Meet The Young Blood Traveler

Meet the Young Blood Traveler : Marj

Monday, February 06, 2012Ryan Mach

Young Blood Traveler* Marj Garra, an assistant manager in an international company in Makati, talks about how she was bitten by the travel bug; shares her dream destination and offers a few advice to newbie travelers.  

With friends at Calle Crisologo in Vigan

When and how did your passion for traveling start?

I was bit by the travel bug around the end of 2009 or early 2010. I guess you could say I was going through my quarter-life crisis. I was turning 25 in July 2010 and I had this feeling that I haven’t accomplished much, career-wise and in my personal life. I met this person and he was so accomplished at 30 and I’m sure not everyone goes through that kind of pressure, but I can’t help and compare myself to what he’s done and the places he’s gone and seen. It was like a light bulb that just went off in my head. Career-wise, I knew I was on my way, but in my personal life, my goals—there was still a long way to go. I realized I wanted to go to all these places I’ve only seen in travel shows and on movies. I wanted to see and experience things. So, I started planning. 

At the Lapu-Lapu Shrine in Cebu City

What are your best travel memories/experiences?
This sounds boring, I love exploring places, but just lying in the sand in Coron, Palawan, totally relaxed with nothing to think about. That to me is bliss.

Do you have a travel blog? Or any online journal.
Weekend getaway in Vigan
I have a tumblr account but I don’t blog about traveling. I find that I’m not very good at describing my adventures.

What's the one thing that you can't live without on the road?
My phone. It sounds like product placement, and very shallow, but it really is my all-in-one device. I usually put movies or TV shows there when I’m going somewhere and I know I have to wait. I also load it with tons of music and make dorky play lists for road trips or quiet time. I also use it to browse the web and message folks about my whereabouts. And it serves as my camera! It has a 12-MP camera so I usually don’t bring any other camera with me. 
Kayangan Lake, Coron, Palawan

Have you had any bad experience while traveling? 
Yes. In Thailand. We were going to Wat Pho and were told that the temples were closed til 1PM to tourists because it was a Buddhist holiday. I remember the man claimed he was a professor at a local university and he suggested temples we could visit before 1PM and offered to show it on our maps. Then he told us that he can get a tuk tuk driver to take us to the temples at a low fee. The tuk tuk driver took us to the temples but also took us to these places where you can buy jewelry and souvenir items and I remember one place that sold suits. The tuk tuk driver even told us that he was getting gas subsidy every time we go in one of those shops. At first we thought we were helping him but then we noticed that most of the places we were taken to had foreigners there, too. I guess they were told the same thing we were. We asked the driver to take us back to Wat Pho and we’ll pay him in full even if he didn’t take us to all the temples. He wasn’t happy about it, but he took us back. I Googled it when we got back home from Thailand. I found out that the situation we were in was very similar to the Thai Gem Scam. It was a real life lesson.
At the Grand Palace, doing as the Thai's do

Can you share a few travel tips to newbie travelers?
Keep your wits about you, especially if you’re backpacking. And research. That always helps.
Tip from Marj: Ride trains if you go to a new place with a great train system. It's a good way to save on travel costs.
What do you get from traveling?
There’s this sense of satisfaction you feel after coming back from somewhere else and a better appreciation for what you have and where you live. 
KM 0 - Explore the city you live in
Where's your dream destination?
That’s a tough question. There are so many places I want to see. If you had asked me a month ago, I’d say Cambodia, but now that’s booked, so it’s not so much a dream but an eventuality. I guess, Egypt. I want to see the pyramids! Is it really just one destination? I also want to do a European tour eventually.

What have you realized from traveling?
That if you really want to do anything, you will always find a way to accomplish it. The only thing that will hold you back is yourself.
This is an actual rock formation in Sapao in Guiuan, Eastern Samar

Crazy, funny, silly thing you did while traveling.
I don’t know if you’d consider this crazy, but I’ve already done this twice. I went to a destination with just enough cash for my airport terminal fee and my ATM card, with an expectation that my salary will be credited by the time I’d get to my destination. That would’ve been a disaster if my pay was credited late. 
This is one of my fave shots I took in Thailand. It looks like a postcard

Best souvenir.
Pictures! I usually buy souvenirs for friends and family when I go out on trips, I end up not getting myself anything. Or sometimes I get food, which gets all eaten up. But, I always have a ton of pictures.

*Young Blood Traveler is an interview series on my blog that features young (or anyone who's young at heart) people who have passion for travelling but don't have a blog to share their travel experiences.  Want to be featured? Email me at journeyoferos(at)yahoo(dot)com 

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