The Hippies of South America

I’m on a fairy hunt.. and I see Sarah as one of them. She’s a brave Canadian who’s roots are Asian yet spirits are from elsewhere. ^_^ She worked in super yacts, volunteered in hostels, and has become an actress at some point. All these she does for the love of travel.

This little lady is awesome according to my book of life. So I let her share stories in this website… i don’t necessarily encourage you to quit your job to travel like what Sarah did. But for those of you with brave souls, here’s a member of your tribe.


It’s Sarah, on another chapter of her life. I quit my job (again) to pursue and go somewhere far (again). This time I find myself in South America. It’s not because I hated my last job, I just needed a long break from workaholics and those who are in a constant bad mood. In this journey of mine, I met some very interesting, common yet unstructured, ingenious, free spirited, friendly, chatty, etc people on the road – the hippies of South America.

sarah tang in south america

One might probably define hippies as these dirty beggars without a penny to their name, hitchhiking around the planet. Maybe you’d think they have these bohemian style dress code with dreadlocks that swing back and forth like ropes on a boat. I don’t think it applies to every hippie, and it’s hard to generalise as they are not a tribe, not a cult, not a religion, but more like a community of free floaters, flowing around the globe and choosing a life that they want. Can you imagine quiting your job, selling all your things, kissing your family and friends goodbye, and start travelling for the sake of travelling? I am very sure they can.

So back to the topic. What makes the hippies in South America so different and capturing? For one, my hippie friends here dont’t have a lot of money, maybe even without money. However, they are not free loaders and definitely do not beg for money and never with a sign saying “need money to travel”. Instead, most of them have some skills to add to their name, such as making these beautiful designs of friendship bracelets, selling and making crystals and wired crystal ornaments, juggling in crosswalks or the plaza, baking and selling bread, rolling truffle balls to sell, wovening dream captures, etc. My favourite is when they busk and sing traditional South American songs on the street, in buses, and in restaurants. I loved it so much, I went to join my hippie friends’ band for a few days restaurant hopping and busking. And in every tourist city, should a hippie or a traveller without much of a skill needs money, there will be some badly printed sign outside a restaurant looking for a waiter(ress), cook and cleaner. I got my job as a cleaner/ waitress that way! That’s how they make money and support themselves. That’s how they can continue to live their travelling life. That’s how they are not a burden to the population or to the government or to anyone.

I forgot to mention, I started with zero foundation of Castellana (Latin American Spanish) and my various beloved friends here were very persistent to teach me Spanish, as they spoke almost no English. As for sleeping? Most of them own a tent. I don’t know how budget tight are you when you travel, but should I need the cheapest recommendation for a place to sleep, you bet I would ask the first hippie type of person on the street for that.

In this community without borders, I have felt very welcomed and very happy to share my time with them. As a traveller, be it hippies or just a regular traveller, we travel and learn by sharing informations. I will forever remember their genuine smile, their hospitality, and their lessons in sharing all they have.


Win free 3 days 2 nights stay in Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore

After every long term travel, I always try to make it a point to let my readers experience the places where I have been.

Not everyone does this but that’s how I try to give back.. let’s wish that grasya.com can give more in the future.
Now this is a challenge if I get to expensive countries. I thought I figured it out when a former client did a giveaway in this site.. But let me figure it out more next time. Any suggestions? ^_^

For this moment, let’s aim to spread goodness.

As you’ve read from my previous story, I wasn’t able to travel to Singapore. My anxiety and low self esteem as a solo traveler during my long term travel was at an all time low too.

But I don’t want you, dear reader, to undergo the same anxiety and misfortunes that I went through.
Soo let’s have this opportunity to turn a misfortune into something beautiful.

