Most often than not,people will always say I am rich now just because I can go places and experience what life has to offer. These are the words I hear most of the time from friends and people who are close to my heart. And YES I am an OFW who works his ass off everyday in this foreign land just to make a living. But it does not mean that I already a hefty wallet and a time deposit account in BDO with a thousand pesos. Hear me out folks! cause life abroad is not easy as you may imagine for it means a battlefield everyday against homesickness. I’ve only been here in Malaysia for almost 2 years now and so far I am enjoying my stay because of travels injected every now and then. Travel is the only reason why my stay has been prolonged and I decided to renew my contract for another year. Let’s admit it working abroad is way better than staying back home in Manila cause when you are here-you are that close to buying and getting all the things and stuff you want whether it is a new Apple gadget or a 40 inch LED PLASMA TV. If you are an OFW in whatever part of the world you may be based it has always been part of our obligation to fulfill the needs of your family back home. It is a common trait of Filipinos we can get away and we are known for (we all work hard for our families).
But you might be wondering how I was able to travel alot and yet I can still keep up to my promise to send money back home to my family and depositing an ample amount to my savings account??
HOW DID I DO IT??
A year after I first arrived here in MY for my work assignment I was not like what I am now. First couple of paychecks here went to shopping, clubbing, socializing, eating out in classy restaurant until nothing is left in my wallet. I am a self confessed shoppengero, gimikero at waldas sa pera few months back before I got addicted to traveling. But thanks to my 1st ever INDOCHINA solo backpacking trip which changes the utmost aspect of me. After the very successful trip from INDOCHINA which I enjoyed alot and still cant get enough- I have come to realize that there is no way I can be a 1 day millionaire guy, an OFW who sends money every month to his family and a full time traveler at the same time. Because if I choose to do all of them my paycheck will not be enough and chances are I will end up in debts-so having said I have to give up one of them. The decision making was not easy cause I have to weight in and assess the outcome effect if I drop one of them. It took me couple of days trying to figure how will I handle my finances without going beyond monthly budget. Until one day I decided to give up may LUHO and unnecessary expenses to accommodate my passion for travel.
These are the 5 things I give up in order to sustain my travel addiction.
1) Goodbye shopping bags.
For someone who has been a slave of shopping bags for years the decision to take it out from your system is really depressing. The feeling is like asking a chain smoker to quit from smoking.Looking good and presentable at all times is one of the things I value the most cause I believe in 1st impression. Let’s be honest that in this superficial world the ones who get noticed first are the ones who stands out from the crowd. I was once a compulsive buyer/shopper who doesn’t think twice whenever I see hip clothes and funky get up. Everyday is like a fashion show for me whereas I will dress up every minute of the day whether in the office or just casual meet ups with friends in Starbucks for a cup of cappuccino. Shopping consumes the biggest chunk of my budget so in order to pay book that ticket to my destination I have to totally remove it from the system. Staying away from malls and spending more time at home is what I have to go through just to make sure I will not shop. Though shopping can be a very good therapy to overcome sadness specially for OFW but I have to say NO. Every once in awhile if I have some spare money from overtime or holiday pay I make sure that I reward myself with a pair of shorts or shirt just so I can convince myself that I am not deprived.
2) Early retirement from the good old days of clubbing.
Generations of today cannot be separated from the loud music, colorful disco ball light and the wildest crowd in the clubs/bars. This is how our generation of my age is defined. I can be party animal given that I am surrounded with the coolest folks although I ain’t an alcohol drinker. It was a choice cause I hate waking up with that feeling of the needle forcefully pinch in my head. It is when you jump and shout with the tune of your favorite disco remix you will feel that I am young and free. When you go out with friends on a Saturday night to party you will most likely spent for the entrance fee, alcohol and fare for the cab which contributes to the unnecessary expenses. But on some days you need a breather and you need to let it out it si not a crime to be serve with 2-3 bottles of beer while catching up with friends.
3) Staying away from new gadgets out in the market.
Malaysia is home to the most up to date and reasonable prices of gadgets in ASIA. In fact some of my friends who traveled here in MY came here to canvass and buy an DSLR CAMERAS, IPAD, IPHONE or LAPTOP of various brands. I am not a fan of gadgets so this is not much of big deal for me. I have a policy to only buy gadgets which I only need just like last year when I bought my DSLR CAMERA because I need it to take photos of my traveled destinations. In fact I am just borrowing my roommates laptop whenever i write my blog post and my blackberry mobile phone has been with me for 3 years now(thank god it is still working till now).
4) Diet mode is ON so I am cutting on eating out in fine dining restaurants.
Food is a basic human necessity so we can perform our daily tasks so this part right is really impossible to remove from your system not unless I am trying to commit a suicide. I am a FOODIE and I love trying out different foods from different cuisines but this past few months I had to lessen my budget for food because I am trying to loss weight. On a regular off day you will most likely found me in hanging out in malls hunting for new dishes to try and since I have to manage my expenses well I have decided to cook at home (thank god I know how to cook good food). It’s like hitting 2 birds at the same time cause I was able to save few bucks and starting to loss weight. I should not be punishing myself this thats why every other week I tried to treat myself in fine dining resto.
5) Sucked it all up/Corporate Slave.
That moment when the job that pays your bill is not something you really enjoy doing. This may include acting like you like your BOSS, dragging yourself to the office everyday, and fooling myself that I love what I’m doing.I am working in an I.T company here in Malaysia which provides technical and I.T related services to our clients around the world. And like what I said travel is what keeps me here in MY and the only reason why I cant walk away from this job cause it sends me to places I have never been to. If I am still based in Manila then probably it will be so easy for me to hop on the next job but not in the case of an OFW. (YOU JUST DON’T HAVE A CHOICE).Well for whatever it’s worth I am still thankful I have this job. As of now I am keeping this job in the next 1 year or so then hopefully go out of my comfort zone and think if it’s time for career change.
So there you have it, the sacrifices that I have to endure just so I can fulfill my dream to travel to places.
IS IT WORTH IT AFTER ALL?!?
Definitely YES, Not only it help me changed my daily routines but it also helped mentally and spiritually. I think it all happened for a reason so I can improve my self being and look at life in a brighter side. All of these changes did not happen overnight and it wasn’t easy but it is the choice that I made.So the next time you see me posting photos/sharing my travel experiences in FB-you better think twice as to what sacrifices I have to go though just to make the trip possible.