Hallo, Oslo!

Oslo – Norway’s capital since 1814, is also its largest city and is regarded a cosmopolitan hub. Without any expectation in mind, I visited this year’s European Green Capital with a “surprise me” attitude.

The picturesque Oslo Opera House

According to the city’s official website, Oslo is one of Europe’s fastest growing cities this decade. It is a diverse centre with a richness of top-notch architecture, museums, restaurants and shopping.

Vigeland Sculpture Park
The Viking Museum, one of the many museums within the city.
Some interesting sculpture one gets to see while walking around the city.

My trip to Norway completed my desire to set foot on all 5 Scandinavian countries. I got to visit Finland, Sweden, Iceland, and Denmark wayback 2017.

Anyway, here are some of the landmarks that captivated my heart during a brief visit in Oslo, Norway.

Beautiful Frogner Park

Don’t be wasted soul, be ‘juan’derlust! Take it easy.

Don’t Hurry, Don’t Worry

Some six (or seven) years ago, I entertained the idea of wanting to set foot on all 81 provinces in the Philippines. The goal seems far-fetched until I noticed that after a couple years of local traveling, I have been to more than half. And so, I became more assertive to put that goal into fruition.

At one point, I went to a certain region for 5 days and visited one province per day. It was exhausting. Later, I realized I have missed a lot because it felt like I was racing just to see more. And as I am given more travel opportunities, it has dawned on me that it should never be about how many places you’ve been (provinces or countries or continents). No offense to my friends who are aiming at going to all 81 provinces, or those who have already achieved such a feat. I am close to ticking all 81 with just 5 more to visit, but it made me think that there should be more to this goal.

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My Europe trip in 2017 gave me a chance to visit countries I have always wanted to see. It was an almost 3-month backpacking but obviously, it wasn’t enough to see entire Europe. Not even an entire country. I didn’t even get to see all the “basic” sights of each key city I have been to. When I came to Europe, I have set my mind to take everything slow and easy, and shy away from the idea that “I should be able to visit all places that I want to see”. I didn’t see Spain or Switzerland and other must-see countries in Europe during that trip. And it was okay. I told myself that missing out some would serve as an inspiration for me to come back.

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Traveling taught me that when we are out there, we must slow down and try not to rush. It may not be true for everyone but, I have come to ascertain that people who do everything quicker also do it worse. I always say, “Take it easy” and it is but proper to really go slowly. Being in a new place usually makes us feel excited and it is no surprise if we find ourselves not wanting to miss out on anything. Hence, the tendency to try everything, see every place like a mental suitcase that’s one size too small. Every traveling person should battle this temptation because one will end up weary and worried and end up missing out the fun and the very essence of being in a certain place.

Ever since my Europe backpacking, I am becoming more of that “slow down and try not to rush” kind of person. I have been trying my best to take time in everything. I have learned to enjoy every bite of food I eat and at times closing my eyes, allowing my palate to relish every taste. Instead of taking a taxi and the metro, I have come to enjoy long walks at a slow pace and be more observant of the things I pass by. This allowed me to have more meaningful interaction with people I encounter along the way. Things like this one made me appreciate the importance of letting every other person finish their side of the conversation while I listen attentively. Perhaps, one of my favorite thing to do in every place I went to was to stop in the middle of the day, (whether I was in a park, a busy street, a food house), closed my eyes for some fleeting moments, and be aware of my breathing. And it felt so good.

Funny, and ironic it is to ponder that as we hurry more, we experience less. Although we may do more things, eat more food, or visit more places, in our haste, we end up seeing less of them. We end up feeling tired missing out on the actual fun, and that surreal sensation being in that place. From now on, remember that when you travel, make the most of what you’re doing by allowing yourself to remain in the present moment as much as possible.

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Of course, I still want to visit my country’s 81 provinces. BUT for now, I don’t want to see more, instead, I want to feel more, and BE more! And I will take my time. Take it, easy everyone.

Filipi-Know: Pinoy Words I Love.

Words are exceptionally the most commanding force presented to people. The use of such is something we do every single day whenever we talk to people, and even to ourselves. We either have the freedom to utilize this power beneficially through words of inspiration, or damagingly using words of desolation.

Words have authority. It can either make or break a person. It has the ability to heal, to hinder, to hurt, to harm, to harass, to humiliate and to humble a human being.

