The Great Escape

Rediscovering life in Palawan Philippines

Archive for the category “Life”

What if you could live anywhere in the world?

Man carrying world map

Where in the World? (photo: Timothy Krause)

When we decided to move to the Philippines I joined several expat forums. I wanted to find out as much information as I could to prepare us for the challenges we could face. There are many reasons people move to other countries. Many move to the Philippines because a spouse wants to be close to family. Others move because the cost of living is lower than where they come from.

One member from a particular forum posed this question. If you had no constraints (circumstance, family ties, finances, etc.) and you were free to pick any where in the world, where would you live?

I was half way through writing this post when Paris was attacked. It was afternoon and ‘The Chef’ was playing an online game on his tablet. A player from England typed, “France just closed its borders and it can’t be good.” I asked what that meant and he said something bad must be happening in Paris. I immediately googled ‘Paris’ and there on the screen were the words ‘Paris Attacks.’ It’s hard not to think about what’s happened when I think about the question now.

Over the years I’ve dreamt about living in a little farmhouse in the countryside of France. I could imagine myself gorging on local cheese and fresh bread and washing it all down with a bottle of red. It’s a romantic notion and I laugh at how cliché it sounds but we’re just musing, right?

When I was younger, wilder, more energetic and single the city life had everything I wanted. New York City in the 80s and its gritty East Village appealed to my anti-establishment, artist sensibilities. At the time I could picture myself in some loft splattering paint on some canvas.

I once gave serious consideration to moving to Bali, Indonesia. I love their deep culture, smiling people and beautiful landscape. But after ‘the Chef’ and I visited Palawan I fell in love with Coron. Palawan is one of the most beautiful places I’ve been to. There’s something about the easy-going nature and honesty of the people that makes me feel like my true self. In Coron I feel like life is not dictated by time, fashion or trend. It suits us well.

So, if you had your choice where would you live?

Life is easy. Why do we make it so hard?

Slowly our friends and family are beginning to take notice. Back in 2012 when we started talking about moving to the Philippines we got a lot of “let’s just humour them” nods. I think most thought it was just a novel idea that would pass like a highschool crush. Now as we get ready for our next visit to Palawan we get another type of look, the slightly surprised “Oh, they’re serious” look.

I don’t blame them. It’s a pretty big lifestyle change we’re proposing. We’ll be going from Executive Chef and Designer to organic farmers. We’ve already begun to simplify our lives and shift our way of thinking.

‘The Chef’s’ cousin and wife dropped by the other day and as we talked about our ideas for the farm they told us we had to watch this TEDxTalk.

The speaker, Jon Jandai, talks about his journey from the rice fields of northeastern Thailand to the big city of Bangkok and back again to the rice fields. He talks about his hardship in the pursuit of success. What he concludes is so simple but so provocative.

It reminds me of ‘the tourist and fisherman parable’ a story about how an enterprising tourist tells a local fisherman how to improve his life (you can read the story here). The only difference is Jandai’s story is real. To watch his talk just click on the video above.

The Tree Hugger in Me

When I saw this video on the ‘time travelling‘ blog I was in awe of the pristine beauty of Palawan and fascinated by its indigenous culture. Then my heart quickly sank as the story unfolded. Read more…

What Travelling Taught Me

Bitten by the travel bug.

I recently read an article written by an expat who unexpectedly gained more than he thought he would by living in a different country. Initially his desire to move was to have a lower cost of living. What he unexpectedly gained was personal growth by assimilating into a different culture.  Read more…

RECIPE: Frozen Strawberry Squares V1.0

As promised in last week’s ‘Weekly Photo Challenge,” here is the recipe for this perfect summer dessert. Read more…

Harsh Realities of a Third World Country

Sometimes we tend to romanticize our dreams. How many people have wanted to play in a rock band, open up their own restaurant or bar or live on an island paradise? Sounds good doesn’t it? We can imagine ourselves living the dream lifestyle but seem to gloss over the hard work and realities of these dreams.  Read more…

Filipinos Love to Party

Even though I am ‘technically’ a Filipino I’ve always looked at Filipino gatherings with outside curiosity. I grew up in Canada surrounded by ‘wasp’ friends and western ideals and never thought of myself as anything different. With our ‘neighborhood gang’ my siblings and I played road hockey (even though I was a girl I was a ‘killer’ goalie), built forts out of junk wood, got into fights for no good reasons and egged houses on Halloween. As far as I was concerned I was simply Canadian.  Read more…

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