“You are at once both the quiet and the confusion of my heart.”
-- Franz Kafka ( Czech author)
What do you do when your travel dreams come true?
I've recently ticked several items off my bucket list. Then I find myself asking one question.
So, do I keep adding new items on my list as I tick an item off? Or do I simply stop dreaming of far away places?
As a nomad for years now, I realized that wanderlust is the same as an obsession for someone you can't stop thinking about... Someone you feel would fill your emptiness and complete you. Someone with an indescribable aura making this person seem so perfect yet intangible, mysterious and beyond your reach.
Wanderlust gives me the peace and serenity my sould craves for. But it also gives me this constant and intense longing for the unknown.
I was once told to stop moving around so I could eventually settle and live like most women do. I never liked the idea.
So come and join me as I simply give in to wanderlust...Please stay with me in my journey as I set new travel adventures and declare these dreams to the Universe.
And lastly, allow me to inspire you to dream bigger dreams and to never stop vagabonding!
Let's start off with the places where I've been dreaming to live..
I love to backpack and visit new places. But I have fallen madly in love with living in different countries and calling each place home, even for just a while. I love the feeling of relocating to a new place not knowing a single soul. Then leaving it having found lifetime friends and travel buddies I look forward to meeting in other corners of the world.
There are certain countries that I'm drawn to for specific reasons and I just can't wait..
Do click on the links to transport you to these destinations.
#1. Copenhagen, Denmark
Denmark wouldn't be one of the top liveable countries in the world for nothing.
I lived in Europe for a while but never got to explore Scandinavia. And if I am going back to that side of the world, it's in Copenhagen where I want to live next.
The city of Copenhagen is truly blossoming and becoming more confident in flaunting its charms. I discovered Copenhagen because of NOMA, the world's best restaurant for 3 years now. Food lovers are dying to eat there. But I am dying to do a short training and meet the brilliant Chef Rene Redzepi.
This once quiet city with charming canals and cobbled squares has opened itself to the world. Thanks to the most imaginative and innovative chefs this country has produced.
Good reasons to live in this place, huh?
I was planning to trek in Nepal before I went to study in London. When I was in London, I signed up for a volunteer conservation work in Nepal. But the royal killings during that time forced me to cancel my reservations. Today, I do not only dream of exploring the country but I would like to live there for at least six months.
One Nepali friend discouraged me to stay in Kathmandu because of the traffic and the swarm of tourists especially the mountain climbers. But I still want to be based there. I would like to explore this chaotic city.
Trekking in the Annapurna Circuit, Nepal's most famous trekking trail, has always been a goal too. I try to be fit so I can eventually do it when I'm finally living there. I may not be able climb Mount Everest but I would love to wake up to the sight of the Himalayas every single morning.
Is that too much too ask for?
Despite being told that Brazil is one of the most dangerous countries in the world, it has always been on top of my list. Besides, I come from the Philippines where many misinformed people think is an unsafe country. I know what media can do and I'm not letting it impede my travel dreams.
Ah, the idea of living in this country..learning Portuguese, participating in the Carnival, exploring the Amazon jungle, enjoying the sensual music and simply giving in to the rhythm of Brazilian life.
And of course enjoy Brazilian cuisine which is now getting more attention.Thanks to Chef Alex Atala . And maybe I could even get a short cooking stint at his restaurant D.O.M., one of the world's best restaurant.
Lastly, Brazil will be my base when I do my epic Latin America backpacking trip.
Doesn't living in Brazil sound so happy and exciting?
I'm not a big fan of Africa yet and there are only a few places in this continent that excite me. Kenya is one of them.
My ultimate African dream apart from the Safari is to experience and document some of the world's great migrations: the relatively long-distance seasonal movement of animal groups.
This movement is caused by changes in local climate, availability of food, season of the year or for mating reasons. My favorite is the migration of the wildebeests for seasonal grazing. The sight of them in one big group crossing the river full of crocodiles always keeps my eyes wide open.
This amazing phenomenon I would always read about and watch on Animal Channel and National Geographic never ceases to amaze me. Witnessing it up close and personal would be a fulfillment of an adventure traveller's dream.
Wouldn't that be great?
