08 Mar 2017 - 7 min read
Traveling is wonderful, and I “heart” it. Just like playing music, I travel to express myself. I’m not chasing material things, at least not anymore. All I care about now is collecting experiences, capturing moments, and falling in love along my journey.
Just so you know, I didn’t “stumble upon” my passion for traveling. My childhood and life hardship sort of brought me where I am today.
Growing up wasn’t easy. It was very tough. That’s a story I’m saving for another day. Just like many others, my life is full of ups and downs. Not even my innocence can free me from the ongoing hurdles of life.
Although I never felt like my family had lived under the poverty line, financial constraints did exist in our family. My mother, or I like to call my mama, played an important role in my life, mainly my childhood. For me and my siblings, she’s our superwoman.
Once upon a time, I wanted to be a detective.
Every day, I snuck out from home so I can play football with the boys at a nearby field. Sometimes I took my dog out for a jog around the neighborhood. That was just an excuse to get out of the house!
Most times I played inside the drain in front of my house. It wasn’t very big, but it was quite deep for a 9-year old. My dad had a guava tree in our yard, and there was also a small hut next to it. I loved to climb the tree and sit on its rooftop.
All kids like to climb.
Many years later, dad had to ban everyone in the house from climbing the guava tree after my elder brother accidentally slipped off it and fell on a rusty steel that was supposed to protect his guava tree. They sayhe could’ve died. For a while, I thought it could’ve been me who got hurt, for my brother had asked me to climb the tree first, but I refused to do it after noticing how slippery the branch was.
Although the incident was quite traumatizing for me, it didn’t make me think that the world is an awfully dangerous place.
One of mama’s greatest investments for all of her kids.
My dad likes to read. Although he never recommended any of his books to me and my siblings, mama bought a collection of Childcraft books for us to read. My favorites were the ones about the universe, plants, animals, history, travel and places, folk stories from around the world and about the earth. When I looked at these books again, I realized I was a traveler in the making!
Life was different after I obtained my Bachelor’s Degree in English Linguistics. I was still financially broke, but I managed to get myself employed right after college. I saved up a little bit of money I made from my banking job and bought my very first travel ticket. The first country I visited was the Philippines.
At that time, I wasn’t really sure what I was looking for in the Philippines. The reason I flew to the country was to visit my penpal who lives in Manila. He invited me to his family’s house in Batangas for Christmas. I invited my ex-colleague to tag along with me, too.
Christmas in the Philippines.
The trip was amazing. Not only did I learn about the country and its people, I also had the opportunity to experience Pinoy hospitality. Special thanks to the Ormillo family for the wonderful celebration. That was also the time when I ate my first Balut.
After experiencing my first overseas trip, I wanted to travel even more. I became even more curious than I ever was. A few years later, I planned my first solo trip to Ho Chi Minh City.
Where we’re from doesn’t really matter. What matters is we had fun together.
During my first trip to Ho Chi Minh City, I met several new people from Vietnam, Singapore, Cambodia and South Korea. They were really nice and friendly. I partied with them at Chillbar, a skybar in Ho Chi Minh City. The minute I walked down the bar’s outdoor stairs, I was blown away. The feeling was indescribable. As the wind blew my hair, I knew I wanted to experience it again elsewhere.
However, the bill that landed on my table wasn’t all that pleasant to see. My wallet was on its way to being anorexic. I wondered when I’ll ever have the same experience again - to be blown away by a cool place like this. On the bright side, I knew what partying in a skybar was like, and I had fun.
That’s how I find it to be. No matter how big or small my budget is, I know I can always have fun while traveling. Of course, not everyone would feel the same way about it. Everyone has different levels of satisfaction after all. For some people, a fun travel is one without or with the least problems.
Money is usually the common reason why people aren’t able to travel. After years of traveling, although not always continuously, I realized that traveling doesn’t always have to be expensive or fancy. It doesn’t have to burn a hole in your pocket. In fact, it doesn’t always have to involve Instagram-worthy destinations. Sometimes it's just the people you meet along your journey that matter the most.
There is beauty in everything.
Okay, I have a travel bucket list and it’s in my head. There are several places I want to visit before I turn 70. The Angkor Wat in Cambodia is one on the list I have seen so far. Its beauty gave me a wonderful sense of peace, tranquility and amazement. I fell in love with it the minute I explored it.
Tomb raider brought me here.
I’ll never forget the time when mama and I had a conversation about what I want to do with my life. Although she never understands why traveling is important to me, why I do it, and what I can get from it, she respects my decisions even if she doesn’t always support them, especially the way I travel. All I remember saying to mama was “I’m doing what I didn’t get to do when I was much younger.”
Since I didn’t get to experience vacations before I started earning my own money, I became a very impulsive traveler. It came to a point where I questioned myself about it. Do I really like to travel? Is this what I really want? Am I just competing with other people? Eventually, I cracked the answers to all of my questions.
Today, I travel for good times, moments, life lessons, opportunities, love, and especially people. I learned that I love connecting with people. Only with people can I collect experiences, capture moments and fall in love.
Color your life with wonderful moments and awesome people!
The people I met along my journey were the people who showed me places. They taught me things I didn’t know about. They talked to me about their country. Sometimes they bragged about their country, even their pastries. Occasionally, we talked about politics and the world’s problems.Most times they made me laugh with their cultural jokes. There were times when they were insensitive and ended up annoying me. The adventurous and curious shared with me their survival skills. When my spirit was down, they motivated me. Through these moments, we grow.
Campfire in Laos.
Falling in love and then saying goodbye is often painful. I rarely had a long-lasting relationship with anyone. Although I’m enjoying my singlehood to the fullest today, I also find relationships to be beautiful, and I wouldn’t mind settling down, but only if I find someone who accepts and respects me as an individual. My ideal partner is a traveler like me, and someone who doesn’t need me to be happy or feel fully satisfied with his life.
After I quit the job I loved, I sat in the corner of my bathroom thinking that I wasn’t the same ambitious girl I once knew. However, I realized that maybe I’m leaving everything behind because I’m more ambitious than I ever was. Sometimes we have to break up with the things we love the most. While this doesn’t make sense to other people, it makes perfect sense to me.
I also hope to find the “old” me. Sometimes I feel like the best time of my life was during my childhood. I was more curious, adventurous and daring. I was a little sad to learn that I wasn’t the same girl I used to be. However, my friend Alex once said to me “If you can’t find the old you, we can find the new you.”
So, what do all of these stories have in common?
These are all life experiences and moments that shaped the purpose of my life, and made me fall in love with the world even more. :)