Conquered our fears. Conquered our doubts. Conquered financial hurdles. We quit our jobs, booked those irresistible seats on sale, traveled on a shoestring for months and finally saw the world beyond glossy magazine pages. Beyond Facebook timelines. We ignored all that bull people said about us, especially the one that goes: "Oh that's career suicide!". And oh, in my case, "She's a selfish mum!". Against all odds, we trusted our guts and — cliché ahead — chased our dreams.
La vida no es un camino de rosas. Same is true for our so-called grand vacations. We knew it won't be a path of roses. Aside from the constant fight for that one-dollar discount, we battle that sneaky feeling called homesickness. Then there's also heartbreak and believe it or not, jadedness.
Or sometimes, we just try to see the good in everything.
Paul Xymon Garcia of Walk Fly Pinoy
Diagnosis: "All it took was a lousy hostel experience in Hue in Central Vietnam, yet another long sleeper bus ride to Hanoi in Northern Vietnam, and a stomach needing gastroenteritis meds every 12 hours. It probably did not help that Hanoi was cold, cloudy, and drizzly when I got there. I felt down the next few days. Traveling all the time meant nothing felt new and exciting anymore. I used to relish that feeling. It was gone. So I cancelled my train ticket to Lao Cai, Vietnam's border crossing with China, cancelling the entire China leg of my journey altogether. I was not up for anything at that point, definitely not something as big as a month-long trip to China."
Treatment: "Thankfully, after a cold yet still enjoyable trip to Halong Bay, a 10-peso mug of Hanoi's local brew Bia Hoi, meeting fellow travelers fascinated with and eager to travel to China again and again, I came to my senses. The next day, I booked a flight to Kunming leaving that same day. That evening, I emerged as the only foreigner from that Vietnam Airlines flight. At the airport, nobody spoke English. To top it all off, it took me more than three hours to get to my hostel as it took me an hour to find an ATM, an hour more to find a phone and call my hostel to ask for their address, and another hour to queue at the taxi rank. I felt like a newbie backpacker again. I'm thinking I made the right call to travel to China."
Diagnosis: "My lowest point while travelling long term would be saying goodbye to strangers who became my friends. It’s true that one of the best things about travelling is all the people you meet. I remember the last time I was in Cambodia, I volunteered in a Wat (Buddhist temple) to teach the abandoned kids residing in the Wat. After three weeks of going there everyday, I quit to continue my journey in Asia. The thought of leaving those children was unbearable. On the other side of the story, it would also be more difficult for those children to feel being abandoned again by volunteers that they get attached to."
Treatment: "On the other hand, travelling removes my inhibitions and taught me the importance of letting go. There is simply no time to think about sad moments when you constantly deal with finding new adventures, new place to wander, and experience new things. I also keep in mind that every time I experience loneliness because of saying goodbye, it means that I’m blessed to have met wonderful people and be forever grateful for the small time I had with them. I learned that when we say goodbye, it is simply because we are going towards something new."
Flip Nomad of uhm, Flip Nomad
Diagnosis: "I could remember two instances wherein I felt intense sadness while I was overseas. First one was when I was on my solo backpacking trip in Varanasi and I got news that my grandmother died (last 2009). She's like my second mom and she practically raised and cared for me for the longest time. Despite the fact that I had to cut the trip short and might not be able to return backpacking, I still went home to see her for the last time...
Second lowest point that I can remember happened last October 2011 (my 8th month on the road this trip) and I was really running low on money. My Paypal was *limited*, my blog got hit by Google update and all advertisers that I already closed some deals with cancelled those deals. It was devastating and I really thought it was my last month on the road. I wrote an article about it and got immense support from fellow travel bloggers. I also got a lot of support from firends back home."
Treatment: "From those experiences, I learned to stand up despite of all the trials that were thrown my way. I figured that I need to keep moving on and nothing should deter me from continuing what I have set forth to achieve. Shit happens to anyone and sometimes it happens a lot at the same time. I learned that sometimes it's ok not to be ok and it's ok to reach out to family and friends for support."
Up next... Part 2 reveals broken hearts and growing pains.
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