What Traveling Taught Me about Life and Love

Last week, I celebrated my 28th birthday. To be honest, I actually didn’t expect to be “surprised” on that day. But it happened, and I ended that day with a REALLY BIG SMILE ON MY FACE! Haha! 😀 And then just yesterday, I came across a meme on social media depicting two aisles: a church aisle (for a wedding) and an airplane aisle (for traveling). The former described people who transitioned from being single to getting married, while the latter talked about singles who, although haven’t walked on a church aisle yet, at least have walked on countless airplane aisles and embodied their wanderlust — and that’s where I belong to as of this writing! Hahaha! And you know what? Nothing wrong with that. After all, I’m so much better off this way, enjoying my single and waiting season, than rushing and being miserable because of marrying the wrong person out of societal pressure! Whew! And one of the best parts of being 28 and single? I realized that if there was one thing I love about this single season of my life, it would be my ability to reach my travel goals easier and faster.

That, and these other lessons I got along the way:

  • I am but a small speck of dust in this big, wide world.

I was literally small, as in five years old, when I first stepped foot on a plane and traveled outside the Philippines with my family. But even if that was more than 23 years ago, each boarding time makes me feel “small” — but in a good way. Traveling taught me that there are many places to go to aside from my beloved Manila, and even more cultures and people to discover and get to know outside the Philippines! Sometimes, it even makes me think that my “problems” aren’t even “problems” compared to what other people are going through in other parts of the planet. It’s a very big world out there, indeed. But what I like about it is that each “wander” is always accompanied by “wonder.” Even the earth itself is just a small speck of dust in the vast universe! *mind blown*

  • My past does not define my future.

I’ll be honest with you. Before, I didn’t dream of going to Japan and Germany at all. Why? For a very obvious, but also judgmental reason: their involvement in World War II! And being the history buff that I am (I even went to graduate school to study it! Haha!), I had prejudice against the two aforementioned countries for as long as I could remember! But God really has different ways of teaching us lessons — humility included — in this life. Guess what? This year alone, I went to both countries in two consecutive months: Japan in June and Germany in July. And guess what again? I LOVED THEM BOTH!!! In all my travels, I find the Japanese people as the kindest I’ve ever encountered, and the Germans as the most good-looking and sophisticated (but more on that later! Wahahahaha!). Seriously though, I felt ashamed for judging them before. Sure, their past may not have been peppered with sugar, spice, and everything nice, but that’s exactly it — it’s ALL IN THE PAST! Present Japan and Germany are two of the cleanest and most advanced places I’ve been blessed to go to, and I wouldn’t think twice about visiting them again!

And just like them, I know that my past does not define my future. This truth also applies to you!

  • There are “many fish” in the sea! Heehee!

As mentioned, I almost didn’t want to leave Munich, Germany because of all the good-looking, not to mention Roman Catholic, men at every corner! Haha! I don’t know about you, but after my last failed long-term relationship, I’ve seriously thought of my non-negotiables, and I won’t budge this time around. And my number one non-negotiable? MY FAITH. It’s not enough that he’s part of the Roman Catholic Church, he should be a practicing Catholic and someone who has a personal relationship with Jesus. In short, someone who can journey with me in my same walk of faith and help me reach sainthood in heaven at the end of it all (and vice versa). As a person living in a predominantly Catholic country, it’s sad that finding someone like that may not be impossible, but is definitely hard. I still prefer a fellow Filipino (and I think I already “met” him! Mwahahahahaha!). But traveling taught me to keep my “options” open — especially when in Europe! 😛

Seriously, though, traveling taught me that there are many people from different races and all walks of life I can be friends with and learn from. I’ll be marrying only one person, so my non-negotiable/s will apply to only him. But friendships? I can form as many as I want, with people from all over the globe!

  • God is present everywhere.

I once read this quote and instantly loved its message:

“Some people think it takes mindless faith to believe in God, but it actually takes blind and reckless faith to look at this beautiful world and amazing universe and believe there is no ‘God.'”

