Tuesday, July 21, 2015

My Route Around Europe

It's true, 3 months is a lot of time, people assume that I'd be able to go to every country in Europe in 3 months.  I could, but I won't.  I choose to travel slow.  I don't want my trip to become a hop-on-hop-off tour.  I am not just after the photos, I wanna be there and pretend that I live there even just for a few days.

I like it that when I stay long in a place that I get to be familiar with the area, know my way around the streets without staring at my google maps, or know where a good reliable cheap restaurant is.

I remember when I was in Mexico DF and I was staying at this hostel right beside the Cathedral.  I wake up everyday for a week with this view outside my window.

This is why I love staying in hostels, the area is almost always in the dead center, it's cheap, and it has free wifi!  Hostel in the center is a big plus for me, especially if it is right beside an unmissable landmark, I have such bad sense of direction that I'm glad I started traveling after GPS became so common.

I digress, anyway, here is my planned itinerary as of yesterday July 17, 2015 5:02PM.  I change my plans so often, you will not believe.  It changes every time I talk to someone, or read and watched something.

I planned my trip using Excel, first plotting the number of days, then the cities I want to go to with the corresponding number of days, and move it around like a jigsaw puzzle until it makes sense.  

I've plotted my trip to have a visual, and here is what it looks like:

2 days to go!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

My Realistic Packing List

What to pack? The eternal dilemma of what to pack? 

I wrote a post about what I packed during my US and Mexico trip and I have yet to update you about that list.  Well, I brought too much!  According to my list, I brought with me 5 pairs of shoes (rubber shoes, boots, ballet flats, black pumps, slippers); brought 3 too many jackets, forgot to bring a towel, a swimsuit, and I only had  1 short sleeved shirt for sleeping (expecting it would be Autumn everywhere).

Just a few days into my travel in New York, I realized that I wasn't using much of the other stuff that I bought.  So along with my shopping from the outlet, I sent a few pairs of shoes and my jackets back home in a balikbayan box. 

What was wrong with my packing list was, I was packing with only fashionable New York in mind.  I wanted to look good when I walked along Fifth Avenue, or feel like Carrie Bradshaw when I sip a cosmopolitan.  In reality, wind wasn't blowing my hair or skirt while I strut along scaffolding-filled Fifth Avenue.

This time, I have to be true to myself and set a realistic packing list. I won't bring what I won't wear in Manila. I'm a lazy person, the wash-and-wear type.  I wear jeans and tshirt everyday with occasional dresses every other weekends.  I don't put on necklaces because I get stiff necks, nor do I like thinking about what I'm going to wear.  I don't wear a lot of make up, wear high heels for more than 2 hours, nor drink cocktails! I prefer beer.

With this thought in mind, let me present to you my updated *realistic* packing list for Europe:

2 pants (black and blue denim skinny jeans)

2 pairs of shorts (denim, sleeping shorts)
2 pairs of shoes (Roche run, skull slip ons)
1 pair of slippers
2 jackets (UNIQLO Down feather jacket, 1 rain jacket)
1 L/S shirts
2 L/S tshirts

3 S/S tshirts
2 S/L button down blouse
3 dresses (a L/S, S/S, lounging)
2 scarves

1 bandana
1 swimwear
5 pairs of socks
12 miscellaneous underwears
1 Sea to Summit towel

1 iPhone 6 (for roaming and Camera)

1 waterproof case
1 HTC M8 (open line)
1 11000 mAh Power Pack
1 Sony Smartwatch 3
1 numeral padlock for hostels
1 cord lock for lugguage

1 Rayban shades


Nu Skin Enchancer

Benzoyle Peroxide
Ping On (my ever reliable ointment)

Make Up
CC Cream
Face powder
Eyebrow Cream
Blush on
Lip Balm

Toiletries + Make Up
bar of soap
face wash, fem wash
nail cutter & nipper
sun screen for face

Air tickets (printed and e-copies)
Driver’s License
Bank Card
Credit Cards

9 days to go!!!!!!!! OMG... *vomit*

Monday, July 6, 2015

Freedom in Traveling Solo

After I tell people that I am going on my grand European trip, the next question almost always is, "who are you going with?"

People always seem to relate traveling alone to being sad.  Truth to be told, you are actually never alone when you are traveling solo. Being alone makes you more open to talk to people and to new adventures that it’ll take you. Like that time I was in Uxmal, at the top of the pyramid and minding my own business;  I met someone who turned out to be a soldier in the Mexican army. Long story short, I ended up riding the Mexcian army bus back to the city with them! Met their lieutenant, shown around the army camp, and got to see a bomb-sniffing dog show.

Sure, traveling solo sometimes make me think of my family, it makes me wish that they were there with me! I remember feeling like this when I was in New York hoping so bad to call out my sister Girlie’s name or nudge her to show her something. I would have to admit, in moments like those, it sucked a little bit. 

Nonetheless, I guess one of the best things about traveling alone is the freedom. Nobody tells me what to do, where to go, or when to do it! I don’t have to wake up to get to a bus for a tour, I don’t need to go to the Statue of Liberty if I don’t feel like seeing it, I don’t need to wait for anyone else when I’m ready to go, and I can: wait in line for 3 hours for the best pork of my life, drink mojitos at 11 in the morning or eat tacos for 5 consecutive days, if i wanted to.

So much things to do!!!  omg 16 days to go!