My travel evolution: one of the many reasons why you shouldn’t be sorry for the type of traveler that you are

I am writing this today because something is bothering me: our entitlement. Everyone you know is traveling today and I feel like there is an ongoing competition where everybody is forced to participate in.

A reader asked me to make a 7-day itinerary for (insert country here). Though I don’t really do short-term travel, I did it because I value people who spend time reading this blog.

The only way I can give back is to answer their questions and help them achieve the perfect travel they always imagined.

So, I wrote the post only to receive comments such as, “7 days is short,” “that’s not enough,” etc you know, all those entitlements that made the reader think twice about her trip.

“Should I add more days, Trisha? I really don’t have that much time and money.”

“No. You shouldn’t feel bad about these comments because you are different. Do what you want and stick to your plans. I will help you make it work. Never mind the comments.”

Backpacker, tourist, long-term traveler, digital nomad, whatever we call ourselves – there is no competition. The type of traveler that we are will evolve as life unfolds more surprises for us.

Don’t be sorry because there are no levels in traveling. Embrace it. Live with it. Evolve with it. Soar with it. Fly with it. Rise above it.

Chapter 1: The Student Abroad

I didn’t know what to feel when I learned that I got into a Fashion School in Milan. What?! I’m going away for a long time? Without mum?!!!?!

I grew up in a middle-class family and was never out of the confines of my home. As a child, I was free to do whatever I want but my family and I decide everything together.

First, I pat myself on the back and said, “Look at you, btch, you fcking did it!” I don’t remember clearly but I am pretty sure I didn’t feel scared.

In fact, I wanted to leave right away! The acceptance letter came first so you probably know what’s next: visa application, the scarier part.

The version of myself

An exaggerated number of clothes and shoes, a no-repeat outfit policy, a twice a week shopping routine even if I had to skip meals.

Goal and Focus

To finish Fashion School. In Milan, again, I was fortunate enough to get in a Fashion Internship Program with Roberto Cavalli.

My schedule was split: I have to go to my internship in the morning for 6 hours and go to the school for 5 hours in the afternoon.

I had a hectic schedule but I put my eye on the prize. On the first day of my internship, I was early, listened attentively, and participated in a non-Trisha way.

I tend to ask too many questions when I am eager but I stop myself: “Shut up, Trish. This is not the right time and place to talk too much. Stop it!!!”

The moment I realized I literally had a desk in the main global office of Cavalli in San Babila, the focus evolved into a deeper goal: after this internship, I will finish school and they will employ me. I need to work here.


My internship was very demanding that it required me to go to Florence (where the main factory of Cavalli is) almost every week.

During my second trip to Florence, I realized I was there often but know nothing about the city. I was so focused on work that I forgot I was in another place.

I also felt uncomfortable going out by myself. Where will I go? What will I do? I’m bad at directions! I don’t know how to speak Italian.

Who will take my pictures?! I uttered all the words that will discourage me because it is easier. When you are discouraged, you will stay where you are and do nothing.

It won’t require you to think or plan. What pushed me to explore Florence was the idea that fashion in Italy is inspired by their culture, people, and lifestyle.

I have to get to know this if I want to up my game for Monday’s pop quiz. So, I went out and tried discovering Florence by myself.

I thought I am going to learn about Italian fashion but I found out something else: wow, it’s so easy to go around by yourself.

What I did from that discovery

I went back home to Milan with a fresh and broader perspective. I was living with my aunt then and I told her I was going to Paris next week and I wasn’t not asking for permission.

It was part of my internship program to assist in the Fashion Week. She said yes because it’s school but the young girl in me said, “I am going to see the Eiffel Tower!!!”

That same night, I browsed for flights to other European cities that interest me and found out I will be able to afford it if I cut my shopping.

That’s actually not shopping money. It’s a food budget cut for shopping. I put the third split for traveling but it wasn’t enough so shopping was abruptly out of the picture.

Chapter 2: The Weekender

The version of myself

Large number of clothes and shoes, a repeat outfit policy (one month gap), a once a week out of Milan trip even if I had to skip meals.

Goal and Focus

Still to finish fashion school and land a job at Cavalli but also to have a little knowledge of more European cities as I go.


During my trip to Paris, I snuck out of the Fashion Week to go around the city. We don’t really have time to do this because it was a bad time.

People who work in the fashion know-how hectic fashion weeks are but I managed to escape. In Paris, I saw a lot of people walking around with huge backpacks.

What are these things?! I asked myself. If you don’t ask, you’ll never know. I asked one of the couples and they said “we are backpacking Europe.”

