Ukun beach is striking for one reason above all others: the long stretch of pavement that extends into the ocean, give high or low tide. She’s immediately beautiful, kind of poetic, but probably had a practical use at some point. Perhaps what was once used as a fishing pier, now remains a complete wonder for adventurers of every kind. In fact, the pavement itself is SO compelling, you’d be hard pressed to AVOID walking its path. Yeah, you heard me right. This beach I happen to have googly eyes for quite literally hosts a lengthy piece of concrete. It’s really what makes her stand apart from all the rest.
So naturally, my girl pal and I set out, as a pair of unlikely detectives, to search Miyagi Island for this all-too elusive Ukun Beach. I heard whisperings about this beach amongst other Americans but we were coming up short after a rather *unsuccessful* trip out. I’ll spare you the fun details on HOW we finally found it (read: these fun details I’m referring to are fancy for “I knew a girl who knew where it was.” LOL) Way to go, Sleuth Angel 😛
Lucky for us, Ukun Beach wasn’t going anywhere fast.
The beach is beautiful. The tide comes and goes over the pavement as the moon pleases and yet, the concrete just remains there as it has for decades.
It is something so simple but just genuinely enjoyable, kinda like a certain swing I know about 😉 So I definitely implore you: if you have kids, take them to this spot tucked away on Miyagi Island. If you are in possession of a camera, take its picture and revel, much like me, in the artlessness of it all. It’s not proud. It doesn’t boast anything extreme. Ukun Beach just happens to be embellished with a bit of concrete and it makes for a wonderfully good time AND you’ll leave with a collection of unique photos. Absolute novelty, it is!
So here are some general directions on your journey there:
If you type in “Ukun Beach” on Google Maps, this will take you directly here. Some soul has also pinned it as “Brian’s Beach” so please note that if this pops up, you’re headed in the right direction. At some point you will find a Black Diamond Sign with a White Tree to use as a landmark. Turn Right and you will find your way down a trail complete with parking available for your destination. Hopefully now that you possess the knowledge of its covert location, you too can appreciate this pavement’s cracked glory. Go on and make some memories then!
Bleck. Who dreamed up that dirty word: “micro-influencer?” I mean, what actual crack in the Earth did that word crawl up out of anyways?!?!
Call it what you please. I’m not going to sugar the term up, throw sprinkles on it, and ask it do to the salsa. Any term that I use today will decidedly mean more or less of the same thing. Although, I do prefer to use “Digital Nomad”, or maybe even “Content Creator.” But will I suddenly fall from grace if I use that word: Micro-influencer? Gasp!! I hope not!
Because I kinda have this dream.
It goes something like this: The year is 2021 and Brandon and I are on a flight to Tulum, Mexico, both travel drone and husky in tow. I’m oozing with the confidence of a 27 year old who *somehow* managed to get her emotional affairs in order. I have also become an unstoppable force that documents absolutely everything because….well, one: I have the memory of a chicken and two, that means I made it.
I admire those beings with truly remarkable, entirely singular nomad lives. And believe me, I am hungry for it with no plans in sight to settle.
Its a bit of a pipe dream at this point but at least its an honest one I am willing to admit.
So here I am, blogging, keeping myself accountable as best as I know how, setting a clear goal, and a general path to get there.
You see, this is the first post I am writing that’s not necessarily for anyone else’s benefit. This is for me. Although, I do plan on sharing my strategies, my progress and plateaus, and what I learn along the way. So. With that being said, welcome to my chronicles, my digital diary. The t-blogger tracker. You get the picture. Get it? Picture….since we are talking about Instagram….
I’ll stop now 😛
I am well aware that I am stepping afoot into a mass-coveted industry. There are people breathing Moroccan air at this very moment because someone asked them to be there. Isn’t that grand? That is my fairy tale: traveling, showing my friends pieces of the world, learning from the very planet I inhabit, and potentially getting compensated for my movements. In a way, I do feel like I’m wading in a jungle for the first time with a dull machete and a pint-sized bit of knowledge on its wildlife. Instagram is its own jungle and one day, I hope to be on the bigger side of it….whatever that might mean.
So my goals are as follows:
Reach 2k Followers by the end of 2019
Be entirely transparent with my successes and failures, while documenting each of them
Engage with accounts and women who have similar goals to myself (there are so many great communities for this)
Reach out to Resorts & Hotels in which I may be able to offer traffic to for practice.