I loved it because it’s so self-explanatory with regards to what traveling taught me about God. Again, wandering opened my eyes to the many “wonders” of this world — which in return has made me more in awe of our Creator. ‘Nuff said. 🙂

  • Home, really, is still where my heart is.

I once shared on my social media accounts that whenever I’m asked about what my most favorite city is, my answer’s always Manila. Maybe I’m biased. Maybe I’m playing it safe. I’ve been a Manila girl all my life. But I’ve been to London, I’ve been to Sydney, I’ve been to other cities, but that song always rings true to me, “I keep coming back to Manila.” Why? Because it’s my city, it’s my home. I know its history and victories. It’s the first place where God entrusted me with to be a steward of His creation. As our national hero, Jose Rizalonce put it, “Ang hindi marunong lumingon sa pinanggalingan ay hindi makakarating sa paroroonan.” And isn’t that what we’re called for? To learn to appreciate all the things God blessed and entrusted us with, and to always love and look back where we all came from. And hopefully, inspire others, especially my fellow Filipinos, to do the same.

Yes. Traveling made me appreciate my hometown more. That whenever I leave it, there’s always a sense of joy and peace in me when I think that there’s still this place called Manila, Philippines that I can always go back home to… back to my friends, back to my family. ❤

  • Life is finite, so make the most out of it!

Death and loss are two things that can either make or break us in this life. I already lost both of my parents to cancer when I was still in my teenage years, so I can say that I know how it feels to experience heartbreak from a very tragic loss such as death. But more than that, and because of that, I’ve become so much stronger. So strong, that other heartbreaks (especially romantic ones!), are like drops in a bucket when compared to my heartbreak of losing my parents at an early age. And what has traveling taught me about this, you think? Well, simple. I know my parents would’ve loved to see all the places I’ve been seeing now, but since they weren’t able to do so anymore, I guess I can do it on behalf of them. I know that traveling enables me to make the most out of my life, one country at a time! As of this writing, I’ve been to 19 countries already… there are so many more to visit and see! 🙂

  • At the end of it all, it’ll be all about how we all LOVED.

With all the wars going around the world, even in my own country, it makes me question, “WHAT HAPPENED TO LOVE?” 😦 And no, I’m not just talking about romantic love here. Something more like Mother Teresa‘s kind of love. They say, “all’s fair in love and war.” Perhaps that’s true. But traveling has made me more aware about world issues and because of it, has inspired me to focus and show more love to my fellow world citizens, regardless of nationality, race, and even religion. Why wage war if we can promote love instead?

Those are just some of the things I learned, thanks to wandering!

A few years ago, traveling — especially traveling to my dream continent (Europe) — was just a dream. Now, it’s as real as it can be! I’ll even go back next year — third year in a row! That alone has taught me that if I surrender my dreams to God, combined with obedience and prayer, truly, nothing is impossible with Him! So here I am, surrendering my other dreams to Him and enjoying the current season He has put me in. Who knows? A few years, maybe even months (months talaga?! HA HA HA), from now, I’ll be writing about a new season in my life! But until then, at least I’ll always have my life lessons with me — some of which I definitely learned while I was traveling.

And when I finally walk on that church aisle toward my future husband, I can also proudly say that I walked on countless airplane aisles before that… and of course, after! So why choose one if I can walk both on an airplane aisle AND a church aisle? #BestOfBothWorlds 🙂


How about you? What has traveling taught you?

2016: The Year of Wonder, Wander, and Faith

2016. WANDERing in Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom

2016. WANDERing in Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom

Ever since I started posting year-ender entries on this blog, I’ve always been amazed on how each post serves as a reminder of how blessed, at the same time, how humbled I was for the year that was ending, as well as on how each post serves as a “guide” for the year that’s about to start. Each year-ender post has its own unique “highlight” which I try to reflect on (“try” being the operative word! haha!) before hitting the “publish” button.

