Friday, December 2, 2011

The Backpacking Story So Far

Another month has come and gone and yes, I am still on the road. Traveling. Clearly, I have a lot to be thankful for. I left home October and even though it has only been a couple of months since, I feel like a lot has happened already. And I'm only in my third country on this trip!

Unlike other monthly wrap-ups I have done on this blog, this one will sum-up, not the best content in the travel blogosphere (which are plenty), but rather the goings-on in this small world I call my travel life.


I started in Singapore, seeing, well, more like tasting it, through a few friends who have become locals there. Bash it all you want, Singapore to me remains to be the tiny 700 square kilometer island where you could sample all the best foods (and therefore, cultures) of Southeast Asia.

You Like Satay

A few days after that, we flew to India, keen on seeing desert landscapes, mad urban sprawls, and peaceful temples. I got to see the last two, but due to Indian transportation misfortunes, we had to forgo Rajasthan. We, instead, opted for mountains and found Tibet in the heart of northern India.

McLeod Ganj, Dharamsala, India

From there, we made our way down to Amritsar, Agra and Varanasi, meeting some amazing people, locals and fellow backpackers alike, along the way. So yes, I am most definitely not yet done publishing my stories and photos about India. Heck, I have only just begun. There is so much to say about this amazing country and yet, I have only been to a few places in it. Please stay tuned!

From India, we then flew to the Kingdom of Nepal in what came to be, in my opinion, the most beautiful plane ride in the world. That’s because what greets you on the way there is one long uninterrupted wall of the snowy mountains of the Himalayas. It was a spectacular experience.

It turns out that beauty in this tiny kingdom isn't just confined to plane rides. The countryside landscapes have this superlative beauty I can only attempt to describe. This, I got to discover when I did a 10-day grueling trek to the Annapurna Sanctuary. Yes, weather was not on our side so our initial plan of going to the Everest Base Camp had to be scrapped.

But that's alright. Because at the Annapurna Sanctuary, we were rewarded with a cloudless 360-degree view of the snowy mountains of the high Himalayas. The whole breathtaking experience stands to be the most amazing one in all my travel life. That will be a little bit hard to beat. As a sneak peak, here is a photo showing our view as we were approaching the "gates" of the Annapurna Sanctuary taken at around 3100 meters above sea level. Stay tuned for more!

Annapurna Sanctuary Trek, Nepal


I was contended knowing that I was fulfilling my dreams with all this traveling. Really, it was just a bonus that people, some from the publishing industry, some form international organizations, do recognize the stories and photos that I produce about my travels.

First, one of my photos was included in the United Nations Population Fund Photo Exhibit about the World at 7 Billion back in October. The exhibit was held at the SM Mall of Asia in Manila, Philippines, which sadly I was not able to go to, seeing as I am currently abroad. But all is well. It was enough that my photo was chosen. Here it is. Caption below was also submitted to the exhibit.

Calaguas, Camarines Norte
Local boatmen pull in their vessels after a bumpy three-hour ride on the waters of remote Calaguas Island in the Philippines. In a world of 7 billion, formerly unexplored areas will inevitably gain attention, be it for tourism or development, hopefully, both sustainable.

Secondly, in preparation for the Christmas season, two magazines, one based in the Philippines, the other in Los Angeles in California, are publishing my photos on a well-loved Christmas tradition back home—the University of the Philippines (UP) Lantern Parade.

UP Lantern Parade 2009

So, this month, if anyone flies Cebu Pacific and gets to browse through their wonderful in-flight magazine Smile, do take a peek at the photos for the UP Lantern Parade. Two of those will be mine. As for the other magazine, the one based in LA, entitled 639, they will also publish my photos accompanied by an article I wrote on the annual event. I have yet to get more updates on this project. Fingers-crossed all goes well.

I have a couple of other location-independent employment endeavors lined up. So yes, I do recognize the fact that I am extremely lucky that the universe has made it possible for me to check-off items in my travel bucket list while I earn a few bucks on the way to further sustain this lifestyle. Here's to hoping that my six-month target could be extended to seven months or eight months or even a year! But I am getting ahead of myself. Let's just let things happen when they happen. Until then, safe travels to all!

* I have updated my map in the Where I Have Been section of this blog, as I do on a monthly basis. Anyone's interested, please click here. Thanks!

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