You go to a new place, meet new people and then, a series of questions follows. During Q&A, questions are almost always the same and it’s also a way of getting information, tips or recommendations for future reference. Since you’ve encountered these questions before, answers would just come out naturally until one night, during NYE dinner in Arequipa, one of the guests asked me where I’m from and immediately followed by –
“How did you get out? I mean, travelers normally go to your country and not the other way around.”
That was, indeed, the most unusual question I got whilst traveling.
Upon hearing this, I don’t know whether to feel offended or laugh it off because in my mind I was thinking ‘uhmmm we also have airports and it’s not a prison’ but I know what she meant and all I could answer was –
“Philippines was just too small for me and I needed to get out.”
Now it makes me wonder… In my 7 months of travel, I’ve encountered mostly Europeans, Australians and Americans, but Asians, let alone Filipinos, not so much. At first I thought it was a cultural thing because I myself was brought up with the responsibility of finishing school, getting a job, and eventually, settle down and have my own family.
But when I asked other travelers, it is the same for them except for the fact that they can choose to have a gap year before starting university and they’ll use that time to travel wherever.
So, I wonder again, if it’s the same everywhere, why is traveling or even learning another language not encouraged enough? Knowing about other cultures and their lifestyle is enough to make you want to leave but people back home choose not to, so, could it be a money issue? That could be it.
Just thinking about how powerless our currency is, you really couldn’t do much once you get out and yet, a lot of people back home frequent shopping malls to buy stuff that they don’t actually need and spend money on things that only provide temporary happiness.
I don’t get it sometimes but now I do. We will always have excuses for not doing what we want, thinking we’ll be able to have the money and time later until we realize, it’s too late.
I’m not an advocate of “quit your job and go travel” because truth be told, it’s not for everyone. Some can do short-term travels and that’s all right. What’s important is you learn a thing or two about other cultures, see the sun set on the other side of the world, eat avocados in several different ways, eat so much potatoes in a day, go on bus rides that’s longer than a day’s worth, and more, so much more.
I was 32 when I decided to go travel to the other side of the world. People I’ve met are much younger and how I wish I started young as well but no regrets because I am here now, living the life that I love.
Do I have a lot of money to support myself? Hell no. I’m even surprised at how I am surviving. Truth is, I just make it work and make sacrifices because that’s how badly I want it.