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.

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.