As I am still celebrating my first birthday as Juanderkid, my friends suggested that I answer the questions that I pose to fellow travelers who are known in this site as JuanderTravelers. Not a bad idea. So here’s mine. 🙂
What do you remember most about your first trip abroad? Wow. Nothing beats the first so I still vividly remember everything that happened during my first trip. I was sent to Luang Prabang, in Laos, to attend a seminar on water sanitation and I will be honest now that I only took on the job just so I could have the perfect excuse to go abroad for the first time. While I stayed in Bangkok for a night before my flight to Luang Prabang, I hardly consider Thailand as my first foreign destination. When we landed in Luang Prabang, I got disappointed because their airport looked like our domestic airports in the 70’s (not that I’ve been around to witness that firsthand). It didn’t help that it had just rained minutes before we arrived, the road from the airport to our hotel was murky. It wasn’t long when Luang Prabang revealed its real beauty to me. Before I knew it, I would hurriedly get out of the conference venue during break time so I can bike around the quaint town. I would wake up so early in the morning so I can witness the monks’ procession. I would stay up late while I haggle at the night market or while I dine in one of the restaurants along the Mekong River bank, or while I enjoy the incredibly cheap body massage after hopping from one temple to another. The best part of my adventure was riding an elephant since it has been my dream to ride one. And oh, it didn’t hurt that people back at the conference loved to call me “The Rockstar.”
What won’t you leave home without? I usually carry around a small messenger bag that has my wallet, passport, plane tickets, pen, a little notebook, my camera, and iPad (and anything that should sustain their technological life like chargers and camera connectors). And oh, Burt’s Bees lip balm. It has to be that brand. And lots of enthusiasm!
How do you pass time at airports? I love people-watching! I take time reading their nuances and gestures. I find it hard to initiate conversation with total strangers, I don’t warm up easily, but once I get interested in the conversation, it will be very hard to stop me from talking. 🙂 Other times I’d catch myself reading a book or roaming around the airport.
Who is your ideal traveling companion? I admit I am actually not a group person when it comes to traveling. I love traveling with people who are flexible and who carry with them a good sense of humor. You have to expect the worst that could happen in your travel, so I love how a witty travel companion can actually save a disappointing scenario and turn it into a wonderful travel experience.
Describe your most memorable trip. I consider all my trips to be memorable but if I have to name five travels at this point, they have to be: our family trip to Hong Kong in 2011 because it was the first time that we traveled as a family and my mom enjoyed Disneyland immensely, the first time I went to Calaguas in 2010 with my friends because we were just so unprepared and because Calaguas is such a paradise, our community work around the Cordilleras in 2007 was highly memorable because aside from experiencing Sagada and Banaue, it was so fulfilling to see how happy the students were after the workshops, my Boracay birthday trip in 2008 (what happens in Boracay, stays in Boracay!) and El Nido birthday trip in 2010 because it was a life-changing trip (we have a tie here), and, of course, my 30th birthday trip that took me around Vietnam and Cambodia last year.
What is the best travel advice you were ever given? Because of our business in Donsol, I have talked to so many travelers around the world and the advice that I hold so dearly to this day is that to travel while still young and experience what the world has to offer but also make sure to always come home.
What is the best advice you would give to a traveler now? Never lose the child in you because that inner voice always saves the day. And that money shouldn’t be the reason for traveling – it is that wanting to see the world and recognize a new part of our selves that should motivate people to travel. Because if we really want to conquer the world, we will find ways even if our money can’t get us a swanky hotel room.
What is the strangest thing you have done on a trip? I went skinny dipping inside Sumaging Cave in Sagada.
Name an event anywhere in the world you would like to participate in? Mardi Gras.
What is the worst souvenir you have ever brought back from a trip? When I went to Bangkok’s Chatuchak Weekend Market for the first time, I was so taken by the wealth of inexpensive products there that I ended up buying things without even thinking how to bring them home. I spotted a really cool stool that I thought would look great in my pad then, but I ended up leaving it in one spot of the airport because I didn’t have enough money to pay for my excess baggage! :p
Name a city you have never visited but would like to someday. Paris.
Name a country you wish to explore. Italy!
What would you say is the best part of travel? Aside from getting to know different people and becoming a repository of their stories, traveling gives me the chance to know a part of myself I never knew existed. Like what I always say, I come back to the city poorer but wiser.
What would you say then is the worst part of travel? People who don’t respect the culture of their destination.
If you could reside anywhere in the world aside from your country where would it be? Italy.
Love and light, everyone. Go, juanderlust! 😀