In part one and part two, a bunch of Filipino travel bloggers introduced to us their ghosts from past long-term backpacking trips... And how they battled them during their lowest of lows. For the finale, travel blogger Angelica Andrea Cruz of Angelica's Travels does the same but lays more cards on the table.
Here she shares her big leap, bigger fall and biggest comeback — surviving a heartbreak backpacker-style.
Diagnosis: "After traveling for three months on the Big Trip, I went back home for two weeks to spend the Christmas holidays with my family. When I told them prior to the Big Trip that I was going to quit my job and travel until the holidays, the general feedback and reaction was that they didn’t think it was such a good idea.
So when I told them again that I was planning on traveling for two more months, their reactions were worse. My father didn’t even talk to me for one whole day. I was already feeling so low because I didn’t want to leave with them mad at me. After a few talks and explaining, I was able to get their approval. Not that it would ever stop me if they said no. And so I traveled again. There were days when I wanted to go back home, their words had such a big impact on me.
I began to doubt again the decision I made along with the fact that in a few months I was going back home unemployed and with depleted funds. These thoughts distracted me for weeks. Until I made it to Nong Khiaw, a remote river village in Northern Laos. There I witnessed how simple life can be. How people live their lives on a day-to-day basis. How beautiful the landscape is - limestone formations outlined the river. And how genuinely nice the people were.
And then I knew that these were the reasons why I traveled and why I quit the job that was taking over my life. I made the most out of the remaining two months of my trip, I told myself that there was no point in worrying about the future. I was happy living on the road and I’ve never felt more alive. And I realized that my happiness should never be defined by other people."
"It was almost midnight when my train arrived in Chiang Mai, and I was feeling anxious. It’s been months since the last time I was there. I remember it also being cold back then. A good friend picked me up from the station. As we made our way to the Old Town on a motorbike, I remembered the last time I was there with the ex-boyfriend. I saw the benches we sat on, the park where we spent an hour just relaxing. I remembered how happy I was with him. The last time I traveled was with him.
I was back on the road again because I was feeling hopeless, I guess that’s what heartbreak does to you sometimes. What made it worse was the fact that we were supposed to be traveling again by that time. Days passed and I felt more hopeless. I was surprised to realize that I was still hoping that he was there with me. And I despised the realization that the pain I was feeling had been associated with traveling. Traveling used to be the one thing that made me so happy, and sometimes a form of escape. But it wasn’t anymore.
Traveling felt like a trap, magnifying the emotions that I wanted so much to escape from. “Do you believe that someday it’s not going to feel like this anymore?” I remember being asked this question by my friend over drinks. All I can say was “I don’t know. All I know is that every day I’m hoping that tomorrow it’s going to be better.”"
Treatment: "The next day we went to see the Yee Peng Floating Lantern Festival. I witnessed the most magical, surreal and beautiful thing I’ve ever seen in my life. Thousands of glowing lanterns filled with prayers and hopes slowly floated up to the sky. I was mesmerized. I looked out into the beautiful night sky and realized that it was indeed better.
Traveling surprised me again especially when I opened myself up to new experiences. That night I was surrounded by people hopeful and I was looking at one of the most beautiful sights I’ve ever seen. And I felt thankful for all that has happened. If not for them, I would not have been there. I wouldn’t have experienced that beautiful and magical moment. I continued on traveling again for another month in Burma and Thailand. And every day was better than they had ever been in the last six months. I gained new friends, I saw beautiful landscapes and people, and I was happy traveling on my own again. For the first time in months, I felt hopeful."
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