How My Spain Dreams Came Crashing Down

Wednesday, July 04, 2012


If one dream should fall and break into a thousand pieces, never be afraid to pick one of those pieces up and begin again. ~Flavia Weedn, Flavia and the Dream Maker

On Monday, July 2nd at 7:45PM I was booked on a flight to Spain to join 4 other fearless women travelers for the Girls Who Run With Bulls challenge.

But I didn't get to fly.

The plane tickets have been booked, accommodations prepared, friends and loved ones informed. But there was one vital ingredient to my Spanish dreams.

Permission from the Spain consulate: the dreaded Schengen visa.

When I had come by the consulate 2 weeks ago, I was ready to pick up my passport and visa without any hassle. I was confident it would be granted. After all, there was no reason they would not grant me one. Or was there? I quickly scanned my passport looking for the Schengen visa.

USA Passport; Hong Kong, Philippine, Thailand, and USA stamps
Photo Credit: pikdig
It was missing.

"Which page had they glued it on?," I wondered. After a few minutes of scanning the passport, I found a piece of paper stuck to the back. My head started spinning and although the letter had the English translation, it took me a while to understand what the document said.

Refusal of visa.

I was close to tears when I realized that I was not going to go to Spain. Not this time at least. And the reason they've provided?

"Your intention to leave the territory of the Member States before the expiry of the visa could not be ascertained."

Those string of words looked like hieroglyphics. I had to ask the employees at the consulate to explain it to me. They didn't know what it meant. It took more than 10 minutes for me to grasp the meaning of those words in my nearly hysterical state:

They couldn't ensure that I would leave Spain once my visa was up.

I couldn't believe they would think this. I had previously been to Europe and stayed for 3 months- the duration of my visa. I still held a valid US visa and have previously been granted a Canadian visa. I was recently in the US for only 2 weeks in February this year to take a certification course. I have not been previously denied a visa nor overstayed in any country. 

Weren't the stamps in my passport enough to convince them I simply could not stay in one place too long? Much more overstay illegally?

Pamplona
Photo Credit: Eric Nathan
I had 2 choices: Accept their decision or appeal. 

I would not take NO for an answer. I quickly went to work, gathering every single supporting document I had. I feverishly wrote an appeal letter explaining the reason I was traveling to Spain was because I going to be part of a sponsored trip with a group of international bloggers to document the running with the bulls festival in San Fermin. I put together contracts from sponsors, previously written magazine articles, a poster for a major speaking event I was going to have in Cebu in August and other documents to prove that I was a travel writer. My 2 Spanish friends from Madrid even wrote me invitation letters to support and vouch for me! I ended up going back to the consulate with 11 supporting documents for my appeal.

But it was not enough.

I was asked to come back only to receive the same refusal letter with the same reason for refusal. I received this information only 3 days before my scheduled flight! Was I disappointed? Definitely. Did I get upset? For a few days, yes. Will this incident keep me from traveling or planning future trips? 

No way, José!

I replayed the interview in my head and realized that there a lot of things that were not going for me:

-I was single
-Had no kids
-Lived alone

There was nothing that could really guarantee that I came back to the Philippines, well traveled or not. They did have a point.

But the question is, if I did have a husband, kids, a house, 9-5 job- then how in the world can I still travel for 1 month in Spain? 

In an effort to move on, I want to share 5 things I've learned from this experience that you may find useful:

1 Don't be overconfident

When I came in for the interview, I took it lightly and did not prepare. I was confident that since I had traveled extensively in the past and had been granted a Schengen visa previously, they would not have a reason to deny me the visa. I should have asked other people who have gone through the interview, researched more online or asked for advice from a travel agency about what to expect.

Lois & Marinma

2 Welcome kindness from "strangers"

I had a few friends from Spain but never thought of asking them for help. I guess I was too shy and didn't feel the need to ask them to send me an invitation. But when I told them about my initial denial, my friend Marinma whom I met in Florida during my Passion Test facilitation course, was very enthusiastic to help. She wrote me a letter and sent it in a matter of days. Another wonderful surprise came from Emilio, a traveler we had met in Vang Vieng, Laos. I had emailed him about the refusal and he also wrote me an extensive invitation letter with a full explanation on how we met and why I should be granted a visa.