This picture was in the Round Houses in Chiang Dao, Thailand owned by a wonderful lady named Maggi. The place is magical and serene, and the house is not a typical house because it’s creatively designed. I want to own something like this in the future. You can click on the image to see more details.


chiang dao round houses


I always try to do a give away so at least my readers can partake in the joyful moments I had during my travels. Here’s some of my previous freebies. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not rich in material things but who cares about it when I can do freebies and giveaways that make other people happy :P


This was down south of Chiang Mai in Thailand. It’s my second time to be here. It’s a quiet resting place in a city with enough space for a 7-10 people group retreat. You may click on the picture to book


chiang mai retreat center

Ok. Do those pictures make you excited already? ^_^..

Up for grabs are the opportunity to stay for 3 days 2 nights in beautiful places where I stayed at either in Chiang Mai Thailand, Chiang Dao Thailand, Kuala Lumpur Malaysia and Singapore… well, never really had the chance to stay in Singapore but I paid for the place so might as well give it away.


singapore


When you win, you can choose 1 place to stay in each country so you can finally get your peace of zen.. And, who knows you might want to stay there forever. There are 3 places to choose from in Thailand so you can pick whatever you fancy.

Most of these places are for people who do personal retreats. So if you’re looking for quiet places for rest, relaxation and meditation, I would recommend you to check out those places. If you’re a party person, sorry but it’s not for you. You can still join in and gift it to someone else that needs it.


This place is a quiet home up a bit northwest, 30-45 mins from Chiang Mai walled city. The rural place has very few tourist and has a very local vibe. For those hypersensitive to technology and needs lots of green spaces, you can check this out. This house was chosen by spiritual guides as a place for healthy energy. Click on the image if you want more details.


chiang mai retreat house


As for the contest, here’s the mechanics.

0. Like Homestay
1. Like Chiang Mai Homestay and Retreat House
2. Like Chiang Dao Roundhouses
3. Like Trekking Collective
4. Like Soholand in Malaysia
5. Like Travel Tips and Stories
6. Like grasya.com
7. Share this post in facebook, instagram or twitter with hashtag #retreats #homestay #contest #giveaway
8. Comment on this website on why you wanted to win this.

ALTERNATIVE ENTRY: Email me at grasya(at)grasya.com a story about your latest journey containing a minimum of 400 words – I might publish your story too. Email Subject should be Contest Entry.

At the end of Oct 2017, I will choose the names of the person worthy to stay at different places in Chiang Mai, Chiang Dao Thailand, Kuala Lumpur Malaysia and Singapore for free. I give priority to those who are corporate slaves, single moms, those who do volunteer/charity work and other work that involves helping the underprivilege.

The picture below is in Malaysia. I stayed here twice already. I was traveling solo but there are always couchsurfers in this place hanging out, if you want a city vibe and yet still experience the rural mountains and hotspring, check it out.


soholand malaysia

A piece of happy thought: everyone who will participate here will still get something for Christmas. ^_^ It’s a wee something but it can at least start your journey.

If you win though, you need to redeem the prize and set your booking on or before December 2017. If you don’t have travel plans on or before January 2018, you can still gift it to someone else who is traveling and needs a place to stay, that way, we can pass it forward.


***DUE TO LOW NUMBER OF ENTRIES, DEADLINE IS EXTENDED UNTIL NOVEMBER 30, 2017***

Back to the Philippines. Long term trip experiences shared

It took me weeks to update the content of this website… because i want to show the beautiful side of life in a way that no one will get jealous if I show pretty pics, or at least no one will borrow money.

But after reading this, and you still feel envy, contact me and I’ll personally tell you all the horror stories that I’ve collected. Who knows I might convert the envy to fright and you might not want to travel already : )))))

But for now, let’s focus on life’s beautiful moments.

I do travel in a different way so please don’t categorize me in any of the social class ladder. I blend or adjust depending on different situations.

As I’ve said previously in old travel stories, I travel solo but I meet people along the way so I’m not really solo travelling all the time.

It’s nice to meet people who have a different culture or point of view other than yours. There’s beauty in diversity. And it’s nice to break other people’s negative mindset sometimes. Here are some highlights of my trip. Hope you enjoyed reading and get a lesson or two.