So I am sharing some Filipino words I love to here, and say. Which one is your favorite? Can you use them in a sentence? Take it away.

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Take it easy everyJuan.

Slow Down, Take It Easy.

The secret of living a happy life is to “slow down and do one thing at a time”, my grandmother once told me.

At this day and age what people call millennial generation, it seems that almost everything has been replaced by something “instant” or readily available. Various social media like Facebook, Twitter, Tinder, and the like have served as the mainstream and traditional ways are rapidly being put into oblivion. Disappointing as it may sound but the era of fake and unverified information or news are becoming the standards of truth.

Nowadays, one could order food, clothes or whatever material thing one has in mind, online. Pay it online, and after a few days, they are delivered at one’s doorstep. One could also meet people in certain dating applications and voila, you are up for a romantic date or more, at an instant. Even in schools, some institutions would require their students to submit their outputs through emails. In workplaces, one could conduct trainings virtually. True enough, these things are indication of progress, and comfort to most.

On a hindsight, I have noticed that because of these convenience, people have become more demanding, and have lost grip of the essence of waiting, and yes, taking things at a slower fashion. These things are very evident specially in big cities wherein most individuals seem to be racing with each other – where everyone is in a hurry to book a ride home thru transportation apps, in a hurry to finish work inorder to accommodate and accomplish more tasks, thinking that being able to do more at a faster pace makes one more superior, admirable, and incredible.

I am guilty of these claims. I am aware that I spend a significant time checking on my phone for notifications in my social media accounts, checking on the latest news/things in Twitter or in Instagram, and would just prefer a quick hi/hello in Viber, Whatsapp and messenger to friends instead of meeting them in person.

My recent travel to Europe served as a timely reminder that I should take time to genuinely experience what life has been offering me all along. Things like taking my time to eat and to actually enjoy the food I am eating, to not worrying of getting up really early and hurrying myself to be dressed up in the morning so as to accomplish alot of things, to appreciating long, leisure walks while talking to random people, exchanging views about many things — are just some of those that I have learned to value more.

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While I have learned to set aside checking on my emails and socmed notifications for a few hours,  I am still guilty of being a gadget-dependent individual.

It is true that grabbing every opportunity coming our way is a good thing, and accomplishing more seem a really impressive idea, but then again, we should remind ourselves to enjoy and notice the smallest of the things around us. We should not be too preoccupied with our destination. We should learn to appreciate the journey per se and keep in mind the possibilities of encountering U-turns and dead-ends, and of course enjoying every moment along the way.

“Take it easy” — I always say this in most of my posts, and maybe it is time to practice it more whole heartedly. I guess taking time, taking a few steps back shouldn’t hurt our way towards achieving our main goals in life. Who knows, if we do these, we might just end up being happier and more satisfied.

***This write-up is a product of my jetlag. Since I cant sleep and these thoughts have been racing inside my head the past weeks, might as well jot them down here.

Lester out.

Year-End Gratitude Post

Don’t wait for inspiration. Be the inspiration.

Before the great 2017 ends, attached herewith is a collage of the 30 countries i have visited and 7 Philippine mountains I have scaled (not included are other several local destinations i have set foot).

Lord, I really do not know what good have I done to deserve all these great things. I will be forever grateful. All these travel wouldn’t be possible without You and Your grace.

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This is a pretty lengthy gratitude post. So here it goes:

It’s not a secret that I am such a travel enthusiast. Just when I thought last year’s feat of going to 9 countries was already crazy awesome, who would’ve thought that 2017 would extremely surpass that. So allow me to thank the following for helping me/ extending any form of help to me during one of my travels this year:

– to my Lithuanian friends, Dacius, Ruta and Gaudantes, for providing me a home, fun moments, and a family almost during my entire 10-week Europe trip.

– to Pow (and your lovely wife Pam, even she wasn’t there) for accommodating me and showing me around Vienna).

– to my new found friends, Judith and Gerlie, whom I met in Vienna, and has shown me more love and genuine friendship when I got the chance to visit Dubai.

– to Richard, a former student of mine and a really good friend, (and to your entire family) for accommodating me during my Milan trip (and sa food, sa damit, sa lahat!).

– to my CS host in Romania, Daniel, and my co-CS guest Timu for making my Bucharest trip worthy.

– to Recep, my Muslim friend in Turkey who has shown me so much genuine friendship and that unforgettable experience inside the mosque.

