Trip down to Memory Lane: My Travels in 2010

My Travels in 2010

It has been a great and unforgettable year for me. As I am writing this now, I still can’t believe all the things that happened this 2010. This year has been one of the most remarkable years on my 22 years existence on Earth. I traveled to six countries all in one year. Until now, I still can’t believe I was able to do that. My journey started last February. Right after college, I flew to Taiwan to learn Mandarin Chinese. It was my first time to go abroad and I could still remember how nervous I was when I was in the airport. I could still recall  how easily I got amazed with almost everything that I saw such as the big metropolitan city of Taipei and the fashionable Taiwanese girls. In Taiwan, I enjoyed the delicious Taiwanese foods and  tried my best to learn how to use chopsticks.  Moreover,  I tried to survive in a country where English is barely spoken.

Kaohsiung, Taiwan

Learning Chinese in Taiwan

In September, I endured the long land travel from Ho Chi Minh City to Siem Reap to visit the legendary Angkor Wat Temples in Cambodia. There my mind was awakened when I learned about Polpot and how the Cambodian people suffered from his regime. Millions of lives vanished during Polpot’s reign in Cambodia. At that time, I realized how little I know of our World’s History. There are just so many things to learn about our world and every country you visit will broaden your horizons. Every new place we explore gives us priceless knowledge about each country’s culture and history.

Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Insect Market in Cambodia

Cambodian Tuktuk

Cambodian Children

After Siem Reap, I went back to Vietnam to explore this historically famous country with the song “The Heat is On in Saigon” playing on my mind. Honestly speaking, apart from Lea Salonga’s Miss Saigon, I knew nothing about Vietnam before I came there. I’m an avid fan of Lea Salonga and I think that was one of the reasons why I became interested to visit Vietnam. However, upon arrival in Vietnam, I discovered that there is more to this country than the musical Miss Saigon. Traveling in Vietnam gave me a glimpse of its rich historical past. The architecture of some of the old buildings in Saigon still reflects the city’s French colonization. A visit to the War Remnants Museum showed me how the Vietnamese people suffered from the US soldiers during the war. Moreover, visiting the Reunification Palace made me really understood the so-called Vietnam War. It was really mind-awakening for me. I ended up wanting to come back to Vietnam for more. Next time, I would like to visit the sand dunes of Mui Ne  and the historical towns of Hue and Hanoi. There are just so much things to discover in Vietnam. And of course, I will never forget the motorbikes in Vietnam. Who could ever forget the feeling of crossing the streets in Vietnam? It’s like choosing between life or death. hehe

Motorists in Vietnam

Paddling along Mekong River in Vietnam

From the historical countries of Vietnam and Cambodia, I flew into the highly modernized city of Singapore last November. This time my sole purpose was to join an asian cruise that would depart from Harbourfront in Singapore. But I arrived earlier before the cruise ship’s departure so that I could have the time to explore this beautiful city. Undoubtedly, this country is very popular among tourists because of its developed and clean surroundings. But compared with other countries in Southeast Asia, traveling in Singapore is remarkably more expensive.

At Sentosa

Universal Studios Singapore

My first Asian Cruise aboard Legend of the Seas

I have traveled by land and by air but this year my long time dream of traveling by ship came true. My mom and I boarded the ship in Singapore and from Singapore the ship brought us to Malaysia. The ship stayed for one day in Malaysia and we visited the colonial city of Penang also known as the food capital of Malaysia.

At Penang, Malaysia

Georgetown -- the capital city of Penang

From the laid back town of Penang, the ship headed to the touristy beach of Phuket, Thailand. We spent a day in the island and I had a taste of my first authentic Thai food. smile Thailand was the last country I visited in 2010 but I hope to explore more of Thailand in the coming years.

Phuket, Thailand

Chalong Temple in Phuket

And of course, I will never forget the good Samaritans that I met throughout my travels. I realized that angels don’t exist only in the Philippines but there are also a lot of them in other countries despite the language and cultural barriers. I can still remember the bus driver in Taiwan who helped me find my way after I took off the wrong bus to my school. He couldn’t speak any English at all but he didn’t hesitate to help me. I also won’t forget my classmates in Wenzao who helped me when I couldn’t catch up with our Chinese lessons. I’ll always be thankful to my Vietnamese friend whom I met in Vietnam. She gave me a dragon fruit, treated me out for dinner, and gave me a motorbike tour around Saigon all for free. I’ll always remember the friendly Cambodian guy who is the receptionist in our hotel in Siem Reap. He was really kind and he shared a lot of stories about their lives in Siem Reap. Moreover, I’ll always remember our nice Turkish waiter whom we met in the cruise ship. And finally but not the least,  I would always be grateful to the nice Singaporeans who helped us find our way in the city. I must say that one of the benefits of traveling is meeting good souls all around the globe. biggrin