Create my own Media Kit. If you are on a journey like my own, you can find really great templates on Creative Market (You will have to pay for them though.)
Learn to be okay with the prospects of ‘no.’
Begin my Bachelor’s in Marketing in the Year 2019 (That sounds a lot like now, so I guess I should get started LOL.)
I happen to live on a tropical island with good weather 10 months out of the year.
Brandon is an incredibly supportive husband who has mega talent (for a novice) behind the camera. I would owe everything to him.
No matter what I aspire to do/be, my family believes in my own unique power.
I am constantly looking for opportunities to flex my creativity.
I want this so badly, I can feel it in my bones.
I have social anxiety even over the internet. (Also please know that I do not throw that term around lightly. I have met with a psychologist on many accounts.)
My followers consist of less than 1k (850 to be exact.)
I am green as a bean in this space. There are so many factors I still need to learn about the industry that I hope I can only gain through experience.
So there it is. My naked dream sorted out on the internet. Is it a long term one? Who the heck knows!! I am working on my own practical real-life dreams in between the crazy ones too. The main thing I am trying to prove to myself is: Can I do the impossible? Can I make that actually happen? In a very bad-ass book titled, You Are A Badass, Jen Sincero says,
“But what if you had the audacity to leave your excuses and your shame about wanting to be huge and fabulous behind and really went for it full-on anyway? What if you decided to do the most outrageous, most exciting thing you ever dared fantasize about, regardless of what anyone, including your terrified self, thought? THAT would be living.”
You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero P. 80
What a terrifying, beautiful thing it would be to accomplish the very goal that sets my heart ablaze with the prospect of infinite possibilities.
This post is for anyone that might share similar aspirations, whether you might be further along in your journey or similarly at square one. Square one buddies!! I will continue doing regular updates about my growth and I will share anything noteworthy in hopes that it might help you too.
So this is an introduction of sorts. I most definitely intend to keep this series going. Laid out for you are my strengths, weaknesses, my goals, and where I am currently standing in Instagram’s graces.
There it stood with all of its Instagram potential swinging ever so lightly in the breeze. It was almost like I was staring a Unicorn in the face-except maybe a fraction as exciting. This thing, this swing I had been looking for for weeks was so elusive that I was beginning to think it had been harboring some kind of mystical properties. LOL. This swing was grand and wooden….the seat itself was probably big enough to seat three and I was practically salivating at the thought of having this entire IG DREAM to ourselves. Someone cue the angel choir please, because it turns out that combing the entirety of Google Earth had finally paid off! Hells yeah!!
To top off the exciting goodness, Brandon (my cutie husband) and I discovered that there was not only a grand swing but an entire flipping flower arch too! The entire beach, the swing, flower arch was ours for the day–which means complete, uninterrupted beachside bliss with all the freedom to click away (our poor Nikon.)
With no one in sight, this particular opportunity to was positively brilliant. I will say, tracking down our swing wasn’t just about a few decent picture and posing my bum off for the ‘gram. It has only EVER been about uncovering a piece of Okinawa that I haven’t been to before, peeling back the mostly un-treaded bits of the island, and sharing it with wanderers like myself. Even though the island IS small, Oki packs a lot of surprises.
Lucky for us though, Brandon has a bit of a gift for land navigation and I seemed to have acquired the talent for being relentless when I want to find something. #Sagittarius 😛
If you would like to know where this treasure is, please DM me on Instagram @angelbriley
I would truly love to know that somewhere I am being read. And I would additionally love to share my secrets with you as well. So please don’t be a stranger. I am personally inviting you to reach out with your inquiries.
As far as my skirt is concerned, it’s called “The Juliet” from Bliss Tulle. It is truly such a beautiful piece and you might notice in the photos below that I am mostly twirling (literally all I want to do when I put this garment on!) You can find the link to my skirt here!
You’ve been dreaming about Italy since you watched The Lizzie McGuire movie, I don’t know, maybe ten years ago or so at this point? The real kicker is that you haven’t been. Yet.
