Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Evolution Of A Pinay Travel Junkie

How long have you been around? Long enough to sniff that what's mostly penned here is about this awesome thing called world, and rarely about the deep sentiments of that Pinay travel junkie who inches her way around it? Perhaps you don't give a damn, and well, I don't either. But you see, 265 days into our round-the-world trip, I'm feeling rather nostalgic. Bordering emo. Recently, for four days we traipsed around quaint Moroccan desert towns - With no status updates. No Tweets. Just the barren expanse and our thoughts.

I felt pure mirth. And contentment.

"If evolution really works, how come mothers only have two hands?" ~ Milton Berle (Sahara Desert, Morocco)

"You're living THE life!", some people remarked on our social networking accounts. At least, an ideal life for a vagabond. Probably we really are, but I assure you we've earned it the hard way. Every phase of my earlier backpacking years led me to where I am now. All the travel mishaps and heartbreaks molded me into a tougher backpacker chick who's ready to take on the world.

Join me on my jaunt down memory lane and you'll see how.


When I was in college, a nasty split made me sign up for the outdoor organization. It's something I was long deprived of, because the ex disapproved. Yes, back then I followed commands. But soon after I was unleashed from my longest exclusive-dating relationship ever, I followed my heart.

Doing the "connection cave" in Sagada about a decade ago. A joe hot on my trail. Must be those denim shorts.

With borrowed hiking sandals and a borrowed backpack (plus P1,500 in my pocket) I invited myself to their Sagada trip. They welcomed me with open arms, and introduced to me the muddy yet awesome world of trekking. I got acquainted with my adventurous side. Also, I garnered a new set of unpretentious pals... And a foreign admirer.

Dazed And Confused

It was sort of my rock n' roll era. I was in my early 20s, and the beach to me was synonymous to swimming in copious amounts of alcohol, not swimming in the sea. I used to visit party central Puerto Galera on every vacation leave, and sometimes even on an ordinary weekend.

A gazillion Mindoro Slings after, almost passing out on the sand. With strangers who became my friends, most of whom are now globe trotters too.

Evenings were spent bootyshakin' with trannies or skanking with dreadheads by the reggae bar. Or swaying to djembe beats in front of the bonfire. Whatever it was, sure as hell I'd end up heavily inebriated. I had ugly nightcaps that consisted of toilet hugs and/or bar fights. Don't get me wrong, I still consider those the good ol' untroubled days but I hated the feeling of emptiness I had every time I was home bound. I longed for... Cheesiness ahead... A more meaningful life.

Soul Searched

Like a junkie who submitted to rehab, I was admitted to a new outdoor group whose members were weekday yuppies and weekend nomads. All of whom, except one, I met for the first time on their Maricaban Island camping trip. I had a royal welcome, meaning, I was provided a tent just for myself.

Once more, I surrounded myself with people who sought refuge in the mountains and on remote beaches. Maricaban Island, Batangas.

I fell in love with nature more than ever. I reclaimed inner peace, which I kept in my grasp during trips thereafter. My unsatisfiable hunger for new experiences forced me out of my comfort zone, and I eventually morphed into the suicidal solo backpacker.

Room For Two

The solo backpacking period was short-lived for I found a possessive backpacking buddy. And this buddy became my fiance after he said yes to the theatrical marriage proposal I did on stage a now defunct famous reggae joint in the Philippines. That guy was the admirer who followed me around Sagada five years back (yep, that's why I'm covering that pretty face).

My fave hangout, park across Rijksmuseum.

I followed him to the Netherlands where he resides to meet his folks and see his world. It was my first time to travel overseas, and I experienced culture shock in a good way. The trip sparked my interest in visiting other foreign lands and immersing in different cultures. It also shattered my engagement into pieces.

Modern Day Hobo

I came. I saw. I conquered. I got broke.

Approaching my thirties, I was still working odd jobs, just long enough to fund the next trip within my home country. But when I craved for journeys to distant countries that require long-haul flights, I tried my luck being an overseas Filipino worker. It was the only way to finance my vice.

Abu Dhabi Heritage Village, making the most out of my one day per week off.

