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Your Checklist for Planning a Long-Term Travel

When thinking of travelling for a couple of months, it can get daunting trying to plan for it. Perhaps, you want to visit a few countries and some world-famous sights or just have a serious case of wanderlust. Either way, you’ll be able to save a lot of time and money if you spend ample time planning.

A Year Before

  1. Start Researching

This is one of the fun parts of planning for a trip. Read blogs, guidebooks and scour the internet for inspiration. While you don’t need to have a concrete plan yet, you should start making a must-do list.

  • Estimate Trip Cost

Based on the length of the trip and the activities you will be doing, come up with an estimate total cost. Consider the flight tickets, transportations, accommodations, food and tours.

  • Create a Budget and Plan How to Make Extra Income

Based on the estimated cost of your trip, create a daily budget on how much you should save. Cut out unnecessary expenditures and look for ways to make extra money, such as selling unused clothes, accessories and other knick knacks that are still in good condition.

Six to 12 Months Before

  • Start Necessary Immunizations

Visit your doctor during this time to discuss your plans and seek advice for immunizations. It’s important to do this early as some vaccines require multiple shots with days or weeks intervals.

  • Secure Your Passport

If you don’t have passport yet, now is the time to apply for one. If you already have, ensure that its validity will last for the entirety of the trip.

Three to Six Months Before

  • Book Your Flights

Check your must-do lists and look for the different flights available for your route. If you’re flexible with the travel dates, it’s easier to save money from flights. Check different airlines, airports and booking sites for cheaper airfare.

  • Get a Visa

Research if your destinations require visas. You don’t want to get stuck in the airport, cancel plans and waste a flight because your next destination requires a visa, which you don’t have.

One to Two Months Before

  • Take Care of the Cancellation of Contracts

Since you’ll be gone for months, start scheduling cancellations of contracts such as your gym membership, home internet connection and mobile plans. Remember, you need an early notice to minimize hefty cancellation fees.  

  • Shop for Appropriate Gears

Depending on the activities you’ll be doing, you need to bring the necessary gear. Go shopping and look for sales to save money.

One Week Before

  1. Start Packing

Now is the time to pack. Start early and it won’t be stressful to stay organized.

  1. Scan Your Documents

Scan your visa, passport, some valid IDs and other important travel documents. Save it in a flash drive and have it with you anywhere. In case you lose the original documents, the scanned copies are your life saver.

On the Day

  1. Go to the Airport Hours Early

Consider the check-in and security lines, as well as the immigration. You need ample time to get through these gates. Avoid the stress and get to the airport three to four hours early.

Get on that plane and go! You’ve planned for it long enough. Enjoy and savour every minute of that well-deserved vacation.


5 Myths About Binge Eating Disorder

Eating too much is not an unusual thing—think of the holiday season, when food is everywhere and you stuff yourself full. However, there’s a big difference between occasional overeating and binge eating disorder (BED).

BED is a medical condition and is often about feeling guilty, depressed and out of control. It’s unlike occasional overeating, when a person eats to celebrate—this is one of the common misconceptions. Here are few more.

Myth #1: Binge eaters are obese.

This is the most common myth about BED patients. Binge eating, compulsive eating and emotional eating do not always result in weight gain. In fact, you can’t tell if someone has BED by simply looking at them. The amount of calories taken and the rate at which the calories are burned differs from person to person. Although not all binge eaters are obese, most of them have trouble controlling their weight.

Myth #2: Binge eaters always feel hungry.

Binge eating has nothing to do with physical hunger. In fact, BED has little to do with food or eating; food is just the weapon of choice for this matter. For BED-diagnosed individuals, eating beyond satiety has become a solution to ease stress, depression, anger, sadness and other negative emotion. Some of the effective treatments for BED is to find alternative ways to cope with stress and learn the difference between emotional and physical hunger.

Myth #3: A physician is the expert for this medical condition.

Your physical or medical practitioner may be a great resource for medical health problems that might arise due to binge eating, but they don’t have enough knowledge for the treatment of BED’s root cause. To tackle the disorder from its roots, you will need to consult a psychotherapist and a dietician whose expertise is treating eating disorders. Working with experts with the right knowledge about BED helps ease symptoms and help you recognize emotions feelings that drive you to overeat.

Myth #4: BED is similar to bulimia.

BED and bulimia look similar on the surface. Both tend to make patient binge eat and as a result feel ashamed, distressed and guilty. However, there’s one major difference between these conditions: after binge eating, patients with bulimia try to get rid of extra calories by ‘purging,’ which could mean using laxatives, over-exercising or forcing themselves to vomit.

Myth #5: Binge eaters only need exercise and diet to get better.

The last thing a BED patient should do is to go on a diet. The dieting-overeating-gaining-weight cycle is a sign of eating disorder and a symptom of the common thinking that gets binge eaters into bingeing. Although consulting a dietician and following a structured eating plan helps control binge eating, going on a diet designed for weight loss is not recommended.


How to Travel More Even With a Full Time Job

Do you feel like you don’t travel as much as you want? Younger people tend to be money-poor, but time-rich. Professionals, on the other hand, may have the luxury of resources but do not have enough time. Luckily, there are ways you can do to combine your love for travel and a steady income.

