Wanderlust blog post from 2015

Very blessed to have had opportunities to travel abroad. I realize that I’ve never compiled a record of where I’ve been. This post will help me to remember and reflect…

My very first trip abroad was during my junior year in high school (yikes, dating myself.) It was a band trip to Tokyo, Japan. Unfortunately (or fortunately,) my memories of the trip are only of my friends and the hilarity. Yes, I was too immature to appreciate traveling to a foreign country.

It took two decades before I needed to renew my passport. I was blessed with the opportunity to accompany two of our Kapolei Elementary students on an exchange program with Amano Elementary in Osaka, Japan. What made it truly special was the hospitality of our homestay families. ありがとう。

I went on my very first missions trip. Truly blessed. It was to Okinawa with a team from Hope Chapel Kapolei. We helped with the launch of Hope Chapel Gushikawa. 🙏

Through the JEM exchange program, teachers and students from Kamehameha Elementary and Buckingham Friends (Pennsylvania) were hosted by Glendal Primary in Melbourne, Australia. Heaps of memories.

I was a tag-along (not a chaperone) on Metz’s Spring Trip to Europe. We visited Rome and Florence in Italy, then Barcelona and Madrid in Spain. Bella vita.

I went on a medical missions trip to Mae Sot, Thailand with a team from Inspire Church. On my way back home, I was able to meet up with my Compassion sponsored child in Makati, Philippines. “Best day of my life.”

Later in the year, I traveled to Beijing, China to participate in the RDFZ Xishan International Summit. Made lifelong friendships.

I took a solo, “YOLO” trip to Paris, France. Stayed in the café district. It was a dream-come-true…

Revisited Osaka, Japan and stayed with Daryl. I was able to reconnect with the Yasuda Family who hosted me in 2001. ありがとう。

Bucket list stuff. I chaperoned our Kamehameha High School’s International Relations Club to Machu Picchu and the Amazon in Peru. So awesome.

A few months later, I chaperoned our Japanese Club to Tokyo. We were then hosted by the Takahagi Friendship Association. Amazing hospitality. ありがとう。

I was blessed to chaperone our elementary’s children’s chorus to Aotearoa (Auckland, NZ.) Backed up the chorus on guitar. We visited Hobbiton and shared special experiences with the Bright Family.

Cashed in my HawaiianMiles and traveled to Seoul, Korea. Stayed in Hongdae and had such a great time. 감사합니다。

Just booked a trip to Sapporo, Japan for the Summer Festival. Looking forward to it!

Would love to visit Hong Kong next year, then Taikai in Okinawa in 2021. Hoping in the near future to see Vietnam, Istanbul, Marrakech, London, and Hiroshima. Ahh, wanderlust…

Travel Goals Update

Blessed to have traveled to a bunch of cool places in the past few years. Now thoughtfully planning my next trip with very limited resources…

So far, I’ve been blessed to have visited Italy (Rome, Florence,) Spain (Madrid, Barcelona,) and France (Paris.)

Also blessed to have visited Peru (Machu Picchu and the Amazon,) as well as Australia (Melbourne) and New Zealand (Auckland.)

In Asia, I was able to visit China (Beijing,) Japan (Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto,) Okinawa, Thailand (Bangkok and Mae Sot,) and the Philippines (Makati.)

Now I am prioritizing my travel bucket list. My remaining travel goals include Marrakesh, Istanbul, Vietnam, and Hong Kong. Amazing destinations! But now I am starting to consider places that have a deeper personal connection.

I am considering Hiroshima, Japan for my next trip. My dad’s side is Okinawa. My mom’s side is Hiroshima. Never been…

Hopefully, things will fall into place. Looking forward to the next adventure…

Pac-Man Lite

Travel is my passion. And packing light is my mission. I only fly with one carry-on.

Why? Two reasons.
1. To eliminate the possibility of lost or stolen luggage. I never check my bag. I just bring one carry-on. Because my vacations are always short, losing luggage on Day 1 would pretty much ruin the trip.

2. To be mobile. As soon as I deplane, I’m out the terminal. Because my bag is a backpack, I do not need to drop it off at a hotel. I can go straight to the museum or café. I also do not use a “rolly” bag, which does not work on stairs or cobblestone.

How does minimalist packing work?

Laundry. I pack clothes for 5 days (not including what I’m wearing on the plane.) This means that I would need to do one load of laundry for a 12-day trip. My t-shirts are Nike Dri-FIT and my socks are SmartWool. My shorts are hybrid boardshorts. Undies microfiber…. ahem. Everything hang dries in a few hours.

The Bag:

I have an Osprey Porter 46 travel backpack. It’s the largest allowable carry-on (22″ x 14″ x 9″) according to most airline restrictions. I like that it opens fully, giving you access to all of your contents. Comes with stow away shoulder straps. It’s been one of my best investments.

Packing cubes:

Packing cubes help keep you organized. They compress your clothes and save a lotta space. I slip a Bounce dryer sheet into each one to keep things “fresh.” Ziploc bags will work.

Travel wardrobe:

I wear my bulky clothes on the plane. I rotate two pairs of dark blue jeans. I am fond of my baseball cap.


I bring just one pair. I know that this is the deal breaker for some. I wear trekker shoes on trips. Great for walking around the city or exploring nature. Super comfortable and waterproof. They’re versatile and can match jeans or shorts.


I wear my jacket on the plane. It’s usually cold. I recommend a black jacket. It’s neutral, and dressy enough to get by.

My iPhone is the only device that I travel with. I’ll bring AC adapters and occasionally a GoPro.


I pack a collapsible daysack inside of my backpack. I always have an umbrella with me. I hate rain. I use a Moleskine notebook for journaling. Toilet paper is an absolute must. I will also bring a Santa Clause hat for my next Christmas card.

• My toiletries kit has a hook for hanging. Sometimes there’s no counter space. (Sometimes there’s no counter.)
• I print a copy of my passport for my bag, and I email it to myself.
• I stash an ample supply of Airborne Chewables to stay healthy.
• ChapStick & sunscreen will save you.
• No need to carry a water bottle or heavy flask. Bottled water is available everywhere.
• TSA pre√. Take the express line and never take shoes off again.

Part of what makes you a minimalist is “doing without.” I do sacrifice a few things that a lot of people wouldn’t. I don’t bring slippers or an iPad on my travels anymore. I also don’t bring back souvenirs and “stuff.” I’m too poor. All of my spending money is for food.

This kind of packing is not for everyone, but it works. It’s so “freeing.” You should try. Pack light….