1. During gatherings of friends new and old, I usually pay for lunch or dinner of everyone. Then I see their upset faces.. I don’t know if this is the norm or not. But I’m really happy to pay. If I’m with fellow Filipinos, they will usually be happy that I’m paying. But the behavior changes when I’m with other nationalities… I may not look rich but at least, don’t treat me poor and always be on the side of receiving.. don’t spoil me and give me everything for free, because instead of being glad to receive blessings, it makes me feel guilty and tend to give back.

So I continue to treat them despite my friends showing signs of being upset and probably concerned about me that I may loose money due to traveling, I love these people, they are my human treasures.

Thai food


2. I’m not shy to say I cook, clean dishes, or tend the garden of my hosts because I love to do this. I buy their groceries out of my pocket too.

Our foreign visitors to the PH do this favor too, they cook dishes that represents their countries and my niece and nephews gets to have a global education.

I don’t want to be just a visitor. I want to be a temporary family member.


3. During travels, I met interesting people that are totally on the other side of my point of view. I met people who are pro-climate change, saying that trees needs more C02 so we need to produce more carbon. And that weather changes are causes by government, example, HAARP.. Wars in the future will not use missiles or machine guns, wars are now in forms of weather changes. Scary thought from that American lady I met in Chiang Mai.. but who knows what the future holds.

4. I also met someone from Latvia, a tiny country in Europe, and he doesn’t like Syrians and refugees saying they are spending the resources of their host countries. But at least he gave me a probiotic mushroom, so I’m happy. He said some countries in Europe are very racist and they have this – Aryan supremacist mentality.. I said it’s ok –
I’m used to being discriminated anyway… but now that I have friends in these countries, I will feel safe in their bubble.. hopefully.. we’ll see what the future holds.

5. The long term travel is a bit short for me coz usually, my long term travel duration is 3 months. But I was still able to meet different people like from US and Latvia as mentioned previously; and I also met a family from China, overworked yuppies from India, a focolarina from Japan, Chiang Mai ambassador from Australia, tiny homes owner from UK, a travel company alpha female owner who has a British passport, a young backpacker from France who is looking for a purpose in life, Thai tourist from Macau, a long time friend whom I thought was from Nepal but has an Indian passport… of course wonderful locals, my human treasures from Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia, some whom were my friends since 2004 and 2010. These are just some of the pics, some moments are just forever captured in my memory (as an excuse for forgetting to take a picture) ^_^

grasya travel 2017


6. I met a monk who used to be a pilot. Now, he eats only once a day and live alone in the forest.It made me feel guity that we were eating a sumptious lunch and he just stayed in another table, unattached.

monk thailand

 

7. I met a few more who hated the Muslims…. but it’s very interesting to note that when I was stranded in Johor Bahru, Malaysia, while everyone was just staring, laughing and being entertained at my misfortunes, the one who rescued me was a Muslim family.. and we had a beautiful sharing about each others culture, and she told me that Muslim women are actually very important in their religion.. and to my surprise, this Muslim lady was actually driving the car while her husband and kid was in the backseat.. She later told me she is a financial expert and has different businesses… we might collaborate in the future.. she is very empowering indeed.


johor bahru


8. I wasn’t able to enter Singapore, but this should be told in another story. Of course I can’t say anything about that country coz I wasn’t able to visit in the first place. I went there before already so not really keen on traveling there again anyway. But I will have a contest to give away a chance to stay in a posh accommodation because well, I wasn’t able to go although I paid for this already, might as well give it away.

singapore

 

9. I was trying to do many things at the same time. Travel, working on different projects online that deserves another post, meeting people, shopping and getting lost, it actually took a toll on me and I got sick in my last few days in Malaysia. At the same time, my insecurities were at an all time high and I can’t help but compare myself to those backpackers who still looks posh despite messy hair, slippers, and just plain sleeveless shirt and short. I dress like that too, but instead, I feel more like an illegal immigrant maid. Maybe that’s the reason why I wasn’t able to enter SG? I was actually dressed decent that time, and was proud to tell the immigration officers I travelled to other countries already. Anyway, that’s another story and yes, I do deserve a hug, thank you.

