Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Of Travel and Life Experiences: How I Survived 2013

2013 has been a hard year for me. And it truly felt like I was being challenged in more ways than one (physically, emotionally, spiritually, financially). The number of trips that I made this year may have been less compared to 2012. But I still thank God for blessing me with plenty of life-changing experiences.


My right foot's 5th metatarsal broke in March, which kept me from having to work and to travel (was already bound for Tacloban the next month when this happened). Plus, a nasty skin ailment progressed all over my body during my immobility. I couldn't get myself checked at the time since I could barely walk with my foot cast. So things worsened through those months. And by the time I consulted a dermatologist, a new set of expenses came pouring like rain. 

By then, my spirit was already dampened as cancelled trips were made, and when potential projects had to be declined. I was depressed for several months because I felt sick, helpless and penniless. My savings were gradually depleting, which lead me into asking loans from family members (something that I'm not used to doing). And two months after my cast was removed, I contracted another illness. If you've heard of the notorious Chikungunya virus (with symptoms similar to Dengue Fever). Well, I had that too. 

It has been a trying time for me for the last three quarters. That's when I started questioning God as to why all these conditions were being brought upon me. But later on I remembered Job's hardships... 

I knew that I was going to get better after much reflection. And I felt God's loving spirit reassuring me that the worst is about to end. Soon enough, I was back on my feet again. I may not be a 100% healthy and fit. But I'm definitely back on track.

Taken 25 days after my foot cast was removed. [May 2013 at Infanta, Quezon]


Other than a renewed hope for my health and life in general, I still had a lot of blessings to thank for this year.

I got to see up close some of the most awesome-looking Hot Air Balloons in Clark, Pampanga. But other than that, I also got to meet a few Pinoy Travel Bloggers, who I've become close friends with thereafter.


I'm also thankful for new projects that were offered soon after recovering from my ailments --- which also helped fund for several staycations within the metro (Orion Hotel, Great Eastern Hotel, iSuites Hotel, A.Venue Suites). 


I'm also grateful for travel sponsors who've partnered with Budget Biyahera, and who've also believed in my vision. Thank you so much for all the love and support Chelsi LeathershopTravelBook.ph, Lagu, Towelite, GO Hotels. Thank you for letting me have this opportunity to promote the best Philippine products and services that our country has to offer. I hope to work with you all again real soon!


I'm also grateful for travels that have finally pushed through (Infanta, Quezon with my family;, Chinatown Food Trip with PTB's Jherson, Gelai, Nil, Mina, RJ, Romel;Eastern Visayas road-trip with Cuks, Ephraim, Felix, Benjie & Tam-Tam;, Baguio with my brother, and Malaysia with Rubel and KL-based travel /fashion blogger friends Krissy, Joey, Riz & MJ). 

I'm truly blessed to have finally traveled again, especially with the presence of old and new friends. Truly, nothing compares to being in the company of like minded individuals. I'm just so grateful that traveling has brought this kind of joy in my life.



I will always be thankful for the writing opportunities that have been given to me this year, especially those that have been printed on Travel Magazines (Turista and Cebu Pacific). Those to me, will be a great lasting legacy.


I will also be forever humbled to know several remarkable travel bloggers, who I've come to call as friends. Truly, nothing beats meeting with like minded individuals who will always inspire you with their stories and experiences on the road.

Here's to more chikahan moments on and off the road guys! :) Special mention to PTB friends Paula O, Jherson, Gelai & Nil, Claire & Rem, Romel, Ephraim, Dennis, Kenneth, Doc Gelo, Jun Baris, Mina, Javee, Ms. Bing and Franc. :)

[Photo Credit to Claire of iamtravelinglight.com]
[Photo Credit to Karen Tuazon of MomOnlineMag.info]


I may have been spared from experiencing the wrath of the massive tempest. But I will forever be pained by the agony, loss and despair that my friends have gone through. 

But despite the storm and its effect in Eastern Visayas, a lot of love was still shared throughout the tragedy. That's why I'm deeply grateful to everyone who's helped us raise funds for immediate family and friends who got hit by the Supertyphoon. My gratitude also goes out to everyone around the world who've unconditionally reached out to our fellow countrymen. No words will ever be enough to express our indebtedness to you guys. You are all heroes to us! Mabuhay kayo!


I would also like to acknowledge (friends and family) the support that we've received for our OPLAN PALIGO cause. All the complimentary hotel bath essentials that we've collected has definitely reached our Sintang Kabataan families. 

To family and friends, you've certainly brought a special meaning to 'traveling with a cause'. Thank you again for sharing your love to our Sintang Kabataan. :) 

No matter how many obstacles were experienced this year, I feel that an awesome 2014 will be waiting for me. So here's to a rockin' 2014 Biyaheras & Biyaheros! :) Thank you for all the support, the love, and for the loyal readership. I can't thank you all enough for being a big part of my 2013. Until our next journey together. :)

Explore & Be Free!

Mai Flores 

This is my entry to Pinoy Travel Bloggers’ Blog Carnival for December 2013, with the theme: “Closing the Curtains on 2013: Love, Learn and Living.” Hosted by Brenna Bustamante of The Philippine Travelogue.
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