Being preggy didn’t stop our November Backpacker of the Month. If Kakay describes backpacking as “Way of Life;” Gael says “Post-Modern Culture;” and Flip’s “fun, adventure, experience;” Gaye remarks its,
“ONE AWESOME RIDE”
Gaye’s lust for travel and adventure is contagious and inspiring at best, read on and know more about backpacking.
James: How many years are you been backpacking?
Gaye: It’s been 9 years since my first backpacking trip. I wouldn’t say I’ve been backpacking for 9 years though because I was not constantly on the road. But every year I would have 3-4 trips, even more when I started earning my own money.
James: Tell us how did you start traveling/backpacking?
Gaye: I was into mountaineering first. I signed up for our college’s outdoor org when I was a senior. It may seem cheesy to admit this, but the decision came about when me and my long time boyfriend broke up. I realized then that without him, I didn’t have anything else to associate myself with. I kinda felt that somehow I didn’t have my own identity.
James: That’s intersting to know huh, the break-up led to backpack? Please continue (*my mind says that that boy is such a loser*)…
Gaye: So I did some “soul searching” with the help of my orgmates. I joined their trip to Sagada. While zigzagging through the mountains, however dizzy and famished I was, I told myself that this is the kind of crazy thing I wanna do for the rest of my life. And that’s when my wandering soul was awakened.
James: So from the time that ‘wandering soul’ was awaken until now, please tell us the best experience ever while on the road?
Gaye: Backpacking while pregnant. I actually consider it as the highlight of my backpacking life because I proved to myself that nothing can stop me from doing what I do. I would not recommend it to every woman traveler though because 2 lives, the mom’s and the baby’s, will be at risk. But if you are overly wary, and equipped with sufficient information, then there shouldn’t be any worries.
I can’t wait to tell my newborn when she grows up how I trekked Borneo’s rainforest, sauntered along Visayas beaches, rode a habal-habal, and hiked up Mambukal’s 7 Falls while she was still in my tummy!
Gay’s fave travel quote: “Don’t tell me how educated you are, tell me how much you traveled” – Mohammed
James: Amazing feat! I’m speechless actually. How about worst experience?
Gaye: A couple of years ago, I traveled around Cambodia with an ex. One morning in Sihanoukville, I taught him how to ride a bike in just an hour. He sorta got the hang of balancing himself but never totally learned how to control it. Nevertheless, we agreed on pedaling to the bus station to save money on cab rides.
On the way, we passed a major road that winds uphill and downhill. I was on the lead since I was the map reader, and he was following closely behind. Approaching a curve, I heard him struggling with his bike’s brakes, then… a loud thud. He crashed into a car. He wasn’t hurt but the seemingly brand new vehicle had an obvious dent.
We told the girl, who looked like she was in her early twenties, there’s no way we could pay for the repair because the only money we had left was just enough to purchase tickets to Ho Chi Minh for our flight back to Manila. I offered my 30G Ipod and my ex offered his mobile phone. They said they wanted to see the gadgets first, so they followed me to our guesthouse in their car, and we left my ex who walked with his bike.
To our relief, the girl agreed to take the gadgets as payment. Before she did, another guy came and said he’s her dad, though he was obviously the same age as the girl. I told him, when I get my next salary, I’ll gladly send them cash, I’d just need an email for correspondence. He wrote on a piece of paper his addy: email@example.com (I ain’t giving out the real address). Now tell me, funny email address for a dad ei?
James: Oh noh… the iPod and the mobile phone. And the email addy, -no comment- haha! Anyway, would you like to share your longest backpacking trip?
Gaye: It’s a tie between my trip to Europe (5 countries) and South East Asia (6 countries), both lasted 6 weeks. They’re extremely different for obvious reasons, in terms of cost of living (spent in Europe P160,000 and P49,000 in SE Asia) and geographical location. I won’t even dare summarize how both trips went because there’s just so much to tell.
James: Cool, I should be planning me Eurotrip narin pala. So, do you have any realization/reflection while on the road?
Gaye: On my first ever backpacking trip, I learned that there’s so much more to life than fancy clothes, expensive coffee and playing Counter-Strike.
James: Are you talking about that over-priced espresso at SB? ahaha Anyway, do share 3-5 important things that should be on your backpack?
Gaye: (1) A camera; (2) My super small portable electric stove if it’s a long trip. I can live off instant noodles and bread for days; and (3) A sleeping bag. You’ll never know when you need to sleep at the aiport or bus terminal or on the street.
James: Give our readers at least 3 backpacking tips?
- As cliche as it may sound, sport an open mind. Anything, and I mean any thing, can happen.
- For women solo backpackers, keep your guard up. The line “I’m waiting for/meeting someone” can save you from harassment.
- Smile. It will help you gain a friend, get assistance, score a discount – even a freebie!
James: Best place you’ve been to in the Philippines? And in other countries?
Gaye: Maybe not the best, but my favorite, Sagada. Basilan is in second place.
Outside the Philippines, Gunung Bromo in Indonesia. Jebel Hafeet, a runner up- mountain in the middle of the desert in U.A.E.
James: Lastly, picture this situation: a student/8-5 employee asks you, “How do i start my backpacking trip?”
Gaye: Just GO!