2012: The Year That Was

2012 was a big year for me. I fulfilled one of my travel dreams, I witnessed a BEAUTIFUL virgin river, and I traveled to another country without bringing a single bag.

This post though is not about what I’ve accomplished in terms of travel. Aside from what has already been written, I would like to share two significant events that took place in my life this year:

1. When the year started, I was running two travel blogs. One of course is this blog, Rica’s Rucksack (previously named Rucksack and Salvation) and the other one is Sugarcane Nomads which my good friend and I started in October of 2011.

Sugarcane Nomads did pretty well during the start of 2012. In fact, we already managed to secure a sponsorship from Roomorama. Other travelers also communicated with us, asking if they could contribute to the site. We were getting the stats we needed and we had awesome plans for the site.

Unfortunately, things didn’t go as planned. Let me put it this way: I had so much to say and so much to write about. I already shifted my life to focus on my passion which is traveling and writing. But I honestly felt at that time that I was going at it alone. Though I could not blame my friend (God bless her), I felt that I just had to remove myself from the picture and focus more on my biggest priority, my own website – Rica’s Rucksack.

So I left Sugarcane Nomads last September. My friend and I are still friends (of course). And if there’s one lesson I learned, it’s about being honest with what you want in life and setting your priorities straight.

2. When I was in Laos, I read an email that broke my heart. The message hurt me so much that I vowed to never trust people easily again. I’m not going to go into details because I would like to keep this part private, but despite the agony of loss, I was blessed with a very memorable experience.

I was eating alone during one bus stop when a female backpacker from Holland sat beside me. We started with the common traveler chit-chat (Where are You From? How long Have you been traveling? Where are you heading next) and it ended with a cultural exchange. Later on, we spent one whole day together with her friend touring the surrounding areas of Luang Prabang. We had a great time and a great conversation. Then we said goodbye.

I remember the last line I said to her, “It was very nice meeting you”. Because it was.  This stranger, this person whom I may NEVER see again (because we never gave each other our contact information and it was just meant to be that way), gave me a reason to appreciate the beauty of living in the moment.

My soul may have been shattered by recent events that transpired but this traveler, out of nowhere, came into my life and showed me that there is a reason to let go of negative things and just move on because there are better and brighter things ahead. Just when you need hope most, the universe gives it to you. And this is exactly the reason why YOU SHOULD NEVER GIVE UP no matter how bad the situation is.

Hannah, the writer of one of my favorite travel blogs, FurtherBound.com, wrote this recently on her Facebook wall:

The best thing I have found about travelling is not the incredible places you go or the beautiful things you see, but the people you connect with along the way, who leave their mark on your experience and your heart forever.

This is so true. A beautiful soul left a mark on my experience and my heart and for that, I will always be thankful for her.

And to the rest who’ve stayed with me…my family and my old and new friends…you were also part of my great journey this year….and I would like to thank all of you for your love and inspiration.

Here’s to wishing all of you a HAPPY, HEALTHY and AMAZING 2013!!!


vientiane laos, laos beer, beer laos, beer lao, laotian beer

Vientiane, Laos November 2012: I just took a little sip 🙂

and remember……….

…………don’t be afraid to follow your dreams

PS:  stay tuned!!! I got more stories to tell 🙂

One thought on “2012: The Year That Was

  1. I’ve said this in my blog and having reconnected with you guys recently & sharing your travel stories, it cannot be more true: “I always travel in search of something, something I don’t know. Always, I end up finding myself.” Cheers to more travels Rics!

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