Apparently, they were hitchhiking from Serbia and finding their way to Lyon (FR) for a big Hitchhiker gathering.

They invited me over to their table, bought me macaroons, and told them what I was doing in Paris. I thought my life as a fashion student was already the extremes but meeting these people lead me in another direction. If they can do it, why can’t I?

What I did from that discovery

When I came back home from Italy, I was still thinking about the conversation I had with the couple whom I met in Paris but couldn’t grasp how I will be able to do that if I don’t have a job?

The goal of being employed full-time at Cavalli didn’t push through. I didn’t hear from them after the internship.

My superior probably smelled trouble when I escaped Paris Fashion Week so I didn’t have a job. Because of my valuable education in Italy, I got a freelance job as a Fashion Stylist and Consultant where I got to work with some Philippine fashion icons who remained my friends until now.

I earned enough money from those jobs so I decided to travel around Asia more than a weekend.

Chapter 3: The One-Week Traveler

One of the inspirations of my Asian trip is my addiction to football. I grew up playing the sport so I know very well that it’s not a thing from where I am from. I’m from a basketball country so people don’t rave about football so much.

When Liverpool, Chelsea, and Arsenal announced their Asian Tour in 2012, I knew that was the push I needed.

Their tour dates were so vague but my friends and I decided to book a ticket anyway. We booked a 10-day trip to Malaysia but the tour is only for 3 days!

Tickets were very expensive but my job as a Freelance Fashion Stylist/Consultant kept me afloat. We spent most of the days stalking the players, going to conferences, chasing after tour buses at the same time, we also had a blast exploring Kuala Lumpur on our own.

I was traveling with two girls (friends from home) and from that experience, we knew it was so easy to travel together so we planned more trips: the following month, we were in Bangkok for a week.

They have full-time jobs so if our schedules don’t meet, I did other trips by myself to other Asian countries. It was a slow evolution from being comfortable with traveling with friends to finding my own dynamics in traveling by myself.

The version of myself

A freelancer in the Fashion Industry that had enough money to travel on her own and had her own apartment. Life was good.

Goal and Focus

Travel to Asian countries and get used to traveling by myself.


While traveling on an island in the Philippines, the couple whom I met in Paris came to me in another form. I met a boy and fell in love.

We traveled a few islands together and that evolved into a deeper relationship because he met my family. He’s a world traveler from Argentina and I was very inspired by his stories of 10 years of seeing the world.

He was a web developer so he can practically work anywhere as long as he has an Internet connection and a laptop. This is where I discovered the term “Digital Nomad.”

I started reading about this lifestyle and told myself again: “That’s easy. I can do that.”

What I did from that discovery

My then-boyfriend was having a hard time at work because of the lousy Internet connection in the Philippines.

We both know that backpackers come and go so sooner or later, he will leave and move on to another who-knows-where place and start his life again but when he was about to leave, he said, “it doesn’t feel right. Come with me. Let’s travel together.”

Even if I had no idea what will happen to me out there, I left everything and went to Africa with him. Like most 22-year-olds, I wasn’t sure what I was jumping into but still did it because I didn’t want to be far away from this guy.

I want to travel, above all. He was the channel I needed to push myself to go out there.

Chapter 4: Young and in love 

We went to Africa and after three months, he told me that he needed to miss me. It was a nicer way of saying “I’m breaking up with you because I’m sick of seeing your face every day.”

I was devastated. I didn’t know what to do. We already had plans of moving to Buenos Aires (where his family lives) and without him, I felt stuck.

From booking tickets to finding hotels to going to bus stations to asking directions – he did everything in our trip and I don’t know if I will be able to do all those by myself.

“Go home,” my mother’s voice seemed to echo, while I was looking for flights to I-don’t-know-where. If I went home, I would have all the help I needed to cope.

I would be surrounded by a loving community, and after a few days, I would be okay. This time, I chose to be okay because of me.

I wanted to help myself and hopefully, discover something along the way. So I decided to travel more.

I still wasn’t sure about anything but there was a voice in my head that was saying, “Go. Don’t fear. Everything will be okay.”

Using my last money on the African trip, I booked a one-way ticket to Sao Paulo. I knew that voice was telling me something. Something great will happen to those who try.

This story was published in Rappler 3 years ago. Click here to read the article
The version of myself

Lost and had no idea what she was about to do in her life.

Goal and Focus

I wasn’t really sure. I think I was avoiding going home to prove that I can do it on my own. I was also avoiding family and friends who will tell me, “see, I told you. Your ideas are crazy. That boy is not worth it… blah. blah. blah.”


