For the first time, www.looneyplanet.net’s Happy Mondays Playpool interview shares with you a slice of the Filipino diaspora—what is it like living and working in a foreign shore. Does one get homesick more often? What are the common homesickness remedies? The silly experiences? And most importantly, we bring you for the first time a Filipina who has extensively traveled the world (and in style at that). I’m sure you’ve been looking forward to all these and more.
This week’s guest is a youthful Filipina living and working in The Netherlands in the last ten years. She was introduced (her blog, that is) to me by Anne Marie Cunanan whom I interviewed a couple of weeks ago. Anne Marie shared to me how this woman has tremendously inspired her to see the world, notwithstanding the heaps of tips Anne Marie was getting while on the planning stage of her first trip to Europe last year.
"Welcome to my life, my world. I am in my 40s and I work in corporate sales IT full-time and I travel and experience the world part-time. This blog reflects my passions in life—places I have travelled, culinaire that I have discovered, my love for art and architecture, my quest to understand our cultures and my desire to learn the history of our world. On some days, you can find me spinning subjects about economics, affairs of state and just about life in general in Holland. So, why am I blogging this? Well, when I am old and cannot do much, I hope I can look back and read all these, with a smile. Come in. I hope you enjoy your stay."—Dutched Pinay
She’s an inspiration to many. Another Pinay who once dreamed of seeing the world and now living the dream. It’s an honor to have Dutched Pinay grace our Happy Mondays playpool. Lest I forget, she takes amazing photos! I could spend one whole look gazing at the beautiful photos in her multiply site dutchedpinay.multiply.com
10 questions for Happy Mondays PLAYPOOL. Let's get started.
1. Shoes or bags?
I’m not sure. Maybe shoes because I own more pairs of shoes than bags? I don’t see fashion as a major highlight in my daily affairs. As a woman, I make an effort to put my best foot forward. Sometimes I wish I was born a man so I don’t have to spend so much time dolling myself up. Being a woman is complicated.
2. You’ve been blogging about your travels as early as 2004. Tell me what “germ” of an idea started it all?
Back in 2004, I met many people online who were into blogging. Before I knew it, I started my own blog as well. My posts were mainly about being an expat and the adjustment I made to a life in the Netherlands. Along the years, it just morphed into a travel blog. It seems that I have found my niche without having to look for it. Right now I mainly blog to document my travels so when I get old, I can look back and read, smile, laugh and maybe cry.
|taken by Dutched Pinay during her recent trip to Zakynthos, Greece. Whoa! I want to visit this place, too!|
3. Who or what inspired you to see the world?
I have always been the curious type. The more I travel, the more I realise that we are all one and the same. Travelling keeps me grounded. Lately though, I see travelling as an escape for me. I need the time out from my stressful job (from time to time). I always have this deep need to be somewhere else, where it is different, far away from home, from work. So with that, I am always planning a long weekend here and a week or two vacation there. I guess in the process, I get to see the world.
4. How long have you been living and working abroad?
This year marks my 10 years in the Netherlands.
5. Do you find yourself taking greater risks traveling and living in a foreign country?
The subject of risks can be relative. Does it mean an adventurous activity like climbing Mt. Everest or splurging on a glamorous boutique hotel or a gourmet dinner in a Michelin-starred restaurant? Both can be risky in my opinion, but to answer the question, I can say that I take calculated risks. I’m also older, in my 40s. That means I have learned from my younger, a bit silly, and idealistic years. We all go through phases in our lives.
|Dutched Pinay skiing in St. Francois Longchamp, France early this year. She's now in the intermediate skiing class. Nice!|
6. What are your homesickness remedies?
I don’t really experience homesickness that much. It’s a state of mind. Something that we can control. But then again, I don’t really do long-term travelling.
7. Tell me about your most unique travel experience?
Travelling constantly can sometimes get to you, which means you become jaded. There are times when I don’t see the joy of packing anymore. I dreaded it. Travelling has become a chore. I’ve been to many beautiful and grand places that made my jaw dropped in awe, but I have also been to places that I do not want to visit ever again. It’s hard to categorise a travel experience as unique because they are and were all unique to me. No two destinations are alike. I do get the déjà vu feel at times. Like when I was in a metro in Stockholm last year I had this strange feeling that overcame me, bringing me back to my early years in the Netherlands sitting in a tram. Déjà vus like this just makes travelling exciting.
|Petra, Jordan: Dutched Pinay roamed the rose-red Nabatean city of Petra for one whole-day! Breathtaking, indeed!|
8. What was the silliest thing you did while on the road?
Well, I think I have done quite a number of silly things unintentionally but here are a few that I can still remember. Several years back, I booked a trip to Madrid (with a return flight a year later). I had to buy a separate and a very expensive one-way ticket back to Amsterdam.
In Luxembourg I parked my car in the city centre in the ‘only for invalide’ parking space. The car got towed and I ended up staying an extra night in the city because the police office had closed for the day.
In Germany, I hiked the toughest trail to a castle that sits in the middle of the forest, for an hour, alone. There was nobody on the trail and I had morbid thoughts lurking at the back of my mind. Like a serial killer is following me. Never again!
|Le Mont St. Michael, France: A stunning French national pride! So magical here, I wish I didn't have to leave sooner. I also had the best lunch (or food) in this entire Normandy holiday here--Dutched Pinay|
|Cenotes are exposed rocky sinkholes or caverns typically found in the Yucatan province. This particular cenote called Suytun is located inside a ranch.--Dutched Pinay|
9. What qualities do you feel should a global Filipina traveler have?
Strength, self-confidence, openness, intelligence, versatility, common sense, sense of humour
10. If the world would listen to you for fifteen seconds, what would you say?
Life is short and we only live once. Be yourself. Strive to be happy. Go live your life to the fullest. Go travel and enjoy life’s pleasures!
|Alkmaar, The Netherlands|
Be more inspired by following her blog at www.misst2000ph.blogspot.com
Once again, thank you for gracing the interview Dutched Pinay. Happy travels!
*You've just read 10 questions: Happy Mondays playpool, a series of features on discerning and inspiring (and of course uniquely silly) Filipino travelers. If you know of somebody who fits the profile to a T, please shoot a message at firstname.lastname@example.org
*all photos courtesy: Dutched Pinay