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?

Of Dream Chasers, Invisible Crowns, and Yes, Pia Wurtzbach!!!

It has been a great week for the Philippines and yes, we’re still on a high! If you haven’t heard about the news yet, let me be the one to break it to you: the Philippines’ representative to the prestigious beauty pageant Miss Universe, Ms. Pia Wurtzbach, just won the 2015 crown (albeit “with reservations” — if you already know what happened! hehe)!!! But overall, I’m very happy. Call me biased or not (since I’m Filipino), but just based on her final answer alone, #PiaPinas truly deserved to win!!! 😀

"Pia Wurtzbach Miss Universe 2015" by Melvin Villacote - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikipedia [click image]

“Pia Wurtzbach Miss Universe 2015” by Melvin Villacote – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikipedia [click image]

But more than the “destination,” it was Wurtzbach‘s “journey” to the crown that’s truly inspiring. Luckily, I found this viral screenshot from Mr. Dex Galban (I don’t know him personally, but we have common friends) on the Internet, which basically sums up everything. He said:

Pia Wurtzbach joined the Ms. Philippines pageant for 3 consecutive years. Only on her third try did she win the Ms. Philippines-Universe. And now, she’s Ms. Universe.

To everyone who has been repeatedly heartbroken, delayed academically, denied a job, or lost confidence in one’s self, keep fighting the good fight!

You just won’t be back. You’ll be Wurtzbach! 🙂

#MsUniverse #Philippines #PiaPinas

Credit goes to Mr. Dex Galban :)

Credit goes to Mr. Dex Galban 🙂

That made me look back in the year that was (2015) and the years before it (FYI, this is my year-ender post! hahaha!).

Have I been heartbroken before? Yes! Many times! But it’s true that it’s better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all (as Alfred, Lord Tennyson once said). Besides, if it weren’t for those past heartaches, I wouldn’t be where I am NOW: happy, in love, and definitely loved back. ❤

Have I been delayed academically? Errr, not necessarily. I actually graduated college at the age of 18. However, graduating early also has its own CONS. But I can say that I’m already past that, so let’s move on. Harharhar.

Have I been denied a job? A BIG YES! Heck, that’s even the gist of this post and how I came back, rather Wurtzbach-ed, after it!!! 😀

Have I lost confidence in myself? Every. single. day. But I don’t let the feeling linger because I know that there’s more to me than my flaws and imperfections. Which brings me to the next question…

Have I been fighting the good fight? Yes… and no. Of course I’m not perfect (who is, anyway?), so I also have my fair share of pathetic moments when emotions come in to play. The important thing is I KEEP fighting the good fight. It’s a struggle but as long as I know that the people who truly matter and God always got my back, I continue to bounce back from every setback life throws at me — stronger and wiser!

Having said those, this year alone, I’ve been through A LOT. I’ve felt both happiness and sadness. I’ve made tough decisions in my personal and professional life (probably my highlight of the year). I gained new friends (as well as felt distant to some old ones). I learned new things (self-publishing, surfing, cooking, etc.). And the list goes on…

Just take my 2015 highlight — my dream workplace — as an example. Like what I recently posted on my Facebook timeline, I can’t help but relate to Wurtzbach. No, I can’t relate to her sexiness (ahem!) and pageant experience (especially what happened in the end! hehe) — but I can relate to how she never gave up with her “dream.”

How exactly can I relate? In May 2012, I wrote THIS blog post after not landing a job at my dream workplace. Fast forward to today, I can’t help but SMILE. Two weeks ago, I just “celebrated” my sixth month at the said dream workplace! 🙂 Sure, I’ve had a few more “rejections” here and there in the years that followed before making my dream come true, but I sure realized that those rejections were just “redirections.” I needed to experience those for the lessons I learned along the way — which surprisingly prepared me for where I am today. #everythinghappensforareason

And that’s probably one of my takeaways this year and what I’d like to impart to you as we start another new year. If you think that only “famous” people can make their dreams come true, think again! If an ordinary citizen like me proved that it can be done, YOU can too! After all, it’s true that the only time you “fail” is when you give up and stop trying. Kaya basta walang involved na “agawan” at talagang paghihirapan mo, i-push mo lang ‘yang dream/s mo, friend!!!

#TiwalaLang, darating din ‘yan sa #TamangPanahon! 😉

Most importantly, keep dreaming, especially big dreams. As David Cook once said (or sang), “if you don’t dream big, what’s the use of dreaming?” Because it’s true, our “dreams” in life, whatever they may be, fuel us to continue. Combine that with your faith in the Supreme Being and your surrender to His mighty hand, and you’ll be making your dreams come true in no time! Believe it, I’m a witness to this!!!

"Always wear your invisible crown."

“Always wear your invisible crown.”

Of course once you make your (big) dreams come true, don’t get used to always having your chin up, up, up. Stay humble. Learn to touch the skies when your knees hit the ground (#HillsongUnited).

So to all of you reading this, especially to my fellow ladies, always wear your invisible crown — always be classy! (Your laugh is an exception, though, just like me! That’s probably the only unladylike thing about me: my laugh! Just ask my friends! WAHAHAHAHAHA! But hey, that’s one of my “classy” advocacies: learn to always LAUGH your heart out while you still can. Many people don’t have that privilege.)

