Never Had A Better Year: Farewell with a Smile, 2016

In my mind, I think last 2016 was my loser year. I have not advanced in my career nor have I taken any step towards my goal to shift career. 

But when I met 2017 this year, I think this was so far the New Year that I’m satisfied with everything that I had done the year before. 

Just a quick side story. A couchsurfer spent his New Year with my family. Like before, my family had doubts about having a stranger in our home, but I think they were happy about it in the end. 

Opened doors for Couchsurfers

It was late 2015 when I started couchhosting but 2016 was the year I met lots of amazing travelers with great stories to tell. 

I met a couple who I just had dinner with here in Iloilo. After a few months, I stayed with them when I went to Tagaytay. Last December, I was invited to their wedding (unfortunately, I didn’t go because it was at Hong Kong).

I met a couchsurfer who couchsurfed about 70% when he went around Japan. Another who literally had no money when she traveled across Europe.

I met Filipina girls who influenced me to backpack within the Philippines first as our country has a lot to offer. 

These travelers pushed me to fight all the fears I had and just go with the travel plans! 

Looking back to 2016, I wasn’t the frequent traveler but I guess I ticked off a few things from the bucket list in my mind. I traveled solo in 5 cities/provinces within the Philippines. I traveled solo outside of the country. And I partied at Boracay to cap the year off. 

It wasn’t only that I got the courage to fulfill my dreams of traveling but I had learned a lot from the people I met along the way. There’s this certain satisfaction that you get when you’re not just being a tourist and you go as far as living like a local. 

When I think of the money I spent for those travels, with P30,000 I could have taken the IELTS exam and even taken it twice if I failed the first try. I could have taken one or two courses of the German language to qualify to work in Germany. I could have used it for processing fees to work abroad. 

I could have bought a new phone, a DSLR camera or a good laptop.

But I did not. And I felt it was the most rewarding, biggest spend that I had. Never once that I regretted spending that much. 

Someone told me this, “Your classmates are all around the world, ikaw hanggang Sagada lang. ”

I’m not abroad earning lots of money and touring European countries but I know I have become a better person. How am I so sure of this? 

When talking to travelers before, I remembered always saying, “I want to go there too, ” or “I wish I could travel too.” I always have this money excuse or this work schedule excuse. 

But I tried getting past the excuses. JUST. DO. IT. 

Now, I have a few stories to share. I still say, “I want to go there too” not with self-pity but with a conviction and a note in my mind adding it to my list of future travel. One person I met along the way shared in social media she met a brave girl. A guy I met at Boracay proclaimed, “We got an independent woman here! ”

That’s already something for an introvert like me who doesn’t know anything about the world aside from what’s at home, work, my city and a few books, K-dramas and Hollywood movies. 

Now,  I welcome 2017 not with a fervent wish to please make 2017 a good year for me. I’m not making a wish this year. I’m making a declaration. As what my CSer friend encouraged, this 2017, I’ll ROCK IT! 

Bring it on! 

P. S.

Have I mentioned I started eating vegetables from time to time? That’s what meeting with vegans and vegetarians and spending some time in places with less meat do. 

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