Never Give Up

Living in a developing country makes it difficult at times to fulfill a dream. The first problem is money. I don’t earn more than a thousand dollars in a month. In order for me to do that, I have to be promoted and do work that I’m not really happy with. Second is the fear of losing one’s security. You spend all your money and then you come back to what?

I have a dream to go vagabonding. I’ve been thinking about it lately. Vagabonding, as defined by the guru, Rolf Potts, means:

The act of leaving behind the orderly world to travel independently for an extended period of time” and “A deliberate way of living that makes freedom to travel possible”.

I’ve read and studied the budget one has to have to do this. I’ve read articles of people who’ve done this and most of them are Westerners. There’s a Filipino who’s currently conquering Asia and he hopes to complete it for a year. But he’s having problems now, and it doesn’t even involve Europe or America.

I guess I’m just human to consider these problems. But I came across a few blogs lately that have inspired me:

1. – She is a Filipina. She gave up her job and used her savings for a 6-month trip. The following is taken from her ABOUT PAGE and it gave me hope:

I used to worry a lot which means I always make plans and back-up plans.  This year, as I turn 26, I will have my first try at the no-back-up-plans way of living. I have no job and no apartment to go back to. All I have is whatever will be left from my savings after the Big Trip. I don’t really know what’s going to be my life next year. But for now, I know I have to do this. (scared but also very excited!)

2. – Matt is an American who became known for his travel dancing videos. Here’s something from his ABOUT PAGE that also inspired me:

Matt is a 35-year-old deadbeat from Connecticut who used to think that all he ever wanted to do in life was make and play videogames. Matt achieved this goal pretty early and enjoyed it for a while, but eventually realized there might be other stuff he was missing out on. In February of 2003, he quit his job in Brisbane, Australia and used the money he’d saved to wander around Asia until it ran out.

These people (and I’m sure there are more folks out there) are living life to the fullest despite uncertainties. I am like Angge because I plan too much and I worry too much at the same time. But, the question at the end of the day is, will all these worrying and planning complete my sense of being? My mom used to tell me to save because one day we’ll get sick and the money we keep can save us. I can’t help but think of this right now: we will all get sick and die eventually anyway. Of course, having that money to pay the hospital bill is important, but wouldn’t it be more of a regret if you don’t actually pursue something you’re passionate about?

A few days ago, I openly emailed Lily Leung of She’s a Canadian who’s travelling the world at the moment and she’s going to pursue it for a year or more! I told her about my situation, living in a developing country and how difficult it is to earn a million pesos (equivalent to the amount of dollars she apparently saved to travel the world). Here’s what she said:

…there’s absolutely nothing wrong with travelling for a short period or sticking to the countries that have good value. Going for “one year” or “railing Europe” sounds romantic and appealing (and it seems like the cool thing all the North American travellers do). But short trips (anywhere!) are already a huge opportunity and there are many other cool places in the world aside from Europe that have better bang for your dollar. Plus by, going to lower cost places, you can stay longer and splurge more…

She’s absolutely right. Lily speaks of valuing the moment and the experience, not counting the number of countries one has been to because a good experience can be found anywhere, even just walking around your neighborhood. Potts emphasized this in his interviews as well. At the same time, it’s also good to hear from people like Angge or Matt who are telling all of us to just go for it! Matt’s decision opened a good opportunity, and I’m sure Angge, after her journey, will also discover a good opportunity.

The lesson I’ve learned is to keep on pursuing my goal, despite the circumstances. I may live in a developing country, but it doesn’t mean that I’m not going to achieve my dream. At the same time, I know that no matter what’ll happen, my experience will count more than anything.

That, and of course, helping and inspiring people along the way matter to me the most. It may be difficult for me to save a million pesos right now but after the one month China-Laos trip next year,  I’ll pack up for a 6 month journey starting January of 2013. I don’t know where, I don’t know how. But I want to live my life to the fullest and cherish the experience no matter where the journey will take me.

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2 thoughts on “Never Give Up

  1. Hello there! Chanced upon your blog via my blog stats. Wow, it’s always nice to discover that there are people out there who are inspired by what I’m doing, but even more so that there are people out there who are exactly like me.

    I still make plans and I still worry about my depleting travel fund. haha But I have more strength in me now to just enjoy the moment and enjoy the freedom. 😉

    And I say Go! Don’t let anyone define your happiness or what you think you should do with your life. Your parents will eventually understand you and warm up to your version of happiness.

    And keep on writing! You might, and I’m sure you are inspiring more people especially Filipinos like us to travel and pursue their dreams. 🙂

    • Hi Angge! Nice to hear from you 🙂 Actually I’m already independent – I live on my own, pay my rent, pay utilities, etc etc. The problem is not my family at all because they are very supportive–they know about my plan but I don’t ask money from them anymore (except during emergency cases like paying a huge hospital bill) because they already did their part (they paid for my education). My biggest problem of course is earning for myself because it’s how I fund my travels. And knowing the economic situation in our country, you have to earn more than 15k per cut-off (at least) to survive the horrendously high prices. I was part of the management team years ago but the politics is really not for me so I demoted myself that’s why I’m in this situation – really working hard to earn big despite doing “level 1” work. I guess the only way for me to reach my goal is to cut down on my expenses. But you’re right about enjoying the moment–I’m sure I’m going to reach that point when I’m out there again. Right now, I’m working on “not worrying too much” 🙂 Folks like you inspire me to just go for it!

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