I’m coming clean. Sorry Mom, I’ve misbehaved. Sorry, grade four values ed teacher, I wasn’t totally honest about everything.
You know you’ve done it, too. As they say, follow the rules then break them. U-huh, the act paints you in a bad light. But sometimes, you just gotta’ be bad to bring out the good in certain situations.
I admit it doesn’t feel good at first, but I can honestly say I won’t regret saying YES when logic dictated NO, and vice versa.
1) SAVE MONEY
When I paid the KLM cashier and handed over P500 bills stacked so high it looked like a block of cheese.
I’ve been saving since 2014, literally skimping on every aspect of life: From resorting to youtube workout videos rather than coughing up P5000 a month for a gym membership; bringing old loose clothes to the alteration shop to be adjusted and refitted instead of shopping for new ones; and walking from point A to B or commuting via Bus or Jeep.
So spend it! You studied several years to be in that crappy high-paying job. Book that ticket, bring that toy home, order that expensive slab of steak you’ve been drooling over, propose to your gf with that engagement ring she wants (tread carefully on this one, though).
2) DON’T TALK TO STRANGERS
When you’re too cheap to avail of roaming services for internet and you find bringing a map tedious, asking people for directions is your only resort. I’ve not only talked to them, I even joked, drank booze, discussed arts+humanities, and matters of the heart with them. Most of them are keeping in touch till now, through facebook or Instagram. If you’re reading this, hi!
3. BE HOME EARLY
After a day of touring, it’s quite hard not to just slump into bed and doze off. There is a danger of missing out here. Every place takes on a different form at different times of the day. So it would be a total waste to be indoors as soon as the sun sets.
Go out. Be safe. Don’t be stupid. That’s all there is to it.
Home is where the heart is. So follow your heart, and you’ll always be at home. (see what I did there?)
4. EAT YOUR VEGETABLES
AS LONG AS IT’S COOKED PROPERLY, EAT IT.
5. DON’T LIE
Whenever I travel alone, I keep telling people I meet that I’m with friends and we just split up for a while. Or that I’m on my way to meet a local I met, or, if push comes to shove, I’m with my girlfriend.
This serves 2 purposes: 1) For safety, it gives the impression that I have access to help or that someone is aware of my whereabouts; 2) A deterrent for unwanted company for times you just want to be alone.
Lie now, so you won’t be found laying dead later.
6. DON’T GO TOO FAR
A week before flying to South America, I told my mother I’d be going somewhere far. When she asked, “saan?” (Where?) I went to the kitchen to get our inflatable globe. Una tinuro ko ang Pilipinas. Tapos tinuro ko ang Beijing saying, “Dito ako nagpunta nung birthday ko.” She was still waiting where I was going to next. That’s when I spun the globe a little bit more and I felt her eyelids stretch wide open further. My finger then landed on Brazil, Rio de Janero and calmly said, “Dito.” (Here.)
Farther is Further. You’ll have the rest of your life to stay and settle in one place and die. Go farther while you’re alive.
7. PRAY BEFORE YOU SLEEP
Pray whenever you can. There are a lot of uncertainties along the road. I remember praying waking up after an immigration agent at the border of Bolivia knocked on my bus window.
He pointed his flashlight at the bags they’ve unloaded and signaled me to go down. They were looking for contrabands and drugs. I was at my most pious during those 2 minutes of my life. If drugs got planted in my luggage, I would be writing this in some jail at the other side of the world now.
Praying is free. Do it as often as possible.
8. CHEW YOUR FOOD
Foodies are gonna kill me, but not only am I on a quest to save money, but time as well. I can care less what to eat while I’m on the road. So if you’re traveling with me, you better be okay with convenience store food. And the skill of eating your lunch or breakfast while walking to the subway or the bus station is appreciated. Let’s not fight over this.
Chews your battles.
9. LOOK BOTH SIDES BEFORE CROSSING
Everything has pros and cons. But the heart gets what the heart wants. Ignorance is bliss, as they say. So go for it. Trust your gut and you’ll get to where you want to be, get that toy you’ve always wanted, get that dream job you’ve always dreamed of.
10. SAFETY FIRST
Hiking without any training whatsoever; Scuba diving 110 ft deep on an intro class; Eating a live octopus.
I was already fit from all those youtube videos, I felt I can climb mountains anyway. My diving instructor teased me in joining his advanced class since I was the only one whose going to be left on the boat. I figured the opportunity to do so would only present itself again after I attain a diver’s license which was expensive—so I called the dare. The octopus was paid for by my South Korean foster parent, it was free dinner.
Safety isn’t always the best way to go for me. Not that I’m an adrenaline junkie, but when time and money are the issue here, it’s a no-brainer. Don’t believe me? Soon enough, you’ll find out that the best way to enjoy life is to live it without safety nets or harnesses.
BETTER TO LIVE A SHORT FULFILLING LIFE THAN A LONG BORING ONE.
Have you got any rules you’re fond of breaking? Let me read your thoughts on the comment box or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.