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Since making my leap into the travel blogging world , I've been learning every single day and completely overwhelmed at how supportive and engaging the travel community is.

My travel evolution: one of the many reasons why you shouldn’t be sorry for the type of traveler that you are

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I am writing this today because something is bothering me: our entitlement. Everyone you know is traveling today and I feel like there is an ongoing competition where everybody is forced to participate in.

A reader asked me to make a 7-day itinerary for (insert country here). Though I don’t really do short-term travel, I did it because I value people who spend time in reading this blog. The only way I can give back is to answer their questions and help them achieve the perfect travel they always imagined. So, I wrote the post only to receive comments such as, “7 days is short,” “that’s not enough,” etc you know, all those entitlements that made the reader think twice about her trip.

“Should I add more days, Trisha? I really don’t have that much time and money.”

“No. You shouldn’t feel bad about these comments because you are different. Do what you want and stick to your plans. I will help you make it work. Never mind the comments.”

Backpacker, tourist, long-term traveler, digital nomad, whatever we call ourselves – there is no competition. The type of traveler that we are will evolve as life unfolds more surprises for us. Don’t be sorry because there are no levels in traveling. Embrace it. Live with it. Evolve with it. Soar with it. Fly with it. Rise above it.

What’s in this post?

Chapter 1: My life in Milan and Paris as a fashion student
Chapter 2: Learning how to do weekend trips in Europe
Chapter 3: One-week trips in Southeast Asia
Chapter 4: She fell in love and traveled with a boy
Chapter 5: Backpacking for long periods of time
Chapter 6: What?! Luxury traveler? You?!
Chapter 7: The Trisha with a home
Why am I telling you this story?

Chapter 1: The Student Abroad

I didn’t know what to feel when I learned that I got in a Fashion School in Milan. What?! I’m going away for a long time? Without mum?!!!?! I grew up in a middle-class family and was never out of the confines of my home. As a child, I was free to do whatever I want but me and my family decide everything together.

First, I pat myself on the back and said, “Look at you, btch, you fcking did it!” I don’t remember clearly but I am pretty sure I didn’t feel scared. In fact, I wanted to leave right away! The acceptance letter came first so you probably know what’s next: visa application, the scarier part.

Fortunately, the University helped in the visa processing so I didn’t really find it difficult.

The version of myself
Exaggerated number of clothes and shoes, a no repeat outfit policy, a twice a week shopping routine even if I had to skip meals.
Goal and Focus
To finish Fashion School. In Milan, again, I was fortunate enough to get in a Fashion Internship Program with Roberto Cavalli. My schedule was split: I have to go to my internship in the morning for 6 hours and go to the school for 5 hours in the afternoon. I had a hectic schedule but I put my eye on the prize. On the first day of my internship, I was early, listened attentively and participated in a non-Trisha way. I tend to ask too much questions when I am eager but I stopped myself: “Shut up, Trish. This is not the right time and place to talk too much. Stop it!!!” The moment I realised I literally had a desk in the main global office of Cavalli in San Babila, the focus evolved into a more deeper goal: after this internship, I will finish school and they will employ me. I need to work here.
Discovery
My internship was very demanding that it required me to go to Florence (where the main factory of Cavalli is) almost every week. During my second trip to Florence, I realised I was there often but know nothing about the city. I was so focused with work that I forgot I was in another place. I also felt uncomfortable to go out by myself. Where will I go? What will I do? I’m bad at directions! I don’t know how to speak Italian. Who will take my pictures?! I uttered all the words that will discourage me because it is easier. When you are discouraged, you will stay where you are and do nothing. It won’t require you to think or plan. What pushed me to explore Florence was the idea that fashion in Italy is inspired by their culture, people and lifestyle. I have to get to know this if I want to up my game for Monday’s pop quiz. So, I went out and tried discovering Florence by myself. I thought I am going to learn about Italian fashion but I found out something else: wow, it’s so easy to go around by yourself.
What I did from that discovery
I went back home to Milan with a fresh and broader perspective. I was living with my aunt then and I told her I was going to Paris next week and I wasn’t not asking for permission. It was part of my internship program to assist in the Fashion Week. She said yes because it’s school but the young girl in me said, “I am going to see the Eiffel Tower!!!” That same night, I browsed for flights to other European cities that interests me and found out I will be able to afford it if I cut my shopping. That’s actually not shopping money. It’s food budget cut for shopping. I put the third split for traveling but it wasn’t enough so shopping was abruptly out of the picture.