#5. Ha Noi, Vietnam
I've always been mistaken for a Vietnamese. People only realize I'm not, the moment I start talking. So I thought why not try living in Vietnam and learn to speak Vietnamese (and brush up on my French too!) How does that sound?
I've always been fascinated with learning a new language or dialect. I grew up learning two languages and two dialects all at the same time. Then I started to relocate for the primary reason of learning new ones. So I did. Twice! I wanna go through that challenge again when I live in Hanoi. But I also have other reasons.
Vietnamese food may not be one of my favorite cuisines in the world but as a chef I would like to push myself and never really stop learning. I know the building blocks of this cuisine and I find it easy to execute so I just need a little exposure. Based on my research, Hanoi is the perfect place to do it although I'd love to stay in Saigon too for a bit.
I also fell in love with the street food culture since I lived in Bangkok and must admit I am now a street food addict. Another goal is to simply document through my photos and videos the street food culture in different countries. Then share the stories behind the recipes and people who cook these food.
I know it will be one of my challenging adventures but I'm really up for it. I can't really wait.
So, are you with me?
And now, the places I want to explore..
#6. The Republic of Georgia
Two fellow nomads I met in Bangkok introduced me to Georgia. They explored the place and are even planning on moving there and set up a small business.
Georgia has been described as an age-old Eurasian crossroad. It has a rather complicated history with influences from Turkey, Russia, Iran and Central Asia. It has a wonderful cultural and architectural heritage.
Georgia has very recently started to develop its tourism and making it accessible to most travellers. It is known for its natural beauty, the hospitality of the locals and some of the best local wines!
Sounds like a great new destination with very few travellers to have discovered it, yeah?
Morocco always seemed very exotic to me. I've seen a lot of movies set in this country. Its landscape as well as culture would always blow me away.
First stop for me would be the famous Jemaa el Fna market in Marrakesh, the biggest night market in the world with all its exotic offerings. And I look forward to photographing the infamous snake charmers, water vendors and other street performers.
Next stop would be the majestic mountains and desert dunes. To camp in the desert and enjoy the night sky in the middle of nowhere would be one of the greatest adventures I would truly enjoy.
Then I would get lost in Morocco's souqs (markets) and medinas (old quarter). Then be overwhelmed by the aroma of spices and the beauty of its architecture. Then I'll slow down a bit for a traditional Moroccan mint tea before proceeding to have tajine, their traditonal dish cooked in an earthenware of the same name.
Ah, what could be more exotic than this?
Have you ever heard of Gross National Happiness? I learned that the kingdom of Bhutan prioritizes this over Gross National Product.
Several years ago, I realized I love relocating to happy places. Although I know I have more opportunities working and settling in the First World countries, it's not what I really like.
Bhutan's sheer isolation makes it a very enchanting place. I would love to discover the magic and mystery this country is known for.I dream of spending a lot of time communing with nature, spending quiet time in the temples and chatting with the happy locals.
I've been living in really busy and big cities that I would love to live for a while in a place that simply exudes calm and serenity as Bhutan does. I look forward to deeply immersing myself in Buddhism which at some point in my life I really dreamt of.
Would you like to come with me to the country up in the clouds?
The food alone is enough reason for me to go. I can spend all day in the markets and in the streets devouring this country's orgasmic food.
Just like my country, Mexico's people are warm, generous and family-oriented. They also love to sing, dance and celebrate festivals. Having all the gorgeous beaches wouldn't hurt either.
I learned to speak Spanish at university but never had the chance to truly use it. Staying in Mexico for a while and backpacking through Spanish-speaking countries in Latin America would help me brush up on my rusty Spanish. I know this would help me a lot to appreciate the culture and history I soak myself in.
Finally, I have a lot amazing Mexican friends waiting for me to visit. My bonitas and bonitos, my hermanas and my hermanos. They have been some of the best travel buddies in the whole world. I would love to visit them and just drink and dance to our hearts' content.
Care to join? Hah,I'm sure you'd love to!
It all started after watching the Walter Mitty movie.Then I read Eric Weiner's The Geography of Bliss where he spent a few days in Iceland to find out the Icelandics' view on happiness.
