I resigned from my corporate job last January 2012 because I wanted to go on a long-term travel adventure. I was able to accomplish it by backpacking for nine months in seven countries in Southeast Asia.
I haven’t exhausted all the places in Southeast Asia which I could’ve done simply by hopping on a bus or riding a train. Laos and Myanmar were nearby countries that came to mind, but I was in no hurry.
The plan was simply to travel and bring my work while doing so and I have achieved that goal.
Filipino Backpacker in Southeast Asia
I’m glad to represent Pinoy backackers who have gone out and explore other countries. It helps in building an idea that it is possible to travel more than the usual 3-day or 7-day trip. That you can also do long-term travelling so long as you have the will, patience, and hardwork to fulfill your goals.
Here are some major highlights during that trip
- Fell in love in Mui Ne, Vietnam
- Lived for a month in Siem Reap, Cambodia
- Lived for more than a month in Bangkok, Thailand
- Dropped by many times in Singapore
- Surfed and almost drowned in Bali, Indonesia
- Worked as a waiter in a luxury resort in Malaysia
- Volunteered in an elephant park in Chiang Mai, Thailand
- Interviewed by a radio station in Manila, Philippines
Backpacking for nine months. It went to a point that I was already travelling from country to country as though I was travelling from town to town. I felt comfortable and I didn’t bother creating itineraries to visit a certain tourist spot. I’m too lazy a traveller to come up with day-to-day activities. I realized that slow travel works better for me.
Southeast Asia backpacking adventures
Knowing that this experience is possible and not just another delusion makes me proud. Not that I didn’t have any problems along the way as there were few.
Issues on the Road
Loneliness wasn’t much of a big issue for me. There’s always the internet to keep me company. I also interacted with different people everyday and even if I didn’t, I was normally too busy online to even think that I needed somebody to talk to.
One of biggest concerns I had was money. After almost 6 months on the road, I was starting to worry where I was going to get funds especially when they were depleting. My earnings online were sometimes not enough. Luckily, opportunities came by and these have proven to be miracles of which I am thankful for the instruments that have made me continue my journey.
Consequently, the reason why I was running out of money was because I satisfied my cravings for sleep. While other location-independent workers put more time and effort in launching businesses, I reverted to just finishing jobs on a basic level. Once I’ve met the minimum amount to send money home and enough for my basic needs, I stopped working. I just wanted to sleep all day and enjoy the stillness of things. I didn’t maximize my full potential.
Towards the end of the trip, I realized that I only needed other channels to earn. It didn’t have to be just my online jobs, I could also earn by doing physical work. The summer job as a waiter in Malaysia was a perfect opportunity that also satisfied my desire to interact with people. I found out about other part-time jobs from then on. It also helped that I was able to purchase a cheap ticket or two from airline companies and get better deals when travelling.
Sacrifice something precious to gain something else.
With different issues I’ve encountered, it’s never been my mantra to look at how much comfort I’ve lost. As much as possible, I look at the positive outcome of every action. Complaining does not do me any good.
I am young, healthy and able. These are already enough to make me realize how lucky I am.
More than the Travel
It’s a great feeling to have done this adventure because it made me realize a number of things I wouldn’t have fully understood had I still been in an office desk. Ultimately, I can say that it’s more than just travelling.
- It’s about the quality of life and using a passion to ignite that burning desire to make the most out of living. Whether you want to live within a picket-fenced house, raising a family of your own; or be an accomplished corporate employee bent on climbing your way to the top. Whether you prefer living the simple life on a farm, or being a party animal where everybody is your friend. It’s your life. Build the desire and drive change.
- It’s about showing that you have control over the situation. Not to be led by others because you are capable of deciding that for yourself. That even if there are obstacles and pit stops that prevent you from doing them today, when you have enough courage and plan to test it out, you’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish.
- It’s how you become independent in making decisions by yourself and trusting your instincts rather than relying on others to make those calls.
- It’s about DOING something and NOT letting anybody dictate how you SHOULD live your life just because they feel that they know better. Although you can consider thoughts and opinions from the concerned; in the end, it’s your decision because it is YOUR life and you deserve to be happy.
White Sand Dunes – Mui Ne, Vietnam
I would like to thank the people who have helped a lot in making this dream a reality.
Flipnomad – Thanks for opening the door of opportunities for a third-world traveller that it’s possible to explore SEA even with a limited budget. I was only reading your stories about your 6-month backpacking trip before, now I’ve also done it.
Doi & Den – Thank you for being great companions during a few legs of my backpacking journey!
Jana – Thank you for being understanding. That even if it’s difficult, you understood that this trip is a part of a journey that I planned for a long time.
Peter – Thank you for extending my backpacking adventure by giving me a job in Malaysia.
Travel Bloggers – Thank you for sharing your stories and adventures which continue to be an inspiration.
I’m preparing myself for other plans that need more attention. Time is gold and I don’t have much as of the moment. I may go back to the corporate world, or find other professions that will help me save more. This is for a better cause and for a bigger responsibility.
Still, I am thankful for having had the opportunity to travel to different places, experience adventures from a wanderer’s perspective, and live simply with what life has presented me. It’s given me a better outlook and I feel that I have a greater sense of direction.
Kuta Beach – Bali, Indonesia
This backpacking adventure is one of those experiences I’ll definitely tell my children in the future. I’m not closing doors on long-term travelling, I am simply postponing it for another time. Maybe by then, it will be more than just Southeast Asia. Maybe by then, I will tag a companion or two.
This is my entry to the Pinoy Travel Blogger’s Blog Carnival themed 2012: This Year In Travel which is hosted by Gay of PinayTravelJunkie.com and Regine of BetweenCoordinates.com. Click on the Blog Carnival Logo on the left to see more interesting posts and topics. Cheers to 2012!