As the case may be, you’re probably spending and saving in all the wrong places. I felt absolutely GUTTED every time I traced my transactions back. But it seems I found Chick-fil-a to be quite comforting when I couldn’t book a flight to Palawan (the proof is in my bank statement LOL.) Who needs the Philippines anyways when I could have fried chicken and waffle fries right now? Present me is both kind of cringing and kind of missing those sandwiches now that I think about it….
So here we are. You need to save AND you need a swift kick in the rear to keep you motivated. Well, I have compiled a list for you to mull over that will both bring you success and it wont drive you stir crazy with saving. Please do keep in mind that all of these are suggestions. I’ve found that these tips work for me personally and I am merely sharing how I prefer to cut corners with my dollar. When I make smarter decisions, these suggestions take me a long way since I am going to spend my money regardless. So buckle in, apprentice, and follow my strategic methods to spend and save your gravy.
My philosophy is that one should never skimp on his/her coffee. It’s practically self-harm when you’re cramming for finals and still trying to make it to those horrid 8 am classes (I’m not traumatized, you are 😛 ) So if you have a Starbucks habit that can be turned into a Dunkin or gas station one, you are bound to save some pennies. If you intend to plan a trip, coffee money does make a difference, my fine friend. Let’s say your coffee average coffee is $2.70 (I take no credit for this number that I googled.) If you take the cheaper route, BOOM. You easily save at least 50 cents. Bonus: Actively set aside the $$$ you would have spent at that expensive cafe so you can watch it stack up over time. Coin jars are fun!
2. EBATES. Dude, why are you not using this yet? I know you shop online. Truth be told, I thought the website itself seemed a little hoax-y. The whole “Cash back” sell seemed overplayed, ridiculous and even unrealistic….until EBATES cut me my first check for $17.01 just from my online escapades at Amazon/Sephora. I’m not even kidding. Ebates didn’t ask me any of my financial information so I figured not much harm could be done! And once I signed up, proceeded with my online shopping as normal, my bank account got a little more plump and little more joyful when I deposited that check. Not to mention, they HAND you coupon codes for your shopping! Go on, try it. And while you’re at it you can go ahead and deposit that into your trip savings. #notsponsored
SELL THE THINGS
3. Take advantage of Facebook online yard sales or apps like Letgo that will allow you to make a transaction to sell the dress, those Xbox games, the bull. I know that I am especially guilty of hoarding items that are occasion-specific (Halloween costumes) which will serve me no further purpose. But I can assure you, someone is probably looking for it. Bookoo.com is another website you can resort to to sell your things. Just think: the more your items are broadcasted for sale, the more chances you have at picking up a couple extra bucks (and at a faster pace too). Once your transaction is made, take a proud moment for yourself and stick THAT in your travel fund!
Charge for your Services
4. So you’re a handy person huh? You’re the neighborhood car tune-up guy or the girl charging the seniors for Prom makeovers. Seriously! If you are the type of person that has a special talent or craft you can charge your services for, don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. Edit papers, tutor, give music lessons, make home decor. I also know a lot of people that are phenomenal woodworkers/craftsmen and make peennniieeesss selling their goods. I venture to say that most online yard sale sites allow you to advertise your special talents. Just keep in mind that if you want to continue reaping the rewards, don’t cut corners with those you are intending to continue doing business with.
Science is King
5. Participate in a college study. Sometimes science pays. Like this one time, my brother, Chance, made $50 just by participating in a health evaluation. They asked him questions about his lifestyle and diet, took a sample of his blood for study, and monitored his resting heart rate–then the goods came! Look in your local paper, contact science departments, but please take this at your own risk. Chance’s study was entirely harmless, which is why I think this is such a fantastic idea. If you are willing to sign that waiver, this might be a good idea for you to look into.
6. Warning: this next one is debatable and it MOSTLY applies to books and makeup. However, I’m going to throw it out there anyways. You must know by now that I am a makeup junkie. Textures and colors and pigments….oh boy. But with the makeup industry releasing new collections every other week, it’s super easy to feel pressured into buying more than necessary. Not too long ago, I signed up for a monthly makeup subscription called Boxycharm, which costs $21 a month to receive 5 full sized, mostly high-end products. So now since I have all of these fine items guaranteed to come in every month, I feel LESS inclined to spend ridiculous amounts of cash on full-priced products. And guess what? If there are products in my box I know I wont use, I sell them too. Or I stash them aside and give those full–sized products as gifts. It’s literally a TRIPLE PURPOSE BOX.
