|Photo credit to Mytu L|
It is 5 in the morning today. I was awaken by slightest sound from my fellow dorm roommates here in Mad Monkey Hostel. Mytu (25) from Sweden but biologically Vietname is busy preparing for her flight to Bali, Indonesia while Carrie from London (22) is waiting for the bus to take her to Kampot, another province of Cambodia. I feel sad that they are leaving and I couldn't bear to say goodbyes so I just lay down as if I am deeply sleeping under the bedsheet. We have added each other on Facebook already so it is better to say hello to them once they have arrived to their destination than really part ways. We were just having a great time the night before which is just few hours apart. We had a barbecue party together with a girl from Denmark and Australia. I had a glass of Sex on the beach cocktail and one Cambodian craft beer at the rooftop bar inside this hostel.
If I don't have some online tasks to do, I would have joined them to Mad Monkey's Bar Crawl where they go to three different bars and then buy a bracelet where all of the profits go to the many good causes of the hostel it supports. But whenever I drink liquors, I tend to fall sleep very fast so I headed back to our room around 11pm. Anyway before I leave tomorrow early morning, I will see if I can buy the bracelet myself without joining them in the bar so at least I am able to help.
Going back to the rooftop party, I looked around and realized that 90% of the crowd are whites - from Europe, North America and Latin American countries. I am wild guessing, majority of these are in their early twenties to mid thirties. I was really trying hard to see if I can see a fellow Filipino backpacker I can talk in our own language but none.
Carrie shared she just came from India, China, Laos, Thailand and now in Cambodia. She will have another month, I just can't remember what country she is heading next. She said she just finished college and currently doing a gap year of traveling. Mytu who is working in a Swedish bank just came from Singapore, Thailand and heading to Malaysia after Indonesia. She also got a month to travel here in Southeast Asia before she returns to Sweden. Just this afternoon, two men riding in a motorbike grabbed her bag with digicam while walking along the street near the hostel and previously in Thailand she lost her mobile phone. But not a slightest hint of despair I saw from her after this. She remains to be jolly and talks to each of us asking if our food tastes good, where is our destination next and suggesting what drinks do we need to order. She said she has not a lot of money she just know how to strictly budget everything.
The girl from Australia shares she will be going to a total of 12 countries this year, she is just currently on leave for 3 months or so. She just came from the Philippines and other nearby countries then plan to visit Egypt later this year. I asked what does she do for a living, she said she works in a restaurant as a casual employee so she can take an off for months unpaid though. She said she worked 6 days per week to save money for her travel fund. This blew me away, in my country a regular restaurant employee's salary is certainly not enough to pay for around the world trip like this!
All of them have answered quick when we were asked what country is their next stop while me I have to pause for a while because I don't know. The only thing that I am preparing for right now as soon as I get home is pass my resignation letter to a job that I hate then start this online full-time job that I can do anywhere. I have just made up my mind to go back to freelance life again. This time there would be no tour package selling or so but more on travel writing and managing website for travel.
I only know a number of lady Filipino travelers back home - they are mostly travel bloggers, with a good - high paying job or born rich. That is why I feel quite lucky I may not be someone who can travel long-term at for now, I have opportunities like this to travel which makes me happy.
Maybe because our passport is not that powerful compared to these ladies I have met and their currencies have greater value outside their country. One more thing, they are born in the society that they are not obliged to help their kins financially so their hard-earned money is only for themselves. Also in the Philippines, the idea of affordable travelling has just exploded recently with the help of social media and competition of budget airlines.
I do hope one day that more Filipino travelers are able to see the world - one country at a time whether as a college student, office worker or a freelancer. Actually the first reason why I am shifting to online jobs is that to be able to have more time to travel since I won't be confined inside a physical office anymore. Last is that I am doing what I love the most - not because of the money that I will be paid but I am pursuing what my hearts want me to.
I am actually typing this in the restaurant of the Mad Monkey Hostel. The guy from Germany whom I went out with Mytu to explore the city just told me "Goodbye. I hope you return safe from your flight and back home." I see backpackers going back and forth carrying these really huge backpacks. At one point I envy them for being able to have the means to do that but now, I am preparing for the next chapter in my life when I go back home.