Being a nature freak, I know exploring Iceland would be a wonderful treat. The geysers, ice canyons, northern lights and the midnight sun in this place with a tiny population are just some of the many spectacles of nature I have to prepare myself for. All these make Iceland a must-see for me.
Growing up in a tropical country, I would like to experience how it feels like not see the sun for a long period of time. Would it make me sick? Would it drive me crazy? I don't really know. I would really have to go to find out.
Eric Weiner gave me a glimpse of the Icelandic people's state of mind. With its "utter isolation and brutal climate", they manage to be happy. They actually choose to be happy.
As a nature freak, I know I have manyreasons to go check this country out.
Doesn't this country sound breathtaking to you yet?
One of the very few Islamic Kingdoms I really wanna visit! Iran has caught my attention just very recently. An Iranian friend opened my eyes to the beauty of this country,
I would like to experience the remnants of Persia when it was still a great world power: the domes, minarets (tower of a mosque where Muslims are called for prayer) in the squares, the mud brick alleys and rooftops and ziggurats (terraced step pyramid).
And of course the food: in the streets and in the bazaars!
To experience the real Iran and dicover most of its secrets and surprises with a local is what I am looking forward to. It would be nice to get to know this country that has always been depicted as somewhat unsafe to tourists. I know for a fact that there is more to Iran that the media sensationalizes it to be.
Don't you think so?
Yeah, I know I said 10. But knowing myself, I would always go beyond the dreams that I initially set. Hey, it's free to dream so allow me to include 2 more..
To take the Tran-Siberian Railway Trip
This is one of the famous train journeys in the world and I badly want to take this trip SOLO for at least 1 month.
I've been travelling slow, living in one country at a time. Taking the Trans-Siberian Railway Trip would get me back to my backpacking momentum which I really miss.
I learned that this trip has a few routes. I also learned taking a certain route would provide more opporunity to travel with the locals. It will also be a chance to speak Russian no matter how much I will learn by that time. I'm bloody excited!
I'm dying to be back on the trains and just get off on specific stops or whenever I fancy. Taking this trip would give me a good chance to see so much of Russia that has always intrigued me.
Do click on the link above and watch the video to give you an idea!
Ready to join me on the train ride?
And finally..to live for at least a year in UBUD, Bali
I've been searching for an island that would sweep me off my feet.
Then I started travelling and collaborating with people who have explored, lived and are currently living in Bali. They talked about their lives and experiences in this island like no other. I eventually learned about UBUD: the cultural heart of Bali. It's where the artists, creatives and the most progressive minds around the world dwell and work with one another.
And imagine this life.. biking around the island enjoying the rich architecture, trekking in the lush rice paddies on weekends and waking up to the chirping of tropical birds and the strong aroma of Indonesian spices.
Now, I dream of Ubud every single day. It's on top of my list. Everything I do now I passionately do to get me to this enchanting place. Soon. Very soon.
I can't wait to soak in the rich culture, beauty and deep spirituality of this place.UBUD will also be my base when I explore Laos and other parts of Southeast Asia again. Yay!
Won't you dream of living in a place like this? Ah, I bet you would!
So, what do you do when your travel dreams come true?
I believe you should keep dreaming.
Not because you are discontented and ungrateful. It's because travel gives you something that no material thing can satisfy. Something that only experience and getting out of your comfort zone could provide.
Travelling gives you something to be excited about. It keeps you alive. It gives you a reason to wake up in the morning.It feeds your soul.
And if your travels involve not just experiencing things but leaving something truly beautiful to make this world a better place and to inspire others, then GO!
So, dream some more. Explore some more.
Because you can.
“It seems to me we can never give up longing and wishing while we are still alive. There are certain things we feel to be beautiful and good, and we must hunger for them.”
--George Elliot (English Novelist)
Photo Credits: Zen Ubud, Buddha Wear, CIFOR,Blaince Harrington, Paulina Arcklin, Ludiko Sior, Younesbounhar.com, Michelle Gilbert, eyevandrago, 50travel50notwe.blogspot.com, Ana
Lawsha'allah, thepolaroute.com, Paul Chesley and www.jonkovoy.com