I wont neglect the alternative to this, which is not spending any of your hard earned dimes on makeup. At all. You can just totally ‘high school’ it and scrape the bottom of your foundation tube with a q-tip until you’ve used it for all its worth. Heck, this method works 21 times better. However, I feel the need to share my perspective regarding this because makeup IS a passion of mine and it might be yours too. Just be cautious with signing up for any subscription that locks you in against your better judgement. Watch YouTube reviews and do your research before you make another commitment.
Skip the School Food
7. Don’t not, I repeat, DO NOT eat at your school’s café! Pack your own lunch please! I’m just saying…you are already pouring good pennies into your college tuition and classes. While the food served might be good, often times meals are overpriced. Speaking from experience, I once purchased a meal plan worth $200. I ate lunch every day with my friends and since I charged it every day, my meal card had a balance of $0 before half the semester was over. Then it was home-packed sandwiches for me instead of chicken tenders. Imagine my disappointment. So 1) don’t disappoint yourself and start off with a balanced, packed lunch. And 2) this concept also applies with all the eating out you’re partaking in. Save those precious coins you work so hard for.
8. Okay so this next suggestion is another debatable one that requires a bit of your patience. ShopTagR is a website that will notify you when something you like at a store that they’ve partnered with goes on sale. Think about all of the money you could save if you only shopped sale items! Target, Amazon, Fashion Nova….you name it. All you have to do is download the browser and save items to your ShopTagR account. When the price gets reduced, you can get notified through your email or through their app. So that hiking gear you want from Dick’s Sporting Goods? Save it to your ShopTagR and wait for the satisfying sales to begin.
Special Occasion $$$
9. Those birthday and Christmas checks you get from loving family members? Yeah, don’t touch those. I mean, unless you have a car that needs an honest tune-up, or groceries, (or any necessity really.) Put all of that fine paper money into your travel savings and leave it be. Imagine thanking your auntie for helping you get to the Blue Lagoon in Iceland or to the Thousand Torii Gates in Kyoto. The key here is to visualize your travel goals and refuse not to be weakened by the immediate gratification of material things. (Cough, cough Angel)
10. Use everything: the very last bits of deodorant & toothpaste, the candle jar that can be re-purposed. Reuse the old T shirt or purchase lightly used clothes at a second hand store for necessary school shopping. You have leftovers? Guess who is eating last night’s chicken for lunch (Das you.) This ‘waste not’ policy is nothing I have invented but it will be most essential on your savings journey.
Well, it seems you have a few more hacks in your bag of tricks now. And you may even be off to Italy or literally any other destination sooner than you think. Once you set a clear goal with a solution to get there, that will prove to be a pivotal moment for you and the beginnings of your travels.
I’ll keep this short and sweet, yeah? Okay. So by now you might be aware that hash-tagging on Instagram is an excellent way for other users to find your profile, and if you have a nice page, you might even gain a few followers from using the right ones. With so much competition to be seen, guess what? Some of the basic tags you’re using already have millions of posts!! While that is amazing and beneficial for the app, the problem with using big hashtags is that they will BURY your feed if you don’t have a big following (much like myself). The trick to being noticed on this platform is using specific hashtags that are relevant to your picture that also prove to be a growing hashtag. I have researched THIRTY hashtags that will increase your Instagram’s traffic–that is if you are living in Okinawa OR have taken a trip here. Lucky for you, there’s a lot to capture 😉
#Okinawa_love ~23.6K (especially good for showcasing your best beach Photos)
#okinawalife ~126k Posts
#Okinawa_holic ~3,800 Posts (Use this hashtag if you have a following of 500 people or less. its a good way to be featured!)
#okinawaphoto ~18,300 Posts
#discoverjapan ~214k Posts
#okinomnoms (If you are just looking for excellent hashtags to view ONLY food, this is for you.)
#scenery_lovers ~75,000 Posts
#awaywego ~38.4K Posts
#okinawahai ~3,000 Posts
#Genic_okinawa ~69.1 K Posts
#Genic_beach ~ 92 K Posts
#Genic_travel ~ 550 K Posts
#okinawatrip ~84.1 K Posts
#okinawa ~ 6.1 Million Posts (This one is too obvious right?!)