With a Vietnamese Family

I have fallen in love with  traveling ever since I was young. I lived in Baguio for one year and I have been to some places in the Northern and Southern part of the Philippines. But due to my frequent travels in 2010, I now officially admit that I have been bitten by the travel bug.  And once the travel bug has bitten you, you’ll never be the same again. At the ending of every trip, you can’t help but plan and save up for your next trip. mrgreen People around me often wonder what I do to finance my travels. And contrary to what other people think, I am not rich. Most people, especially here in the Philippines, would think that a person is already rich if s/he has the capacity to travel abroad. Well, let me debunk this common assumption. First of all, let me reveal the secret of traveling overseas in a tight budget. It’s the low-cost airlines such as Cebu Pacific, Air Asia, Tiger Airways etc. If you want to avail their promos, then you should always check their websites and book in advance. I usually have sleepless night during these airline promos because it’s a tough competition biggrin. On these ticket sales, you could buy tickets for 50%  off even as low as 90% off  if you could avail the grand promos such as the Cebu Pacific piso fare. If you are good in booking these ticket sales, then you could purchase plane tickets for an unbelievably low price. biggrin

Furthermore, if you are really on a tight budget, then you could stay at hostels and dormitories instead of hotels. Dormitories are much cheaper although it means sharing a room with other travelers. In case of foods, you can opt to buy your meals from hawkers or other cheap restaurants. Research is also very important thing  in traveling. There are many travelers who share their travel tips and experiences through their blogs. Reading them is a great help. Before traveling, I usually read blogs and forums about the place that I’m going to visit. You could find many useful advice and information on the net such as recommendations on hostels, budget, and how to reach your destination.And of course, traveling is a matter of saving up money. It means spending less on other things such as clothes, cell phones, gimmicks etc. Above all, keeping a job is important to finance your travels. I owe all my travels in 2010 to my job. Without it, I couldn’t finance my travels. wink

Our dormitory room in Singapore

At the end of the day, you’ll realize that traveling is worth investing for. Experience and knowledge gained from traveling are priceless. It would give you memories and learnings that would last for a lifetime. I remember some people asking me when they heard that I was going to Vietnam and Cambodia, “What are you going to do in Vietnam?” “Is it safe to go there?” “Is there anything interesting to see there?” I believe that each country features an interesting culture, places, food and people. It all just depends on the traveler whether how s/he can see it. Sometimes it’s not how grand and beautiful the place is but it’s how the traveler sees the place. The beauty of each country lies on the eyes of the traveler. There are still lots of places that I dream of visiting. I wanna go to Sri Lanka, India, China, Bangladesh, Japan, Brunei, Myanmar etc. But I’m still not sure when I will be capable to visit these countries. biggrin

I hope this post would inspire other people who want to travel. All my travels this year only started with a dream. And if it’s possible for me, then I know it’s possible for you as well! wink It’s all a matter of dreaming, praying and investing. Let me conclude this post, by thanking God, our creator, for everything. My travels helped me realized how beautiful God has made our world. He has been the primary source of everything that I have in my life. And I have proven many times that His blessings have no limits. Indeed, He is the giver and we are the thanks giver.  Happy New Year everyone! Cheers!  biggrin

Let me share again my favorite quote from Mark Twain:

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

14 comments on “Trip down to Memory Lane: My Travels in 2010

  1. doris says:

    well, i should say (for once) it was nice reading your blog. someday I’ll visit those places! That time, you will be the one reading my blog… hehehehe Happy for you!

    • Naks na-touch naman ako sa comment mo Dors. I know bihira ka lang mag-compliment so I really value that. Hahaha. Sapat na yan na birthday gift hehe! Don’t worry pag naging doktor ka na I’m sure mas madaming bansa ka pang mapupuntahan kaysa sakin😉 And your such a good writer so you should really start your own blog!🙂

  2. You’ve touched base on many of the countries I plan to vist. I wholeheartedly agree that travelling opens you up to so many cultures, food, people and varying ambiances that you just wouldn’t see at where you usually call home. Yeah to travel. 🙂 Were you always with someone or did you do a big jaunt on your own?

    • Hi! It’s good to see you here! I really wanted to travel solo but unfortunately, as of now, my dad doesn’t allow me to do so. He said he’s worried about my safety because I’m a woman. Moreover, my mom loves traveling as well so I usually travel with her. Which I think is good, because she can still enjoy and get to see the world in her senior years.

