My 2016 takeaways:
- Save a LOT of money before you quit your job to travel long-term.
- Go quit your job if you have said money.
- If you've run out of money, the universe will provide. Let me tell you a secret. We've run out of money a couple of months back already. We've done all kinds of pagtitipid there is in pagtitipid book but our money can only be stretched a few ways. The last time I had serious debt issue was between 2005 - 2007, my destitute years back in college. I make it a point to pay my debts or have none at all. Now, truth be told, I am neck-deep in debt 😭😭😭. I am not proud of it but I don't regret it either. I only regret not saving more.
- In relation to #3: do not be afraid to ask for help. You'll be surprised on who ends up helping you. More often than not, they are NOT one of your closest friends or kin. But they believe in your cause and will not hesitate to offer their help. You will cry a lot because where did these people come from and why do they care whether you realise your dreams or not.
- Thank those people.
- No matter how expensive stamps are, send postcards to your dearest friends/family (I'm sorry that you will have to choose among them 😆). You can always eat curry rice every day. Which leads me to the next.
- Always bring curry powder. Or instant soups. They are life savers!
- Not everyone will be kind/honest/helpful. Be kind/honest/helpful anyway.
- No matter how crap your Spanish (or whatever language you are learning) is, someone will always tell you your Spanish is great. It's not true but they appreciate that you are exerting an effort to communicate with them (PS: Parisians scoff at non-French speakers but if you try with your halting French, they'll answer your queries and like you a little for trying but that's the Parisians, South Americans are a lot warmer and nicer hehe).
- Surround yourself with great support group. Be a great support system to your friends, too, even while travelling.
- Please leave tips for hotel/lodge staff. I mean if you can afford a 4- or 5-star hotel/lodge, I bet you can afford to dole out tips. Since I've been working as a kitchen help/waitress/housekeeper for 3 weeks now (4 more weeks to go! 😩), I now have a better understanding of the hardships that entail these professions. The owners don't always give extras (or the tips itself) to their staff—who works unbelievably long hours— so please hand them the tip directly.
New Year's Eve 2016, I was being served food and alcohol by other people. New Year's Eve 2017, I am doing the exact opposite. What a reversal of role. Bilog nga talaga ang mundo.
I know 2016 did not really go well for a lot of people, for a lot of different reasons, but mine has been awesome. It wasn't always rainbows and dragonflies (🙃) but really, it has been the best year of my life yet. I thought 2014 couldn't be topped but then 2016 happened so moral of the story: malay mo mas best pa pala ang 2017 😬.
Feliz año nuevo! Bienvenido, 2017!