what ubud, liz gilbert and senator sotto taught me

WARNING: Content of this article shall not be used for senate speeches.

People travel and we rationalize too much about it. I myself is guilty of this—When I go to a place, most often than not, I tend to look for reasons to answer the question “WHY?” like as if I am always being interrogated and my answer should always be pageant quality, nobel peace worthy, world peace embellished and “that would be all thank you” <wave hand>

Others may see it as looking for excuses. Which is apparently true to many, I have heard of lame excuses like “I need to go on a focus strata immersion”, “I will be volunteering in a relief effort” and “I need to go on a life changing pilgrimage”. And then you will see in their Facebook published pictures of them getting wasted while rolling on a ski in luxury winter resorts. Such a train wreck… slash fun entertainment!

But the one resounding excuse travelers often use is this:

I travel because I need to unwind and go for a retreat,  I need time to reflect… and FIND MYSELF!

The “Find myself” part is the clincher. I am guilty of using this, but I must say, bosses are still buying it. However eventually, we will have to practice thinking of new and better excuses. So, on a scale of 1 to Senator Tito Sotto, we better conjure excuses on a pro level if we want to get longer vacation leaves.

A solo trip to Bali inspired me to come up with creative answers to the question “Why?” I even came up with a lot of sugar coated ‘status updates’ as to why I was traveling alone. You guessed it right, I pulled a aneurism-inducing Elizabeth Gilbert showcase of cheesiness.

With a rented ride, I drove from Kuta to Ubud. Man, it was a bad idea to get a huge car if you are traveling alone. Looking back, I know I should have placed a placard and picked up passengers or even shot a Bang Bus episode inside van. So I just took my time and I stopped in every town to look around in an attempt to find a romantic nook to eat alone while blowing a huge chunk of Babi Guling and smothering myself with it’s greasy goodness.

The countryside of Bali is so full of character, the architecture is found nowhere else in this planet, people are charming, always flashing smiles to visitors, offering weeds and whatnot, while I—am staring blank thinking of an eat-pray-love-ish quotes to Tweet!

Babi Guling is the Balinese version of Filipinos’ Lechon

Me: Sir what is this sauce?
Vendor: Brown sauce.
Me: Oh, like Jollibee gravy
Vendor: Huh?! —and Owster Soyce
Me: Huh?! —oh! OYster SAUce
Vendor: NO! OOOWSTER SOYCE!
Me: K!

This Facebook generation made us bare naked for the world to see, stripped-off with the true essence of traveling which is just enjoying the moment. We are more pre-occupied with how to document the trip and what stories to tell on your blog pages, social media walls and live updates. We are so narcissistic exhibitionists that we lost that element of spontaneity to just ride the waves that comes along without thinking of how to brag about it. Yes I’m guilty.

That’s why on that road to Ubud, I decided to throw the itinerary that I have prepared and just move along with the force of the universe and worry about the stories to tell in retrospect. Ironically, I think I have truly found myself this time.

Traffic enforcers are adorably dressed with traditional sarongs. Carabuena, this place is not for you they eat a lot of pork so STAY AWAY!

This generation taught us how to be reflective of our journeys, but for me, I can put my Elizabeth hat when I’m back home sitting on the toilet and drafting a story in my head. We should stop being a Senator Sotto too, stop thinking of stupid excuses. Stop rationalizing travel, because you can wander around and get lost even if there’s no reason at all. Reasons will come as it go. In the mean time just enjoy the place and be one with it.

But don’t quote me on this, after all, as what a Senator said “Why should one be quoting a blogger?” right?


  • http://www.nomadicexperiences.com/ Marky

    I used to cite those reasons, “finding myself”, etc. until I realized, I’m just traveling to balance out those wasted time spent locked in a traffic jam in the city…I will never “find myself” or any other bs or romanticism “travelers” (who don’t wanna be called ‘tourists’ lol) are throwing out there. I will always find my way back and repeat same cycle with memorable moments in between.

  • http://www.jt76.wordpress.com Wends of Journeys and Travels

    I will definitely go to Bali. I am also guilty of the rant while getting leaves for travels: I want to find myself! thingy hahaha.

    Great post and one which I draw inspiration from.

    Ganda nung photos mo. :)

  • http://www.wander-if-you-must.com Reiza

    It seems like you’ve found you in Bali! :) As for Senator Sotto, you’ll be safe for now. Watch out for the other copy-pasters in the government, though. Heard there’s a battalion of them.

  • http://visa-freeworld.blogspot.com Carlo | visa-freeworld

    I cant stop laughing upon reading this Tito Sotto’s post it made my day, specially knowing that you also had the same Babi Guling Ispesyal I had when I went to Ubud. Keep it up!

  • http://www.lakadpilipinas.com Christian | Lakad Pilipinas

    No excuses for me. When someone asks why I travel, my usual answer “wala lang…”

  • http://fliptravels.com/ flip’n travels

    @Marky… yeah i do the same thing too, try then screw up then try again
    @DocWends… Thanks doc, let me know kung kelan ka magbabali, i can give the number of the place where i stayed
    @Reiza… EXACTLY! and about CTRL+C people, let karma do the thing
    @Carlo… thanks, yes the Babi Guling is yummy, but sometimes too spicy for me
    @Christian… hahaha yeah, sometimes gusto ko na lang sabihin na “because i can” para mayabangan sakin at tumigil magtanong LOL

  • http://www.activebackpacker.com Tom @ ActiveBackpacker

    Well said there mate! Ultimately everyone should just be travelling for themselves and no-one else. You shouldn’t even HAVE to give any other reason except, “It’s fun and I feel like doing it…”. That should be reason enough for everyone 😀

  • Sansan Tan-Sy

    I love your blog! Love the conversation about the brown sauce! Haha!

  • http://flipntravels.wordpress.com flipntravels

    High five Tom!

  • http://flipntravels.wordpress.com flipntravels

    hahaha thanks Sansan… altogether now—-OWSter SOYse