  1. Go During Public Holidays

To start with, whenever there’s public holiday, use it to go on a short or longer break. Using public holidays to travel will end up using less of your vacation days allowance.

  • Go on Shorter Trips

Consider taking shorter breaks and filing a holiday leave either on a Monday or a Friday, so you’ll have a three-day weekend for your trip.

  • Make Use of Overtime and Time-in-Lieu

This may not be the case for all employers, but you can get time in lieu for extra hours/days you have worked. This is a great way to get a few extra days throughout the year and spend them for your vacation. If you opt for this route, make sure you’re not burning yourself out and still making your health a priority.

  • Negotiate Unpaid Leaves

If you want longer vacation but are running out of allowable annual leave, talk to your supervisor about taking unpaid leaves instead. Notify your boss in advance and emphasize that it won’t cost them money, since it will be an unpaid leave. Some companies even offer their employees to sell or buy extra days off against their salary.

  • Stay Longer During a Work Trip

If your full-time job gives you the opportunity to go on a business trip, consider extending your trip for a day or two while you’re there. You will have to pay for your extended accommodation, but most companies would be happy to adjust your flight schedule to make this work (since they will be paying for your return flight anyway).

  • Explore Your Hometown

As well as going somewhere far, how about being a tourist in your own city, such us in a nearby luxury hotel, beach, the mountains or in the neighboring city? It’s easy to think of vacation as travelling outside the country, while your hometown may be full of hidden gems you haven’t yet discovered.

  • Embrace Travelling Alone

If you pass up every trip that you didn’t have someone to go with, you’d be sitting at your desk forever. If your goal is to travel more, you cannot bring your close officemates with you, leaving the office half empty because you all went on a five-day trip. Try a staycation alone even just once, you’ll be surprised how enjoyable it is to experience and explore places by yourself.

Don’t let your job kill the nomadic spirit in you. Take your work as an opportunity to afford the vacation you have always dreamed of.


4 Important Questions to Ask if Your Partner is Still Friends With His Ex

Are you a bothered because your boyfriend is still in contact with his ex every once in a while? Does it make you feel uncomfortable or insecure?

Whether or not exes should be friends is a controversial subject. But whatever your opinion is, this situation is pretty common and something that couples need to accept the reality of exes hanging out. If you are in that same situation with your beau, here are a few questions you would want to ask to ensure harmless friendship between your S.O. and his ex.

  1. “Does your ex know about us?”

Even if you don’t mind him being friends with his ex, this is an important question to ask to ensure that things are not shady, but be careful not to ask him in an accusatory way.

A ‘no’ as an answer to this question is a red flag. Sometimes, they will add excuses as to why they haven’t yet mentioned about you to his ex, and sometimes they can sound reasonable. Again, regardless of his reason, this is a red flag. Having their ex know about you is a step towards knowing that things are in the safe place.

  • “What’s the reason behind staying friends with your ex?”

Asking this may make you sound interrogative, but affirm him that you have nothing against him and answering this question will make you understand their situation. This question is for you to assess the intent of your partner for remaining in touch with his ex. You may find out that they have to remain in good terms because they have a shared property that they’re processing to split up or they could be co-parenting.

As much as possible, you want to be rational and unselfish towards the situation. As long as your partner has valid reasons, there shouldn’t be a problem to this situation.

  • “How does being friends with your ex benefit your life?”

Again, this doesn’t need to sound like an accusation. You may find out, from asking this question, what does he really get out of this friendship. As a result, you’ll understand your partner more and it’ll be easier for you to accept their friendship.

Sometimes, exes remain friends because they have history together, like being childhood friends, having the same circle of friends or their family have known each other for a long time. However, if the answer to this question is leaning towards emotional benefit, then that is another red flag.

  • “Can I meet your ex?”

If there’s no hidden intention for their friendship, then this shouldn’t be a problem at all. It should appear natural for you to want to get to know the people involved in his social life, just as how you want to get to know his other friends.

Having a partner who is still in contact with their ex shouldn’t be a hindrance to a happy relationship. An open and healthy communication will always be a key factor for a relationship to thrive.


4 Crucial Reasons Why You Should See a Therapist (and Not Just Your Friends and Family)

Mental health and wellness is one an important aspect of our lives, and having good mental health helps you cope and develop resilience in the face of life’s adversities.

Part of maintaining good mental health is being able to find out what’s in your mind and someone to help you understand why your thoughts are the way they are, and this is why it’s important to make sure that you have someone to talk to.

But while your friends and family may love you to bits, there’s a reason why they can’t replace therapy – and why you should seek it as much as possible:

  1. Your friends and family aren’t trained therapists…

…and this means that they’re not always the best source of advice. They may be there to provide emotional support, but therapists are specifically trained to understand why you think and respond to situations the way that you do.

This also means that therapists are also completely honest and objective without any risk or personal stake.

  • Therapy gives you healthy coping strategies

Mental fitness requires a personalized approach, and there are different coping strategies that suit different people, just as people settle into new things or process obstacles at their own pace.

