Two years ago, I conquered my fear of stepping outside my four-cornered room. A million thanks to my bestfriend, Greg, who started it all by booking a flight to Hong Kong and Macau, my first ever trip abroad. It was fulfilling! From then on, I kept rewarding myself epic trips in and out of my country to quench my thirst for traveling and to see what’s really out there for me.
Being constantly on the go, I realized (I guess most travelers do) that some things about me have changed. I have accepted these changes, but others lift their brows. They think it’s peculiar.
My Tanned Skin
Growing up, I always had fair skin. For most Filipinos, it’s called “maputi or white skin.” In the Philippines where I was born and raised, having white skin makes you stand out. It’s true!
Before I developed my love affair with traveling, I made sure that my beauty regimen contained whitening agents.
It was during a trip in Bali, Indonesia that I started not to care. I was so excited to stroll on the beach that I forgot to put on sunblock lotion. When I went back to my room, I noticed that I had sunburn! I was brown from head to toe!
Then, at the airport, on the day of my flight back to Manila, an American guy approached me and enthusiastically said, “Oh, you have a very beautiful skin color.”
I was surprised to hear that since I didn’t know that foreigners liked brown skin.
I blurted, Oh, no, you’re kidding! When I go back to Manila, my friends would say I’m ugly.”
Then, he laughed.
I wasn’t wrong at all. When I came back to Manila, everyone thought I looked ugly. Even my family aren’t used to my skin color now.
And still, sometimes I would received this kind of compliment or maybe insult ” What happened to you? Why are you so brown? maitim?!
But from then on, I’ve learned to love my brown skin. It’s something that I will always be proud of and I will never feel insecure about it. A friend once told me, “You’re a living proof that not all those who had white complexion before are ugly. You’re beautiful!”
I may no longer have white complexion, which has become a Filipino standard, but it doesn’t really matter. It’s a proof that we, girls, love to travel! Having this tanned skin is something we should be proud of! Who cares?!
I’m not sure, though, if I should take it as a compliment or insult whenever they notice my skin color. Somehow, admiring you solely for your skin color is relatively “cheap,” but instead of taking it as an insult, take it as compliment. We’re beautiful.
Disclaimer: I don’t have anything against white skin. I believe every woman is beautiful regardless of skin color. Love it. Embrace it.
Criticisms that I don’t Give a Fuck
One of the things I noticed about travelers is that, they mind their own business. Some of them mingle with other travelers, but they don’t necessarily meddle with their business. Later on, I learned to apply it to myself.
Here’s an example.
On my way home from a 3-week trip to the Southern Philippines, I had to take the MRT since cabs were scarce. It was only a station away to my destination.
When I boarded the train, I felt that all eyes were on me. A moment later, a woman said, “Miss, nakikkita ko ‘yang p’wet mo (Miss, your butt is sticking out).”
I was wearing shorts underneath my dress and was carrying a 7-kilogram backpack. I smiled at the woman as I lifted my shorts. It drove her nuts. Then, I said, “Is this fine with you now?”
She and her friend murmured to each other, but I didn’t listen to what they were saying. I just shrugged them off.
The same scenario happened when I was having coffee with my friend at Starbucks. At that moment, I didn’t give a fuck about what people would say. They love to criticize others without looking into their own mess. Remember the golden rule: What other people think of you is none of your business. People are gossipers. Don’t give a fucking fuck and tell them to fuck off.
Having a Foreigner Admirer/Ex-boyfriend/Friends
Changing friends? Not really. But being in a new place and environment, you will meet interesting and different people. I began making tons of friends, especially foreigners, when I started to travel. Sometimes, they visit Manila and other parts of the Philippines and I hang out with them.
When people see me with a foreign guy, they study me from head to toe as though I were a slut. I already knew what’s boiling in their judgmental mind and I just laugh at their ignorance.
Nothing’s wrong with making friends with foreigners. Nobody should stop anyone from doing that. In fact, it’s more fun to be surrounded by people coming from different Nationalities. Choose your own friends.
And who wouldn’t love to have an admirer who looks like Thor, or Adam Levine? Ahh, blue or green eyes (wink!). It’s also a big factor when some foreigners admire you, because you have the same passion as they do—traveling. I’ve absorbed the reality that my world will never be the same again, as new set of friends surround me.
Never ran out of stories (especially about travel)
I’m naturally talkative (madaldal). And sometimes, I must admit, I don’t make sense at all. But when it comes to travel stories, you can never go wrong with me. I love sharing stories, but my being madaldal became more intense when I developed a love affair with traveling. For people who are not open-minded, you are boastful. What they don’t get is that you’re sharing stories because you want to encourage them to go out and discover the world. Sharing is caring, right?