#ig_japan ~7.7 Million Posts (Hear me out. This is one of those big, beastly hash tags I was talking about earlier. But not to worry! Including one largely used tag will not hurt your views!!)
#nipponpic ~385 K Posts
#jp_views ~ 458 K Posts
#loves_okinawa ~116 K Posts
#okinawaholic ~33.1 K Posts
#lostinoki ~9,000+ Posts
#beokinawa ~14.3 K Posts
#okilife ~55.5 K Posts
#okinawacafe ~39.2 K Posts (Looking to post your awesome foodie pics? This is your hashtag 🙂 )
#visitjapanjp ~375 K Posts
#bestjapanpics ~ 2.3 Million Posts
#japan_camera ~56.2 K Posts
#daily_photo_japan ~114 K Posts
Okay, friends. That Just about wraps up my hashtag list!
For funsies: https://heleneinbetween.com/december-to-remember-giveaway
(Fingers crossed 😉 )
Follow my absolute Travel Blog Inspiration: Helene Sula here
It hangs from the jagged coral, still as the water beneath it. It promises adventure, a sweet swing, and a short thrill. I grip the rope tightly and peek over the edge into the turquoise depths. There’s massive boulders and ultra-teal fish swimming about in their home. This place is utter magic and my happy heart stammers in my ears. Am I even holding onto it right!??!
I’m jittered. Feeling quite bouncy and thinking about the plunge ahead. Of course I make sure to stall by asking Brandon to take copious amounts of pictures before I go. “I got it; I got it,” he promises, snapping away.
I hear the final click of our Nikon when my body tensed for the jump.
I crash into the water. The salt burns my lips as my head, the last to go, is submerged underwater. I am kissed by the ocean all at once–and reminded again why I hate water in my ears. Brandon hollers above the surface, clapping for my epic swing.
It’s so curious to me that fear and thrill go hand in hand. That rope swings are synonymous with astronomic amounts of joy.
-Angel on Cape Kyan
If you are looking for the Rope Swing on Okinawa, it is located on the southern tip of the island called Cape Kyan. But it can be a bit challenging to find. The easiest way to find it is by plugging in “Gushikawa Castle Ruins” into your Google Maps. There is a small grassy area for parking your vehicle. When packing for your day trip to the tidepool, I definitely recommend wearing water shoes because you will have to climb down a large mass of coral and tread on sharp bits of it before reaching the rope. Once you climb down, keep trekking to the left and you will finally find yourself at the rope swing.
If you have enjoyed the rope swing at Cape Kyan yourself or if you’ve stumbled across my blog in hopes of finding it, please feel free to leave me a comment below. I’d love to hear from you! <3
I am not beaming cheerfully into a mason jar of iced mocha at this very moment. But just this morning, I might have been. And I can promise you I wasn’t smiling because my Hogwarts letter (that is 11 years late and counting) finally arrived. Because it very much hasn’t. ALTHOUGH, I am currently delighting in the idea of an owl dropping off post at my P.O. Box. Hehe.
Lost letters aside, I do have a wondrous secret that you must know about and it definitely involves coffee. Since I landed on the island of Okinawa nearly four months ago, I have tasked myself with finding the best, most ‘nookish’ cafes that promise the resplendence of caffeine and casual lingering (every girl’s amen, right?) It’s the heady ambrosia of freshly brewed coffee beans that I crave. Coffee beans that were plucked–I imagine somewhat lovingly– from their trees and ground into dark brown bits of bliss for consumption.
But here is the thing: if you are on a mission to find something specific (like a coffee shop) in a foreign country, hunting can be challenging ESPECIALLY if you don’t know the language. Okinawa is basically a huge network of tight spaces and full of treasures in hidden territories. And then once you steer clear of the city, you are basically at the beach. Traffic is heavy; parking is quite hard if you are used to more spacious roads. In all honesty, it’s just super easy to overlook a good majority of the cafés that are tucked into the quieter corners. Lucky for you, I have found several already that will make you cream your jeans they are just THAT good.