Emilio in Vang Vieng
Emilio in the middle

These 2 amazing people were not exactly my good friends. I had met them only once and while we were passing through. But they were so eager, so happy to help that it moved me. I will never forget their acts of kindness.

3 Accepting conflict

I may not have been granted the visa this time around. Probably not just because of my situation but Spain's current economic situation as well. I will never know for sure. But I am so grateful that I had the courage audacity to even try. That's exactly why travel is my defiance and why I keep choosing to travel despite the limits of a Philippine passport.

Sometimes when you attempt the impossible, you run into conflict. Conflict can hurt and it's not fun. But conflict is one of the elements of a good story. Life is not an adventure without any conflict thrown in.

Fighting cows
Photo Credit: Mark Eveleigh
4 Find the gift in everything

The truth is that it really pained me not to be able to go to Spain to run with bulls. But I believe there is a gift in this story. There is an opportunity here that I may not be able to fully appreciate just yet. Perhaps it's the Universe's way of saving me from being trampled by bulls!

5 Life goes on

I may not have a say when it came to the decision regarding my visa. But I can choose how I react to it. It can embitter me or make me a better person. It can paralyze me with fear or motivate me with more desire. I get to choose if my story ends here or if I turn the page and go to the next chapter. And I choose to remain positive.

Churros con chocolate
Photo Credit: radziahradzi
I know someday I will learn Spanish in Spain and have an authentic churros con chocolate.

What happens to your sponsors?

I was really hesitant to inform our sponsors about the fact that I won't be able to participate in this challenge. It had taken Jeannie of Nomadic Chick and all of us many months of preparation to get everything together. But Roomorama, Eurail and Vayama were very understanding of the situation. Roomorama is still extending our strong partnership. And Vayama surprised me by still honoring the partnership we've recently established and giving credit for future trips!

So what's next?

I'm happy to announce that my July is wide open for more projects, collaborations and Passion workshops and retreats. I may also run away to some exotic beach location and regroup. Any suggestions?

WDS Cebu

On August 4, I will be speaking with the country's top motivational speaker Francis Kong and Yellowboat Project's Jay Jaboneta about Winning Disciplines for Success at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Cebu City. This is a dream come true for me to share the stage with these 2 awesome speakers!

If you want to get inspired and hear our personal success stories, book your tickets now and join us in Cebu. We're also cooking up a Passion Play retreat in Cebu on Aug 5 so stay tuned for the details. If you're interested in finding out what you passions are and how to start creating the life of your dreams, please join our Pinoy Passionistas community on facebook.

I have also started working on a Book Sharing Project with a group of extraordinary travel bloggers. Our aim to create a library in Rizal Elementary School, Gubat, Sorsogon where children don't have books or computers. We'll launch this in the coming weeks and let you know how you can help!

In September, I'm booked to spend a month in Sri Lanka. I will be meeting other travelers and bloggers and I'm excited to go to a place I've never been. There are a lot more exciting Sole Sisters projects in the coming months! I can't wait to reveal all of these with you soon. My plans to recreate Sole Sisters into a community and possibly a brand is slowly coming together!

You're welcome to be a part of it and collaborate with women travelers!

girls run with bulls header

The Rest of the Bull Story

But this story isn't just about me. The other 4 women travelers are coming together in Pamplona as I type this. You can join the challenge by following them via girlsrunwithbulls.com. You can also keep track of their adventures via facebook and twitter. So with that, I wish Jeannie, Oneika, Nicole Smith and Nicole Blake an awesome run with the bulls. Thanks for letting me dream big Spanish dreams with you!

Buena suerte!

Won't stop dreaming,
Sole Sister Lois


Lois has traveled extensively and have lived in Asia, the United States, and Europe. She is currently based in Portugal with her husband and baby girl. She is the co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of We Are Sole Sisters and has written the ebook "Where Should I Go in Southeast Asia?" based on her travels in the region for 6 months on less than 2,500 USD.



Get a FREE copy of the Sole Sister Guide to Planning an Epic Trip by subscribing to our newsletter. You can also hang out with us online on Twitter,Facebook & Stumble Upon.