– to Tita Wiwi for showing me around Paris, and for being like a mom preparing my “baon” while I do my walking tour.

– to my awesome CS nudist hosts in Brussels; to Dr. Geraldine and Dr. Reuben for showing me around Brussels.

– to my former student, Katrijn and her lovely daughter, for keeping me company in Tallinn, Estonia (and for the gifts).

– to Vlad, Yana, and Claro for a super fun Taiwan trip before we all eventually resigned from work 😉

– to my best buddy/ kabsat/ frenemy, JQ for your birthday gift (ang yaman mo talaga grabe)

– to my Tita Maria and Roy for the warm welcome in Hong Kong.
– to Doc Anton and Sir Bojo (you may not know this, but you are some of my travel inspirations).

– to Elaine, Hazel, Pat for meeting me up in Dubai and spending some great time (hanggang Oman); to Ruby for showing me around Dubai as well.

– to Edi and his dog, Moka (my CS hosts in Israel), co-CS guest Daniel, for a great time in Tel Aviv (and the beard oil you gave me, hahaha); to former classmate, Ace sa treat at sa kwentuhan around Old Jaffa.

– to UJ for meeting up with me (again in Zamboanga), to the Pharma students I met in Bacolod, Tagbilaran and Zamboanga during the review session.

– to my boss who accepted my resignation from work last March 1, and since then told me that I could always come back and work for him, and eventually offering me to work for him again during this years last quarter. Grabe, i feel pressured right now because of your trust and confidence. meow.

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– to WeVoluntour sa laging pagimbita sakin kahit once lang na naman ako nakasama; to kabsat Greggy, Therenz sa trilogy climb natin dito sa LTB last January.

– to the acquaintances I have met during my Marami, Binacayan, Lalayag climbs (although shout out to Dee for coming with me); to my followers here in WordPress.

– to my IG friends who are now really close friends after the Bulacan Twin Hike, ElYu trip and Baguio visit (Tutz, Den, Bri, MJ, Sam, Carlo, KO, Dumz, Rard, Niel) – sana wala akong nakalimutan.

– to all who have untiringly appreciated my FB, IG, twitter, wordpress posts kahit na nagfloflood na ako most of the time… sa lahat ng mga tumatawag ng lodi, petmalu at inspiration sakin. Grabe nakakataba kaya ng puso (at least may tumaba sakin). Hindi nyo alam kung gaano ako nagpapasalamat sa inyo. Sana one day, matupad din lahat ng mga kagustuhan nyong magtravel at kung ano man yang gusto ng mga puso nyo.

– to my Baguio friends Cha and Tiny for always giving me a warm welcome back whenever I am back in Baguio, at kasamang mag-Korean buffet atbp.

– to my TaRxier friends na despite the physical distance eh we have kept our lines of communication open to share our adventures and misadventures and lots of kagaguhan.

– to my mama and my papa for being tolerant sa pagiging lakwatsero ko (teka, hindi nyo nga pala alam half of these gala, hahaha)

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– and to Papa God dahil NEVER niya akong pinabayaan sa lahat ng travel na ito.

– at syempre to you dear self, grabe, antapang tapang mo na (un lang butas na ata bulsa mo). Sana yang tapang mo magamit mo rin sa ibang bagay gaya ng pag-let go ng past at pagharap sa mas mature na future).

Thank you to all the people who have been part of all these amazing journeys. To everyone out there, travel travel travel – it is one of life’s most rewarding and learnings-filled experience.

ayun, haba na. Take it easy guise. See you next year for more awesome travel. Hopefully, i can go back to more local travel at mapuntahan na sana ung 5 remaining Philippine provinces to complete my pending Proyekto 81. So meow.

Travel Memorabilia

Hello friends! It has been more than a month the last time I have made an entry here. I just came from yet another pretty tiresome, but definitely fun-filled series of travels. I will try to post some of these recent adventures sometime soon. In the meantime, here is a short sharing of what I love to buy and bring home during travel.

Traveling is a very rewarding experience. After a trip, one goes home with innumerable mementos — from incomparable life lessons to new found friends, to of course uncountable photographs, and memories to cherish a lifetime.

Aside from these, I have also developed a habit of bringing home a physical memorabilia that comes in different forms. Before, I would make sure I get to buy at least a keychain or a fridge magnet as a souvenir from my trip.