Chapter 2: The Weekender

The version of myself
Large number of clothes and shoes, a repeat outfit policy (one month gap), a once a week out of Milan trip even if I had to skip meals.
Goal and Focus
Still to finish fashion school and land a job at Cavalli but also to have a little knowledge of more European cities as I go.
Discovery
During my trip to Paris, I snuck out of the Fashion Week to go around the city. We don’t really have time to do this because it was a bad time. People who work in fashion know how hectic fashion weeks are but I managed to escape. In Paris, I saw a lot of people walking around with huge backpacks. What are these things?! I asked myself. If you don’t ask, you’ll never know. I asked one of the couples and they said “we are backpacking Europe.” Apparently, they were hitchhiking from Serbia and finding their way to Lyon (FR) for a big Hitchhiker gathering. They invited me over to their table, bought me macaroons and told them what I was doing in Paris. I thought my life as a fashion student was already the extremes but meeting this people lead me to another direction. If they can do it, why can’t I?
What I did from that discovery
When I came back home from Italy, I was still thinking about the conversation I had with the couple whom I met in Paris but couldn’t grasp how I will be able to do that if I don’t have a job? The goal of being employed full-time at Cavalli didn’t push through. I didn’t hear from them after the internship. My superior probably smelled trouble when I escaped Paris Fashion Week so I didn’t have a job. Because of my valuable education in Italy, I got a freelance job as a Fashion Stylist and Consultant where I got to work with some Philippine fashion icons who remained my friends until now. I earned enough money from those jobs so I decided to travel around Asia more than a weekend.

Chapter 3: The One-Week Traveler

One of the inspirations of my Asian trip is my addiction to football. I grew up playing the sport so I know very well that it’s not a thing from where I am from. I’m from a basketball country so people don’t rave about football so much.

When Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal announced their Asian Tour in 2012, I knew that was the push I needed. Their tour dates were so vague but my friends and I decided to book a ticket anyway. We booked a 10-day trip to Malaysia but the tour is only for 3 days! Tickets were very expensive but my job as a Freelance Fashion Stylist/Consultant kept me afloat. We spent most of the days stalking the players, going to conferences, chasing after tour buses at the same time, we also had a blast in exploring Kuala Lumpur on our own.

I was traveling with two girls (friends from home) and from that experience, we knew it was so easy to travel together so we planned more trips: the following month, we were in Bangkok for a week. They have full-time jobs so if our schedules don’t meet, I did other trips by myself to other Asian countries. It was a slow evolution from being comfortable with traveling with friends to finding my own dynamics in traveling by myself.

The version of myself
A freelancer in the Fashion Industry that had enough money to travel on her own and had her own apartment. Life was good.
Goal and Focus
Travel to Asian countries and get used to traveling by myself.
Discovery
While traveling in an island in the Philippines, the couple whom I met in Paris came to me in another form. I met a boy and fell in love. We traveled a few islands together and that evolved into a deeper relationship because he met my family. He’s a world traveler from Argentina and I was very inspired by his stories of 10 years of seeing the world. He was a web developer so he can practically work anywhere as long as he has Internet connection and a laptop. This is where I discovered the term “Digital Nomad.” I started reading about this lifestyle and told myself again: “That’s easy. I can do that.”
What I did from that discovery
My then boyfriend was having a hard time at work because of the lousy Internet connection in the Philippines. We both know that backpackers come and go so sooner or later, he will leave and move on to another who-knows-where place and start his life again but when he was about to leave, he said, “it doesn’t feel right. Come with me. Let’s travel together.” Even if I had no idea what will happen to me out there, I left everything and went to Africa with him. Like most 22-year-olds, I wasn’t sure what I was jumping into but still did it because I didn’t want to be far away from this guy. I want to travel, above all. He was the channel I needed to push myself to go out there.

Chapter 4: Young and In Love

We went to Africa and after three months, he told me that he needed to miss me. It was a nicer way of saying “I’m breaking up with you because I’m sick of seeing your face every day.” I was devastated. I didn’t know what to do. We already had plans of moving to Buenos Aires (where his family lives) and without him, I felt stuck. From booking tickets to finding hotels to going to bus stations to asking directions – he did everything in our trip and I don’t know if I will be able to do all those by myself.