I worked as a receptionist for a hotel in U.A.E. and lived in a house with fellow Pinay workers. While I saved up my salary for the round-the-world trip I was planning that time, they sent most of theirs to families back home. I sent cash to my 'rents too, but not as much as they did. It was a humbling experience.

It was also in the desert that I met my sole mate. I gave romance on the road another try. We simultaneously quit our jobs to do backpacking together in Southeast Asia. Consequently I shelved my solo RTW plan.

That Excess Emotional Baggage

Within just nine months of dating, my sole mate proposed. We got hitched a little over three months of engagement, and I got knocked up just weeks into our married life. It was a darn frenetic year. And along the way, I realized my spirit was no longer free. Though it ain't chained either. More like, grounded.

Luna, our little globe crawler. It's her turn now. New South Wales, Australia.

Because I couldn't (and will never ever) give up backpacking, we traveled with our newborn in tow. But as you could imagine, our needs have evolved. There may be certain restrictions when traveling with a baby, but there are valuable lessons us parents learn as well during this process.

Freedom, turn here -> Travel (Walk this way and you'll never be the same again.)

Like selflessness. Let me tell you, the joy we see in our daughter's eyes is simply... As that credit card ad goes... Priceless. I am now a full-blown backpacking mum. And though I lost a part of my carefree self, I don't really mind. Because in retrospect, I lived and am still living an awesome life. Travel made me an accomplished person (at least to my standards) I never thought I'd become, and it taught me finally what a meaningful life is.

This is Pinay Travel Junkie's entry to the Pinoy Travel Bloggers' March 2012 Blog Carnival themed "Leap of Faith: When Travelling Changed My Life".

To be hosted by Reiza of Wander If You Must.

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yols @ soloviaje said...
March 14, 2012 at 6:13 AM

Gay, I love this post! Not your usual, true but it is wonderful to see a fellow backpacking mom's evolution. I feel like I took every step of that journey with you and I guess I did, in my own way.

I remember when we were in Dumaguete, we went to bed at 8pm. It struck me how a few years ago, the old me would just be getting ready to go out and get drunk at 8pm. I get to do less now but the moments seem to last longer. ^.^

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
March 14, 2012 at 6:20 AM

"I get to do less now but the moments seem to last longer." - Quotable quote Yols!

Francis Balgos | Ang Pala-lagaw said...
March 14, 2012 at 7:13 AM

I was looking for that Jump shot!!
But your first photo made it all!
Freedom! Love how you wrote this Gay!
especially that i intend to write my piece today..
hahaha! pahabol sa Carnival!
Way to go!

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
March 14, 2012 at 7:16 AM

Haha! You got a whole day to write Francis! Now I'm curious to see your jump shot.

Tin | The Average Jane said...
March 14, 2012 at 7:32 AM

Natawa ako dun about your foreign admirer. Turned out to be hubby pala. Hehehe!

As they say, everything happens for a reason. Out of every heartbreak comes something much better. =)

Chyng said...
March 14, 2012 at 8:17 AM

young, wild, and free!
astig as always. im a fan. \m/

docgelo said...
March 14, 2012 at 8:21 AM

i hear you on this, gay! how nostalgic!
so nice to go down memory lane once in a while.
tama, follow your heart! :)

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
March 14, 2012 at 8:23 AM

Chyng, hiyesss.. I was a wild flower ;p

Mhe-anne Ojeda said...
March 14, 2012 at 8:26 AM

this is an awesome post Gay! Indeed a retrospection and trip down memory lane.like in movies, I was on the edge of my seat following you and feeling "kili" to sagada - amsterdam - UAE and to being the chic mum that you are with Luna in tow in your RTW. you're a writer dear! And oh, i didn't miss the line - "theatrical marriage proposal I did on stage!" - after 5 years of meeting him in Sagada. you are giving me an idea!!!

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
March 14, 2012 at 8:36 AM

Wow Ate Mhe-Anne! So... Will you pop the question youself? Coz that would be kickass! Pinays rock!

