Heart and Soul Travel

It was April of 2018 when I stayed in Chiang Mai for a month. I stayed in a small studio apartment in a Thai neighborhood. It was a choice because I wanted to immerse myself in the culture and conquer my hate towards coriander. I had so much fun knowing I could explore the city independently. I did not expect to meet a lot of travelers because I did not stay in a hostel. It was my first solo adventure, and I did want it to be extraordinary.

I instantly fell in love with Chiang Mai. I love the art scene, the local products, and the people. It was a lot of fun overall. But what I did not expect was meeting a Japanese traveler who was staying at the same building. She just quit her life in Da Nang to move back to Japan.

She told me that before returning to her home country, she first wanted to visit Chiang Mai. She was teaching Japanese in Vietnam for a few years and finally decided to go on a new path to Japan.

We started to have this friendly connection and traveled around Chiang Mai and Pai together. She was the one to push me also to visit Da Nang to check the vibe there. I then booked the cheapest flight to Vietnam, when I should return to the Philippines.

It was a crazy idea, but I had a few days to consider it.

My newfound friend left for Bangkok a few days before I continued my journey. She traveled to Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, as it was her dream. I was amazed about her choice of countries because only a few travelers go there, but she mentioned that it had been on her mind for so long, and it’s nearer to Bangkok than Japan.

Then came the day I had to choose because I had two flights booked for the same day. I had to decide whether to pursue my long-term travel dream or return to the Philippines, but I chose the latter. I was a scaredy cat and had a poor mindset way back.

I returned home, and we continued communicating with my travel buddy from Japan. She told me that she would visit the Philippines to have a reunion with me, and I agreed when she came here, I was her tour guide.

We visited Cebu and Siquijor. It was a great adventure because I have also lived in Cebu and visited Siquijor.

I was delighted that she enjoyed her trip. We then planned on meeting again in Tokyo; she would be my guide this time. I applied for the visa, and luckily, it was approved.

It was my first time in Japan, and wow, it was terrific. I love everything about the country. Also, it was great that I did not worry so much about figuring everything out in Tokyo because I had an excellent guide.

And here comes the most exciting part: I experienced love at first sight in the Tokyo district. I was enjoying the dance floor when I met this handsome guy from Thailand. I loved his style. He told me that he was from Thailand and he’s partly Mongolian. We had a lovely time dancing together. It was beautiful. My phone was already dead. We went out to find his friend, but we didn’t find him, so we went back to the bar again. Until it was time for me to leave, because I was drunk, I forgot to ask for his name and any other contact information. I was a mess.

My Japanese friend, her other friend, and I waited for the first train around 5 am; it was cold for me.

We came back to our Airbnb, and I felt super fine. Only when it was my time to leave and while on the plane. I felt so much regret in my entire life for being too careless and not pushing myself to ask for his name and all. Maybe it was alcohol, perhaps I was not brave enough, or maybe it wasn’t our moment to shine.

I came back to Cebu with a gloomy vibe because I knew it was love at first sight, and I did nothing about it to see what would happen next.

All in all, it was a crazy adventure. I broke my heart in Japan, and I will never forget the feeling of falling in love instantly and getting hurt right after because of a missed opportunity.

But you know what? I still love Japan, even if it broke my heart. It was my first trip to a developed Asian country, and I could do many things and see Japanese Harajuku fashion in real life.

My Japanese friend, way back, told me we should have another reunion in China, but sadly, the pandemic happened. We are still in contact but have yet to make concrete plans. Who knows? Maybe in Thailand again?

Overall, it was a crazy adventure meeting my Japanese friend, who ended up visiting the Philippines, and then I could also travel to Japan.

I know that there’s no perfect travel in this world. There will be hiccups along the way, so let me plug my travel advocacy.

Guys, if you are in the early stages of planning your international travel this year, please consider buying travel insurance. I have always shared this on my social media, and having one while exploring abroad changed my life. The feeling of safety and security made my adventures more unforgettable and enjoyable.

SafetyWing is my first choice when I’m outside the Philippines. For those curious, it is a travel medical insurance that nomads created for nomads. You can purchase a policy even if your trip has already started. You can pause and resume coverage with flexibility. One hundred eighty-five countries are covered; you don’t need to inform them about your itinerary in advance.

Perfect for people like me who are still determining where they’ll be next month! 

What about you? It’s always good to have travel insurance when you are away. Be prepared for crazy adventures!

Peace of mind is priceless, you know.

Trust me. 

It will never break your heart.


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