Sunday, June 10, 2012

Hongkong and Macau on my Birthday!

After many years of just flipping travel magazines after travel magazines in awe of these travelers’ stories, I finally, nervously booked a flight to Hongkong for that decade-long longing to travel solo even if I don’t have that much savings to cover all the possible cost of my trip. The time was March of 2012. That was when my colleague said “Hey Ate, there’s a promo for Hongkong”. I just told her right away, “Okay, book me!” No “what ifs?” Just that “now or never” moment of life :)

I have decided that it was there where I will spend my birthday (June 10).

For me, it was venturing unto the unknown, going out of my comfort zone, just following my heart. I tried to gather the contacts that I have related to my mother’s friend and that of her daughter who are both working in Hongkong and Macau.

I'm very poor financially, only rich in daydreams of seeing places. At that time, nothing can stop me, NOTHING can ever stop me. Not even my limited budget.
To save on expenses, I decided to bring apples, biscuits and yoghurt because I thought that I cannot afford the food in Hongkong. I'm so happy those food were not questioned during luggage scanning :) I can only grin from ear to ear after I have cleared after check in.

Being solo is just what I am during the flight. But staying in a hostel made everything so easy. I met like-minded people who are solo travelers that I went with to different places. An Indian woman, a Polish girl and meeting other travelers at the lounge area is so awesome when most of the time, we just laugh our nights away.

During the short time of travel to Hongkong and Macau, four strangers touched my life. At one point, after I visited Repulse Bay beach, and I was on my way back to Downtown Hongkong, the woman next to me on the bus helped me. The woman who looked like a Chinese turned out to be a Filipina from the North, an Ilocana. As I asked her the possible rate of texting someone using my PH mobile to someone in Hongkong, she offered her phone to me instead so I can send a text to May (the daughter of my mother’s friend working in Hongkong).

The second time was when I was having my lunch at the restaurant located at Prince Bldg. I met another Filipina from Davao, and since it was a Sunday, she decided to join me on my trip. She accompanied me to Victoria’s peak, offering to be my photographer and even told me to have another route on our way back to downtown so we can save. Instead of taking the tram back going down from the mountain, we decided to just take the bus that brought us back to downtown Hongkong. Until this time this woman named Jubelyn is still a friend and we met again last August in my province of Bohol.

Since Macau is just close to Hongkong, I decided to check the place. While I was there I was again looking for the means to call someone. Asking a local is quite a challenge because there is a difference on the accent of Filipinos and people from Macau. I chose a Caucasian woman in her 40s who at that time was distributing magazines of Jehova’s Witness. I tried to catch her attention to ask her if where I can find a payphone for me to meet my mother’s friend there. Even if she was busy, she attended to my question and offered to me her phone so I can call my mother’s friend. After the call, she asked me “Are you a Filipina?” and when I said “Yes”, she said “My stepmother is a Filipina too”. I can only say thank you and give her my smile. That woman was from Sweden.

The last was the a beautiful girl who I sat next to in the bus. She is from Macau and I tried my best to talk to her so she can tell me the location of Mcdonalds  where I will meet my mother’s friend. Conversation was very hard, I end up hearing a different word when she meant something else but she never lose her patience until we finally parted ways near Mcdonalds. I can’t forget her face and the kindness of that girl. All the difficulties of traveling solo was made more memorable because of people like them. More than the place, its the complete strangers who helped me make it through and helped me exclaimed in the end "I SURVIVED!" that made my trips memorable.

Since then, I have made solo travels again in many parts of the Philippines, South Korea and Taiwan.

Traveling alone is SO worth it! And my itchy feet never find a cure since then.

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