A licensed therapist will be able to give you the right coping strategy and give you an insight into your psychological behavior. With regular counselling, you’ll be able to grow in ways that might have been impossible to you before.

  • Your problems won’t be minimized

People don’t always get along well with their families, and if you happen to have a difficult relationship with yours, it may not always be safe to share intimate struggles.

There’s also nothing worse than having to go through something painful or traumatic, only to be told by a family member or friend to “get over it” even though they mean well.

Therapists understand that people manage experiences and life events differently, and when it comes to mental issues both serious and sub-clinical, they make sure that you are heard and worthy of attention.

  • You don’t have to feel bad for being “needy”

You – or at least your insurance – will be paying, anyway, so you don’t have to feel bad about constantly “using” one person for support. In fact, because of the nature of the practice, your relationship with your therapist is not meant to be a two-way street.

Unlike most relationships that need reciprocation (i.e. friends may want that friendship back in return, parents need you to be their child), therapists don’t expect anything back from their clients except simply to show up for your sessions.


How to Stop Wasting Food at Home in 3 Easy Steps

If you love eating and enjoy the experience, food is certainly life. However, there’s a good chance your busy schedule and your lifestyle affects how you keep food in the fridge, which means you end up throwing more away than you should.

But the good news is there’s a fix for this. By taking the right steps, you can cut down on your food waste save both the planet and your wallet:

            1. Take a picture of your shelf

If you don’t have the time to make a list of everything in your fridge and your pantry, all you need to do is take a picture of both on your way out.

Not only does it take much less time, but it also helps you know more accurately how much of one item you already have as well as the items that you need more of – or the ones you might need to consume quickly for your next dinner plan before they go bad.

            2. Make a meal plan

Making a meal plan is arguably one of the best ways to reduce food waste. By planning your week and being realistic about your budget, you can not only save money, but you’ll also keep your food waste to a minimum.

For instance, if you like eating out, budget according to what you can afford and count in your expenses when you do, especially if you plan on doing so three out of the seven days of the week.

You should also plan out the meals you cook if you prefer to eat at home. It helps to make a list of the food items you need for your recipes, and sticking to it as much as possible can help you cut down on the expenses.

This is where a calendar will be really helpful for you, and the more details you add in your calendar, the better and more hassle-free your schedule will be.

            3. Embrace the leftovers

Leftovers are a part of life whether you cook your own food or not. But just because it’s old doesn’t mean it still can’t be eaten – all you need is a dedicated schedule for finishing leftovers and a little creativity and effort to make them into new dishes.

For instance, overripe fruits and leaves can make for a healthy smoothie in the morning and tomatoes that are close to going bad are a great excuse to make pasta sauce. Cooked meats can even be incorporated into salads, and vegetables can be made into Buddha bowls.

However, when it does go bad, you’ll know by simply looking at it, in which case you need to get rid of it.


5 Health Benefits of Eating Eggs

You may notice that in coffee shops, the usual Singapore-style breakfast includes a cup of kopi, some kaya toast, and a soft-boiled egg. But more than a delicious-looking addition to breakfast, eggs are among the most nutritious food in the world. Here, then are some of the health benefits we get from eating eggs.

1. The case of cholesterol

It is true that eggs are high in cholesterol. One whole egg contains 212 mg of cholesterol, more than half of the recommended daily intake that is 300 mg. Because of this, eggs have earned a bad reputation since the 1990’s. Later on, though, it has been found that the high cholesterol from eggs did not necessarily increase cholesterol in the blood. Plus, eating eggs is also a great way to increase good cholesterol.

2. Reduces the risk of heart disease

In relation to the point above, we should recognize that consuming food high in saturated fat and trans fatty acids can have more detrimental effects to the heart compared to the cholesterol in our diet. Additionally, eggs contain a good amount of selenium which functions as an anti-inflammatory to reduce the risk of cardiac arrest and heart disease. Also, bad cholesterol comes as small and dense particles. Consuming an egg actually changes those particles to larger LDL, which is basically related to lower risk of heart disease.

3. Contains quality protein

You may have heard of some bodybuilders consuming 2-6 raw eggs a day, and for good reason. Eggs are not only high in quality protein, but they also contain the right ratios of amino acids essential to the body.  Proteins are typically the building blocks of the human body. They are used in muscle growth and repair, and also produce tissues and molecules for other functional purposes in the body. In the case of bodybuilders though, it is still recommended to cook the eggs, not only for safety but also because the heat will allow the protein to be more easily digestible.

4. Choline

Is it the first time you’ve heard about this? Don’t worry a lot of people don’t know it too, but choline is actually an essential nutrient for brain development, muscle control, and nerve and memory function. Because of the lack of knowledge about it, most people don’t get enough of such an important nutrient. Fortunately, eggs are great sources of choline.

5. Protect the eyes

Many people don’t expect it, but eggs also have benefits to our eyes. The egg yolks contain lutein and zeaxanthin which are nutrients that slow the age-related degeneration of our eyesight. They are anti-oxidants that stay in the retina to protect the eyes against harmful wavelengths of light, like those in our smartphone, computer, and TV screens.