Sole Sister Spotlight: Anna Faustino of Adventure in You

Friday, January 29, 2016

She began her nomadic life as a solo woman traveller, saving up for the big trip by teaching in Boracay for three years. Today, Anna Faustino is the female force (Founder, Chief Editor and Designer) of Adventure in You – a blog of travel tips, stories and inspiration.

I found Anna's blog while feeling a bit homesick and looking for some articles about the Philippines. Although this girl is well traveled and has been on many adventures all over the world, the Philippines holds a special place in her heart. It's evident in many of the fantastic pictures all over the country that she shares on her blog Adventure in You. I had to know more about this empowered Filipina and I caught up with her in this interview:

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Snorkeling in Koh Tao, Thailand

How did you begin your nomadic lifestyle?

I guess I first began this lifestyle when I took the big leap of leaving the comforts of home to move to Boracay Island. I got a job there teaching at the International School which allowed me to gain the independence and courage that I needed to pursue what I’ve always wanted to do. When I started working, I set up a travel fund, which I kept building because I knew that one day, I would like to see the world. I worked in Boracay for 3 more years until I finally built up the courage to quit my job, pack up and sell everything I owned to go backpacking for a year.

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Skydiving on my birthday in California, USA

How did you gather the courage to take that big leap?

To be honest, I just woke up one day, tired of living my life based on a routine. I knew I wanted change and I couldn’t let fear stop me from pursuing my dreams. I wasn’t rich but I knew that if I didn’t do anything about my circumstances, nothing would change. On the day that I quit my job, I also bought a one-way ticket to Spain.

It was the best decision that I ever made and have never regretted it since!

How did you prepare for that solo backpacking trip?

Although I didn’t plan my trip to a tee, due to the limited amount of time I had on my Schengen visa, I had a list of places I wanted to see. Apart from that, I pretty much winged it. I would stay in a place depending on how much I loved it, who I met, and what I wanted to do. I loved the feeling of waking up and deciding to hop on a train to the next destination. After Europe, I went to the US and traveled around visiting family and friends. I stayed mostly around California but also squeezed in a trip to New York. I finished the rest of my trip in Southeast Asia where I backpacked in Vietnam, Laos, and Thailand. During that trip, I learned loads of valuable lessons about myself and the world around me. Here are 5 things I have learned from traveling.

Can you share three of your best moments from your year of travelling solo?

Ahh what a difficult question as each experience was unique in its own little way. If I were to choose though it would be, hiking through the mountains in Meteora, Greece. I was traveling with a Spanish friend whom I met on one of the Greek islands and from Athens, we decided to head there the night before to see the stunning monasteries built on high cliffs.

Next would be the time when I rented an ATV and drove all around Santorini, Greece. I went to this lighthouse where I climbed down to this cliff where I had the best view of the ocean and the calderas. I think that was one of the first moments when I realized how much more of the world there was to see.

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Elephant bath time in the Mekong River

The last one would be when I became an elephant mahout for a day in Laos. I spent the day with them in the jungle and finally ended it by giving my elephant a bath in the Mekong river. Although I must admit, I felt that he was giving me a bath and not the other way around!

Do you still keep a home base? Or are you traveling long term?

After my yearlong travel hiatus, I had to go back to Manila to work and get a Post Graduate Certificate in Education. By that time, I was lucky enough to have a partner whom I met while traveling, who was willing to relocate to the Philippines to wait for me. We had to be based in Manila for a year so I could finish my masters. We managed to make the most out of that year because we were constantly traveling around the Philippines. Ultimately, I think he fell in love with the people and the beauty of the Philippines that the idea of “waiting” wasn’t too bad.

Just recently, Tom and I decided to set off again to travel. We both quit our jobs and booked a one-way ticket to Indonesia. Our plan was to become digital nomads and shift our income online, both through our respective skills and through our blog. A few months into our trip, we've traveled through Europe and now we're headed to Ecuador!

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Photo in one of my dream destinations, Cinque Terrer, Italy

How do you fund your travel lifestyle?

During the first time I went backpacking, I was living off whatever money I saved. I was very careful with how I spent my money and found loads of ingenious ways to stretch my funds, especially since Europe was so expensive. Instead of going to a restaurant, I would shop in groceries and would have picnics in parks. I would also eat packed sandwiches from my hostel breakfasts, and even hitchhiked and couch surfed to save on accommodation and transportation costs.

