My friend ditched me.
So a supposed to be trip with me and my friend had turned out to be a solo trip. She didn't make it for some reason. What can a girl like me to do but to just head on to Baguio alone, for my first time trip there.
No friends, and company, and no prior thorough research.
I guess I kind of like it like this. Spontaneity had become a stranger I am forced to embrace. And with that, I have come to know what I am willing to miss out and focus on what I just want to experience. It had become simpler, with less stress and that's just how I prefer to travel these days.
Traveling for me had stopped becoming a rat race, marking out all the tourist spots, with every tourist spot requires a mandatory selfie, and every night is a short time for a much needed rejuvenation. No. I've come to see that what's most important really for me is to just get in the culture of the place. With that being said, there isn't a need for me to go to Buddhist temples or shrines if I'm a Baptist. I could now skip on parks if there isn't really much to see there and there isn't another tourist spot within the 1km radius.
If it isn't worth it, skip it.
Yes. It takes some getting used to. I've now seen conversing with the locals about their daily lives as more pleasing than taking selfies and taking a couple of photos on the same landscape than 20 shots in different angles.
If I haven't made thorough research, my resort would be going to DOT (Department of Tourism), get a tourist map and start from there. I'd plan my strategy over breakfast, or lunch, and head on to it.
All in all, my trip was a success. Here are the reasons why I think it was so:
1. I've paid the cheapest price I paid for a night's stay.A whopping P350/night in Baguio Village Inn, with a room all for myself. It was meant to be for 2, but since I'm the only one staying, the other bed was bare, no linens no pillows. The bathroom was shared, which I really don't mind as long as there's a separate toilet or bathrooms for male and female.
2. I was able to go to most of the tourist spots half day on my first day.Since DOT would only be open at 9am, I've thought of hanging around Burnham Park. I did try cycling around for an hour (P40). Not bad for a morning exercise. From DOT(Department of Tourism) I rode a jeepney going to Mines Park, which was further up, just around it, is a Souvenir shop where I bought a whole lot of sweets and delicacies. From there I rode a jeepney going down and dropped off at the Horse Farm. You'll know when you reach it when it starts to smell like horse poo inside the jeepney. I then explored The Mansion, and Botanical Garden, all by foot.
3. Befriended a couple of backpackers.One from Holland another from Israel. This is an advantage if you're staying in an inn: I get to meet different people from different places and I get to have a chance to share on how awesome of a place Davao is. hehehe
4. Ate a lot of strawberries.I am not ashamed to admit that one of my sole purpose there is to just eat as many strawberries as I can and eat chocolates with it too. Me finishing the ebook would have to be ideal, but who am I kidding? That goal was quite unrealistic so I just had to let it slide.
My two cents on Traveling Solo
This is the year that I've traveled solo the most. And I can't argue that it's a love-hate relationship. I love that I have much say on where to go, when to leave and how to get from one place to another. Yes it is empowering, but I can't also deny the fact that loneliness would sometimes creep in at times when I get lost. Like when I was trying to find the bus station, and I was asking direction from a staff working in SM. He gave me direction and when I asked if I can make it there by foot and how long will it take for me to do so. Before he could answer me, he asked if I was alone, and I noticed that he took pity at the fact that I was looking desperate. Maybe because I really was. I was cold, lost and tired and it was also getting dark. I've been walking up and down the session road for almost half an hour trying to find the bus terminal for victory liner. All I wanted to do then was to find a taxi to get me to the terminal, but since it was peak hours, getting taxi near session road was quite impossible.
The lows of solo travel will not stop me from experiencing the highs. If I have company, then great, if none, then so be it. Once the travel bug bites me, I'll just find myself in front of the laptop searching for another destination that interests me and that's worth my money. And I hope the next time, I'll have company... a good one.
Have you had any experience traveling solo? I'd love to hear them. Do share in the comment box below. :)
Here are more stories about my experience in Baguio:
Where I Stayed in Baguio: Less than P500 for a Solo Female Traveler
Hidden Massage in Baguio
5 Awesome Places to Go in Baguio Which you May Not Have Been to Yet
Going Around Baguio in Half a Day
Strawberry Farm, La Trinidad Benguet: Strawberry is my New Kind of Drug