Today, i have gone beyond these usual stuff. Whenever I go on a travel, I alot a certain amount of my money to buy some of the things I personally collect. Some of these include miniature building decors/displays like an Eiffel Tower from France, a Burf Khalifa and Burj Al Arab from my Dubai travel or a Milad Tower I bought in Iran from a recent trip and many more.

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Also, I make sure that I have a paper bill and some coins to spare for my currency collection. Some of my friends actually like these as my pasalubong to them since some of them also have this kind of colkection. I happen to collect also Starbucks tumblers and diecast planes. I am even starting to collect some books and dolls unique to a certain place I have visited. And lastly, I also bring home some paintings which I plan to use as wall decors when my dream of putting up my own cafe comes into fruition.

I know these are just material mementos and the memories that go with the travel are still far more important. Nonetheless, it feels good to see tangible reminders as to how awesome one particular trip was.

 

Don’t be a wasted soul, be JUANderlust. Take it easy everyJuan.

Memories of Anawangin Cove: Zambales, PH

Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.

– Dr. Seuss

This is a flashback post. It’s been 12 years and 7 months since the first time I have set foot in Anawangin. And today, I went on to visit memory lane and put into writing the memories of this trip with a group of friends.

It was January of 2005. Panagbenga Festival in Baguio City. For most of us living in the City of Pines, this means getting out of Baguio so as not to feel the congestion of the city. You see, people would usually flock their way to witness the annual flower festival. My friends and I decided to spend a 3-day getaway in Anawangin Cove. During this time, Anawangin was barely known as a beach destination. I have heard of it from my mountaineering friends who did an exploratory climb at this side of Zambales.

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So, 5 days before the Panagbenga, I did the planning for this getaway. Actually, the first plan was to saunter Mount Pinatubo. But then, I was more enticed to go on a beach escapade. So with limited time, I disseminated our itinerary hoping more of our friends will come join us on this trip. Luckily, 10 friends decided to come along even if most of them didn’t really have much of an idea on what to see in Anawangin. I remember myself assuring them that the place is something they’ll like just to make sure no one would back out on the last minute. Here goes our itinerary:

Day 1 – Baguio to Zambales: Mount Pundaquit Trek

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There are no direct trips to San Antonio, Zambales from Baguio. Since we have a friend from Pampanga who is joining us, we agreed that we would meet there. So we took a bus that passes by Mabalacat (Victory Liner), from there, Gladys (together with her cousin) fetched and all together we went to Angeles to take a bus that is bound for Iba, Zambales’ capital. It was a pretty long (and tiresome trip). All in all, it took us around 9 hours to reach San Antonio town proper.

Upon arrival, we decided to buy some fresh produce in the market since there are no stores or restaurants in Anawangin. After which, we took a tricycle to reach Brgy. Pundaquit – the jump off to Anawangin. Good thing I have a prior contact with a guide, Manong Alfring a local. We were asked as to how we would like to reach Anawangin. You see, there are two possible options. One is to trek Mount Pundaquit, and the other one is to ride a boat. Of course, the boat ride was the faster means however, we opted to do the climb. Some of our stuff was taken by Manong Alfring and his companions, who are taking the boat. So they will just wait for us at the beach camp.

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And so we went on with the hike. Our guide told us it was a pretty easy climb. Having climbed Pulag before this trip, I have to agree with what the guide claimed. However, as the sun goes up, the weather became warmer that eventually made almost everyone tired. It was a mistake on our end when we didn’t bring much water. The heat was sweltering and our water supply was rapidly dwindling keeping our pace slower. We had to motivate ourselves and patience became the key for us to reach our campsite.

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After 3 hours or so, we reached the peak and its breathtaking view made up for that very weary feeling we were all experiencing. It was a 360 degrees view and Anawangin Cove was already visible from where we were. The sea view further motivated the group not to give up. Two more hours and we finally reached Anawangin with the pine trees seemingly welcoming us. A few more minutes, and we were treated with a spectacular sun down. It was lovely. It made all the weary feeling melt down.

