My form of identification

You do know that my dream job is to be a travel writer. It’s not really a matter of earning a lot of money or even staying on posh hotels and eating a lot of those chi-chi food or meeting a lot of chi-chi people (on a related note, the word “chi-chi” makes me laugh. who came up with it anyway?).

And since my situation right now (lack of money and trapped in a 24/7 amazing role as a corporate lackey) does not exactly afford me the chance to travel at a drop of a hat, I have to save up money for months in order for me to experience a new place and a new culture for mere days. As long as I live I will be this person hungry for new experience and traveling my way through life.

Anyway, my lack of resources has made me live vicariously through other people–I consume travel sites hungrily and finds true enjoyment by reading the travel blogs of a lot of people.

Earlier, while researching about my newest target, “Taiwan”, I somehow ended up at the BBC Travel site and came up with this interesting feature. Forms of Identification feature some of the notable names in the world of travel and asks them a few interesting questions about their life as seasoned travelers.

And whoa–my old guy crush, Anthony Bourdain, is featured!

And because I am such as pathetic trying-hard girl, I am posting my own version of Forms of ID (all questions are from the BBC Travel blog linked above):

Name: Lani Mesias-Suzon
Title/bio: Corporate Slave/Communications Junkie/Aspiring Travel Writer
Current project: Finishing the departmental budget; bring parents on their first overseas trip and planning the ultimate Taiwan get-away!
Born in: Manila, Philippines
Currently living in: Manila, Philippines

1. Where would you rather be right now?
In a centuries-old ryokan in Japan; garbed in yukata and just about to go to sleep in order to catch an early trip to the foot of Mt. Fuji

2. Famous person (dead or alive, real or fictional) you’d most like to go on a trip with: Sal Paradise/On the Road

3. Tourist must-see you think is actually a “must skip”: Madam Tussaud’s Wax Museum (in any location). I find it quite weird posing madly in front of wax figures — but that’s just me….

4. Everyone asks what’s #1 on your list of places you want to go before you die. But what’s your #3? United States

5. You’d be mortified if people knew you did what when you traveled?
Running out of fresh socks while in HK two years ago… it was a very hot and sweaty month when we were there.

6. Your most stranded, “oh-my-[deity]” travel moment:
A few years ago, I almost got stuck in Boracay after the “fun ship” which carried me and my co-workers ended up with two broken engines. Had to travel from Malay, Caticlan (Aklan – where Boracay is located) to Iloilo via rickety, old, rusting bus WITHOUT AIRCON. The bus promptly broke down in a secluded, wooded area which prolonged the already excruciating trip. From four hours — the trip turned to six hours of pure hell. The Manila-bound ship docked in Iloilo ended up being delayed a few hours cos it had to wait for us to arrive. The passengers were ready to kill us when we arrived a few hours behind schedule. And oh, we had to sleep at one of the dining areas cleared out and outfitted with mats cos there was no place to sleep anymore.

7. Best (or worst) person/people you’ve had to sit next to while traveling:
WORST: A screaming, annoyed, miserable infant on a VERY early flight to HK. (I didn’t get any sleep the night before and was counting on a few zzzzzs before I arrive HK). I ended up sleeping on the hotel during the first day.

8. If someone was visiting your town, what’s the one thing you’d show them? If it’s the Holy Week, I’d bring him to the city parish church showing age-old Filipino Holy Week traditions. Outside the Central Business District, we’ll visit the Walled City of Intramuros.

9. Travel-related invention you wish existed:
A wallet that automatically fills up with money so that I’d never run out of travel funds.

10. Your most embarrassing travel faux pas: I’ve got tons, here’s my top 3:

Being addressed and scolded publicly by a very pissed off client right at the middle of a very busy section of the Boracay D’Mall (public market). I wished the white sands had swallowed me whole.

Flashing my undies to the whole of Vigan, Ilocos Sur after I made the mistake of climbing an ancient bell-tower. In a short, summer dress. During a very windy day.

Having to stay (for a few hours) in a very chaotic, dirty, smelly dormitory in Singapore which the hotel we checked and booked online tried to sell itself as a dormitory-hotel. We had to call my sister’s Singapore-based friend to bail us out. The room we stayed in was very dirty and we counted not a few USED undies thrown haphazardly in the room. The occupants simply didn’t care!

11. Material thing you miss the most when away from home:
My bed.

12. Most unique souvenir:
A purse made of the upper half body of an overgrown toad. It’s so hideous, I had to give it away as soon as I received it.

13. Best celebrity encounter while traveling: NONE so far

14. Most unusual item you have traveled with:
A baby blanket which I use as my own

15. Coolest mode of transport you’ve taken:
holed-out tree trunk adeptly shaped into a make-shift banca. That thing effectively ferried us to another far-lying island. This is in Bataan, Northern Philippines.

16. The place you don’t want anyone to know about but are willing to divulge here: Bantayan Island, Cebu. Had the beauty of Boracay Island minus the utmost commercialism.

17) Travel-related film or book that inspires you to pack your bags:
“On the Road” – JD Salinger; “The Beach” – Alex Garland

18) Lay on us a priceless bit of travel advice or wisdom:
When in doubt, ask questions! Locals can be very helpful, but you wouldn’t know that unless you tried. Stop acting like a privileged traveler! Observe and respect local tradition. You wouldn’t want to be labeled “the annoying tourist”

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