I started traveling on my own last year when I went on a solo beach trip to Talipanan, the much quieter part of Puerto Galera. I was supposed to go with a friend but he bailed out on me on the day of the trip itself.
I was already packed and ready to go and I didn’t want to cancel. I seriously considered breaking his neck but he was able to pacify me with dark chocolate. I’m very gullible and easily bribed with food so I let him live.
That trip turned out to be one of the most relaxing and exciting travel experiences I’ve had and the start of my wanderlust solo style. I’ve always traveled in a group before, mostly road trips with friends and orgmates in college, and it was a lot of fun so I never really considered traveling alone.
My first solo trip though gave me a taste of freedom, solitude and adventure that I want to relive over and over so I went on another trip. And then another one. And yet another one.
Most of my friends are mortified. My parents are worried sick. The people I meet on my trips think I’m either depressed and I want to get away from my life or I’m pathetic and I don’t have any friends who would go with me. I’ve often had to explain that I am not suicidal and I actually belong to some semblance of a social circle back home.
Which is why I was so psyched when I stumbled on this blog of a Pinoy solo traveler. And another one. And another one. And another one. Backpacking alone is fairly common among foreigners but it’s not so big here so I was amazed to find out that there is a bunch of people in this country who travel solo! I can’t believe I only learned about this now but then again I’m often out of the loop on, well, almost everything.
I thought I was already a cheap-ass traveler who avoids hotels and stays in pension houses/budget resorts, takes jeepneys/non-aircon buses instead of cabs/tourist vans, and has no qualms about eating in a karinderia. Then I saw this guy who sleeps in his own freakin’ hammock, goes hitchhiking, and brings his own mug and instant coffee. I bow my head in shame.
Reading about their adventures was so inspiring and reassuring. I’m learning a lot and I hope I could someday be as hardcore as the best of them.
I also hope that I won’t just travel for travel’s sake, to rack up points for a higher Lakbayan grade, get a tan, or have something to brag about. I hope that it’ll get me in touch with local communities, help me understand people a little more, teach me about empathy, make me kinder and more respectful, motivate me to do something worthwhile, and prod me to be just a little bit less self-centered.
As I’ve learned in my few trips so far, there is an abundance of good people everywhere. I hope I get to be one of them.