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Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Big Trip


Source: various Flickr users
Collage: via Photovisi

What's the Big Trip?

Travel through India, Nepal, and hopefully China/Thailand/Vietnam/Laos from mid-October to December. Go back here for the holidays. And if I still have money left, travel again.

What got me to this point of realization and for how long?

It took years before the idea even came up, there were also moments when I got side-tracked or discouraged. More than anything it’s the fear of the unknown. (More on this later.)

But what pushed me and inspired me?

These blogs:

What are my preparations?

I’m saving up. It means saying no to travel invites, even some movie and dinner invites. Less starbucks and cofeebean. I even had to stop giving money to my parents (after they told me that they’ve never touched the money I’ve been giving them). It means staying home for most of the week nights and even weekends. It means sucking it all up and staying for a few more months in my job just to save up.

What are the challenges?

(1) Telling my parents that I’m quitting my job.

Of course I have their full support and that I don’t need to worry about them. But they’d be happier if I only resign once I’ve found a new job.

It was during these times that I realized that I have to start letting go of them. I mean in the sense that I will not always get their full understanding and approval of the decisions that I will be making throughout my life. And that it doesn’t mean that I’m not doing the right thing, they just have their own opinions of things. I also realized that I have to start running my own life – making decisions on what life I’m going to live and being accountable for it. After realizing all these things, I felt genuine fear and excitement.

For the first time in my life, I had no back-up plan. All I have is the money that will be left from the trip. For someone who’s an OC planner, and a go-to girl for planning and organizing trips, it was quite hard for me to accept that I have no back-up plan. I may go back to the corporate world after the trip or in another industry. I really don’t know.

The thing is, I know deep in my heart that this is what I want to do and I know that I have to do it now. Life is short. I’m just really trying to live life with no regrets.

Well, I haven’t told my parents yet about the Big Trip to save them from months of stressing out about it. You see, I have quite the overprotective parents. My father is very vocal and showy about it, he still texts me every 730 pm to ask if I’m already home. My mother is also protective but she’d rather course it through my father. It took them a while to accept that I love to travel and I love adventure. So I’ll probably tell them August. :)

(2) Various criticisms and my own insecurities.

For a Filipino middle-class, mid-twenties woman to quit her job to travel is quite a surprise (or shock) to many. In a country where unemployment is high and living in Manila is quite expensive, it would seem quite irresponsible to quit your job. It would seem like you’re taking it all for granted. Believe me. I’ve already internalized these judgments and self-questions so many times.

And yes, I think, it does look like a bratty, irresponsible thing to do. I do recognize that I may be missing out on a lot of things by leaving my job. I know that if I just step up a little bit at work or entertain the various opportunities thrown at me, I’ll be on the way to climbing the corporate ladder. In a few years, I can already afford certain things that would give me security. But these things don’t excite me now or at all. I’d rather live in a small place and commute just to continue travelling. I acknowledge that I’m lucky to be afforded this privilege – not having to work to sustain my family – and I’m very thankful for it. But we all have our own truths. And for now, I’d like to live out my dream.

I’m quite scared of travelling alone as a woman, more as an Asian woman (due to the various discriminations against Filipinas; my friend almost got picked up by an old foreigner in Macau, to think that we were dressed relatively conservative). But then again, we just have to be smart and alert in travelling and not put ourselves in dangerous situations. Plus I believe that we should always have faith in the goodness of people. I also love the fact that solo female travelers have been enjoying their trips around the world. I especially love this blog. She actually inspired me to create this blog.