Blog by Aura Charisse

by Aura Charisse 


My Top Three Travel Rules.

Posted by Aura Charisse on August 2, 2017 at 8:50 AM Comments comments (0)

Traveling has always been a sacred routine for me, just as it’s a time of pleasure and wanderlust. Truly, it’s a grand time to be unwinding from life’s pressures and to be seeking out your soul, but respecting it is equally important. Here are my top three travel rules which I personally abide by and why:

1. Represent your home

Look, it’s a no-brainer that the passport you’re holding represents where you’re from ---- if not your country, then your race. The moment you step out of your country is the actual event of you being an ambassador because anywhere you go, you are branded. You are branded by where you’re from and ultimately, it becomes your very identity. I mean, realistically, in a travellers’ domain, may it be the airport or a famous tourist attraction, with a melting pot of cultures, how else are you to be identified?

I hope we take it upon ourselves to behave appropriately and to honor our country and race as a noble duty. It seems this is something we take for granted. When we leave the comforts of our homes, not only do we take with us the manners, morals and beliefs of our families, but as well as those of our heritage. How you are outside of your country will significantly impact how foreigners see you and associate you with the rest of your nation. A little mistake from behaving inappropriately while traveling can greatly inflict or magnify the negativity imposed on your country. Is this really how you want to bring honor to your heritage? It may not be that big of an issue for those countries with already established notions, those of which are predominantly positive, but not for those who have a derogative identity to redeem as good. As for me, I believe in bringing honor to my country even in the little acts of putting my best behavior when I travel.

2. Respect the culture

Just because it isn’t valuable to you doesn’t mean it’s the same for their culture. Each culture has been constructed, refined and established from generation to generation, based on a set of principles and beliefs that are in sync with their heritage. There is historical significance and value in that, whether you choose to see it or not. The whole point of traveling, after all, is to inculcate yourself in a culture different from yours. The least you could do, as a tourist, is to respect that.

Disrespect of culture often roots from a lack of understanding. Be responsible enough to get yourself informed and to not be ignorant. If you’re staying in a relatively laidback country, you’re still considered lucky if all you get are weird stares and rude smirks, but if you’re actually in a rigid country with high regard to tradition and values, know that there are consequences of your actions. Please don’t be reckless. Again, this goes back to my first point of representing where you’re from. If your goal is to seek thrill or to capture the "perfect gram", do you really think that culture inappropriation is the way to go?

3. Dress approriately

The reason why I make the extra effort to dress up when I travel is simply because I believe that dressing well is truly a form of manners, as is when I’m at home in my Motherland. I prefer to be dressed best when I mingle with various races, when I go on tours to see great locations, when I meet family from different parts of world, and when I indulge in authentic cuisines. Dressing well is a way of extending myself to the different people I meet, the different localities I visit and the different cultures I’m exposed to. I dress properly and descently because I have regard for the country I’m traveling in as well as the country I'm representing. It’s a simple way of enmeshing good representation and cultural respect to a personal level.

This entry was obviously written with an agenda and I do hope we see traveling from a different perspective than just fleeting enjoyment. Not that I’m saying traveling should be perceived as a set of strict guidelines, but I strongly do think that it is very important to keep a sense of duty and integrity when we travel. It’s not about being an elitist, but being a good ambassador and bringing honor to your country. I personally can vouch that you can have the time of your lives whilst you remain responsible in your travels.

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Destination: Seattle

Posted by Aura Charisse on June 9, 2016 at 11:20 PM Comments comments (0)
I find it so important to be well-versed in a number of things. Being well-rounded is one thing I greatly value. To be multifaceted means so much more than being able to try many different interests. For me, I see it as being a master of many crafts and being a Da Vinci in the 21st century, is a call not at all easy.

Among my crafts --- by crafts I mean interests which I try to excel in --- photography is one of them. At the bare minimum, I try to recreate life by capturing an image with a camera. That’s why I have a specific portion in this blog dedicated mostly for shots taken by yours truly (unless stated otherwise), the Photo diaries. It’s a domain where I can practice photography, get feedback for my photos and gain motivation to keep shooting with a camera.