And this year, it’s WWFWonder. Wander. Faith. (not World Wildlife Fund, although I totally support that too!) 😉

WONDER

If there was a year that made each person on this planet scratch their head in wonder or because of WTF moments, it’d probably be 2016! Just take the “current events.” From the never-ending wars and struggles in some countries to the results of local and international elections, to Brexit, to a controversial burial, etc. — it seemed like everyone WONDERed (at least those that I know!) what the eff was happening to the world!!!

But you know, even if I don’t agree with some of the things happening now, I still believe that everything happens for a reason — just continue to pray and keep the faith that it’ll always be for a good reason and for the greater good! “Bad” or for personal interests just won’t cut it! But yes, it has truly been one big “WONDER” for all of us this year!

WANDER

As I’ve mentioned in a social media post earlier this month, 2016 was my second “travel year” — the time when I travel as much as I can using my own hard-earned money and making the most out of my work leaves and holidays. The last time this happened was in 2012 (four years ago!) when I found myself traveling to Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei in January; Bohol and Cebu in April; Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam and Siem Reap, Cambodia in May; and Hong Kong (for the nth time!) in June.

my 2012 "travel year"

my 2012 “travel year”

This year, it was extra special because I was finally able to achieve one of my lifelong dreams: travel to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (in short, the UK!) ❤ For those who are close to me, they know that I’m such an Anglophile (and British Royal Family fanatic!) and going to the three “lands” (England, Scotland, and Ireland) was really one big dream come true for me!

Wander Mika's second "travel year"

Wander Mika’s second “travel year”

But aside from that, I also went to other places I haven’t been to before (and two places I’ve been to before — can you guess which?! haha)

Anyway, it seems like my “travel year” happens every four years! So if I follow through with that pattern, my next “travel year” will be in 2020!? It’s highly likely! Like I said, one of my “secrets” on how I can go on travel sprees is pacing — which you can read all about HERE.

But you know, even if my travel years happen rarely just like the Olympics, I make it a point to travel at least ONCE A YEAR during my non-travel years. So yes, I will still travel in 2017, but not as frequent as I did in 2016! Wahahahaha!

Aside from the literal travels, though, the “wander” part of this entry also involves other things that unleashed my inner “Wander Mika” — my yearning to pursue my “impossible-turned-possible” dreams without really knowing what the future holds, but guaranteed with lessons to be learned! Hehe! This year, I also “wandered” in…

  • Starting a business

In July, I attended a basic jewelry making workshop without really knowing that it will lead to what it is today: Metallic Gems & Crafts by MGC — MGC being me! But connecting the dots backwards, it’s not that surprising because I’ve always loved all kinds of jewelry, fancy and real, and I realized that I just needed the right push to finally make it a passion project/business. So that “own a business” item on my bucket list? Consider it check! check!! check!!!

handmade, handstamped, and custom-made metal accessories by moi!

handmade, handstamped, and custom-made metal accessories by moi!

  • Registering a new domain name

In the first half of this year, I’ve rebranded my blog from The Lady Is In to Wordy and Worthy (WAW). I came up with the WAW theme more than a year ago actually, and I’m just really glad that I finally had the guts to “publicize” it, even name my blog after it. Why Wordy and Worthy? The answer is HERE! Hehe!

In fact, a few months after I decided to rebrand this blog, I got a prompt that it was my 7th blog anniversary on this site. And to commemorate that, I also officially registered the domain name WordyAndWorthy.blog (yes, dot blog — which WordPress proudly started!). So whether you type that or my main domain name, MikhaelaGeorgette.com, either way, you’ll still end up HERE on my little happy place on this big, big worldwide web! I do this whole blogging thing mostly for myself and no one else (so yes, even if nobody reads it, I’ll still continue to do it), so despite that, I want to thank you for still taking the time to read (hopefully you get something meaningful in whatever post you end up reading, btw! haha)!!! 😀

7th Blog Anniversary last December 9, 2016

7th Blog Anniversary last December 9, 2016

FAITH

And of course, the highlight of my year: my renewed self and relationship with the Lord!