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Eating my packed meal in front of the Eiffel Tower

This time around, we are both working on the go as we document our many (mis)adventures on our blog. I am also doing freelance writing and graphic design while Tom does freelance business consultancy and website development. On the road, we would gladly exchange our services for lodging at hostels, meals, and more currently, adventure reviews (hugs and chocolates would work too!)

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Snowboarding in Lake Tahoe

Now that you are traveling with your partner Tom, what are the pros and cons and traveling with someone?

Although I loved traveling by myself, I prefer traveling with Tom. We work really well together and he just makes everything so much more fun! It’s like traveling with your best friend because all we do is laugh – even in the worst possible situations. When you see or experience things while on the road, sometimes you wish you had someone to share that moment with.

Of course traveling with a partner has its ups and its downs. When you are on the road, you are constantly placed in situations that test your limits. There was a time that we were traveling for almost 30 hours straight without a bed. You see each other at your highest and lowest points (admittedly, my low points often come when I am hungry!)

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Camping on a secluded island in Gigantes Island, Philippines

How did you realize that Tom is the perfect travel partner and what are your tips for others who want to travel as a couple too?

You have to make sure that you have similar interests and want to do the same things. In our article, “how to find the perfect travel partner”, we outlined different things which couples must consider before they decide to travel together. By talking about these things and deciding about them beforehand, you will save yourself the pain of arguing while on the road. Apart from that, I think giving each other space is very important. Don’t be afraid to do your own thing once in a while. The space is good for you – especially since you guys are together 24/7.

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Autumn in Prague, Czech Republic

What passion projects are you currently working on?

Tom and I feel very blessed to have the opportunity to travel and see the world. From our travels, we have met people from different walks of life, and at the same time, have seen people living in extreme poverty. This inspired us to give back in our own little way. We thought of the word wanderlust and decided to call ours “The Wandergive Project” which is all about a desire to give back while traveling. Our goal is to find communities and fully immerse ourselves with them then create fundraisers to help that community meet a need. It doesn’t have to be big. It could be as something as simple as purchasing flip-flops or toothbrushes for a small village. We’ve found out that when traveling, so many backpackers want to give back in their own little way but don’t know how.

You write a lot about the Philippines – what are your top 3 recommendations for people who are visiting for the first time?

The Philippines is such a beautiful country – and I don’t just say that because I am from there! Our islands, the people, and the diverse sceneries that we have make this place an ideal country to explore. Although choosing our favorites is pretty difficult, I would say Palawan for its many stunning islands and lagoons; Cebu and Dumaguete for a laid back atmosphere and many hidden natural landscapes; and finally, head up North to Sagada and Banaue to experience cave spelunking and see firsthand the beauty of the rice terraces.

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Jump shot after hiking Mt. Pinatubo, Philippines

What's your advice for people who think that they can't travel for any given reason?

As cliché as it sounds, if you really want it, there is always a will and a way! Often times, the lack of money or my Filipino passport were easy crutches to use as an excuse for not traveling. Stop making excuses just because you are too afraid to venture out of your comfort zone. I have managed to travel by myself, even going to countries that were difficult to get a visa for. All I did was make a decision to travel, then made lifestyle changes in order to help me reach my dreams. Both Tom and I traded financial security to pursue a life of travel and one of our favorite quotes sums it up perfectly: “The most dangerous risk of all – the risk of spending your life not doing what you want on the bet that you can buy yourself the freedom to do it later.”

Anna Faustino is ½ of the travel blog, Adventure in You. She and her partner Tom met one fateful day in Vietnam and they have been together ever since. Brought together by their love for silly dance moves, good food, and discovering new cultures, they are on a mission to go on as many adventures around the Philippines, and the world, as they possibly can. Follow their journey on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram as they inspire and unleash the Adventure in You.

Want to read more about women empowering women to travel? Check out more at Sole Sister Spotlight.

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(dot)weare(at) We look forward to your suggestions!

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1 sole trails

  1. I had an amazing time reading your story. You are an inspiration who can inspire loads of women to travel solo. I am a solo traveler and actually it needs courage to travel alone.


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