Angge said...
March 14, 2012 at 9:10 AM

wonderful story, Gay! it's always nice to read stories like this. how sometimes we feel like nothing makes sense, until the bigger picture is revealed to us in its own time. nakakainspire lang. and ramdam na ramdam ko ang happiness mo as Luna's mother! here's to more happiness, love, and travels for you and your family :)

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
March 14, 2012 at 9:16 AM

Thanks Angge! Oh how impatient I was waiting for the "bigger picture" when I was younger... And I'm just so happy how things turned out :)

IndieEscape said...
March 14, 2012 at 9:31 AM

Wahehe nice shot right there! I miss Karen and Arnel!!! hahaha! And of course, Galera weekends! Congratulations to the success of your blog! :D Here's to more! Cheers!

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
March 14, 2012 at 9:33 AM

Haha! They're both overseas too. Mukhang mahihirapan tayo magreunion, Kim :)

The SoleSisters said...
March 14, 2012 at 9:34 AM

Love your story Gay! I can so relate to snippets of that. Thanks for sharing!

The Sunset Goddess said...
March 14, 2012 at 10:22 AM

This is such a nice post Gaye :) So inspiring :)

killerfillers said...
March 14, 2012 at 11:59 AM

Awesome story,I'm inspired.:)

Marky Ramone Go said...
March 14, 2012 at 1:21 PM

Awesome, like a super mini biography. Your life deserves a book. (soon - I shall pick it off the nearest bookstore) Its been a journey (I know, heard some of it through YM already haha), one of the most adventurist and free soul I've met on this planet.

pack up and drift said...
March 14, 2012 at 4:52 PM

Wow! Cute story. I can relate. I was also once an alcohol person and became an outdoor person. hehe.

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
March 14, 2012 at 6:13 PM

^^ Haha. I still love drinking, but not as much as I used to.

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
March 14, 2012 at 6:13 PM

Marky, awww... Thanks man!

[C]hicken [G]od said...
March 14, 2012 at 7:58 PM

Bwahaha! Not much into the details eh but yeah, those were pretty exciting times. I wish we could do that again but economics, the vices and your body wearing you down takes its toll! Here's to future adventures!

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
March 14, 2012 at 8:01 PM

Oli! Please... Let's do a quickie trip when I'm back!

Malditang "Kura"cha said...
March 15, 2012 at 8:22 AM

aww.. very well said. dahil diyan puputungan kita ng koronang sampaguita at sasabuyan ng rose petals. char! hihihi! Ang galing galing mo gay. nakakabilib

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
March 15, 2012 at 9:05 AM

Haha! Pwede kwintas na sampaguita na lang?

Rome said...
March 15, 2012 at 11:29 AM

liberating, entertaining and inspiring post! I hope I could wrtite my thoughts like this. Will share on my facebook

Reiza said...
March 15, 2012 at 12:53 PM

Now I don't wonder why everybody wants to be you, Gay. :) Nothing can be cooler than a backpacking wife and mom with a supportive husband and a very adorable daughter.

PS. Kering-keri ang levitating shot ah!
PPS. Can't help laughing at "joe's" yellow face. Haha!

Edmaration etc said...
March 15, 2012 at 1:56 PM

Inspired. So that's the evolution, really inspiring. Uh..

Pinoy Adventurista said...
March 15, 2012 at 5:13 PM

Awesome! What a journey ha! Sana magawa ko din yan soon! I'm also a fan! :)

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
March 15, 2012 at 6:25 PM

Rome, thanks for sharing the post!

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
March 15, 2012 at 6:27 PM

Reiza, haha! Couldn't find a cuter picture to cover his pretty face ;p

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
March 15, 2012 at 6:30 PM

Mervz, the way you're circumnavigating Pinas... I think you can do anything!!!

Christian | Lakad Pilipinas said...
March 15, 2012 at 11:34 PM

ang ganda naman ng istorya mo gaye, you are indeed living the life. Grounded but still free, best of both worlds ika nga :)

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
March 15, 2012 at 11:36 PM

Thank Christian! I'm really thankful for all the good karma :)

soloflightEd said...
March 17, 2012 at 10:47 PM

woohoo!!! beautiful post Gaye! I hope to write the same post maybe after a few years. Ikaw na ang may telenobelang travelserye!
kakainspire ang post na toh!