We did set up our tents (yes, there were no resorts/ cottages before in Anawangin), and cooked our dinner with the help of our guide. We had a simple dinner by the shore while sharing stories under the full moon. Recalling that night, it was so serene and really relaxing

Day 2: Anawangin Cove Explored

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Some of us woke up early, the others stayed a little longer inside their tents as they were still feeling fatigued from the other day’s trek. I went to stroll along the beach while taking some photos. Waking up to the sound of the waves and the smell of saline water was energy revitalizing! It is such a picturesque place. Looking back, Anawangin’s picture perfect backdrop contributed to my being a photography enthusiast. We actually spent almost the entire day wandering around. The waters of Anawangin was crystal clear and really refreshing so we had a great deal of time swimming or just wading in water. We also went up a hill where we had a jaw-dropping view of the cove and the mountains. The mini pine tree forest at the foot of the mountain is unbelievably photogenic. There is even an estuary that leads to the sea. And at the end of that day, we again waited for the sunset. It was yet another spectacular sundown.

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Day 3: Capones Island

Everyone had to wake up early on Day 3 because it was time to leave Anawangin. However, before going back to mainland Pundaquit, we went on for a side trip to a nearby island called Capones. There are actually two islands near the cove, however, we have to stick to our itinerary since we still have to go back to Baguio. It was a 30-minute boat ride amidst huge waves… From afar, the island looks like a shoe. The island’s main attraction is an old lighthouse. Unfortunately, it wasn’t open when we got there so we ended up taking photos along the shore amidst huge, exquisite rocks. I had an unforgettable experience here since I had a bit of an accident. I didn’t anticipate that some of the rocks were slippery that caused me to slip off and have some bruises. Nonetheless, the happy experience overshadowed this minor incident.

Before going back to Baguio, Gladys invited us at their home in San Fernando, Pampanga for a food treat and for us to freshen up ourselves. It was yet another long and tiresome bus ride. But who cares, we just had an awesome and adventure-filled trip! I told myself I’d be back in Anawangin. (And guess what, after 5 years since that first trip to Anawangin, I was able to visit it again. Plus, I was able to visit also another cove – Nagsasa and the other island near Capones, Camara). Yay! Cheers to more travels!

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*Thank you to Kuya Jerry for sharing some of his photographs to us.

Also, you might want to check my write up about other visit-worthy coves here in the Philippines.

Don’t be a wasted soul, be JUANderlust. Take it easy everyJuan.

Travel Pills & Elixirs

Dr. Jim Nicolai, a former Medical Director of an Integrative Wellness Program, once said – “Where health is the destination, wellness is the journey…

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It isn’t a secret to my friends and colleagues that I have this undeniable knack for travelling and sense of adventure. I like to be marooned by the sometimes unforgiving sun or get soaked by the unpredictable rain whether I am at the beach or on top of the mountain. Weird as it may seem to some people, but getting lost nonchalantly in a foreign city enlivens my spirit. But these sense of enthusiasm and interest dampen when I get sick. That is why, I try my best to make sure that I am always at my best element… that I am always healthy – physically, emotionally, and even mentally!

A previous post of mine tackled about the basic things that I pack inside my (travel bag). One of the essentials is your personal medicine kit. So in this write up, I am sharing to you my simple health habits, the products I use and believe in, and some secrets (my travel pills and elixirs).

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Getting stressed and experiencing fatigue are common during travel. And surprisingly, there is no single cure for stress. If our coping mechanism isn’t able to resolve these stressors, they eventually take a toll on us and could lead to symptoms like headache, body pain, cough and colds, sleepless nights, and many more.

I am pretty sure these warning signs have at one point hindered you from going on a trip or a long-time planned beach getaway and the like. And it sucks to think that all the excitement would totally die down just because you are sick. I hate having headache, and I despise having cough and colds. So what do I do? As a pharmacist, I actually have some personal rituals and favorite products (yes, you read that right I have my personal biases). Hahaha! So read along.

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To make sure that I won’t get sick, I hydrate myself with enough fluid (not necessarily water) like juice, tea, and energy drinks (hello, Gatorade ® which is still my super tried and tested hydrating fluid). I eat alooooot of fruits. Shout out to my all-time favorites – watermelon, strawberries, bananas, and oranges (well, whichever is in season). If my trip involves some mountain climbing activity, I allot some time to do running and brisk walking.

