Pondering upon my life since the day I quit my job in September 2016, I’m still amazed how I survived the past five months without a stable income or huge savings. This was probably one of the biggest moves I did in my life–going out of my comfort zone and doing the things I love. But everything comes to an end. Or should I say, every travel comes to an end?
Related Article – The Day I was Torn Between Working and Travelling.
What I feared the most after quitting my job was things wouldn’t happen according to plan. The money would always be an issue. Failing to financially support my family would make me anxious.
My unplanned trips started in September 2016 during my almost-a-month stay in Indonesia. Prior to going home, I knew that my next plan would be to go back to the corporate world. Fortunately, I received another invite to travel to Malaysia, so I extended my stay.
I updated my resume when I came back to Manila in October 2016. I knew I needed a new job after my trip to Zamboanga and Basilan. However, I was invited by the Tourism Promotion Boards of the Philippines to travel to Western Visayas. Who am I to decline? So I paused my work plan and traveled again. The odds were in my favor!
When November was fast approaching, I asked myself what I would do next. What was my other source of income? It was my website, but it wasn’t generating enough money to support my daily needs. Why was it not giving me enough income? I figured it out: I wasn’t focused. So, I rebuilt my website to gain more traffic and earn more income through my Agoda Affiliate. Gladly, it worked.
I had a payout that could support me until the end of the year. Aside from that, I was fortunate to be a Virtual Assistant that gave me extra money to support my living and my family.
Prior to the end of November, my friend asked me if I could manage a hostel in Bangkok for one and a half months because she needed to leave Thailand and the next manager would arrive before February. Therefore, they needed someone to fill the gap. Without any hesitation, I booked my ticket to Thailand. Luckily, I had a return ticket from Hanoi to Manila which I booked 6 months ago. I could use that to come home.
I left the country with only P8,000 in my pocket and the immigration officer didn’t have any idea that I would do a short time job in Thailand. Therefore, I needed to prove to them that I was capable of traveling to Thailand and Vietnam with such a small amount.
I was traveling to two countries for two months. I didn’t have a credit card; I didn’t have a big amount of cash to show, but how did I get that stamp to go out of the country? The answer is simple –I was confident.
I greeted the officer with a big smile while I was handing over my passport. He said, “Travel ticket please.” I gave my round-trip ticket and instantly saw the doubt on his face.
“What’s your job?” he asked.
I said, “I’m a freelance travel blogger.”
“What will you do in Thailand for almost two months?”
“I will travel around Thailand, then cross the border to Vietnam,” I replied.
“How much cash do you have now?”
“I have 8,000 pesos.”
He looked surprised and said, “You are traveling for two months with only 8,000 pesos? Do you have a credit card?”
“Then how can you support your travel?”
I confidently said that I have a Visa debit card containing enough funds to cover my travel expenses. But in reality, the account didn’t have enough since most of my money is in my PayPal account.
“How can you prove that?” the officer continued.
I showed him my card and said, “This is my savings card. You can check the balance if you want.”
Deep inside, though, I was praying they wouldn’t do that because it would surely get me denied.
He was still doubtful when he was checking my passport. A few moments later, he talked to his superior who then asked me the same questions. I had to be consistent with all my answers.
Their last option was to check my previous return flights to Manila. They didn’t see anything suspicious.
“I checked all his flights back to the Philippines; he always goes home on his promised return date,” the officer finally said to his superior.
He came back to me and said, “Are you sure you’re going back on this date?”
I said yes.
After stamping my passport, he said “Go back on this date. You will have a problem next time if you don’t.”
I said “Thank you. I promise to go back.”
I wanted to make sure that I would have enough money until the first quarter of 2017, so I decided to fly to Bangkok and sacrificed my Birthday, Christmas, and New Year celebration in the Philippines.
It turned out to be one of the best decisions I did in my life. I worked as a Hostel Manager and earned enough to support my needs and send money back to the Philippines. I met a lot of people from different parts of the world and heard a lot of inspiring travel stories.
This was actually a dream come true and definitely one of the best days of my life. This is the kind of work that I don’t feel tired of doing every day and for which I’m fine working extra hours or on my rest day. This is the kind of job that gives me a sense of fulfillment. For once in my life, I became passionate about what I was doing.
While everyone welcomed 2017 with a bang, there were no fireworks in Thailand since the country was still mourning the death of their King. I only had a few more weeks in the country and the last few days were sleepless nights.
What would I do when I go back to Manila? Supposedly, I would work with a beach resort in Catanduanes in February, but the province was hardly hit by a typhoon last December and the resort was heavily damaged. In the meantime, they need to temporarily hold my application since they need to undergo renovation.
A week before my arrival in Manila, while walking on the streets of Hanoi, I thought of staying in Vietnam to look for a job. But I wasn’t ready. I only had a few more days to plan everything if I stayed. I was afraid to end up with nothing in Vietnam.
I arrived in Manila having mixed emotions. I was happy to finally come back home and see my friends and family. But at the same time, I wanted to stop the days to count. I wasn’t ready to face the reality that my travel days would end soon.
But nothing lasts forever. Even great travel days come to an end. Yet, it doesn’t mean that I can’t travel long term again.
What matter most are the things that I learned from the past few months of living with uncertainty.
It’s hard to live with no plans, waking up every morning worrying if you still have enough cash to survive today, next week or next month.
Nonetheless, I became a more mature person and saw the world in a different perspective.
I want you to realize that if you want great things to happen in your life, you need to jump out of your normal routine. Maybe, if I kept doing the same stuff over and over, my life would be a boring cycle. You need to be brave and realize that there is no perfect time for jumping off. If the opportunity comes, GRAB it!
Also, things might not always go according to plan, but don’t freak out. Remember, you have the full control of your life. If plan A didn’t work, always ready your plans B to Z.
Lastly, the source of happiness is not limited to material things. It can also come from people that you will meet along the road and memories that you will share together.
How can I still be happy despite the fact that I live my life with uncertainty? I let go of the things that hinder me from living my life to the fullest. I let go of the dictates of the society and I celebrate simple and valuable things I encounter along the road.