As I visited the city of Seattle, I found myself brushing up on my photography. We had leeway and my first impulse was to borrow my dad’s Nikon to shoot photos.* Oh Seattle, what a lovely city you are!

I may not be the best now and I may not have the most high-tech of gadgets, but I make sure I don't stop practicing. After all, progress never stops unless you do! Photographer friends, feel free to lecture me! 

I hope you like this post. Have a great week, dear readers!

*I used dad’s DSLR as his is much more geared up than mine. His has a telephoto lens; thereby, capable of producing sharper and more crisp photos! Although some of the photos posted here were also taken using my basic Canon DSLR with the standard lens.

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Destination: First Starbucks

Posted by Aura Charisse on June 1, 2016 at 9:25 PM Comments comments (0)

Never been the girl to stay in a café for hours and hours… til medicine happened. As I stepped into medical school, I inched closer by the second to coffee shops. The coffee brewery became a place to get my much needed dose of caffeine, a sanctuary for when studying equates to insanity (and this is often), a haven for book binging, and even a comfortable pad to catch up with dear friends.

One of the coffee shops close to my heart is Starbucks and flying to Seattle meant visiting the first ever Starbucks branch a priority!

Your Starbucks logo couldn't get more vintage than this!

Forgive the glare, the place was hustling and bustling with people! It was difficult to take photos. Tourists and locals visited the place for their craved cup of coffee.

This is an actual depiction of what it's like inside. See how beautifully lit the place is? 

Little ol self pushing my way through the crowd of tall foreigners.

Instagram snaps:

With the amount of people that day, she must've been in several Instagram feeds already!

Skinny macchiato to calm the soul. 

I'm happy now. I got my cup of nostalgia. 

On to the next attraction!

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Destination: Hop on SFo

Posted by Aura Charisse on June 13, 2015 at 6:55 AM Comments comments (0)

A famous tourist attraction in the city is the "Hop On Hop Off" tour, which is basically a city tour on a double-decked bus. You simply buy tickets for the city tour, hop on the bus (and I suggest you ride on the top deck, but make sure you're all wrapped up because it can get quite freezing!), and hop off anywhere you'd like; whether it's in Sausalito where you want to enjoy a relaxing view, in Pier 39 for some heartwarming clam chowder on sourbread bowl, in the city's Chinatown for some exquisite Eastern delicacies, etc. It's your choice!

When I was on that tour, there were two landmarks that particularly caught my attention: The San Francisco City Hall & the St. Peter and Paul Catholic Church. There's something about the architecture of the buildings here that I really love. The architecture of both landmarks are briliant and I couldn't resist taking a few shots!

To spread the wanderlust, I'm sharing some shots of the landmarks with you. I'm no professional photographer but I hope you'll like this! :)

P.S.  If you know what kind of architecture the city has, please let me know! :) A little tutorial on architecture wouldn't hurt!

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Destination: San Francisco.

Posted by Aura Charisse on May 5, 2015 at 1:25 PM Comments comments (0)

Touchdown San Francisco.

I flew out here just a few days ago. Definitely one tick off the list of cities I want to visit! Being a famous spot for tourists, a melting pot of cultures, a city with unique history and a district for shopping, describing San Francisco as interesting is an understatement. Each day I step out of the hotel, I get to know more about the city just as one dissects the reality behind a facade. That's what I love about traveling: exploring new locations and immersing oneself in the culture of another. Such grand learning opportunities! I find that traveling isn't merely about luxury but more about the valuable experiences one picks up from the journey. Wandering is bliss!

Here are several shots of my first day in San Fran (Sokyo!). I'm currently in the Tenderloin area of the city so most shots are near Union Square, more or less. Enjoy! And thumbs up if you get the reference! 

Thank you for reading! If you like this photo diary, don't forget to give it a thumbs up and hit the Like button! :)

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