I was very active in the Couchsurfing community in Sao Paulo and again, met a lot of people who were doing long-term travel. O

One of them owned a travel blog where they write about their story, share their pictures, and basically just do what they want.

They also get a lot of free stuff like hotel stays, food, tours, etc. When I was studying in Italy, I already had a fashion blog so I was familiar with how to set one up.

As soon as I went back to my Couchsurfing host in Sao Paulo, I told her, I am going to change my blog into a travel blog.

What I did from that discovery

I created P.S. I’m On My Way and wrote stories about my life out there. At first, it was only for my friends and family to read.

I wanted to give my mother the benefit of the doubt – “I am okay, mum. Don’t worry. I can do this!”

From writing stories every day, I found out that other people whom I didn’t know personally started liking what I wrote.

After which, popular media outlets picked up my work and started contacting me for interviews, features, etc. The blog took off without effort. All I had to do is to create a platform and tell my story.

Chapter 5: The young, wild, and broke solo female traveler

I continued my journey to Central America and circled back to South America. I was still very upset about what happened with me and my ex in Africa.

I have to admit it took me a long time to cope but I was doing it slowly. All my efforts and energies were put into the blog.

Time passed and until one day, I came to a point where I no longer identified myself from that break-up.

I traveled far and wide while finding means to extend my financial capabilities. I volunteered, did work exchange, stayed with local families, stayed in filthy hostels, met a lot of people with different travel personality types, etc but I was very very happy.

I just didn’t say that I was a different person – I felt it in every vein of my body. The journey definitely changed how I look at life.

Best of all, I became unbreakable. If I’ve gone through that horrible break-up by myself, I can go through anything.

That’s what I told myself every day until I had nothing left to fear. I moved forward. There was no other way.

The version of myself

She’s a wild heart. And wild hearts cannot be broken.

Goal and Focus

Find and learn ways on how to monetize the blog.


Remember those blogger guys I met in Sao Paulo? They only told me about the free stuff but when I started to join blogger groups on Facebook, I learned that I can make real money from the blog.

I researched, spent long days on the computer while juggling my volunteering jobs and all that shenanigan. I felt like 24 hours weren’t enough.

Why can’t there be 48 hours in one day?! Why!!!

What I did from that discovery

I moved the blog to a more professional platform because research told me so. It was really painful and tedious but I patiently went through it. It also costs money.

I had to give up some stuff like going out with the hostel peeps and spending money on alcohol. I still ate out though. The vow of never being cheap on food while traveling stayed true forever.

I can’t break that promise because food also reflects our life stories as different individuals. “Tell me what you eat and I’ll tell you who you are.

Chapter 6: The Best Luxury Travel Blogger

I realized that moving to a professional platform is not enough to go in the direction of success in the business of blogging.

Since the blog wasn’t earning money yet, I had to take freelance jobs online (VA, social media manager, client relations, etc) but I was working for someone.

My hours were monitored. The set-up didn’t allow me to give more time to the blog so I quit. I resigned from all my online jobs to be a full-time blogger.

More time was spent on the blog and this is the real take-off. I was invited to media trips by Tourism Boards, advertisers were lining up to be published on the blog, brands were contacting me to be featured on my Instagram and Facebook.

Everything was good. Those days that I was sitting for weeks in an apartment in Cancun paid off. Those months of not really traveling (I was in a different country, at least) actually worked.

I graduated from hostels (because of age) and started getting complimentary stays in 5-star hotels. On top of that, they are also paying money for every valuable content I made. Everything was really good!

I was even nominated Best Luxury Travel Blog even if I didn’t really focus my writing on luxury travel. I continued to write stories.

I told them to withdraw the nomination because I don’t want people to be misled. I don’t do luxury travel at all.

The Travel Blog Awards Head rebutted and said, “don’t take it too literally. We chose you to be in this category because you depict that traveling is a luxury. Your stories are very inspiring and we really think you deserve the nomination.”

I accepted it but the concept was still blurred to me. By the end of the voting period, I won.

Chapter 7: The one who found a home

In August 2016, Vibe Israel, a non-profit organization invited me to come to an all-expense-paid trip to Israel. Their goal is to eradicate the bad connotations about Israel through Destination Marketing Organisation (DMO).

Their mission is to bring authoritative bloggers to explore Israel for a week, hoping that by the end of the trip, they will end up writing/saying something good about the country.