All grossness aside, I mean it. And you should definitely try it if you get the chance to 😉
Here’s why: for just 6 dollars and some change, a plated avocado dream can be served on almost any day of the week–except for Mondays. That is an insanely cheap price tag on a quality meal you’ll remember. It’s one of the reasons why B and I keep going back. He rather enjoys the Acai Smoothie and I am extremely partial to the whole damn thing. Add the Good Day Breakfast (pictured below) with just about anything on the menu and I would say that you are off to an excellent start to your week/weekend. Hence, the ‘Good Day’ part. If you need more persuading, please refer to the first picture of me genuinely smiling into a mason mug of iced mocha that was mentioned previously. *waggles brows convincingly*.
Good Day Coffee is just one of many coffee shops that I’ll be featuring on Angel Abroad 🙂 It is nestled in a charming neighborhood that happens to be relatively close to the Seawall in Central Okinawa. I call it ‘Island Rustic’ because their simple surf aesthetic creates a genuinely relaxing experience I think we all tend to crave at coffee shops. So much so, that one of the baristas hosts a yoga class in the café! Seriously, how many cafe’s have yoga, coffee, and breakfast in the same place?!
Everything is special here. From the atmosphere to the food, even the coffee beans. In fact, the very coffee beans that are required to make the iced mocha I happen to be in LOVE with are imported from Marvell Street Coffee Roasters in Byron Bay, Australia. How do I know this?
I may have peeked at the fine print on their delicious menu.
That is besides the point. So I just sipped my coffee in silence, marveling at the fact that I live in a foreign country that gets their produce from another foreign country. #yayforimports #cultured 😛
The coolness continues. Good Day Coffee’s menu is written in English and I am almost positive they have a Japanese version of it somewhere as well. I don’t know if restaurant owners realize this but people like me really enjoy the accommodation of having a menu I can understand. It’s pretty common here on Okinawa for the locals to charge for their bilingual services so having something like a menu translated is greatly appreciated.
Here is other additional information you might like to consider: both the U.S. dollar and Yen are accepted here as well as tips (which is a rarity in Japan as tips are not usually welcomed). Unfortunately, credit and debit cards are not so you will most likely have to pull out some cash beforehand. Also, some of the staff have been learning the English language for quite some time so if you are feeling brave, I definitely encourage you to ask them questions about Japanese. They have taught me “Ja Matane” (ja ma tah nay), which means ‘see you later’.
That’s the sound I imagine whenever my toes happily mingle with a sandy beach. In fact, it kind of reminds me ‘sploosh,’ which if you have ever read the book Holes, you know exactly what I’m talking about 😛
Today, there could be nothing on this Earth that would shatter my glorious, wet peace. Looking down at my feet, there are little droplets of the East China Sea clinging to my calves as the water rushes back to the shore to flirt with my skin. First, there was breakfast at the Pancake House (banana and chocolate are a dream together) and a photo shoot at noon with my love, to which we were both at the mercy of the unforgiving sun.
The Island Life has certainly been good to us.
Oh, and Hi to the boaters boating behind me. It’s a gorgeous day for a light paddle and I am thinking that I might join them out on the Pacific just as soon as Brandon snaps a good picture or two. I would not actually join join them, though. Because your girl is an introvert in case you didn’t know. So for now, I’ll continue to enjoy the smooshing (not splooshing) of the sand beneath me and watch the beach reset itself as it washes away the imprints of my wayfaring feet.
I have torn my way through oodles and toodles of travel guides to find destinations I can pack into my weekend exploring. Which, I’ll admit, is quite easy to do since almost everything on the island of Okinawa is practically a gold mine for adventuring. Giiza Banta is no exception.
Only, this particular location isn’t as well- known as one might think. Even to a large majority of the locals. But I’d like to change that.
I stumbled across this beauty from a small recommendation nestled in the very nook of the internet (how else do you find anything these days?) The only thing I really gathered from the post was that it was NOT kid-friendly, and to pack my sturdiest set of tennis shoes. Oh, and the pictures. Giiza Banta boasts hundreds of tall coral formations and many in which I had to climb to get to this point. It is a tad dangerous to climb to say the least, but incredibly healthy for the venturesome bit in you thrill-seekers out there. So your most reliable (read:nonslipping) pair of shoes is especially important for those wild climbs. If you are the type that prefers both feet on the ground, clambering up the sharp mass of coral isn’t always necessary. There are gorgeous waterfalls (one is hidden behind a staircase on the left side of the bluff) that are only a short hike away from where your vehicle is parked.