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87 sole trails

  1. Awwwww :(

    It's okay Lois :( Personally i am very anxious with Visa worries too, and i haven't seen my passport in almost a year (cold hands now, very cold hands) :(

    But there's loads of other countries to visit sooner that you think.
    Loads of other stuff to look forward to!
    And Francis Kong is really a great speaker.
    Entertaining and made me think. :P Have fun in Cebu! :D

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  2. I am proud of you Lois..I've been a follower of your blog, and I was very excited when I first heard of your bull-run plan..Too bad it didn't materialize. However hard it may be, you still find a way to make this sour lemon sweet. You are truly an inspiration..:)
    I also love to travel, and I get excellent points from you and Chichi..Please don't stop filling our pointers to the brim..:)
    I hope, someday, that you can still run with the bulls!and please do tell us how delightful eating authentic churros is..:)

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  3. this made me a little sad. but hugely impressed at how you handled this. life goes on and for you, no doubt more projects will come your way.

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  4. There's a right time for everything... :)

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  5. I'm very surprised to hear you got denied, Lois. Everything seemed to point to an approval. I'm saddened too. Like you, I'm single and a freelancer. Getting another Schengen visa seems so far away now. Sigh. I do admire your spirit  though. I know someday you'll get to see Spain!

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  6. I adore your optimism, Lois! Way to go girl! I hope you get to attract more sponsors. Have seen your CebuPac paid testimonial the other morning in ch 7. Bring us to places we haven't conquered yet! Good luck.  :)

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  7. I remember when I saw you at ROX you were worried bout it, still hopeful though bout your appeal. Anyway, it sucks when criteria's were set but could not be tweaked with proper reasoning. You got all the reason and the right to go to Spain, but somehow the Universe put  a halt into it (temporarily), possibly - correct that, absolutely positively, because something better awaits you here and I'm sure when all is settled you'll be off to your next great adventure without a hassle. Just a small bump on the road, on your way to bigger and brighter things. 

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  8. This sucks Lois! 
    But you know, there's always something better in store for you. And like everyone else, your optimism is admirable. :D

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  9. Lai Marie MirasolJuly 4, 2012 at 1:31 PM

     It might be just of those short stops, but/and never stop dreaming Lois..  #Hugs

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  10. I was looking forward to read above your adventure in Pamplona. Don't worry there will be other opportunities.

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  11. DreamEuroTrip.comJuly 4, 2012 at 3:58 PM

    booooo! i hate these embassies and their shit rules!

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  12. What has happened to u and chichi? Are u solesisters no more?

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  13. "Shit happens." - my favorite quote. and when it happens, it's how you deal with it that matters. you found a brighter side to this visa nightmare. proud of you sister!

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  14. Oh no! My heart broke while reading this. I am so sorry about this situation, but I am incredibly impressed and inspired by your confidence and optimism. You prove that, if you truly have the travelling bug, nothing will stop you from continuing to travel (even if you have a bad experience). I can't wait to read about what you get up to this summer!

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  15. It takes a lot to bear everything here and I know it must have been painful to write. *Hug* With your energy, I'm sure something awesome will come your way. =)

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  16. we are going to miss you, love. this is heartbreaking, because you did everything you could and some power from beyond just said no. ugh! thanks for all your support in making the trip happen. we will be thinking of you on the trip!

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  17. Nicole Blake shared a link to your blog. I'm sorry to hear you did not receive the Schengen Visa. Would it have made a difference if you applied via another Schengen nations consulate / embassy?

    I am a US citizen but find entering the Schengen zone can vary greatly depending on where you enter. I would often enter via Amsterdam or Rome and never get a second look. Entering via Spain they still ask for a landing card to be completed and they seem more formal than the other Schengen nations with entry and exit.

    I do hope you get a chance to visit, but I like your positive, forward thinking. One door may close, but another one opens.

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  18. Just a quick question: did you really have to show up personally for a visa? Can't a travel agency sort it out for you?

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  19. Thanks for you sweet words Lauren! Feeling better about the whole thing. I know I have a lot of things going for me that I should be grateful for. So I'm focusing on that instead :)

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  20. Hi Jheng! Wow, that's definitely a boost! Thanks for taking the time to leave a thoughtful comment. Yes, let's continue to inspire each other and fuel each other's wanderlust! 

