, I said what I always say no matter our financial, physical or mental situation: “buy it now!”

While I was beyond excited about all these trips, I couldn’t help but feel exhausted. I even found myself complaining about travel time and airport security – cue the #firstworldproblems hashtags. A friend of mine listened to my complaints and pointed out that travel is worth all the inconveniences. This made me feel bad for complaining despite being lucky enough to be able to explore the world!

This experience inspired a fun list that I’m sure all frequent travelers can relate to at one point or another.  You know you travel too much when…

1. You confuse your travel dates with destinations.

“Are we going to Singapore on our first long weekend of the year?” I ask my husband for the third time in one week.

“Let me check after I book the hostel for Harbin, I keep getting the dates Taiwan and Singapore mixed up…” he responds. *Sigh* Typical…

2. You insist on getting stamps on specific pages.

Valuable passport space is limited when every country thinks that their stamp looks best on its own in the middle of a fresh page. Don’t airport employees know the panic of flipping through your passport to see if you can squeeze that new visa in?

“Please stamp page 20, sir. Yes, the one with all the other stamps on it. Thank you!”

3. Your phone automatically connects to the Airport WiFi.

When you’re travelling through Asia (or anywhere else in the world) there are always several airports notorious for layovers. Saving $100 on a flight is worth two hours in Hong Kong or Kuala Lumpur, especially since you already have the WiFi set up from the last time. So grateful for ‘connect automatically’.

4. You know how to pack your carry-on for a smooth & quick security check.

“Would you look at the travel noobs?” I ask my husband as the couple in front of us is getting re-scanned for leaving their laptop in their suitcase.

“I know, right?” he says with our lithium batteries in one hand and his boarding pass in the other. “Can you take the liquids baggie out once a tray is available?”

5. You don’t have time to unpack your suitcase between trips.

When you return from the brisk -25°C of Harbin and fly to tropical Manila three days later, believe it or not, but there are plenty of things that can stay in your suitcase. It’s not like you have time to unpack and repack… plus you’re used to living out of a suitcase anyway!

6. You have multiple currencies in your wallet.

No need to yell at the vending machine for spitting out your coin for the third time. Look at it carefully. After all, PHP can be easily confused with RMB not to mention Japanese Yen. I somehow always have a dollar in my wallet, even if it’s been years since a trip to the US.

7. You have to stop yourself from babbling incessantly about your trips.

We get it, you’re well-traveled. You don’t need to make an anecdote about the sushi you ate in Japan. No one wants to hear you comparing Vietnam to Cambodia and then concluding that Laos was actually your favorite. We all know someone like that and I bite my tongue the moment I hear myself becoming them. You should too!

8. You’re already thinking about your future trip on your current one.

“Oh no, I should have waited to come here before booking accommodation. The resort is cheaper than my hard to access Airbnb, maybe I should cancel my bookings for Bali… oh, I need to remember to pack the dress I wore in Macao, it was great for hot weather… oh but what will I wear in Taiwa-”

“Or we could focus on Cebu, Olena.”

“Fine…”

9. You an expert at converting currencies.

I know that 50 Philipino Pesos are worth a $1 which is too much to pay for a 5 minute tuk-tuk ride if I’m comparing to the prices in China. But since I paid 16,000 South Korean won for an airport shuttle in Seoul I can afford to splurge 1,000 Pesos for a comfortable taxi back to the Cebu airport to make sure I don’t miss my flight to Bali via Manila. Right?

10. You complain at restaurants because the “real thing” tastes better.

I knew that eating sushi in Ginza, Tokyo would ruin me. I might no longer eat fish (6 months vegan and going strong) but if the wasabi doesn’t dissolve instantly in my low sodium soy sauce, I’m not going to be satisfied with my mango rolls… don’t even get me started on pizza in China.

Don’t believe that I travel too much? Check out my 2017 travels in 346 second clips!

Ever woken up and forgotten what country you’re in? Accidentally said “vodu, prosim” in Spain? Or weren’t sure how many hands to accept money with because you’ve read so many ‘basic manners in *blank*’ blogs that it’s all blended together? Share your story in the comment section below!

Prepare for Upcoming Vietnam Posts!

Hello everyone, long time no post! Between visiting the Avatar Mountains, spending three weeks in Vietnam and moving apartments, I have fallen behind. Now I have three weeks to put a month of traveling and experiences into YouTube videos and blog posts. Wish me luck! In the mean time, please enjoy some of my favorite photos from Vietnam. You might have seen them on my Instagram 😉

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