“Go home,” my mother’s voice seemed to echo, while I was looking for flights to I-don’t-know-where. If I went home, I would have all the help I needed to cope. I would be surrounded by a loving community, and after a few days, I would be okay. This time, I chose to be okay because of me. I wanted to help myself and hopefully, discover something along the way. So I decided to travel more.

I still wasn’t sure about anything but there was a voice in my head that was saying, “Go. Don’t fear. Everything will be okay.” Using my last money on the African trip, I booked a one-way ticket to Sao Paulo. I knew that voice was telling me something. Something great will happen to those who try.

The version of myself
Lost and had no idea what she was about to do in her life.
Goal and Focus
I wasn’t really sure. I think I was avoiding to go home to prove that I can do it on my own. I was also avoiding family and friends who will tell me, “see, I told you. Your ideas are crazy. That boy is not worth it… blah. blah. blah.”
Discovery
I was very active in the Couchsurfing community in Sao Paulo and again, met a lot of people who were doing long-term travel. One of them owned a travel blog where they write about their story, share their pictures and basically just doing what they want. They also get a lot of free stuff like hotel stays, food, tours, etc. When I was studying in Italy, I already had a fashion blog so I was familiar on how to set one up. As soon as I went back to my Couchsurfing host in Sao Paulo, I told her, I am going to change my blog into a travel blog.
What I did from that discovery
I created P.S. I’m On My Way and wrote stories about my life out there. At first, it was only for my friends and family to read. I wanted to give my mother the benefit of the doubt – “I am okay, mum. Don’t worry. I can do this!” From writing stories every day, I found out that other people whom I didn’t know personally started liking what I wrote. After which, popular media outlets picked up my work and started contacting me for interviews, features, etc. The blog took off without effort. All I had to do is to create a platform and tell my story.

Chapter 5: The Young, Wild and Broke Solo Female Traveler

I continued my journey to Central America and circled back to South America. I was still very upset from what happened with me and my ex in Africa. I have to admit it took me a long time to cope but I was doing it slowly. All my efforts and energies were put into the blog. Time passed and until one day, I came to a point where I no longer identify myself from that break-up.

I traveled far and wide while finding means to extend my financial capabilities. I volunteered, did work exchange, stayed with local families, stayed in filthy hostels, met a lot people with different travel personality types etc but I was very very happy. I just didn’t say that I was a different person – I felt it in every vein of my body. The journey definitely changed how I look at life. Best of all, I became unbreakable. If I’ve gone through that horrible break-up by myself, I can go through anything. That’s what I told myself every day until I had nothing left to fear. I moved forward. There was no other way.

The version of myself
She’s a wild heart. And wild hearts cannot be broken.
Goal and Focus
Find and learn ways on how to monetise the blog.
Discovery
Remember those blogger guys I met in Sao Paulo? They only told me about the free stuff but when I started to join blogger groups on Facebook, I learned that I can make real money from the blog. I researched, spent long days on the computer while juggling my volunteering jobs and all that shenanigan. I felt like 24 hours weren’t enough. Why can’t there be 48 hours in one day?! Why!!!
What I did from that discovery
I moved the blog to a more professional platform because research told me so. It was really painful and tedious but I patiently went through it. It also costs money. I had to give up some stuff like going out with the hostel peeps and spend money on alcohol. I still ate out though. The vow of never being cheap on food while traveling stayed true forever. I can’t break that promise because food also reflects our life stories as different individuals. “Tell me what you eat and I’ll tell you who you are.”

Chapter 6: The Best Luxury Travel Blogger

I realised that moving to a professional platform is not enough to go to the direction of success in the business of blogging. Since the blog wasn’t earning money yet, I had to take freelance jobs online (VA, social media manager, client relations, etc) but I was working for someone. My hours were monitored. The set-up didn’t allow me to give more time to the blog so I quit. I resigned from all my online jobs to be a full-time blogger.

More time were spent in the blog and this is the real take off. I was invited to media trips by Tourism Boards, advertisers were lining up to be published on the blog, brands were contacting me to be featured on my Instagram and Facebook. Everything was good. Those days that I was sitting for weeks in an apartment in Cancun paid off. Those months of not really traveling (I was in a different country, at least) actually worked.