Scott - Quirky Travel Guy said...
March 17, 2012 at 11:23 PM

What a journey... a lot of great stories and many more to come, I'm sure.

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
March 18, 2012 at 12:52 AM

Ed, haha! Telenobela talaga?

Scott, thanks mate!

Jodi said...
March 18, 2012 at 5:31 AM

Very inspiring story! Thanks for sharing :)

thepinaysolobackpacker said...
March 18, 2012 at 7:52 AM

Tin told me last time, she didn't expect you'd get hitch first because you're so carefree! haha we're so happy for you Gay, like i was telling you, it was just 2 years ago when i first read your blog, and look at you now, you've accomplished so much! :) you really are an inspiration, you're still my idol. looking forward to meet Luna! you take care always! hugs! :)

ThePinayWanderer said...
March 18, 2012 at 8:01 AM

Inspiring journey, thanks for sharing Gay.

So I should be barefooted if and when I do the Sagada cave connection...hehe. Tried spelunking once (Bayukbok Cave), I don't know if I could find enough courage to do it again, but I'll try esp. in Sagada. ;)

BTW, thanks for visiting my blog. :)

Theonoski said...
March 18, 2012 at 9:28 PM

very nice post gay! very inspiring! keep it up. good job!

abeng said...
March 18, 2012 at 10:11 PM

love your journey mommy gay.inspiring.u rock! im a fan.cute ni luna =)

welscua said...
March 19, 2012 at 11:40 AM

great post and very inspiring..

Ada said...
March 19, 2012 at 1:52 PM

Love your adventures Gay! I enjoyed reading your story. Yung levitation photo ang kulit parang pwede mo benta sa iStock Photos! Hahaha! Ganda!

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
March 19, 2012 at 7:42 PM

Thanks Ada! Hahaha... Pwede pala ibenta? Will... look into it. LOL.

dong ho said...
March 20, 2012 at 12:01 PM

what a great share Gay. this will for sure be a very encouraging and real experience of loving what you do most and facing the challenges that can come out of it. see you soon.

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
March 20, 2012 at 6:00 PM

Wee! See you soon Dom.

joan | the backpack chronicles said...
March 21, 2012 at 3:29 AM

as always nainspire ako. mukhang maganda yung gig mo as OFW para makasave ng pang RTW. mas naengganyo tuloy ako maghanap ng work abroad. gusto ko din lumibot sa buong mundo katulad mo!

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
March 21, 2012 at 3:31 AM

Yeah Joan, decent pay. My salary wasn't that high, but I calculated that in 2 years I'd be able to afford the RTW.

mnl said...
March 21, 2012 at 7:42 AM

it's nice to know that you haven't given up your passion for traveling even if you're already a full-time mommy. this post is simply inspiring. i'm sure luna will be very proud to have a mom like you. bata pa lang, kinabog pa kami sa dami ng stamps sa passport!

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
March 21, 2012 at 7:46 AM

Haha! Kabog naman sya pagdating sa Pinas destinations. She should explore her home country soon too!

vin said...
March 21, 2012 at 7:49 AM

^oops that was my other email pala. i was browsing your blog entry while working lol!

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
March 21, 2012 at 7:54 AM

Haha! No worries Vin, happens to me everytime. Especially I got multiple blogs. LOL.

Elal Jane Lasola said...
March 21, 2012 at 3:40 PM

And that's why I am a big fan of yours! :)

flipnomad said...
March 21, 2012 at 3:50 PM

what an amazing journey Gay :-) wishing you more blessings saka sympre more adventures with Sherv and Luna and sa mga future kids pa :-) wishing that you'll continuously have a great life :-)

Kara / Travel Up said...
March 21, 2012 at 4:08 PM

Wow, what a great, great retrospective of how you fell in love with traveling! Love the shot of Luna and what you said about never giving up backpacking. This is a really inspiring post :)

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
March 21, 2012 at 7:34 PM

Elal, awww... Thanks so much!

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
March 21, 2012 at 7:36 PM

Flip, epic journey for us! Such a blessing :)

Kara, thank you! I cannot imagine life without travel.