Pack my med kit. So what’s inside it? I consider the following my travel pills and elixirs:

  • Vitamins (Enervon Activ ® now, Enervon ® syrup when I was young. Because it’s our mom’s choice.)
  • Hand Sanitizer and isopropyl alcohol (not ethyl)
  • Paracetamol – this is for my sudden headache which could really turn my mood 360 degrees, hahaha)
  • Tuseran capsule (I go for this one to manage my cough and colds).
  • Some anti-histamine (because at times I experience cold allergies).
  • Antidiarrheals (I usually go for loperamide).
  • Ginger candies like Gingerbon ® to suppress dizziness and vomiting.
  • Band-Aid J, cotton, wet wipes
  • Povidone Iodine (my antiseptic of choice)
  • Insect repellant lotions/ sprays (Off ® with chamomile is my choice).
  • Strepsils ® – favorite lozenge!

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During my recent Europe trip, my preparedness was tested when on several occasions I some sort of got sick. Traveling around the Baltic area (Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania) was memorable because I spent several days (7 am to 9 pm), walking around the key cities. I had terrible headaches at night and even got cough and colds. These were most likely due to the warm weather during the day and the nasty and biting cold temperature at night. I am really glad I have my anti-fever/ mild painkillers with me. Good thing too, I packed several Tuseran ® 2-in-1 capsules for my cough and colds. Since I am compliant with whatever medicines I take, in no time, I was back at my normal state – healthy and kicking. (PS: Being compliant with your medication’s dose and schedule is very essential to getting treated. That’s me being a pharmacist).

 

From cold Iceland to rainy Poland to humid Manila – my body was probably shocked with the outright adjustments it had to undergo. So I had another episode of cough and colds (and sore throat). This time, because of this sudden change in temperature, I had developed allergies (urticaria). Could you just imagine the burden, especially at night? I was worried because I have scheduled speaking engagement in Zamboanga in 4 days’ time.

Coincidentally, I was talking to physician friend of mine one time when she suggested that I try the new Tuseran Night ®. Keen about the medication I intend to take, I went on to search what it contains. Since it both contains diphenhydramine and phenylpropanolamine, I was convinced it will do wonders for my cough, cold, and allergies. (Shout out to Doc Nessa for the suggestion!) I still have a few pieces of my Tuseran capsules and cetirizine (anti-allergy meds) left from my EU trip but I opted to try out the new Tuseran Night ® (which by the way is in syrup form). And boy I am glad I did go for it because it’s like an all-in-one form of relief for my cough, my colds, my allergies PLUS I get to sleep better. Thanks to diphenyhydramine’s anti-allergy effect.  (Ooooooooooops, sorry guise if my pharma background is making your nose bleed upon reading these). Hahaha!

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Aside from preparing those medications, during any of my travels, I also drink a lot of tea products. Lemon – Ginger Tea and Black Mint Tea are my favorite. If I could get hold of honey, I would often mix it with my drink. Also, I like having probiotic drinks that usually helps me with my GI problems.

I have asked my equally adventurous friends to share some of their health tips and practices.

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The information I have shared here are my personal choices. Of course it is still best to go visit your general practitioner, or a doctor who can specialize the medicine you need during your travel/s. But, it is also good to note that as individuals who like travelling, make sure you always have an extra space for your own medication kit!

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Thank you to Jan of The Kapampangan Traveller, Hance of The Restless Pinoy Traveler, Jeff of Donde si Jepepips, Jonel of Eljontology, Jit (aka @aren_emdi), claro (aka @claro.i) and Aljen (aka @dirtikid).

So remember, stay healthy and safe travels. Don’t be a wasted soul, be JUANderust. Take it easy everyJUAN!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Be a Travelspiration

So I just coined a new word for my self called “travelspiration”. I tried to google it up afterwards, and i’m pretty surprised some people use it too. Obvious as it is, “travelspiration” is a portmanteau of the words travel and inspiration.

Traveling has to be one of the most satisfying experiences a person can do in his/her lifetime. Many times, I have claimed that traveling awakens my soul, arouses my senses, and colors my world in a new hue. It is a way of living, it is my way of living…

So here are some thoughts that have personally inspired/ motivated me during my travels. I have made use some of my favorite travel photographs.

Warsaw PolandBratislava SlovakiaBucharest RomaniaRiga LatviaBudapest HungaryVienna AustriaVilnius LithuaniaComo ItalyReykjavik IcelandTallinn EstoniaYogya IndonesiaRotorua New Zealand

Don’t be a wasted soul, be JUANderlust. Take it easy everyJUAN.

*PS: Will add more as I travel around. You are most welcome to share these “travelspiration.

