It was 2006. My mom and I were talking in bed. I told her I don’t want a grand debut which I will be celebrating in the next 4 years. I told her I wanted to visit Hong Kong Disneyland instead for my 18th birthday. She agreed immediately knowing that I got my love for traveling from there.
She died in 2007. And that dream just became a dream. I held on to that promise. Though I still celebrated by 18th birthday with a simple dinner last 2010, I promised myself I’ll travel and lot and fulfill her dream for me.
Then it began.
It was 2014 when I first started traveling. It was in Hong Kong and Macau and I traveled with friends. Imagine – I did really fulfill my destiny by having Hong Kong as my first destination. Unfortunately, I did not end up in Disneyland. My friends wanted to do Ocean Park Hong Kong so I just ended up outside HK Disneyland. I promise myself I’ll go back in Hong Kong and visit HK Disneyland.
And then every year after that I travel abroad. Last 2015, I was in Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam and in 2016 I embarked on my first ever solo trip abroad in Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and Indonesia and I celebrated by post birthday trip in the streets of Bangkok and the ruins of Siem Reap.
This year, I’ll go and visit East Asia. Where in East Asia? It’s a big secret.
So why do I keep on traveling? Why do I stay up late at night just looking for promo fares? Why do I google and research on where to go next? Why do I keep making all these trips?
My answer – FULFILLMENT.
I am fulfilled whenever I ride an airplane and end up in another city. I am fulfilled whenever I pack my stuff to stay in a new city. I am fulfilled whenever I meet new people and ask them where they came from.
I am fulfilled whenever I score cheap tickets to anywhere that is within my budget. I am fulfilled when I see places I’ve only seen in TV and the internet. I am fulfilled whenever I walk in a street that is so uncertain and I may get lost.
Traveling became my therapy. My avenue for de-stressing myself. I work in a stressful 9 to 6 job and I encounter people I may not like along the way. Traveling became my patience in dealing with these people knowing that whenever I travel, I forget of all my work stress.
It also became my avenue to experience new cultures and try different cuisines.
It became an embodiment of a promise that I kept ever since my mom died. That I’ll keep traveling. Just like what she taught me. That I was never born to just sit in one place and that I was born for the explorer that I am. I am proud that I fulfilled that promise. It may not be HK Disneyland – but it became Asia and soon, the world.
Traveling changed my life by letting me understand that the world is. That I have to get out of my comfort zone in order for me to see the world. That traveling is also a teacher and is the best learning experience one will ever have. It may be expensive but the new things that you’ll get after traveling – priceless.
Traveling also helped me find myself and opening my soul. It also became my wholesome addiction. I save up to travel. I learned the DO’s and DON’T’s of budgeting so that I can provide for myself, for my family, for my little pleasures and for traveling. Never did I notice that my bank account just went up because I know which ones to prioritize when it comes to expenses and that I am proud of being that “budget traveler” and yes, a lakwatsera.
So now I try to travel international at least once or twice a year. I go out of the country a lot. But at the same time, I explore the beauty of this country. We have beautiful beaches and sights to behold.
Here what I discovered in my travels…
And with all those photos, shall we do a quick headcount? 8 cities in Asia and 24 out of the 81 provinces in the Philippines. My target? To slowly enjoy all the world’s wonders. Slowly but surely, I open doors to new adventures.
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