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Monday, June 13, 2011

My Story




Bantaey Kdei, Cambodia
June 2010

What's My Story?

I’m 25 years old and is currently working as a junior associate in one of the top local investment houses in the Philippines.

I’ve always imagined myself being the career woman type of person. In fact, my friends used to call me a workaholic. My concept of the real world, as with most of fresh graduates, is the corporate world. I had so many plans after graduating from college. I’ve always thought that I’ll be working for a few years then eventually apply for graduate school here in the Philippines or abroad. Buy a house, car, etc. You get the picture.

But life has its own plans for me. This is my sort of story.

Where am I now? I’m still in the corporate world. But (hopefully) not for long. I am planning to quit my job this September to go on a trip through India, Nepal, China/Thailand/Vietnam. I already have my one-way ticket to India. October 18 is THE DATE.


Why? Here’s why.


First. Work-Life Balance and Taking Risks.

I was planning on writing here details of my experience as an investment banking associate, but I think it may be misinterpreted or may sound unfair to my past employers. So, in summary, as with any job there were triumphs and challenges. In my case, the challenges were too much that it eventually defined my work life, and for a time my whole life.

What has kept me going through all of it? The money and the comfortable lifestyle I have been able to sustain. The extra money I was able to give my parents. And the long-weekends and one-week travel vacations.

But it has never been fulfilling. Not as much as I wanted it to be. And I’ve always felt like I never belonged in this line of work and in this environment.

Did I automatically decide to quit just because I was depressed? No. I gave it a lot of (second) chances. It even came to a point when I was blaming myself for being too proud and ungrateful of the things I have. I tried to go to work everyday with a positive attitude hoping that it would make me happier. I tried to be nonchalant towards unpleasant events in the office. But it seems like my efforts were never enough to make me happy with what I was doing.

I know I can give more effort into accepting that I should just strive for a work-life balance. But I feel like now is the time to do the things that I want to do. Now is the best time to take such risks and discover the world and myself in the process.

Second. I almost drowned.

In 2008, my friends and I almost drowned in Anawangin due to an underwater current. After that day, I promised myself that I will make my life better and to always value the more important things in life.

Third. Travel and Photography.

Being a traveler was never a part of my 'what i want to be when i grow up' list. It started with an accidental trip to Thailand in 2008. A few months after the 'almost drowning' experience, I received a phone call from an aunt. She had a conference in Bangkok and she has miles more than enough to pay for my round-trip ticket. All I had to do to was to bring my pocket money. And off I went. It was my first airplane ride, my first out-of-Luzon, out-of-the-Philippines trip. I remember my first reaction after stepping out of the plane in the Bangkok airport - fear and panic. My first thought was “My parents are so far away. They will not be able to come to me if in case I get lost.’ After a while, I felt a surge of excitement and wonder. Finally, I’ve proven first-hand that there is indeed another country in the world aside from the Philippines. It sounds so stupid, but that was what I really felt. Lol. Seriously, though, I just loved the fact that I was in a foreign place.

We did the typical tours – Floating Market, shopping, and Ayutthaya. I fell in love with Ayutthaya. And I discovered my love for photography. After that trip, I already had Angkor Wat as my next travel destination. A year after that trip, I was able to buy myself a DSLR. Another year passed, and I found myself in Angkor Wat waiting for the sunrise. In between, I also traveled around my country. I’ll be posting them in this blog too.

But my trips were mostly a long-weekend or at the most a 5-day travel. I’ve always wondered how it was like to travel longer.

Plus I fell in love with departures. and the travel documentary A Map for Saturday.

Fourth. Bungy Jump.

I bungy jumped from the Macau Tower. It was my 25th birthday thing. The most important lesson I learned from that big jump is that fear is the only thing that’s stopping us from living the life we want. But first we have to make the decision to do the jump. Then we have to trust God, the crew, the technology, the rope, and ourselves that everything will be okay. Fear and doubt creep up on that ledge when half of our feet are already out of the platform. We just have to let go of trying to understand how it all works, how life works. And that we can never be fully prepared for anything. We just have to jump. It’s scary at the start but we will be rewarded with such an epic feeling of release, exhilaration, pride, and just pure genuine happiness.

These things finally made me realize that to make my life better, I had to leave and do the one thing that I’ve always wanted to do - to travel and experience life. And of course, to quit my job. Yes, you read it right. Quit my Job. Quite bold for a middle-class Filipino, I know. We’ll discuss that later.

This is my story. This is where it all started.

I love how things are almost making sense right now. It’s such a wonderful feeling to finally understand that all the frustrations and failures I had before happened for a reason. They all lead me to this realization.

This blog is mostly to document the whole Big Trip and probably the biggest decision I have ever made in my entire 26-years of existence. And I hope that it inspires all other travelers out there especially Filipinas like me.

Go! Plan it out. Save up. Make the first step and buy a one-way ticket. ;)