The One with the Free Tickets

3:34 PM

Cebu Pacific Juan For Fun
For a year, more or less, I've made best of friends with two of the guys I had never imagined to travel with. And magnetizing us were the free plane tickets we won from a backpacking challenge then called Juan For Fun (and I quote, "Thank you Cebu Pacific). On the last 2 months of that exploit, we realized that nothing good ever happens past 12 midnight abroad, that window seats are more important than friendship, and that bad experiences make good stories. MAKES A BETTER PERSON TOO. CAPS LOCK, BOLD, FONT SIZE...12pt. And please... I didn't travel the world...not yet. Rather, I've traveled through space and time..........


Now let's start over, shall we? The one with the free tickets.

Ama Village Macau
With only four international tickets in hand, we thought about circumnavigating the world. It sounded foolish. The tickets we had were only limited to some Asian countries. And the reality of our resources was the initial hamper. Plus the people's high demand of our time by the way (*cough). Among the three of us, So Myeong is likely the wealthiest with so much personal savings in hand (I don't think this is confidential). My mom seems capable, and I'm a new-generation dependent, therefore a vagabond (swear, I'm not proud). Patrik is also a dependent. And yes, only the plane tickets were free; we had to provide for everything else.

Petronas Tower Kuala Lumpur Malaysia

I was confident that the cost would be less despite having 8 countries on the list. There was the idea of backpacking which, in recent days, has been equated to "shoestring traveling". I don't know why because semantically speaking, backpacking is concerned with bags slung on shoulders. But if that ever happens to be valid, backpacking is a cool word to say that...yes..we were stingy (without compromising on food....never!) and that we traveled through space and time.....


Lantau Buddha Hongkong

The Peak Hongkong

The list of 8 included Macau and Hongkong (China), 5 Indochina countries, and then the greatest offenders to the semantics of "backpacking", Japan and South Korea. Of the 8 countries, I revisited 6. I know right! I could have gone elsewhere new and unfamiliar...but duh, let's not get into the drama behind that. At the end of it all, I only spent around $700 with couchsurfing and cheapskating combined. Due to stop-me-I-dont-wanna-curse passport problems on Myeong's side and visa struggles for Patrik, I was the only one able to complete the whole itinerary planned with the least souvenirs bought, the most baths skipped, and the most number of toilets.... Ok fine...the most lessons learned. CAPS LOCK that in your head for intensification purposes.

This has been my longest trip to date with some respites in between. To clarify, we didn't run through all the destinations in one swipe. We had to get back to the country and fly out again.

Bicycling in Angkor Wat
While my Facebook feed was thronged with beach photos by vacationing friends as the Philippine summer kicked in, I had mine spent amidst the onset of martial law in Bangkok, sunburnt on a bike in Singapore, entertaining a swindler in Kuala Lumpur one very thundery afternoon, 8-long horrifying hours on a dirty sleeper bus en route Phnom Penh, and getting muddled with the train lines in Tokyo, hording instagrammable memories, chasing temples, couchsurfing, coming across strangers and getting their Facebook addresses to name a chunk of the piles of stories (to be dealt with in the later entries) that are share-worthy and the life lessons that came along with it.

Akihabara Tokyo

Busan Nampo

I tell you, this whole "free tickets" thing was not easy. But it was great. Incomparably great. Until my next post, huh? Air quote!


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