TAINAN, TAIWAN | It’s been eight months since I left the Philippines. It’s been eight months since I left my beautiful life in Cebu, moved my four urban felines and books to the countryside, and gave up my little apartment in Cebu City. I’m here in Taiwan for a month before flying to Myanmar. And after that, I don’t know where my depleting bank account, feet, and restless mind bring me.
Traveling non-stop is costly. Financially. Emotionally. The more you travel, the more you spend. I constantly worry. Especially financially. Although my IG photos will say otherwise.
Three months ago, I decided to stay longer in Vietnam and did not travel to China with Tobias. For a reason. The status of my finances alarmed me. I only had Php30 000.00 ($600) in my Paypal with mounting credit card bills to pay. That, after traveling to Australia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Malaysia, Cambodia, and Vietnam.
Earlier this year, as predicted, the writing project (that allowed me to save up to Php180000) was stopped. So the constant paid writing gigs ran dry. I had to find a different income source.
So I stayed longer in Hanoi and volunteered as a teacher while hustling writing jobs online and teaching English on my free time. I managed to raise my Paypal fund to $1000.00 and with around Php50000 in my bank account. Then it was time to move again. I flew to Nepal to travel around (Kathmandu-Pokhara-Khopara Danda trek) for a month. Nepal is not a cheap country, especially when it comes to food and accommodation. We love food and the hotels we stayed in weren’t the cheapest either. Oh yes, I may backpack with a book, but I’m not your cheapskate backpacker. I misrepresent my blog, eh? Haha!
When my travel fund is below Php50000 ($1000), I start feeling worrisome and fidgety. I know I have to do something about it. And I am in that state right now. My remaining travel fund can be stretched till Myanmar. But if I won’t find other resources by then, my fear of going utterly broke abroad is going to get real.
So I weighed in some options. So far, there are three options available to me.
FIND A MUTUALLY BENEFICIAL WORKAWAY VOLUNTEER PROGRAM
I stayed in Hanoi for a month and exactly did this. As you may know, Workaway is an awesome website that offers volunteer programs all over the world. You only have to pay for your membership (around $29 annually, if I’m not wrong) and you can access all different volunteer programs. Usually, the host provides accommodation and food in exchange of your services. Do understand that you should be qualified for the program you are applying for.
I understand your desire to save as much as possible, but the students pay too to improve their English skills. I sometimes felt that they were guinea pigs for foreigners [I’m not an exception] who ventured to Vietnam to teach English and started as volunteer teachers. [Will write more about this soon.]
LIVE IN ONE PLACE, RENT A ROOM, AND WORK ONLINE
Hopping from one place to another is costly. So I desire to slow down, live like a local, and work online. I actually miss waking up with nothing much to do but write and read. I intend to live in Hanoi perhaps for six months, teach English, continue working on my poetry and short story manuscripts, grow container garden on the terrace, and stuff myself with all the Vietnamese goodness. Of course, with all the legal paperworks in hand.
GO BACK TO THE PHILIPPINES AND LIVE IN THE COUNTRYSIDE!
Not bad a plan, actually. To have a place I can call my own is my ultimate dream. It must be a disappointment for a traveler. Haha! But I just miss gardening, my books, and cats that this idea of having a home doesn’t revolt me at all. But in order for me to do this, I need money. So I might work in Vietnam first, before I can realize this ultimate goal: to retire at 35, read, write, cook, and garden.
How about you? What are your worries? What makes you ache the most? What’s your story?
I’m in Taiwan until the 4th of September! Of course, there is Postcard Poetry Project: Taiwan edition! Email your name and address to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject above (or below) on or before August 30, 2017, 12MN.
Those who want to surprise a friend, a family, or a dear one, you can submit their address and names as well. Of course, you have to inform me that it is not you receiving the postcard.
I don’t send generic postcards. I either collaborate with a local artist (trying to find one in Taiwan) or I send photos I personally took with little stories or poems at the back.
Share this to those who might want to receive a postcard from Taiwan!
Jona of http://backpackingwithabook.com