What’s in Your (Travel) Bag?

One particular thing I am asked about, as a frequent traveler, is regarding my packing strategy and what stuff I do pack. Packing your bag, perhaps, is one essential matter during travel. So here is a quick guideline on how I pack and what things I usually bring.

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First things first: I decide on my main luggage. Factors that dictate my choice of luggage include duration of travel, mode/s of travel (whether plane, bus, or even boat), and general itinerary (is it a local or international travel? Does my travel require hopping from one province or country to another?)

Generally though, I go for something that is lightweight (but big enough to contain all my basics) and physically more comfortable to carry around. So with these in mind, I would often use my travel backpack-slash-hiking-bag that has been with me for 12 years now. I like it since it is able to fit all my things and more importantly, it is easy to carry.

How about a “rolling luggage”? I am not a fan of rolling luggage. Having wheels could be very comfortable to most people I know but I don’t find it practical enough especially if my travel requires some “roughing out”.

If I have a short travel (a weekend trip maybe), I like using a duffel bag. Again, it is lightweight, and easy to carry. Also, most of the time, I have a hand carry/ carry-on bag that is usually a mail bag where I stash my most essential stuff (including my rosary). This is essential especially when you have multiple destinations.

After having thought of which luggage to choose, the next thing I usually do is make a checklist of the things I intend to bring with me. I have a notebook/ pad where I write everything I need. Some people resort to using their cellphone’s organizer but I’m pretty old-school, I like the idea of jotting down a list using my pencil, and crossing out some whenever the need to leave some.

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So what should one pack? Here is my basic list:

Lightweight clothing that can be layered Camera/ batteries/ charger/ SD card Travel pillow (neck pillow)
Long-sleeved shirts Pajamas/sleepwear Cell phone and charger
Sweater or cardigan or a windbreaker Mini flashlight Eye mask and ear plugs
T-shirts and tank tops Eyeglasses/ Sunglasses and glasses case Walking shoes
Pants and shorts (that does not require using a belt) Cap/ Hat Electric converters and adaptors
Socks/ Undergarment/ swim trunks (in case I’m swimming) Easy dry, lightweight towel Travel apps to help with language, directions (l like maps.me), & money conversion

PS: I also pack some energy bars and candies, and some little souvenirs I can give to new friends I’ll meet along the way.

And for a male (my) TOILETRIES bag, it contains the following:

Toothbrush, toothpaste,  mouthwash Sunscreen/ lotion Medicine kit (I have a separate post called Travel Pills and Elixirs)
Hair gel Mosquito repellant (lotion) Shaver
Shampoo Wet wipes/ tissue Nail clippers

Once I have enlisted them, I try my best to organize my stuff inside my bag in such a way that I am able to maximize every space. This can be challenging (and frustrating at times). I used to pack my clothes in a zip lock bag labeled per day. I still do if it is a short trip. But if it is a long trip, I do it differently. I pack most of my clothes still in zip lock bags of varying sizes and organized based on the kind of outfit. I usually roll them as I find this technique less space consuming.

Packing my toiletries in its bag is another thing. My choice of toiletry bag is something that is transparent, easy to wipe, and water-resistant of course. Always keep in mind to bring only a small amount of your liquid items. I also try to label each one of them to avoid confusion and for easy access.

Next thing I prepare are the essential travel documents, cash, and cards. All of which I place in a simple travel organizer that can hold my passport, identification card/s, ATM and credit cards (to which I remind my bank/ credit card company that I am going abroad if it is an international trip), boarding pass/es, money/ coins, and a pen. I also keep a folder for my travel insurance documents, print out of my travel itineraries (although I also keep an electronic form in my phone), a list of hotel contact information, emergency contacts and important addresses like that of a couchsurfing host, guide books/ maps, and my travel notebook.

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After packing everything, I check the weight of my luggage to make sure I won’t pay extra money during check-in. I also try to walk around with my luggage for my body to have a feel of its weight. That’s it. And by the way, don’t forget to prepare the most important things during travel — enough strength (physical, mental and emotional), and a happy, optimistic disposition.

So, whether this your maiden solo travel or you are a seasoned wanderlust, I hope these simple guideline based on what I do, would be of help to you in a certain way. Have fun and always travel safe and with a smile.

Don’t be a wasted soul, be “juan”derlust. Take it easy everyJuan.