Funding The Wanderlust
How I Prepare For My Travels
Getting hit by a travel bug has brought a profound change in me. Though my current goal is to explore the prime locations in the Philippines and eventually every province in it, to discover off beaten paths, promote tourism, and photograph all of them, it can burn holes on my pocket big time. I'm a call center agent, I have little time left for my weekend rest days, and limited work leaves. My closest friends and even my family are actually surprised that I still manage to do them, and more so without neglecting my responsibilities with paying bills, and contributing allowances of my younger siblings. I don't have any nit pick short answer for it, but in this post, I would hope to enlighten a few curious questions, and inspire people to be explorers of their own land eventually answering the big question, How Do I Fund My Wanderlust?
I could say that I travel in equilibrium nowadays, learning from expensive tour guided travels to budget Do-It-Yourself one's. Two years ago, I would visit Puerto Galera for a weekend escape and come back to Manila emptied of cash wads I brought along. I just can't stop ordering Frozen Margarita's and Kamikazee's from the beach bars, and even buying loads of souvenir items and shirts that I don't really need, I know right? I was gullible then, with the need to brag to my friends that I just came from Puerto Galera. Nowadays, I don't tell where to go and when, so it's a surprise when I get back and too late for any key chain "Pasalubong" for them to hang in their cubicles. If you've given too many key chains, you'd understand the nagging feeling that they do not see the aesthetic value of the item, aside from yourself, simply because they weren't there, most are too visual to see intangible merits. I'd rather drag my friends with me, and experience the wanderlust for themselves.
|Key Chains from Bukidnon, jump off point for White Water Rafting. I never bought a piece of it, more so they look good and tempting.|
|Talking about Key Chain, souvenirs. I like photographing them while on display. This one is from Caramoan Municipality.|
Going to places needs planning, it has to work for me as I just can't drop anything at anytime and be on the road. Being a call center agent, it's literally a calendar blocking time for me and more so of time management, we are after all experts with handling time or otherwise we won't stay on this job for long. So I would answer this systematically, going through the utmost questions of the moment.
|Just landed at Cagayan De Oro Airport. On my Birthday trip, I explored Northern Mindanao a month prior to Sendong Deluge.|
Where To Go?
Now this is not easy, after all we have 7,107 Islands in this archipelago. I sometimes start by seat sale announcements, that is if I feel like going somewhere that requires traveling by air. Booking ahead of time makes it easy and cheap, I even book as far as 6 months from booking date that sometimes I don't even need a seal sale for it, these trips require that I go on work leave 2 or 3 days and should be before or after a weekend. On land travels, the simplest is easy enough, commute, not hire. Roro buses are all over the far flung provinces, over night trips going to Northern Luzon are also everywhere with bus stations scattered along the length and breadth of EDSA and all over the Metro. The choice is yours which one to hop into.
|Just landed, Busuanga Island, Coron Palawan. One of my most memorable D-I-Y trips this year.|
Where To Stay?
This is tricky and yet this is where I really began to appreciate travel blogging. Back when I don't have this blog, I tend to ask people around. And I get varied answers but not enough description, so for the most part, I end up staying at expensive hotels and resorts suggested by a friend, I didn't do my assignment, too lazy to do research. Doing my own research is good, Google is always there, you just have to type in the search box. I started following travel blogs then, reading lot's of adventures from members of Pinoy Travel Bloggers which had fueled my thirst for traveling. I don't follow a detailed itinerary posted in a blog but rather just take what I need which is accommodations and tips on how to get there. I would have my own adventure, this is where I found good deals backpacking style. Never had I bought Online Deals and only once had I signed up for package tour in EL Nido and Puerto Princesa with Hadefe Tours, it was a nice trip and a well documented one but I realized I missed out on a lot things as I had everything laid for me by someone else. El Nido is seen by many as an expensive location to travel when in fact it is perfect for backpacking. If you want to have more fun on every trip, you'll only need a room to keep your belongings and a fan to keep you cool. When you really want to explore and have some fun, then accommodations would just become a place to sleep.
|Traveling with friends and sharing expenses is a good way to travel too. More so that you are sure to have fun.|
How Do I Fund My Trips?
