About


Hi, I'm Arni.


Today, I am a full time-mom working from home, wife to a French man, a coffee addict and a nomad.

Flashback to several years ago, I was a passionate career-oriented workaholic.

I couldn't finish a movie at the cinema because my phone rang every 5 minutes. I worked on weekends. At times, I didn't see my husband for 2 weeks even if we lived in the same apartment.  I was at the office during the day and was on site from midnight till sunrise. That, or I was away on business trips.

My obsession with work was driven by my desire to be able to help my family. Oh, and who am I kidding, work also used to define who I was.

I was born in the Philippines and the eldest of 5 children. When I lost my Dad to cancer, we faced a big financial blow. My uncle helped me graduate until I became a licensed architect.

In an unexpected twist of fate, I left the country when I was 24 to work in Dubai so that I could send my brother and sisters to finish school.

I lived in Dubai as an OFW (Overseas Filipino Worker) for 12 years and worked as an Interior Designer and Project Manager.

Fast forward, it warms my heart to see my siblings happy and fulfilled in their own professions today. I will always thank God for blessing me with the opportunity to pay my uncle's kindness forward.


What are we up to?
We have just set up a business in the Philippines and are currently living in the countryside. My husband who loves to fly had a career overhaul. Now, he's a gyrocopter pilot.

We worked very hard for years to be able to do this. We tightened our belts while living in the Middle East for 12 years.

We do receive questions like, "Why the Philippines?  Why don't you migrate to the west?"

I aim to slowly answer these through our first hand experiences on the blog.




Why I started blogging?
I was in an interior sales job that didn't really suit my personality. Being an introvert, I was forced to fill the shoes ideal for an extrovert. However, while this experience opened a lot of doors for me, it also expanded my comfort zone.

It gave me lots of travel perks and air miles that made me see many places around the world.

Hence, Travel Gourmande was born where I initially wrote about past and present travels in the hopes of sharing information beneficial to travelers.

The french term Gourmande (feminine) was a nickname my in-laws gave me. Someone who eats for the pleasure of eating. In short, "matakaw" Travel Gourmande is a name I made up of someone greedy with traveling and food.


"I was a lost soul trying to find where my home is."
This travel journal made me realize that this wanderlust was rooted from an overwhelming desire to find where my true home is, due to an unhappy childhood and youth. This blog witnessed the breakthroughs and changes I went through to reclaim myself and face my fears.

It also helped me discover my true passion in designing Interiors which I occasionally write about in another blog called Design Gourmande

Later, I quit that sales job to follow my dream of designing hotel interiors.

I was at the peak of my design career when I got pregnant and became a mother. Juggling both roles, I was still on my way to climb the corporate ladder in Interior Design in the Gulf, until a nightmarish life changing event halted everything.  This made us decide to leave the sandpit for good and start life from scratch in my home country.



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If there's something I'd like you, my friend to take with you before you go, 
I aspire to have at least made you feel that you are not alone in your journey.
We all have our own paths to take and we all belong, whichever niche we are venturing in.

I raise my coffee mug or coconut for a toast as we conquer our fears and be thankful for today.
Please do send me an email if you have any questions or if there's something I can help you with.


Email me:  arniderivera@gmail.com
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**All Photographs are taken by the author, Arni Nauleau unless noted otherwise. 

Flickr Images