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  21. Thanks for the empathy Paul! Yes, it's already starting to turn around. Thanks for believing with me!

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  22. I agree Morena. Another time I'll get to realize my Spain dreams. In the meantime.. maybe I should learn to speak some basic Spanish first.

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  23. Thanks Aleah for your kind words! Yeah, big shock but I'm starting to feel better. Sorry to hear about your loss pala. Big hugs!

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  24. Yay! Glad you saw that Aiza! To more sponsors and more travels!

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  25. Thank you Marky for listening to me that evening. I was feeling badly then while waiting for the result. But now that I know, I can accept it and move on. Yes, I believe there's a grander adventure for me out there. So many places I haven't been yet, too many sunsets I haven't seen...

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  26. Thanks for your uplifting words Robbie! Smiling now :)

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  27. Yes Ayan, there will be better timing, I'm sure of it :)

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  28. I won't stop Lai, I know it will happen eventually. Thanks for that nice comment!

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  29. I agree Angie, more opportunities are already starting to materialize. I know this little bump on the road will make sense in the coming months..

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  30. Haha... spell attitude DJ. I refuse to be traumatized by this experience though. Gora pa rin :)

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  31. Chichi has had to focus on her new job in Singapore Cheeepat. That's why Sole Sisters will no longer be about Lois and Chichi. It will be about fearless women who travel the world :)

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  32. Thanks for the boost Maria! I hesitated to make the announcement on the blog at first. But I know I've made the right decision after I saw all the positive comments here! 

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  33. Thanks for empathizing with me Brenna! You are absolutely right! I will definitely be a traveler for life. I am so excited to have you on board as a contributor. And perhaps we can meet in the not so distant future? That would be so awesome to meet another wandering sole!

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  34. You know exactly how I feel Rica. Thanks for empathizing with me. I believe what you say that something beautiful is out there. Perhaps the next adventure? Cheers to more years spent traveling!

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  35. Thanks for taking time to send me a note Nicole! I really appreciate you! Cheers to the bull run and I will be cheering for you fearless women all the way!

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  36. Hi Ele, it's always been my principle to do most of the travel related stuff for myself. I've applied for the Schengen before and it worked for me. So I didn't find any reason to get help from an agency. And I think most visas require you to be there.

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  37. was kind of disappointed after reading this, I am really excited pa naman to hear your stories about running with the bull.  Ooops, bigla kong naalala yung advice sayo ni Josiah. Maybe next time Lois. I am amazed how you handle this kind of situation. very positive!

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  38. Lois, by the time you come here your stomach will be aching with so many churros with chocolate!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Emilio

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  39. i love this entry! suspense, horror, disappointment, tragedy ... but then in the end you're still hopeful and positive! there's a silver lining in every cloud :)

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  40. Thanks for empathizing with me Darwin! Haha I'll just have to save Josiah's advice for another year. 

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  41. I'll make sure I'm ready for that Emilio. Plus the sangria por favor! I'm seriously considering taking Spanish classes.

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  42. Thanks for dropping by Zerl! Choose to be happy, that's what I always say :)

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  43. Whaaaaaaaaaat? I was really envious that you were going on this cool trip but I was really hoping to read all about it. Disappointments are real and I will remember how positive you have been if ever I get into a similar situation. 

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  44. Totally and utterly devastating..... no words.

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  45. Hello Lois: I'm Alberto, from Spain, and I'm very sad after read about your denied visa in a web page. I only can say you that every day I'll run the encierro, I'll think in you one little moment, I promise you!! Your problem is an absolutely shame an a completly disgrace for Spain; sorry for the visa's problem, I can't understand the reasons for your denied visa (twice!)... Lois: Your spirit will be running in the streets of Pamplona. Sorry for my English...  I hope you'll try to come next year. Kisses!!!

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  46. what a sad, sad story. i sympathized with you from the beginning to the end, and i really admire your positive outlook on the situation. let's get the right visas and meet there next year to run with the bulls!

    also, one of the hard parts about being a solo traveler is that moment when you realize you have no permanent address, no husband or kids, no real need to be anywhere at a certain time... but those are also the best parts about being travelers, and allow us to live the lives we live, free and open to the world.

    thank you for sharing.