Some of the trips that I take are planned two or three months ahead of time especially when I have to travel by plane. What of my need to secure work leaves. It's fun to experience side trips or some unplanned mishaps, take it as part of the adventure so you also take it into consideration in your itinerary. I've develop this attitude to wander during weekends where I could just go unplanned especially after payday. Group trips are wallet friendly. I like joining in team buildings in the office, even with teams that I don't really know. Everyone provides a share for the accommodations, and even food, and I'll only think about my bus tickets. I spend only about 25% on these fun activities as compared to when I go solo, and it's a good time to meet new friends. For the long hauls, I usually go with my travel buddy and so we have each other for back up when one is low on funds. I also like joining the so called "Paluwagan" in the office. It's really just a group of friends who agreed to shell out a certain amount every payday and give it to a member on their agreed scheduled payout. It's a nice way to save up, I think of it as pooling my funds somewhere that I can use on an opportune time.
I'm weak in terms of keeping my own money, that once its in my pocket, I can't stop thinking of things to buy that I don't really need. It doesn't help too that I get paid through direct deposits in my bank account, my biggest enemy is my ATM which I'm sure everyone else too. There's just too many ATM machines everywhere, it's too tempting to punch my PIN and see that monster machine spit some cash. I don't trust banks, but I need them. I was once a phone teller for a bank or financial account, I know how ruthless they can be and in this corporate environment, every penny is accounted for, every favor you get from your bank is paid back sometimes twice its value. I regularly empty my payroll account, except for a few thousand pesos that I use for my daily expenditures, I keep my wads somewhere like the pockets of my journal or that extra coin purse that I bought as souvenirs from my trips. I would then tuck them in my bags that I don't use everyday. After a day or two, I'm then used to the idea that I have just enough to keep me going.
|I chose to walk around Cagayan De Oro City instead of hailing taxi's or motorela's. What better way to discover more of the place with a little exercise.|
I don't live frugally, just have enough for creature comforts. I've outgrown my teenage party attitude where I'd spent my entire weeks allowances for a night of partying. I don't have credit cards, so I walk alight knowing I don't have any bank debts. My photography gadgets, I got because I saved up for them, the "Paluwagan" played a big part on it, I'm also very careful with them. I have an inexpensive cellphone, they normally serve me from three to five years, knowing that I only have one mobile phone, who needs more when I only text on the same group of people everyday. I'm no Northface fan, who needs an expensive trekking bag when you're cautious on having them muddied and exposed to elements. No, I'm better with cheaper alternative of the same material. There are a lot of alternatives, and you don't always have to go to the mall. With shopping, I only buy when I need to, and I stay clear of malls when they're on sale, its stressful anyway having to mingle with many people scrounging for sales. I'm not rich, but I work hard. I save money in banks too, because I need it, but I have to make sure not to bring my ATM everyday. Nowadays, banks provide ATM Cards on almost all liquid accounts, sure they look posh in your wallets card slot, they'd make your wallet bulkier too, just to visualize things. I keep many supportive friends whom I know I can ask for help when I need to, and I'd always return the favor when I can.
Sure as I spend money on my travels. What of my many memory cards, my DSLR and Underwater Camera. I'm not rich, but I don't strive to nourish my pockets. I'd rather be enlightened by my travels, be more pragmatic as a few of my friends would describe. I have this need to be at two places at the same time, be everywhere and nowhere. To feed my curiosity, to enhance my aesthetics and more so to be a part of the world. By working hard and taking just enough, by D-I-Y trips and backpacking, office Paluwagan's and keeping supportive friends along the way, this is how I fund my Wanderlust.
This is my entry to Pinoy Travel Bloggers 20th Blog Carnival: How To Fund Your Wanderlust?
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