10. Despite the last few days of my long term travel not ending well, I still wish more people can travel too so they can understand each other. What I see is that people go out of the country but they stay in their own bubble and meet people in their own class.. and then pick on other people not belonging in their own class.

It’s the same scenario anywhere. Rich vs Poor, Young vs Old, West vs Asians, White vs nonWhites, Christians vs Muslims, and vice versa.

Another challenge is inflation and war and other culture conflicts that makes it more difficult for people to move. Travel is still a privilege but if we find ways for everyone to travel and understand each other, this privilege will be erased. Besides, everyone deserves to enjoy this beautiful earth, it’s the only one we have until it’s time to leave it.

Back to Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia. Freedom (almost) achieved

Back to Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia. Freedom (almost) achieved

At last! I’m free!!

Well not really. I still have stuff to do back home in the Philippines. But after 2 years of not traveling out of the country, I felt like a bird suddenly out of a cage.

birds in Nepal

Don’t worry I’m not the wild bird type :P

My feelings were mixed of tears of joy and a bit of angst that I wasn’t able to do this regularly like other people who travels to other countries or continent like it’s just going to the Mall. But then I realized, I am still lucky coz there are people who lived their whole lives not traveling.

Or worst, some people travel just because they need to survive.

So I’m contented and my Maslows Heirarchy of Needs is fulfilled.. I feel grateful dear Universe.

destination addiction

I am currently in Thailand, then will go to Vietnam, then Malaysia. Traveling on a budget to make sure other people who don’t have so much budget can travel too. Although I need to make sure I give the right information to the right readers, because you know…. hello thieves. ^_^ I do hope I have converted them to not steal this time.

A day in Bhaktapur, Nepal with a motorcycle tour guide

A day in Bhaktapur, Nepal with a motorcycle tour guide

I’m recalling my past travels in Nepal last 2014. It is such a beautiful country, I wish I can go back someday.

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After a few days in Kathmandu city, I decided to venture out and head to Bhaktapur. I found an American couchsurfer host and despite being 60, her radiance and outlook in life makes her aura younger.. I might be flattering her so much because I’m surfing :)) but really she’s awesome!

She recommended that I go around and hire her adopted Nepali grandson to tour around so that’s what I did one day. We started very early, around 6AM..

Although we could have went out of the house of my couchsurfing host at 5:30AM, I just had a hard time going out of bed coz I’m not a morning person. On the other hand, Bimal, my tour guide, was very prompt.

It was chilly, around 10 degree, and as we go up the mountain using Bimal’s bike, we stopped at a great spot overseeing the Himalayas to take a picture of the sun rise.

It was beautiful.


sunrise in Nepal


And seeing beautiful places has just started.. After a brief tea stop, we went on top of a hill in Nagarkot. The sun was already up and the Himalayas looks sparkly stunning.. the top of the world is at sight.. and I said to myself how lovely is your dwelling place dear God.


this grasya is in nepal


Then after a while, we descent to see the surrounding hills , rice terraces, cool breeze. It was picture perfect that we periodically stop so I can take a pictures..  I’m not a good photographer though but hope you like the picture


nepal


Then we went temple hopping.

Nepal, a country between two giants India and China, has an interesting religious culture.. For example, my Hindu tour guide performed Buddhist traditions when we went to a Buddhist temple.. so despite the difference, I’m glad to observe that religious tolerance is very much apparent.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA


Riding a motorcycle instead of going on group tours made my trip flexible. We stop whenever I want to take pictures and we went on roads not passable to regular vans. For those who wants to avail of motorcycle tours, I paid 1000 nepali rupeess plus entrance fees plus lunch to the tour guide. If you know other cheaper options, let me know though ^_^

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