      However, I’m still looking forward to embark on a solo trip in the future. Hopefully, I can do that when the right time comes. How about you? Do you usually travel alone or with someone? 🙂

  3. pinoy boy says:

    i love this post! I’m really happy that you’re starting to travel the world. i hope you get to see more countries in the future. always remember lang to make it a point to travel also within the country. i plan to visit at least 3 provinces in the philippines, especially the poor ones, every year. May God bless you more! Cheers!

    By the way, i am really glad that you get to travel with your mom! It’s always a nice feeling when you’re traveling with the people you love!

    • Thanks for the wonderful comment Pinoy boy! That’s one of my goals this year. I want to explore other provinces in the Philippines that I haven’t seen before. Actually, this year I have 4 trips in the south courtesy of Cebu pacific piso fare. Wish ko lang matuloy. hehe. I saw your post about Siquijor. Very interesting! Sana makapunta din ako dun🙂

      And I agree with you, it’s really nice traveling with your loved ones. I’m glad that my mom could travel a lot while she’s still strong. So far, I could see that she’s really enjoying our travels. Thanks for stopping by again and God bless you too! 🙂

  4. M says:

    nice blog! where did you study in Taiwan? how did you apply? i want to study mandarin too abroad🙂

    • Hello M! I studied at Wenzao Ursuline College of Languages. Here’s the website of the school http://c016.wtuc.edu.tw/front/bin/cglist.phtml?Category=39 I have a brother who lives in Taiwan so he was the one who processed my application. But on the school’s website you can see the steps on how to apply from overseas. So if you don’t know anyone in Taiwan, then you can just mail your application to the school. I’m delighted to hear about your plan to study mandarin abroad. I assure you that it will be a wonderful experience! You can learn mandarin and travel at the same time🙂 You might be interested to read my post about my school: https://mylovelylife88.wordpress.com/2010/11/01/learning-chinese-in-taiwan/ Good luck and feel free to ask me if you have other questions. Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

      • M says:

        Hi! Do you already know how to speak and write mandarin when you enrolled there? I only know how to speak a little for I studied Mandarin before. How long did you study there?🙂 Thank you for replying to my query.🙂

  5. Sony Fugaban says:

    Wow, I wish I could also travel abroad in the future🙂 This post is such an inspiration for me. Thank you for sharing.

  6. arvin says:

    Hi Lovely, I researched for my SEA backpacking trip this coming August and I saw your blog. It helps me a lot. I was also bitten by the travel bug. And I’m starting my own blog as well to work on my travels. Honestly, I was inspired by your blog. thanks and goodluck on your travel. hope to bump with you wherever!🙂

  7. joseph jocosol says:

    Hi, it was nice reading your blog. I love your cambodia-vietnam & thailand laos adventures! i never thought it would be possible. I learned a lot from your blog and your such a sweet girl travelling with your mom. More power and more destinations to visit!!

  8. Lia says:

    Hi!

    Job well done for inspiring readers thru your travel tidbits. I, too was moved with your vast experiences and the places you’ve been to and for lifting them all to the Lord.

    I praise God that i came across your blog because i have a travel in Vietnam and Cambodia (April 2013). I usually the person to bank on with friends whenever we’re travelling, that is, our forthcoming Vietnam and Cambodia.

    Wonder HOW you started with your blog…like you, i have been smitten with the art and beauty of travelling. I would’ve wanted to share my travel experiences too but no idea how to start.

    Keep on sharing your travel experience – kudos for that!

    God bless you always!

    Lia

  9. Ferdinand says:

    I really enjoy your blog, well I think talagang it’s really good to travel because of the experience that you encounter. I started traveling when I was 29 but the 5 years of my life is really enjoyable. I started going to the places in our country like palawan, boracay, bohol, cebu, and camiguin, then tried the out of the countries like hongkong, macau, bangkok, ho chi minh, malaysia, singapore, beijing, seoul and jakarta. I can say it is priceless… and it is not expensive if you know how to budjet. Maybe on december i will go to osaka to visit the hogwarts theme park because i really want to see it. I’m very thankful also for the job that I have because it support me. And you are correct, traveling is not for rich people but for people who wants to appreciate the beauty of God’s creation. I’m a public school teacher and the salary is not so good but because I prepare myself and my financial to travel, I did the impossible things of traveling. now some of my co teachers are really enjoying traveling because of me. They love to travel as well… I hope that I can do my blog as well to tell a story of my activities in traveling. Three things that you need to have, 1. having a tough mind 2. search for all the information about the country that you are going to visit 3. guidance from God.

    THank you…

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