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.

 

 

 

Why Travel?

On October 15, 2008 – I made my very first blog about why I got hooked with travelling. It was a Taglish write-up. And today, to celebrate the 1st year anniversary of my travel blog here in wordpress, I am sharing several paragraphs of that writing about why I travel. Going over my reasons then, it seems to me that they are still the answers to why I continue to travel. Read along 🙂

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I like to travel because of the following reasons:

Una sa lahat, exciting bumyahe. Some people term it as stepping out of their comfort zone. Iyong iba naman, naniniwala na its a way of pushing boundaries and exploring; but it all boils down to the same thing — to take a trip is EXCITING! EXHILIRATING! ELECTRIFYING! (isipin niyo na lahat ng naguumpisa sa letter E). Hindi ba at nakakaexcite na you get to see new things, experience new sensation, o kaya eh makatikim ng pagkain na bago sa panlasa mo. Isipin mo, kapag naglalakbay ka — every step you take is something you’ve never taken before, especially on places less traveled. Sometimes, you don’t even know what to expect. And that, makes it more exciting…

Ikalawa, travelling (especially kung mag-isa ka) is something ENLIGHTENING. Kung bumibiyahe ka, mag-isa man o may kasama eh paniguradong marami kang malalaman tungkol sa sarili mo (at pati na rin sa mga kasama mo). Ika nga ng isang quote — “The best way to know somebody is to travel with them”. Totoo ito. Naniniwala ako dito. To travel is to learn about your limits, your strengths, your weakness and even discover things you have never imagined that you can actually do. WE LEARN ABOUT WHAT WE CAN BE, BUT HAVEN’T BEEN THUS FAR. We learn about emotional stress one can deal with, what we dare, what we don’t. Ngayon, mas masasabi ko na mas naging flexible ako sa maraming bagay…. Narealize ko na mabubuhay ako kahit walang mga luho… na marami akong kayang gawin na mga bagay-bagay na once I would not dare do or thought I can do.

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Ikatlo, EXPERIENCE. Bukod sa masayang isipin na may bago kang lugar na mapupuntahan o bagong taong makikilala — doing all that new stuff is something extremely educational. Experiential learning sabi nga sa Pschology. The places, the people, the things you do are not those things that one will be forgetting soon. Hindi gaya ng mga inaral mo sa exam na pagkatapos ng pagsusulit, kinakalimutan na. Ung mga naeexperience sa mga ganitong lakad, usually stays forever or would leave a certain mark to you. An experience may change the way we think about things – again from people to culture to places. In some cases, some will even change our own life. It usually brings things into perspective.

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The fourth reason is something very different for all of us who like to travel. It is because, the third reason is considered to be something VERY PERSONAL. May kanya kanya tayong espesyal na dahilan kung bakit gustong gusto nating maglakbay. Yung iba, they love how simple life is on the road, iyong iba naman eh dahil sa gusto nilang matuto ng iba’t ibang bagay tungkol sa isang lugar (ie history, culture)… Others do it to capture their stolen youth, or to make up for some precious time… For some, it is a must because if they don’t travel, they wouldn’t feel satisfied or complete. Yung iba siguro, its a form of escape, a form of searching for something missing…  Well, I share most of these reasons most of the time. But if there is one thing I have come to realize after several years of traveling around my beautiful Philippines eh heto iyon. I like travelling because i wish that others traveled more. Totoo iyan. Proud ako na panay ang hikayat ko sa mga kakilala ko na sumama sa akin… I feel extremely happy everytime I get the chance to share my experiences and stories. It feels good pag may nakoconvince ako to travel and see places — malayo man o malapit.

Lastly, traveling is LIVING. Lahat tayo gusto natin yung pakiramdam na WE ARE FREE, that WE ARE ALIVE. We want to live life to its fullest. My travels made me realize that communities are boundaries. Boundaries, somehow, have invisible walls. I want to break these walls, I want to break these boundaries. Sabi ko nga sa 4th reason ko, I like the idea that everyone gets to travel. Bukod sa masaya ung pakiramdam na may nahikayat ka, it feels even better to see them appreciate also the things that captured your heart. Most importantly, they to are able to break boundaries.  Gusto ko ‘to dahil naniniwala ako na mas magkakaintindihan tayo kung nakita mo rin ant naranasan mo rin ang mga nakita ko at naranasan ko.