Anyway, I can feel that I’m already rambling. So before I completely make you lost, I’ll end here and bring you back to DREAMING. No, my other dreams don’t involve titles and crowns (except maybe my dream to see the British Royal Family in the flesh — but who knows what can happen next year?! *hint, hint*). But if there’s one thing the Pia Wurtzbachs (yes, plural!) of the universe and I have in common, it’s that we’re all dream chasers. We know what we want (dream). We work hard to get what we want (act). And we definitely don’t give up, despite challenges and setbacks, until we succeed (persevere/persist). So again, if we did it, YOU can too! Let’s all aim to make more of our dreams come true this coming 2016! Again, claim that you won’t just be back, you’ll be Wurtzbach! #push 🙂

“Disappointments are just God’s way of saying ‘I’ve got something better.’
Be patient, live life, have faith.”

Join me in my 2016 adventures! HAPPY NEW YEAR, Y'ALL!!!

Join me in my 2016 adventures! HAPPY NEW YEAR, Y’ALL!!!

My Ramble to the Universe about Making My Dreams Come True :)

Someday, my dreams will come true.

I know it sounds a little corny, so okay. Someday, OUR dreams will come true. Better? 🙂

Of course I know that in order to do so, 99% definitely has to come from hard work. And as I’m preparing myself for that “battle,” I believe it also doesn’t hurt to somehow let the “universe” know what these dreams are — and that’s where I’m allotting the remaining 1%. After all, generations have claimed that The Secret was part of their successes. Ahem!

So here I am, claiming my life-long “dreams,” using the medium I know best: the written word.

But what exactly are my dreams? Well, there are A LOT! But for now, I’ll be focusing on these two because they’ve been the constant ones on my mind lately: financial independence and business.

Financial independence
Saving up is hard to do. Trust me, that has been a dilemma of mine even before I started working.

I’m a big spender. There, I said it! 😐

But don’t get me wrong. I’m not really the typical shopaholic who “loses” money by buying stuff at expensive stores. You’d be surprised to know that the NUMBER ONE thing that makes me “lose” money is FOOD! (Okay, maybe it’s not that surprising considering the number of pounds I’ve gained for the past several years! HA HA HA). Point is, I spend a lot of money on FOOD and DRINKS (check out the hashtag #MikaChiongEatsAndDrinks on Instagram! #shamelessplug) that it’s not good anymore. Finance- and health-wise.

I know that my love affair with FOOD is forever but lately, I’ve been trying to change some of my ways — beginning with my savings. Again, don’t get me wrong. I have savings. It’s just that I’ve set an amount as my “emergency fund” goal years ago and up to know, I still haven’t reached it on my own. When I say “on my own,” inheritance and whatnot NOT included. So yeah, I still have a long way to go when it comes to my finances.

BUT, I’m thankful that my eyes have been opened to the fact that there’s another way to be financially independent beyond my savings account in the bank: INVESTMENTS.

I’ve been hearing about life insurance, mutual funds, stocks, etc. since time immemorial and the more I learn about them, the more I’m convinced. After I reach my “emergency fund” goal, I won’t put my money in my savings account anymore. Instead, my hard-earned money will all go to investments — life insurance, mutual funds, stocks, property, even travel. In that order. So if you’re one of my friends reading this and I’ve been turning down some social invites lately, I apologize. Know that the aforementioned types of investments are my priority right now. 😉

I’m not YET an expert when it comes to explaining about these types of investments (like I said, I’m still learning!), but if you’re interested to start investing as well, I recommend you contact the following people:

Thz-z “Zay” Pandosen of Sun Life – 0917-3125395

Enzo Toledo of Philam Life – http://phfinancialplanning.com/

As for me, I just hope and pray that all my investments go very well. Are you listening, Universe? 😛

Business
Ah, probably “the most challenging” on my list of dreams. Sigh.

In relation to my dream of being financially independent through my investments is THIS another type of investment: business.

Why “the most challenging” for me?

Well for one, I’m no business graduate which kind of results to this: I’ve no idea how I can start one! (Okay, maybe I’ve an idea but it’s easier said than done. If you know what I mean.)

Also, unlike my other investments, I dream of businesses (yes, plural!) that go beyond profit. Aside from earning, I also want to focus on PASSION and PURPOSE. Meaning, it’s not just me and my money that are at stake. In fact, there’s no “me” anymore. That’s going to be replaced by WE. Pressure much!!!

Anyway, I just try to make myself believe that at least I have the yearning to do so. I’ve pretty much already thought of what my businesses would be (including their names, but I won’t disclose those for now). They are:

-a pastry shop (in honor of my late mother and of course, my love for desserts); and

-a nail spa (in honor of my kikay-ness! haha!)

I don’t want to dwell into details but now that this plan of mine is out in the open, yes, I’m looking for business partners! So if you’re also into my business ideas, drop me a line immediately! No kidding! 😀

As for the Universe, I don’t want to be an employee forever. By that, I don’t mean I have to resign from my day job. Instead, allow me to be a hybrid. Or in the world of “slashies,” something that gives me the right to put “Employee / Business Lady” on my Instagram profile! Mwahahahahaha!

P.S: Just because my “big” businesses are still ideas for now, doesn’t mean I’m not “open for business.” This is another #shamelessplug on my part but if you need help with the written word, know that I do freelance editing/proofreading/writing of articles, academic essays, and whatnot. E-mail me at mikhaelageorgette@gmail.com for details and spread the word! Thaaanks!

And there you have it. Don ‘t hate. Rest assured that if you get to make your dreams come true, I’ll be happy for you too! 🙂

*all together now* Lez do t’is!

Another pursuer of dreams,
Mika