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  47. Lois- what a disappointment. Thanks for sharing, and great that you were able to look at parts of this experience in a positive light.

    On the bright side, it sounds like you have a lot of cool initiatives planned, so you have some time freed up to crush it in other areas of your travel writing. 

    Good luck!
    Cheers

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  48. I've always been a fan of your blog but this post is one of my favorites. I admire how you face this disappointment and treat it as a situation where one could learn from. 

    I'll be looking forward for your Sri Lanka posts :)

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  49. Hey Audrey! Yeah I'm starting to get over it. No use sulking about a failed trip. Let's just go travel some more instead! Over 40 countries are still open :)

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  50. It will be for the best SJ, I know it! seeing the silver lining already :)

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  51. Hey Alberto! Thanks for stopping by and leaving that very sweet comment! You moved me to tears. But Spain hasn't seen the last of me yet. I would like to take Spanish lessons yet. baby steps but still working my way towards that Spanish dream. Besitos!

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  52. Hi Kerri! Thanks for stopping by to leave that thoughtful comment! Yes, I won't abandon my run with bulls dream and let's try again with Brenna next year maybe? I totally agree with you about the best and worst parts of being travelers. Because there's really no choice for us is there? We're smitten with travel and there's not turning back!

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  53. Thanks for stopping by Bret! Yes, I'm keeping myself busy but I think I will escape to the sea in the coming weeks. Of course we will be collaborating online, yes?

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  54. Thanks for following Joann! Everything is always an opportunity to learn isn't it? And setbacks are sometimes a way to do even more fun stuff and exciting adventures :)

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  55. Oh no! I replied to your email earlier only to see this blog post moments later. I'm so sorry to hear about this, Lois. What I admire about you though is that positive go-getter attitude you managed to have while writing this painful post. It would've been so easy for my spirits to be turned down and be paralyzed for weeks (or even months) in a similar situation, but definitely not for you. You're a fighter! And just like what told us during the Passion Play retreat last weekend: Life without conflicts is boring! Truly temporary setbacks are opportunities for better stories. Stay fab, Lois and see you around! :)

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  56. Oh no!  I'm so disappointed for you.  But your attitude is great and I look forward to reading more of your adventures.  Who knows, maybe you'll be running with the bulls next year at this time...

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  57. Sorry I missed this earlier, as we had been in touch on facebook, I didn't follow your site for a few days.
    Ouch! That sucks. But as the saying goes, In life, when one door forcibly closes, another one automatically opens.
    So hang in there. I did feel a lump in  my throat as I read the rather long article, not as much for news of the denial (so what?) but more for your philosophising about it and taking lessons from it.
    So Sri Lanka it is then! I was there last year, make sure you visit the elephant sanctuary at Haberana (not the Pinnewale Elephant Orphanage but the Haberana National Park). It's a heft $30 entrance fee into the park and an addition $50 for a jeep ride. And forget bulls, we were nearly trampled by an elephant in there, as an idiot jeep driver kept irritating one of the mighty pachyderms so much that she (yes, it was an elephant cow fortunately) charged. That was an adrenaline rush.
    I can give you the contact details of my driver guide there (like in Kenya in 2010, I Sri Lanka too I had a car all to myself, and the kind driver guide arranged everything) if you so desire.
    As for the bull run, although I feel sorry for you, in my heart of hearts I feel relieved that you are safe in Pinas. Check out this article in our local papers here today. The photo of the bull's horn getting stuck in the scarf of the poor chap on the ground is priceless:

    http://gulfnews.com/news/world/other-world/5-injured-in-pamplona-bull-run-1.1045648

    So stay safe, and travel some more. Look forward to your Sri Lanka pics. And yes, take Gabe and her long lens with you, you will need the long lens. You can see my pictures of Sri Lanka on my Sri Lanka Animals album on facebook. They will be up on flickr in about ten days time as well.

    Ingat po and a big god bless.

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  58. Hi Lois!

    I'm so glad to know that you are coping this positively. I too have recently been mugged and lost some valuables and is moving on despite the bitterness that I felt. Hopefully your Spanish dreams will be fulfilled soon. And I will be keeping myself updated in your blog which also motivates me about travel.