I graduated from hostels (because of age) and started getting complimentary stays in 5-star hotels. On top of that, they are also paying money for every valuable content I made. Everything was really good!

I was even nominated Best Luxury Travel Blog even if I didn’t really focus my writing on luxury travel. I continued to write stories. I told them to withdraw the nomination because I don’t want people to be mislead. I don’t do luxury travel at all. The Travel Blog Awards Head rebutted and said, “don’t take it too literally. We chose you to be in this category because you depict that traveling is a luxury. Your stories are very inspiring and we really think you deserve the nomination.”

I accepted it but the concept was still blurred to me. By the end of the voting period, I won.

Chapter 7: The One Who Found A Home

In August 2016, Vibe Israel, a non-profit organisation invited me to come to an all-expense paid trip to Israel. Their goal is to eradicate the bad connotations about Israel through Destination Marketing Organisation (DMO). Their mission is to bring authoritative bloggers to explore Israel for a week, hoping that by the end of the trip, they will end up writing/saying something good about the country.

I didn’t just write. I stayed. The day my flight departs to Mexico City (from Tel Aviv), I told the organiser that I am staying. That I am sorry. That I can pay for the ticket they booked for me. That I really really really want to stay.

The last minute decision was cool to them. In fact, they were happy that I chose to stay. “If you don’t want to leave, then we must be doing something right.”

I rented an apartment as normal people do but felt that I was living life backwards. I even planned to write something like: “I left my life of travel to live in Tel Aviv” but my status here is not that clear yet.

I still have the tourist visa which requires me to leave Israel every 3 months for a visa-run. I already did 4 visa-runs since August: Jordan, Georgia & ArmeniaSri Lanka and Morocco. I still ended up going back to Tel Aviv after those trips. I couldn’t believe I was booking 2-way tickets!

At this very moment I am writing this, I am surrounded by boxes and a heck of a mess. My boyfriend and I (nope, this is not the Argentine guy) are moving together to a new apartment. Believe me, I am terrified. This country is so expensive, I don’t have any resident status here, I can’t vote here and I moving with someone who I am only dating for 9 months. There is a myriad of emotions that I have to face but every time I am scared, I try to remember all the crazy things I’ve done and all the hardships I was able to conquer. Writing this piece gives me a little refresher course of all the things I did by convincing myself that I am brave.

Why am I telling you this story?

I want you to know that your travel preferences will evolve as you do it. Some of us are rushing to jump to Chapter 4 when we haven’t really done Chapter 1 so do it little by little.

But most of all, I want us to realise to never question other people’s kind of travel. I really feel bad when someone is telling her story about a one-week travel in (insert country here) only to receive comments like, “that’s not enough to know a country, blah. blah. blah.”

Some of us are even putting a hype on the backpacker vs tourist discussion. It’s not relevant!

When someone is asking for a recommendation on Facebook, I feel like we are sharing our knowledge about a certain place to publicly boast. Not to help. I just want to see this less from all of us because there is no competition here. No one is joining the race to traveling 100+ countries in the world. We want everyone to succeed in their travel endeavours so let’s avoid challenging people’s truths.

Different humans, different dynamics. I wish we’ll all accept that fact.

A few things I learned from this evolution:

  • We don’t have to have the same experiences. When giving advice to fellow travelers, give an insight that will fit. If you visited (insert country here) for one month as a long-term traveler, then only provide information that will fit the person asking you. Do not discourage them with their plans. You might now know it but the words, “that’s too short,” “you won’t have fun with that period of time,” etc will give another person second thoughts. You are encouraging them to question their own plans. I know this because I used to do this, too. A LOT.
  • There is no competition. So what if your best friend has been to 32 countries and you’ve only been to 5? Is there a problem with that? If we don’t want to be challenged with our truths and our travel style, we should also do the same to others.
  • Embrace the type of traveler you are. I may be a long-term traveler, she may be a weekend traveler, he may be a Digital Nomad but each of us have things that happened to only us. There are a lot of types of travelers in Tourism. People can relate but there are things you experienced that others didn’t. Always remember that.
  • Whenever I am scared to do something new or evolve to another level of traveling, I tell myself I am brave – and brave can take you places. Note that in all the discoveries I had above, I always had the mindset of “that’s easy” and “I can do that” even if there’s no way it’s true. There’s no one else who will motivate you, but YOU.

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