Most people would probably think that my travels this year are the most memorable in my 2016 “life” book. But to be honest, you’d be surprised to know that my travels take only second place. The first place goes to the silent retreat I attended at the start of December. 🙂

In the last few months of 2016, I “struggled” with my faith. No, I didn’t become an unbeliever. After all, I know that I believed, believe, and will always believe in God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The struggle I encountered was more of not being satisfied with my then “walk of faith” that instead of working harder to find my “answers,” I chose to become complacent instead. I knew that I still had the belief, but I thought that was enough. I started missing Sunday masses, almost became tired of praying, blah, blah, blah. In short, I had a lot of “excuses” — deep inside, I knew I could do more, but the enemy really was trying to make me believe that my then state was okay. My soul, as per one of the novena intentions in the Divine Mercy Chaplet prayer, had “become lukewarm and indifferent.” It could also be called sloth or something else, but the bottomline is, there was a struggle, and it sure as hell was very real!

But you know what, God really works in mysterious ways. Sometimes, things happen in our life — good things and unfortunately, bad things — as God’s way of waking us up from our ungodly way of life. This meme here from the Internet pretty much sums up what I realized:

5/7, I think.

5/7, I think.

To make the long story short, after that beginner’s silent retreat (which lasted for one entire weekend), I came out renewed and refreshed. That’s what you call soul searching! The real kind! Not traveling!

Of course I’m still human, there are still struggles in bettering my ungodly way of life, and changes for the better don’t happen overnight. But the important thing is, I’m more discerning now than before. For example, if someone has wronged me, my initial reaction before was to blow up in anger (either obvious or hidden), think of revenge, and pretty much anything that’s opposite of being Jesus-like. Now, when someone has wronged me, I still feel anger (again, it’s a human thing!), but I already take a step back, think that if I stayed angry, the only person who would be dragged down by that anger would be me and not the one I’m angry at, PRAY, and then I would slowly start to relax and release the anger — even forgive, not just the one who wronged me, but also myself.

I’ve also started reading the Bible again (which is why my social media contacts can now often read Bible passages/quotes on my feed/timeline!). In my current walk of faith, I still chose to belong to the Roman Catholic Church and supplement it with the guidance of the Light of Jesus family (e.g., Brother Bo Sanchez‘s ministries, The Feast, etc.). This is my personal choice, and each person has his/her own walk of faith, but in Catholicism/Christianity, reading God’s Word is really a must!

And again, God has reminded me that He really just “woke me up” this latter part of the year because when I saw a photo of me from seven years back (see below), I realized that reading the Bible has always been a “me” thing. I just really kind of lost my way.

Featured in Candy Magazine, July 2009 issue

Featured in Candy Magazine, July 2009 issue

So yeah, I guess now, you can say that I was a lost daughter that has been found — AGAIN. It’s easier said than done and the whole thing’s a process, but yes, I realized that it’s not impossible to feel inner peace despite all the outer chaos happening in my life. It’s really just all thanks to Him!

And there you go. 2016 has been a year of wonder, wander, and faith FOR ME. Life goes on this coming 2017. I’m grateful for all the lessons I learned, learn, and will learn along the way! As I mentioned in another social media post, in this journey called life, my own definition of “wandering” is living without knowing the future. This kind of wandering is continuous. And that’s where FAITH comes in. Luckily, in this wandering of mine, I always have the best travel buddy: God.

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance." -James‬ ‭1‬:‭2-3‬

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” -James‬ ‭1‬:‭2-3‬

So yes, in all that I’ve been through this 2016 and all that I’ll go through this 2017, to God be the power, kingdom, and glory!!!

2016, signing off…

short hair_wacky

HAPPY NEW YEAR, friends!

