Sole Sister Spotlight: Trish of P.S. I'm On My Way

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

I often find a lot of women travelers online who show me a piece of myself: They're fearless, plan-less, guilt-free with a head full of dreams. One of them is Trish of P.S. I'm On My Way. I got an email from her a few months back introducing herself and I was truly impressed. She's an inspiring Filipina in Latin America who is slowing making her way and defining her own version of success. Here's our interview:

When did you start a travel lifestyle? What inspired you to take that big leap?

It all started when I came to Milan to study fashion. While studying, I was also undergoing an internship with an international fashion brand and they sent me to different cities to attend the Fashion Week. Paris and London, to name a few. During my free time (which is really rare if you work in fashion), I got to explore the cities and I've met a lot of backpackers doing long-term travel. By talking to them, I learned how they do this kind of lifestyle. 

At first, I was like, "Is that even possible? I mean not living somewhere and just moving and moving? How can you live like that?" After a year, I found myself wanting to do the same thing. I went back to Manila, had freelance fashion jobs and decided to quit my life in the Philippines. It was scary. I didn't know how to do it but I got inspired by the travellers I met. Thinking that they can do it means I can too. I didn't put any limit to my capabilities. Another thing that inspired me to travel is football. I am a hardcore football fan. Every year, English Clubs conduct their Asian Tour in China, Thailand and Malaysia. I always see to it that I get to watch these games. I stalked each time country by country and that made me realize that it's not that hard to travel.

Trisha of P.S. I'm On My Way1

How long did it take for you to prepare for this (South American) trip and what steps did you take?

I did not prepare for this. I was here by fate. Last year, me and my ex boyfriend wanted to try travelling together so we went to Africa. After a few months travelling the North of the continent, we realized that we are not a good team in terms of travelling and then we separated. Literally, just waking up saying "What are we doing? This is not working." We're both different when it comes to the travel department and if you cannot travel with your boyfriend, I am telling you, break up. There's no way that the relationship will work.

He's been travelling for almost 10 years so he was fine when he travelled on his own after Africa. Me? I was devastated. Yes, the break up killed me but what killed me more is that I don't know anything about travelling long-term. Where will I go? Back then, I didn't speak French nor Arabic so when we separated ways.

I was clueless. I couldn't travel more in Africa because of safety precautions and visa issues so I thought of a place where these things are not a problem -- South America. I sent a couch request to a Brazilian girl (who's one of my bestfriends now) and she accepted it. From there, I travelled to Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, back to Brazil, Uruguay and now Argentina. I don't know, things just happened! It just worked out for me very well and after 17 months, I am still here.

Trisha of P.S. I'm On My Way14

What kind of work allows you to live and travel in other countries?

To be honest, my blog has helped me a lot travelling. I earn enough money from my blog/writing. It's not a lot but it's enough to keep me on the road. After all, I am not asking for too much in life anymore. Being here, being able to travel, is more than enough. I also have a part-time online job where I do social media marketing which adds up to my savings. I use the money I earn from this company to treat myself -- birthdays, christmas or shopping. I don't really pay for holidays as my blog helps me land a sponsorship with travel agencies, all expenses paid in exchange for extra online exposure.

Trisha of P.S. I'm On My Way12

Tell us about your current mission and how it has evolved through your years of travel.

My mission was to travel to all visa-free countries for Filipinos but then it evolved to finish travelling Latin America. In South America, Filipinos can travel 6/13 countries without a visa. But as an explorer myself, I tried to apply for visas to those countries which are not on the list and it worked. Even if I am not in my home country, I was able to apply for a visa to Panama and Uruguay in Brazil; and a visa to Argentina in Uruguay. Even if I've been told that it's impossible, I did it. I received responses from the consulates via e-mail saying, "you have to be in your home country to be able to apply for a visa." But I didn't stop there. I visited the consulate, explained my situation, what I do in life and voila, they all granted me a visa.

Trisha of P.S. I'm On My Way5

Did you encounter any naysayers? How did you deal with that?

Nada. Zero. Zilch. I am a part of a beautiful family and a very supportive community and I am really thankful for that. But what I am having difficulties with is explaining how I do it. I keep a blog, yes, but the posts are not in chronological order. People would still ask, "How can you afford this?" And most of them assume that I am an heiress of a very rich family so I can afford to travel. If they only knew there were a lot of times I had to sleep on the streets, they would be surprised! I even encountered someone who was borrowing money and I am deeply staggered by that thought. I was like, "What made you think I have money?! Because I am travelling, is that it?" This person surprisingly said, "Yes."

I just think that people in our country look at travel as a luxury and not everyone knows that they can do it in a simpler and cheaper way, if they want to.

Trisha of P.S. I'm On My Way11

Is there anything you still miss about the Philippines? Name 3 things.

The Philippine sun (there's nothing like it!), danggit (dried fish) and the place where grew up and first started dreaming- Subic.

