If there are a few things I’ve learned from constantly traveling and being in transit, it’s that nothing’s ever permanent. Then again, that’s one of the reasons why I always take pictures, write, draw, and record moments – I feel like this is the best way I could connect with my own experiences and keep it intact in my own memories.
I can’t remember the exact moment I found traveling to be an essential part of my DNA – maybe it was when I first flew to Singapore alone two years ago. Or maybe it was my first backpacking trip to Southeast Asia. Or maybe it was when I took my last train ride in Taipei with music blasting in my ears, silencing out the crowd. I don’t know; I just love it. And ever since, I’ve always craved for another trip to realign my life for a moment.
Here are a few tips for all you travel-loving readers out there – chronicled through the alphabet postcards I created. :)
Step out of your routine to go somewhere else and to get a new perspective. When I travel, I happen to be very choosy with where I want to go – and what I want to do. As much as possible, keeping things in variety makes your travel experience more unique and fun, of course. Go somewhere you haven’t been before; explore more of what’s out there. You’ll be amazed at how big our world is.
Some of the unique countries I’ve visited in Asia are Cambodia and Taipei (especially in Jiufen).
Some trips involve going to the warmest places (like the beach and other tropical locatons) while others entail enduring the cold snowy days all wrapped in layers of coats and thermal wear.
Above: Balesin Island, Quezon | Below: Stockholm, Sweden
One of the best things you can do while traveling is being open – and saying “hello” to new things, new people, and new cultures. Travel is always a learning experience on its own, so maximize that aspect and you’ll get to know more about the places you’ve been visiting.
My favorite “hello” moment was meeting different kinds of people during our Southeast Asia adventure. From a taxi buddy / fellow backpacker in Chiang Mai, a hostel roommate in Ho Chi Minh, a tour guide in Phnom Penh, to a kind vendor at the Central Market, we got to share and connect for a brief period of time. It felt great to not feel so alone – and more than that, know more about other people’s journeys as well.
Moreover, we also attended a cooking class (Baan Thai Cookery; more about it here) and tried out Thai food. It was the best! There’s really nothing like the locals teaching you how it’s done. :) I love cooking and I really believe that one of the best ways to say “hello” to a new place is through their local fare. (Also, I’m biased, I love curry – all kinds.)
Above: went shopping at their wet market – look at all the condiments! | Below: freshest ingredients for cooking
Conquer with Courage
When you’re thrown into circumstances where you kind of have no idea how to escape – the best you could do is conquer it with courage.
I’m a risk-taker when it comes to work. But when it comes to doing non-conventional activities or possible things that may harm / scare me…I chicken out. Well, I used to. Now, I guess, I’ve learned to be more courageous and get with it.
Traveling lets you become brave. I can’t say I can speak in behalf of everyone else; I’m sure others have had more bravery incidents than me. But these are small wins for me; and little obstacles I got to face during some of my trips. *I survived!*
This photo was taken during my elephant ride at Chiang Mai. You could imagine how terrified I was of animals (especially elephants?!?) but this experience proved otherwise. Elephants are some of the kindest creatures I’ve met.
There were also inner fears I had to face while separating myself from family on some trips (I do this a lot because for holiday trips, we usually travel with an agency – huhuhu). I spent the last day of 2015 walking around Stockholm alone, in 0 degree weather. Basically, I had to make sure I find my way back despite the cold weather and my inability to speak Swedish. But overall, let’s just say I breezed through it and assured myself I can probably survive this in my coming trips. :) NGL, I was kinda scared. Asian countries were okay, but Europe is a different story. Haha. (Promise, it’s safe in Stockholm!)
With everything that’s going on in your trip, don’t forget to slow down and appreciate the moment. The busy streets in urban areas, the quiet hours by the sea, wherever you are. Take it all in and embrace it.
Nowness also means: less eyes on your phone and more eyes on what’s in front of you.
(Asakusa, Japan) At one of the streets near Asakusa temple.
(Siem Reap, Cambodia) Books party at New Leaf Book Cafe.
(Laiya, Batangas) Catching up on some reading by the beach
En Route in English is “In Transit”, and that’s exactly why I used it for one of my blog columns – I like to keep busy in transit.
Whether it’s a train journey, a flight, a long bus ride to your next destination – take time to write and jot down a few of your key observations and specific things you remember about your trip. Photos just aren’t enough; personal documenting makes your experiences richer and more fulfilling.
Most of the illustrations I do are actually in transit (not on site). I also like to do bullets of historical facts (usually from where I’ve visited) and random observations about a country’s culture. Keeps things more memorable for me. :)
Fun fact: sometimes flight delays are more productive because I get to write more. Hehe.
Across the Miles
And lastly, wherever you are – don’t forget to send some love back home or leave some love to where you’ve been.
Sending postcards is always a nostalgic way of showing your love to your friends and family (or penpals!).
I sent myself one during the holidays, and a few more to my friends and family using Letters from ABC postcards (but of course!). It was fun exploring the different ways each country had with regards to mail operations!
Went to Posti in Helsinki (it’s like a legit post office with the mailboxes inside) to send out my first batch of postcards. I literally chose every batch of stamps to use because they were all so pretty. Hahaha. The vibe of the post office reminds me of IKEA with the cool branding and all. Design on point!
In Stockholm, I purchased stamps at the souvenir shop and dropped off the postcards at the nearest post box I found (note: they are everywhere – almost every other corner!). The yellow one is for international mail, while the blue one is for domestic mail. So efficient!
I have yet to send mail here in the Philippines but I’ll be sending while I’m in Japan. I’ll keep you posted on how it goes!
Hoping you have the best adventures in the coming weeks, months and years. Let me know about your own travel tips on the comments below. :)
In other news, have you gotten yourself a box of my postcards yet?
Letters from ABC postcards are still available at major bookstores nationwide for P350 a box. It contains 26 artworks with 2 copies each, making it a 52-piece set. Don’t forget to keep one for yourself (make some cool things out of it or hang them on your workspace wall) and give one away (by sending postcards!).
My book, The ABCs of Hand Lettering, is also still available (restocked, yay!) at local bookstores nationwide. Don’t forget to grab a copy in time for summer – and make it an artsy & productive couple of months. :) I’m having a lettering challenge up soon (yas) so wait for it!