Trisha Velarmino decided to start travelling the world 3 years ago and hasn’t stopped since. She’s from the Philippines, a country that unfortunately has a lot of visa limitations to travel and a hardcore football fan.
She blogs about her first-hand experiences and the categories found on her site are: tricks to learn languages (she’s fluent in 5!), photography, inspirational real-life experiences, foodie adventures, tips on how she travels, travel hacking and visa hacking.
Her way of travelling is a bit different from the other travel bloggers out there: she always volunteers so she can learn new languages, cuisines and experience living like a local. She usually stays long-term and just lets thing flow.
Want to know more about her? Read our interview below!
You wrote a blog post about being protected as a child, while also maintaining a vibrant life growing up. What was it about your life at home that inspired you to break away and begin your travelling adventure in 2013?
I did not like the lifestyle I had. I am not from a very rich family but my parents strived to send me to good schools. And you know what that gave me? Expensive friends. I was schooled with politicians’ daughters, kids of shopping mall owners and even the niece of the Vice-President of my country goes to my school. I love these friends but I couldn’t afford their lifestyle. I tried to fit in and spent the money I didn’t have. I also came to a point where I blame my mother for not having a car. Everyone in my school had their own cars and I didn’t. They all ate at expensive restaurants, had designer clothes and credit cards that are maxed out on a weekly basis. I got tired of this lifestyle because I felt I didn’t have the opportunity to grow. My then boyfriend asked me “why don’t you travel with me?” and I thought he was crazy. I cannot imagine myself surviving out there but I gave it a shot. Today, it’s one of the best decisions I ever made. There is more to life than those shiny cars.
Tell us more about who Trisha Velarmino is! How would you describe yourself?
I consider myself as a fun and neutral person. I always fill the room with laughs because I developed a good kind of friendship with the gays of my community. You know how gays are — maximum fun. In fact, I even speak like one. There are still other details that are blurred to me. When I finished travelling Latin America, I got confused with who I really am. I am a woman of too many things now. I have yet to discover how to describe myself.
Write something about you that’s hard to find in your blog, Favourite movie right now? Favourite book? Etc…
Favourite book: Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte)
Favourite movie: The Motorcycle Diaries
Favourite Food: Burgers
Favourite City: Barcelona / Buenos Aires
Favourite Region: Latin America
Favourite Activity: Writing
Where you are originally from? Where’s “home”?
I am from the beautiful city of Subic Bay, Philippines, the old Naval Base of the United States of America. It is a very private and peaceful community. Most of my good articles were written here. This is the place where I first dreamt of travelling the world. This is my home.
Any insider tips about your home you can share with us that we won’t find in a guidebook?
My city is not a tourist destination but there are a lot of beautiful mountains to hike here. The province of Zambales is also known to be a famous surf spot. Since we are just 4 hours away from Manila, people come here for the weekend because we also have a lot of beaches. My family’s home is by the forest so you can also see a lot of monkeys and indigenous tribes (the Aetas) on a daily basis. This city is full of culture and life, everyone has to see this!
No matter how many countries I’ve been to, home will always my favourite place in the world..
We realise you have a Fillipino passport and are only travelling to locations that do not require visas. If you didn’t have to worry about visas or had a different passport, what’s the first destination you’d travel to?
To be honest, I don’t know. Before, I was just really frustrated I couldn’t stay longer in Europe. I had a student visa that had an expiration date. That lead me to travel to visa-free countries and now that I am enjoying it, I couldn’t think of any place that I really want to visit if I had a different passport.
In your blog posts, you often make mention of the universe and its ability to provide. What do you mean by that?
Do you believe in our relationship with the Universe? I do but I don’t know how to explain this to others. Each of us have our own relationship with the Universe and it’s really difficult to develop it most especially if you don’t believe. But here’s a good explanation from Robert Peng.
Considering the Philippines has 7,107 islands, which would you say is your favourite and why?
I don’t have any particular favourite but I would choose Boracay’s vibe. People say it’s overrated but I’ve made beautiful memories here that I don’t want to replace. I don’t feel like a stranger here. Food, good music, beautiful people and worthwhile activities — everything you need is here!
A lot of people think that it’s unsafe and hard for a young woman to travel around the world on her own. How do you feel about that?
I don’t believe in danger anymore. I don’t even think about it whenever I visit a new place. However, let me warn you there are places that are really difficult for women. Most of these are Muslim countries. The secret is to just follow their customs particularly dressing up. Don’t take it negatively! Practicing their customs will make you understand why they are doing it! Level up to your citizen of the world goals. 😉
Can you tell us your best and worst travel experience to date?
The best is still Latin America. I was able to travel the whole region by land. I never imagined living in a backpack could be so easy! I became fluent in Spanish in less than a year and have learned how to live in a culture/environment that isn’t mine. The experience is so powerful and fundamental. The bad one? Nothing. Honestly nothing. I consider all my travels unique in their own ways.
What are you grateful for and how does that reflect in your travels?
I am grateful I’ve changed for the better. I am grateful I am not hungry for material things but for experiences. I am grateful for the friends I made and for the families I learned to love as my own. Whether it’s good or bad, I am grateful for all the things I’ve been through. I am grateful how my heart became bigger. I am grateful for who I am now. I am a warrior of life. Traveling contributed a lot to this change.
Do you ever have to debunk the myth that one can only travel if they are rich? If so, how do you do it?
Reality check: People think I am rich while they can go for a 10-day holiday in Italy spending 5,000 euros. I spent 3 months in Italy for 3,000 euros. I think we should all stop and re-think the way we travel. We don’t have the same way of traveling but if you want your money to go far, travel slow. Don’t just look at the Eiffel Tower, be a part of the Eiffel Tower. What I mean is, instead of visting these tourist attractions, why don’t they try to live with families and learn how they cook, speak and sleep?
Do something that really really really makes you happy. Whether it’s travelling, a 9-5 job, cooking, having children, getting married, JUST DO IT.
Tell us more about your website! Why did you start it and how has it grown throughout the years? How much time do you spend a day on it?
It was just for my family and friends to see how I was doing. My parents are always worried when I leave for long-term travel. I did not realise it will gain attention so I decided to open it to the public. Fortunately, it also helped me in financing my travels. This travel blog is everything to me. Though I am not aiming to be famous, my goals are directed towards education and sharing what I know. The more I am out here in the world, the more I don’t run out of things to share. My mind is exploding with too much learnings I have to share it!
Do you recommend travel blogs over guides or magazines? Why?
Of course! Travel bloggers are real people and are present real experiences.
Would you ever consider settling down and concluding your journey in one of the locations you’ve visited? If so, which country would you choose?
I haven’t thought about that yet! I am still very hungry to see the world. There are still a lot places I need to experience!
What exciting new journeys can we look forward to on your blog in the coming year?
My biggest goal is to travel to Pakistan and I don’t consider it as a death wish. Call me crazy but I know I will be able to help a lot of girls in the world prepare themselves for the future. They need a strong generation who will fight these criminals and education is the only key. I need to go there to be able to help. I need to touch them, feel them, talk to them, eat with them. I am forever curious. I need to know. I need to see.
Thank you very much for your inspiring words, Trisha. Good luck in your future trips!