About Me & My Passion for Travel

Hello, my name is Tina.  I am very blessed so far to have Traveling as a very major part of my life.  Although I've spent most of my life in my hometown, I've travelled across four (oh, now five) continents in my lifetime.  Lived in Asia but also travelled across North America, Europe, and Australia for both work and pleasure. (now includes South America, 2010)

Anyway, a little bit of history on how I delved into this wonderful world of traveling.  My parents exposed me to travel early on, as we used to travel between the Philippines and Hong Kong at least once every year to spend summer and winter holidays with my mom's family.  I would later accompany my mom to United Kingdom and France to visit her other sisters too.  I loved how we have family around the world.  My dad also loved to travel.  I still remember him bringing the whole family to Japan.  At that time, it was a luxury.  Hong Kong was always fun, but then it became routine.  So Japan was the first trip I recall that we went on a real vacation.  We visited a place with a totally different culture and saw snow for the first time.  Imagine our excitement!  My mom also brought me to the US West Coast during my teens, I think it was after I graduated from grade school.  I got to see Disneyland for the first time, a place that I would only see in my dreams.  Then my dad would also go on business trips and occasionally brought me and mom along, one time to Singapore.  He also encouraged me to join Exchange Programs to Japan (Rotary Club) and Taiwan.  I was very lucky.  And this surely paved the way for my interests in traveling.

But ironically enough, I felt my view of the world was still limited.  Despite my early exposure to travel, my curiosity still picqued especially on the countries that would only appear in stories, where I don't have any relatives to visit, or it wasn't common to travel for business or leisure, places like Greece, Nepal, Tibet, Africa, Egypt, etc.  When I was small, I would learn about these places through the National Geographic magazine that my dad subscribes to, or on my World Geography Class, but moreso on my Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego game, haha.  This is where I learned the different currencies, flags, famous attractions and artifacts.  I got introduced to places like Reykjavik, or Kathmandu, or Athens, or San Marino, or Budapest, for example - not really places you would visit just like that.  Oh, I also did the penpal thing, where I had friends from Norway, Greece, and the US.

When I grew up, and finished my first 3 years of work.  I needed to spread my wings, so I went to the US to pursue my MBA.  I went to a school with International MBA, and more than 50% of the students were international, folks from China, Singapore, Japan, Finland, and different parts of the US.

And as strong as fate was, I was also exposed to travel during my work.  It brought me to places like Malaysia, Indonesia, Australia, China, India and Czech Republic, on top of the usual places like United States, Singapore where I've already been to.

And now, I'm on my journey to visit places where I can engage in more cultural immersion.  My recent trip to Brazil and Argentina was independent travel and due to this, we got to really see the place and know the place in a deeper level.  I also went to Cambodia for a VolunTour trip where I did a homestay and teach English to children.

So what's next?  Well, still a whole big world out there to explore.  As the saying goes, my feet itches and I'm ready to travel again.  After all, I have a big mole under my feet, and my mom says it means that my fate includes a lot of traveling.  No wonder, I have this strong passion for seeing new places.  Hopefully, one day, I get to visit all 7 continents, and maybe space, haha.  To me, it's still a dream.  But today's technology makes it easier and easier to attain.

Despite fate dictating it, I find great purpose also in traveling, because every trip I take is a journey.  It's a journey involving learning experiences that no classroom will ever teach.

First of all, it expanded my knowledge about the vast world, about its cultures, its languages, and most of all, its uniqueness.  Boy, I've felt how difficult it was not to be able to communicate with the local language, I've been culture shocked by the religious beliefs, and I've felt totally like an outsider or an intruder in a totally foreign land.  Ironically, it also gives one a view that despite the vastness, everything in interconnected and fits perfectly together into the one world that God created, and thereby, make it a small world after all.  And it becomes really interesting when you begin to find the commonalities in a place so different, a people so unfamiliar, and a culture that's so foreign.

Secondly, the existence of the world paved its way for the journey that we all have to take, our life.  Imagine our life without this vast world, there wouldn't be a journey to take.  God meant for us to experience that journey, including the wrong turns and the dead ends.  For without this, we will never get to where He wants us to go.  I can now remember the times when I would take the wrong turn, or get shouted at for something you don't even know why.  I even lost my laptop and passport, can you imagine that?  But that's the best opportunity to learn.

And lastly, the awareness that the learning will never end as things will always end up not as you imagine it to be.  What makes an experienced traveler different from a tourist, would be this.  I have oftentimes been thankful that I was prepared and thus, spared from the mishaps of traveling.  More importantly, with the knowledge I have, I could anticipate and think ahead, to avoid the unexpected situations that I have never experienced before.  But as life is, you can only minimize this, nothing in life is as expected.

So in these days when most people would spend to buy a house, a car, fashion items; I would spend my money in Travel.  As the saying goes,

“Adventure is a path. Real adventure – self-determined, self-motivated, often risky – forces you to have firsthand encounters with the world. The world the way it is, not the way you imagine it. Your body will collide with the earth and you will bear witness. In this way you will be compelled to grapple with the limitless kindness and bottomless cruelty of humankind – and perhaps realize that you yourself are capable of both. This will change you. Nothing will ever again be black-and-white.” 
 - Mark Jenkins

A well-traveled person with wide experience knows many things and talks sense. You can't know much if you haven't experienced much, but travel can make you more clever. In my own travels I have seen many things and learned more than I can put into words.
- Sirah 34:9-11