Nel said...
March 21, 2012 at 11:15 PM

I wish to find my own space to feel that - grounded. Thanks for this inspiring post :)

Aaron Dave Francisco said...
March 26, 2012 at 12:05 AM

This. Thanks for sharing your story. Inspiring! :)

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
March 26, 2012 at 1:59 AM

Maricar, busy ako magpose for photos! Haha!

Relentless Karla said...
March 28, 2012 at 5:03 PM

Great post Gaymie. Na-teary eyed naman ako. You have indeed come a long way. Your zest for life is so inspiring. Thank you for sharing your story! Hope to see you guys again in Singapore. Sana mas matagal than the last time. Kisses to you and Luna and hello to Sherv.

Sherly said...
March 31, 2012 at 10:02 AM

Great post! Thank you for sharing this. You're my Idol

The Nomadic Pinoy said...
March 31, 2012 at 9:53 PM

I love this post - so very revealing and oozing with more than just the sight of you on those denim shorts :)

You've really come a long way from single-hood to marriage to parenthood. And now I see you've come full circle with the backpacking ways of traveling.

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
March 31, 2012 at 10:09 PM

Haha! Thanks Dennis!

Jherson Jaya said...
April 2, 2012 at 5:21 PM

Nice post... I could feel your every steps in every backpacking! I'm more inspired to write on my blog now =)

shengmarie said...
April 5, 2012 at 8:57 PM

Hi Gay, thank you for sharing your life as a travel junkie. Am new here but I find your blog interesting so I think I'm gonna be a regular. I am very glad you wrote about traveling, although I love to travel, I just don't have the chance and the fund to sustain anything about traveling, besides, work is eating up my time.

Will be back in your cul de sac.

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
April 5, 2012 at 10:13 PM

Thanks for dropping by Sheng! And I wish you more adventures :)

Bonzenti [Con Tour Blog] said...
April 7, 2012 at 9:13 PM

When you look at the eyes of a child while backpacking the world, the joy that you felt, is not only priceless but a valuable one. If they can afford now to say thank you, I know they will do it. The valuable thing that you can give to Luna, and your hubby Ga-ye, is the infinite value of being together in backpacking the world. Another thing has infinite value is the trail of memories.:-). Naks, nakatsamba yata ako ah.(toink).

Ian | Going Places said...
April 10, 2012 at 6:16 PM

Wow biography in a nutshell of how a travel junkie became one... it was a nice "trip" down the memory lane. I wish to share the same in the future. You achieved a lot! Idol na kita sa lakwatsa mula ngayon! =)

Dylan said...
May 4, 2012 at 4:43 PM

What a journey!

I'm inspired by your story Gay.

P.S. You're still sexy until now. :)

praveen said...
May 7, 2012 at 7:02 PM

wonderfull story.
thanks for share with us.


ian said...
May 25, 2012 at 3:13 PM

nakakainspire talaga ikaw ms gay...

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
May 25, 2012 at 3:16 PM

Ack, bakit may "miss", Ian? Hihi.

Anonymous said...
May 25, 2012 at 6:42 PM

hi gay! this is my favorite entry of yours to date. for someone who is tied to the work desk, your adventures give me that fresh air i need to think straight. know that you inspire ordinary people like me =)

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
May 25, 2012 at 8:02 PM

^^ Thank you! This means sooo much to me :) Thank you, thank you for following our insane adventures.

Arsie Organo said...
August 6, 2012 at 11:52 PM

Thank you for posting this, I love the pics and I wanted to experience that too. Someday when I am done with my working years, maybe

Anonymous said...
September 12, 2012 at 1:33 AM


Your story is so inspiring. Thank you for sharing. =) Makes me believe all the more that I can travel no matter what the circumstances - I just have to find a way.

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
September 12, 2012 at 2:09 AM

^^Keep the faith alive :)

blissfulguro said...
September 25, 2012 at 8:40 PM

hameyzing. im still catching my breath. your life is effin awesome! swap tayo one time lang para ma-feel ko naman maging tanging ina ni baby luna. hihi

Jun Villegas said...
December 18, 2012 at 11:05 PM

I love your trips! =)

Journeys & Travels said...
March 24, 2013 at 1:16 PM

traveling makes us more evolved as we speak Gay and I am happy you have found your self back into the companionship of the road.

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