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Ikaw, ano mga dahilan mo? Bakit gusto mong naglalakbay? Kung hindi ka mahilig, bakit hindi mo subukan? You will never know, it might unlock something new in you.

I don’t know what the future holds for me. But one thing is certain, I will continue going to places. Kahit saan pa yan. Meron o walang pera. Marami pa akong gustong mapuntahan. Marami pa akong gustong malaman. At sana, sa susunod, kasama ko pa rin kayo… kasama ko na kayo…

Don’t be a wasted soul, be ‘juan’derlust. take it easy ebriwan.

Yay! Happy 1st anniversary to my travel blog, No Juan is an Island!!!

 

 

Be Wanderlust

The really great thing about traveling is that every destination carries its own tune, its own innate experiences, and its own vibe. I think one will find what they’re looking for, but then again, make sure that you visit places that will mean something to you.
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One time, one acquaintance told me that maybe, the reason why I keep on traveling is that I am trying to find myself. That thought left hanging at one part of my mind. From time to time I would go back to that thought. But at the end of each travel I make, I realize that searching for life’s meaning and finding one’s self is a lifelong process. The things I learn about myself along the way can be quite rewarding and give much insight into the world around me.

I have started traveling several years ago, most of the time just tagging along with other people who has this wanderlust attitude; on several occasions I would travel alone. And I learned that traveling solo, without friends, could actually be rewarding too since it gives me a chance to be alone and do what I want to do. Or, if you have friends you can travel with who are on a similar journey, all the better!

Traveling has become a passion. But I would not want to call it an itch, but more of a coop up of livid balls of fire shelling against every corner in the chasm of my soul. When I think of traveling, this cage inside me grows smaller, and these fireballs are ignited–I feel that I am on edge.

I know I have made several blogs about why I travel. But then again, whenever I travel, I keep on gaining more reasons why I should travel. Why WE should travel. In a seemingly fast changing world like ours today, where stressors has been a part of our daily life encounters — to travel is a way of liberating our mind of tangles and worries. And so I dare yourself to ignite sparks you never knew you had in your taste buds, and live off a backpack’s worth of contents. Traveling offers that natural ecstatic high, which is a million times more enhancing than any doping substance you have in mind.

 School and work are certainly essential, but I have come to ascertain that they are not the most important things in life (and I am not saying this just because I feel like I’ m so stressed with my thesis). I mean, escalating your horizons can have more influence on you as a person than spending time sitting in a classroom. I understand Zamboanga and its people better when I had the chance to see the place and mingle with the locals than if I were just reading about them in a book. I have come to appreciate Siquijor and got away from the negative notions (like witches and sorcerers) about the place when I spent a day around the island.

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 Furthermore, all these places we dream of visiting will be gone eventually from swiftly changing cultures, environmental quandary and endangered places. Travel, not only before they are gone, but before you are gone. Remember, we aren’t getting any younger. Now is the time. Get rid of those possible “What ifs” later in the future. My 7th visit to Sagada has proven me one thing, a lot of things could change over time. Some things you once saw may not be the very same thing you would see again; and there are those things one “might” be seeing for the last time.

Life is short. In the now generation, I have become more guarded of current events and nonstop yet tangible boundaries. I have developed this thirst of achievable stories to tell to my family members and friends. I am part of that seed of a budding vine of wanderlusts.

 At the end of the day, it will always boil down to one’s most personal and passionate thought. As for me, pursuing what I really love, that is traveling, is therapeutic. As I am at it, my views on life will change as I get to decide what to do every single day. Traveling is a way of searching one’s core, of finding one’s self. To travel is to let go of my hang-ups and to liberate my soul. And I need it.

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