Trisha of P.S. I'm On My Way4

Have you ever fallen in love on the road? Share your story.

HAHAHAHA! No. After me and my ex broke up on the road, I realized that you cannot have it all. You can travel the world, yes. But that doesn't guarantee that you will be able to keep a strong romantic relationship with the other person. You can't have both! You just have to pick one. 

Travelling, or a stable relationship? Of course, you can fall in love but there are things that you need to prioritize. I actually really liked someone but the feeling of staying where he is wasn't running in my head. I can never imagine myself stopping to travel just because I am in love with a person. With the men I met or dated on the road, the case was always that I have to be the one who stays. Why can't they go travel with me? Why do I have to be where they live? 

One dude told me, "Because that's what normal people do, Trish. They date, fall in love, live together, etc. There's an order." Well then, consider me abnormal. I will not do these things just because society says so. I don't want to do things in chronological order.

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I dated a few, yes. But it always ends up tragically. They end up hating me. 

They say I don't have emotions. Or maybe I was traumatized with my past relationship, stuff like that. If you think men will always end up breaking your heart, in the past year, that didn't happen to me. I was always the weird one. I was the one who didn't want to receive flowers or go on a formal date because when they do that, it means they're serious. Men are too serious, I can't even believe it myself! I remember one time when a guy gave me a gift and I am really bad with surprises- let alone receiving gifts. I was just laughing and I didn't say anything. I totally offended him. I think for me, laughing was the best way to escape an awkward situation but deep inside, I was really uncomfortable. 

I find it illogical to fall in love with someone who is travelling, who has no permanent address or who doesn't even know where she's going. It's obvious that I am travelling and I didn't need to warn them. Sometimes, things just happen, emotions just burst out of nowhere and get out of hand. It's a pity though -- we all could have been friends if they didn't let their emotions control their logic.

As for me, I know my place in the world. Sure, call me a rock with no feelings but through the course of travelling, I have handled myself well when it comes to dating men. Love can wait. My travel has to happen now. It has to go on without interruption.

Trisha of P.S. I'm On My Way3

What kind of skills or know how would you consider necessary for someone who is thinking of long term travel?

A lot of things, actually. When I left home, I didn't know how to cook anything and it was one of the most important skill you have to have when travelling. I mean you save more money when you cook, right? It was then that I started learning from friends and over the internet. After a few months, I found myself cooking for my host families and co-volunteers. I really love cooking now!

Most years of my life, I never lived simply. I was always in the most comfortable state and I get agitated when I am not. Travelling taught me how opt for simpler things, to live with that you have and not ask for more. I slept on the streets, bus terminals, took 5-day bus trips instead of flights to save cash, wore the same clothes for 17 months, etc. These are the things I didn't do in my old life. My parents were quite surprised as well.

In order to travel long-term, I think you just have to be a cowboy -- someone who can be anywhere no matter the living conditions may be.

Trisha of P.S. I'm On My Way2

Do you think you'll ever put down that backpack and settle down somewhere?

Of course but I haven't thought of that yet. It never crossed my mind in the duration of my travel. I prospected some places like Lima and Buenos Aires but there are still much places to see and get to know. However, no matter where I've been, living in the Philippines is still on top of the list. I have a different view of the Philippines now. I don't want to live in the capital anymore, to be honest! Maybe Boracay or Baler? Living in a tent, writing a book, maintaining a blog? I am not sure! Or most probably, back in the city where I grew up and carved my dreams.

Trisha of P.S. I'm On My Way7

As Filipinos, travel can still be challenging for us. What advice can you give for someone who feels they can't do what you've done?

I am not finished travelling Latin America and I have yet to discover things that will make each Filipino empowered and inspired to travel. I think my main advice would be: If it fits, it will work. I believe in the saying that "When you really want something, the Universe will conspire for you to achieve it."

We are all interested in travelling but it has to be converted to loving it and achieving it. We cannot just sit down on the computer all day looking what other people have accomplished in terms of travelling. We have to do something about our dreams! This also goes for those who want to travel but feel trapped from societal pressure -- if you don't love your job, quit. You will not die quitting this. Do something that you really love and ignore the negative people who are telling you that "You should be working a 9-5 because this is the normal way of life."

There is no rule how to live life. It just says, "live life." Nothing more.

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Trisha is a road scholar who loves learning languages, burgers, cats, football, hot sauce and coffee. She is the author of the travel blog, P.S. I’m On My Way where she writes about her long-term travel adventures, volunteering, learning languages and encouraging women to travel solo. Follow her on Facebook.

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Do you know of travelers who conquer the world one country at a time? We would love to interview them for Sole Sister Spotlight. Please send us an email at solesisters .weare@gmail .com. We look forward to your suggestions!

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3 sole trails

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. So great to "meet" you Trish! Keep on inspiring us!

  3. Great interview, Trish. I love your answers and your attitude, especially your sensible and refreshing attitude towards men that want you to stay in their town and 9-5 jobs! The photos are lovely too.


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