    See you here in Cebu! I've already reserved my slot!
    Thanks

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  59. Meant to comment on this a long time ago - we ran our hearts out and you were with us in spirit, I aasure you. :)  Hugs, kisses... 

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  60. Wow, this sucks. I sometimes forget how lucky I am to hold a passport from the UK, which makes travelling so much easier. I have close relatives and friends who don't have such luck, and the sort of trip that to me is just a question of buying a ticket and getting on a plane ends up being a massive admin nightmare. Chin up - the world will soon realise that this whole system is messed up, and we should all be allowed to go wherever we want to go.. and having a permanent address isn't a valid life requirement!

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  61. Wow, so sorry to hear this. I lived in Spain for 1.5 years and never heard of a visa not getting approved. You'd think they'd want anyone and everyone to come and support their horrible economy! Well, best of luck to you and better luck next time.

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  62. I do feel guilty that sometimes I get a free pass just because I have a US passport. However, I have recently realized that i get stopped at security for extra searches more than any of my friends, usually when I am next to families or super pale people. I am very tan and ethnically ambiguous and I happen to share the last name of the president of Argentina, where I lived for nearly 2 years. It caused lots of problems!


    I'm so sorry you didn't get to go, but I hope you do something amazing instead!

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  63. I would never have thought they'd deny you entry. And with all the documentation you showed, this is just ridiculous. Like Rease, I feel sometimes guilty that I get perks just because I have "the right passport"... I must say, I am very very impressed on how you handled the situation! No wonder you are part of the motivational speakers! I'd get a ticket immediately if I could :) To your success, you rock!

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  64. I'm so sorry.. I also had the same experience last month when I applied at the Spanish consulate for my trip in September.... I opted to go somewhere else because my leaves had already been approved... 

    Tama, don't let this stop you from travelling...

    All the best! 

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  65. Hey Lois, I was also really disappointed to hear from the girls that you hadn't got your visa! And so couldn't get to Pamplona where I met up with the girls, but like everyone else has said, there will be other opportunities for you I am sure! Keep going!

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  66. Hi Lois, i was delighted to see you at Radission Blu this afternoon with Francis Kong and Jay Jaboneta. You all really inspired me.  That was the first time seeing you in person but i already read your asian travel with Chichi through Cebu Pacific's Smile.  Your confidence and freedom amazed me. God bless you sole sisters! :)

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  67. Hi Lois! I was surprised that your trip didn't push through, even with your sponsors and it wasn't even for touring, but for a job.  I was searching your site for your posts on the trip. Yeah, it's awfully crazy back here. And nobody really knows what's gonna happen next. Even us with long-stay permits are kinda "worried" coz they do keep on changing the rules every 5 minutes (and this applies to all nationalities).  And it helps to keep an extra ounce of paranoia and preparation in your bag when it comes to immigration rules.  I pass through the border about 2x a year, and you really just can't be too careful (I already got held in their interrogation room upon landing coz I fumbled when they asked me about my address, and I just got off that situation through the mercy of the person-in-charge coz he knows some filipino folks; and oh yeah, I've been sent home once as well for some technicality, and I had to argue my way out of that).  So don't sweat it.  It's just a cycle.  Immigration tends to lighten up from time to time too.

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  68. catched you on ANC sometime last week. iba na, artista! hehe

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  69. must have been the no-permanent-job-and-address thing. look at it from their perspective.

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  70. How long did they act on your appeal? how many days since you pass your appeal to receive a reply from them?

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  71. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  72. Hello Lois I have the same refusal reason with you..and I am on go of filing an appeal..
    I do not understand why..I have submitted my leave approvals..my itinerary ticket from the travel agency...seeing there my return back here in Philippines..My approved leave is from December 14 this year to January 14 next year..
    I have a friend in Spain and he came already here in Philippines.. And he did invited me to come visit spain for a holiday this coming December 2013..My friend also sent me a Carta de Invitacion(stamped)which he asked in his local police office..and he also submits his letter of gurantee..
    Can I ask as to whom did you address your statement of appeal Lois.
    I need to make it smooth as much as possible..since I am flying from Cebu to Manila..and it will give me again a ticket expense of going there to Manila..
    Looking forward to hear from you soon Lois..