My Addiction to the Beach and the Island Look
In some remote part of my brain, I’m a beach bum. No doubt.
Living in an archipelago for 28 years added to my affection for the beach, resulting in this island look. Believe me, I’ve been rarely combing my hair since last year (haha). I won’t comb my hair unless, of course, I try to look good for important meetings, gatherings or meet ups with friends, or for special occasions.
Don’t judge me, it’s okay not to comb my hair. I use a hair dryer and my fingers to make it look natural. And my mind is always bloating with many random trips. I was told, “Alis ka ng alis. Para ka nang si Dora! Beach ka nang beach, ang itim itim mo na!” I almost died laughing. Also, the Philippines is made up of 7,107 islands. So, everywhere you go, you can literally hit any of them! Especially for a city girl like me, how can I not crave for blue water that’s always calling my name? Tell me and try to explain to me (haha!).
The Feeling of Overstaying at the comfort of your home
My traveler friends and I always share the same sentiment. You know when you’ve been constantly on the road and you’re stuck in your flat, you feel like you’re overstaying and your routine is getting monotonous. You wanted to book that flight or buy that bus ticket right away!
I had this superficial feeling one time I was teaching online. That moment, I thought, “Ah, I wanna hit the beach!” and “Which place should I go to next week?!”
I learned to embrace the fact that I cannot stay and be stuck at one place and situation forever. When I was in high school, all I wanted to do was go to college, find a handsome boyfriend with a car to pick me up from school, and after graduation, all I wanted was to find a good stable job that would pay monthly.
But traveling has taught me that regardless of the job you have, for as long as you’re happy doing it, it motivates you and makes you look forward to it, then it’s an honor of deal. It’s okay not to have my own house for now. Anywhere can be my home. Some people think that having a nice house, a good loving husband and a nice care is the definition of a good life. No. It’s not all about that. I’m aware that people have different priorities. Say for example, whenever my non traveler friends always ask me where I am, I’d say, “Oh, I’m in Siargao.” Sometimes, it still surprises them. They, perhaps, can’t grasp the idea of travelers’ unexplainable thirst and hunger for a new environment and adventure (don’t get me wrong, I’m speaking from my single life side).
The Way I dress and My Bikinis (and Photos)
When I was in college, I was too shy to wear a skirt whenever we had a presentation in the class. I almost cried whenever we were required to wear formal attire.
I’m not sure how travelling got me wearing bikinis and where I got the courage to do so. But since I was raised in the province, some of our neighbors who see my photos on Facebook constantly report to my mom. Say for instance, when I was wearing a bikini on a beach in Boracay, and came back home to see my mom, my mom just blurted out, “ Xx saw you’re wearing a sexy bikini on the beach!“ And I just laughed. Not only that, some friends from elementary and high school would suddenly send me a message, applauding me for a sexy photoshoot while some commented, “Too daring!”
I respect old beliefs. There are some old fashioned people who can’t accept the trends and the changes in the society. But change is inevitable.
Becoming more Optimistic
Not all things are nice when traveling. Some unpleasant things can. Sometimes, I must admit, I’m too optimistic. It’s alright. But when things go wrong, I still remain positive no matter what that others think. Some say I’m being too positive and not realistic. I believe that filling yourself with positivity would never let you down. Of course, I must be realistic, I believe that everything will always work out in the end. Don’t let negativity win.
And the sweetest of them all, Me, Myself and I
I became more self-aware when I started working and lived on my own. When I worked in the corporate world, I was more conscious and insecure about my body and appearance. I also bought a lot of scar erase to get rid of the little scars on my knees. I also wanted to have fairer wand whiter skin to look attractive and a little bit be competitive to the girls I was working with.
But all of those insecurities went away. When you learn to love yourself and embrace every bit of it, you’ll feel good and look good, no matter what other people say. Just be confident and loving. Mighty thanks to traveling!
I fully embraced all the changes that happened with the body of a goddess that I have.
On a sweet note, after much reflection, I think nothing’s wrong about me. (I’m not mental, although sometimes I think I am. HAHA!) I can’t please everyone. We have different interests. Nobody needs to stoop dwn to anyone’s level. Nobody needs to adjust to anyone. My scars, scratches, burns, and tanned skin are souvenirs from my greatest adventures.
Be yourself. Be carefree. Be crazy. Wear bikinis, hit the beach and you’re good to go! Keep those travels coming and embrace the changes. Then, love yourself even more!
What about you? What changes have happened to you when you developed your love affair with traveling? Did you like it? Love it? Did you in a way relate to mine? I would love to hear your thoughts! Please feel free to comment below! I am waiting for you! Let’s talk! Thanks for reading! If you liked it, please share it! My heart will jump in joy if you do so! You’re awesome!♡