Let’s all start 2017 with peace, joy, and of course, looove! ❤

The Blissmakerie 2016: Beautiful Businesses

Collaboration, inspiration, new friends, and more. That’s the Blissmakerie.

Blissmakerie

What’s the Blissmakerie? In the words of its founder, Martine de Luna of makeitblissful.com, it “is a gathering of creative, bliss-making women — bloggers, small business owners and creative entrepreneurs — who believe in authentic community and collaboration.”

the inspiring Martine de Luna of makeitblissful.com

the inspiring Martine de Luna of makeitblissful.com

I first discovered it in 2014 through my most favorite blogger Patty Laurel (I’ve read and continues to read every. single. blog. entry. she posted since 2010 and counting!) when she wrote about the very first Blissmakerie. Back then, it was exclusive to people invited by Martine herself. Fast forward this year, several Blissmakeries have already been open to the public for a fee. So when I found out about this year’s event, I didn’t think twice about attending! I immediately signed up. Haha.

This was my second time to attend a Martine-hosted event (the first was Blog : Inspired back in 2014), and the theme of the Blissmakerie I’ve attended last month (there’s a different theme per event) was “Beautiful Businesses.” It was held at a very Instagram-worthy location: La Creperie in Salcedo, Makati. 🙂

Blissmakerie

Blissmakerie

Blissmakerie

From the moment I read what it was all about, I knew that I wanted it. Although I’m very much happy and satisfied with my current day job (at my dream workplace nonetheless! hehe!), I’ve always dreamed of owning businesses, too. I already have several ideas on my mind about what businesses I’d like to have in the future, and attending the Blissmakerie encouraged me more to pursue ’em — just like the special guests.

The special guests — Maricel Mendoza of A Sweet Cottage and Maggie Leather Crafts, sisters Steph and Lady Badoy of Boqueria Lifestyle Market (they styled the actual event!), and Kim Tiam Lee of Pulseras by Kim (who’s my instant newfound friend! Hi Kim!!!) — all have businesses that started as hobbies/passions.

Maricel of "A Sweet Cottage" and "Maggie Leather Crafts"

Maricel of “A Sweet Cottage” and “Maggie Leather Crafts”

Steph and Lady of "Boqueria Lifestyle Market"

Steph and Lady of “Boqueria Lifestyle Market”

Kim of "Pulseras by Kim"

Kim of “Pulseras by Kim”

It’s empowering, at the same time heartwarming, to know that more and more women have the chance to pursue their passions, turn these passions into businesses, collaborate, and then repeat!

As a millennial myself, meeting Kim was extra special because I could relate to her more, and she really inspired me. She’s a full-time architect and a jewelry maker both at the same time! I’ve always believed that quitting one’s day job (especially if you love it, as is my case) isn’t necessary to pursue other passions — including running a business. It’s always a choice (and mad time management skills, of course!). So Kim, marami pa talaga tayong pag-uusapan! Hahaha!

millennial blissmakers represent! (L-R: Kim, yours truly, Tiffy - thanks for this photo!, and RJ with her baby)

millennial blissmakers represent! (L-R: Kim, yours truly, Tiffy – thanks for this photo!, and RJ with her baby)

Anyway, another thing I love about the Blissmakerie is the Blissful Box! 😉

my Blissful Box...

my Blissful Box…

Every Blissmakerie ain’t complete without it. For each event, Martine and her team collate different brands (some are collaborators), which they think the attendees will love! They were right! I love each item in my own box!!!

...and its contents!

…and its contents!

(For the complete list of brands, click HERE.)

The Blissmakerie 2016 attendees (photo courtesy of Maricel Mendoza)

The Blissmakerie 2016 attendees (photo courtesy of Maricel Mendoza)

goal: to be a blissmaker in my own little way <3

goal: to be a blissmaker in my own little way ❤

And that’s pretty much it! As always, I hope you can also attend a Blissmakerie (or any Martine-hosted event for that matter!). I promise, they’re always pretty, inspiring, and of course, BLISSFUL!!! 😀