    Best regards,
    Rhedil

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  73. I was also denied a French Schengen Visa about 3 years ago, but was granted a Schengen Visa from Greece Consulate this year. I waited for about 2 and Half years to apply for another Schengen Visa from different consulate and eventually I got it.

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  74. Lois thanks for the tips. im also getting paranoid and expecting the level of frustration if i get denied! hay. yeah.. i guess you need a lot of research and preparation...

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  75. but then again, for u its not the end of the world ... love the enthusiasm and possitivity!

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  76. Congrats on your European trip Kitya! So happy for you!

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  77. Hello,

    I am heartbroken to have my spain visa request refused.

    If you could be kind enough to let me know as to how many days the appeal process took, from the day you submitted the appeal letter.

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    1. I also applied in the Spain Consulate, got refused (4 reasons) then appealed. I was advised after 4 days that my visa application was reconsidered. :) :) :) Thank God!

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  78. Hi anonymous, it took about a week. I hope you are able to get an approval for your appeal. Hugs.

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  79. Hi, where do you usually book your flights? I'm quite confused how to book a flight for visa purposes baka kasi ma-deny ako. I've tried to do it online and came across a good fair price then at the end of the form, may button BOOK NOW FOR FREE tas sa baba checkbox na you understand you are charged blah blah blah... So If I book it, parang binili ko na rin yong ticket? Ugh -____-

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  80. I always book in person through a reputable travel agency when I need to apply for a "challenging" visa (i.e. Schengen or US). The agent can provide you with a reservation and itinerary for a small cost (around 10-15 USD in my case) without having to pay for the ticket yet. Once your visa gets approved, you can pay for it. But make sure you get the same exact itinerary as most consular offices verify that.

    Update: Even though my Spanish Dreams came crashing down 2 years ago, there's a big possibility I will be traveling there later this year. Excited!

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  81. Hi! Thanks for taking the time to reply. Do you have any idea if there are different requirements if you're gonna apply for a long stay visa?

    I hope you all goes well then ;) Let us know. ^^

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  82. It's always best to get the full list of requirements from the embassy since this can change from time to time. I'm posting a new article soon about applying for visas and how to increase your chances of getting approved.

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  83. Hi SoleSister Lois!

    My Schengen dream--to borrow your entry title-- just came crashing down today and while driving home, it was (and still is) very difficult but I tried (and I'm still trying) to keep factual about my application. I guess we single ladies with Philippine passports consumed by wanderlust don't easily yield because how else would we have made all those friends from around the globe and understand that experiences-- no matter how humbling--happen for a reason:-), right?

    I could not stop thinking of what else I can do to get back on track (yes forever hopeful!!!!!!!!!kahit ansakit sa puso) since I complied with all requirements (including paying for accommodations and renewing my travel insurance). Thanks to this post of yours, I'm getting a grasp on some plausible explanation-- like you, I've never been denied a visa before and have traveled to not only Europe/etc, have valid US visa, multiple entry visa to Korea, have just come back from a month in Japan,and I always return to Philippines after my trip/s and have never overstayed my welcome as stipulated in the duration indicated in my visa/s. I gotta go then with the "no permanent job and no permanent address" bit since surely it could not have been my errrrrrmmm conscience*LOL:-)))

    So even if this is approximately two years later, here's a hug from one stranger who feels you! Going for an appeal is on my mind hence, this research. So again, thanks for your writing! Now, if I may ask: since your appeal was denied, when or how long after did you apply for a Schengen visa again? Would you happen to know if there's a prescriptive period when one may apply again when refused a Schengen visa? And did you apply in the same Embassy again?

    Thanks in advance and I hope all the roads we travel always rise up to meet us:-)

    xo
    chloe

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  84. Hey Chloe, thanks for that hug. My former self definitely needed that! I didn't have the chance to apply for a schengen visa until 2 years after. But I had a totally different experience because I was not applying as a single person anymore :) Maybe we will meet one day! Positive vibes!

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  85. Hey Lois,

    I was reading your post on when you applied for a Schengen visa through the Spanish embassy. Just wanted to ask if at the time, did you present yourself as self-employed and did you give a business registration certificate as part of your supporting documents? If not, what did you provide? Just wondering, because it'll be time for a visa application soon, and I AM SUPER NERVOUS!

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