I didn’t just write. I stayed. The day my flight departs to Mexico City (from Tel Aviv), I told the organizer that I am staying.

That I am sorry. That I can pay for the ticket they booked for me. That I really really really want to stay.

The last-minute decision was cool to them. In fact, they were happy that I chose to stay. “If you don’t want to leave, then we must be doing something right.”

I rented an apartment as normal people do but felt that I was living life backward. I even planned to write something like: “I left my life of travel to live in Tel Aviv” but my status here is not that clear yet.

I still have the tourist visa which requires me to leave Israel every 3 months for a visa run. I have already done 4 visa runs since August: Jordan, Georgia & Armenia, Sri Lanka, and Morocco.

I still ended up going back to Tel Aviv after those trips. I couldn’t believe I was booking 2-way tickets!

At this very moment, I am writing this, I am surrounded by boxes and a heck of a mess. My boyfriend and I (nope, this is not the Argentine guy) are moving together to a new apartment.

Believe me, I am terrified. This country is so expensive, I don’t have any resident status here, I can’t vote here and I moving with someone who I am only dating for 9 months.

There is a myriad of emotions that I have to face but every time I am scared, I try to remember all the crazy things I’ve done and all the hardships I was able to conquer.

Writing this piece gives me a little refresher course of all the things I did by convincing myself that I am brave.

Why am I telling you this story?

I want you to know that your travel preferences will evolve as you do it. Some of us are rushing to jump to Chapter 4 when we haven’t really done Chapter 1 so do it little by little.

But most of all, I want us to realize to never question other people’s kind of travel. I really feel bad when someone is telling her story about one-week travel in (insert country here) only to receive comments like, “that’s not enough to know a country, blah. blah. blah.”

Some of us are even putting hype on the backpacker vs tourist discussion. It’s not relevant!

When someone is asking for a recommendation on Facebook, I feel like we are sharing our knowledge about a certain place to publicly boast. Not to help.

I just want to see this less from all of us because there is no competition here. No one is joining the race to travel to 100+ countries in the world.

We want everyone to succeed in their travel endeavors so let’s avoid challenging people’s truths. Different humans, different dynamics. I wish we’ll all accept that fact.

A few things I learned from this evolution:

We don’t have to have the same experiences

When giving advice to fellow travelers, give an insight that will fit. If you visited (insert country here) for one month as a long-term traveler, then only provide information that will fit the person asking you.

Do not discourage them with their plans. You might now know it but the words, “that’s too short,” “you won’t have fun with that period of time,” etc will give another person second thoughts.

You are encouraging them to question their own plans. I know this because I used to do this, too. A LOT.

There is no competition

So what if your best friend has been to 32 countries and you’ve only been to 5? Is there a problem with that? If we don’t want to be challenged with our truths and our travel style, we should also do the same to others.

Embrace the type of traveler you are

I may be a long-term traveler, she may be a weekend traveler, he may be a Digital Nomad but each of us have things that happened to only us.

There are a lot of types of travelers in Tourism. People can relate but there are things you experienced that others didn’t. Always remember that.

Whenever I am scared to do something new or evolve to another level of traveling, I tell myself I am brave – and brave can take you places.

Note that in all the discoveries I had above, I always had the mindset of “that’s easy” and “I can do that” even if there’s no way it’s true. There’s no one else who will motivate you, but YOU.

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  1. Seems like I still wanted to continue reading this article but i didn’t know I was able to finish it already. More of this please…anyways – that was a good chapter of your life. And for sure you’ll have more best chapters of your life in the next days…So inspiring! I’m the short – weekend – digital nomad traveler…I rarely travel 7 days because I have my full time job and I also have my work online (for my travel fund).. But reading this, it enlightens me somehow..and you’re right – we don’t have to have the same experience, that traveling is not a competition and most importantly – we have to embrace ourselves as to what type of a traveler we are.

  2. “Tell me what you eat and I’ll tell you who you are.” My ghawd, please don’t go near me. You can still smell “who I am.” HAHAHA!

  3. You are just simply amazing Trisha from the moment I saw an online article about you. You are living the life I always wanted. And I always looked up to you ever since. I like how you make a blog a story not just a platform of advertisements and such. With your blogs and instagram stories I always feel like home.

  4. I have always been a fan of yours…since the day I stumbled upon your blog at least. But you are right. This is my favourite entry of yours to date! ❤ While it’s good that more people feel the urge to see the world, it’s saddening that those who were able to feel this urge sooner (or are those who are more priviliged /capable of traveling) feel entitled to dictate how traveling should be like. 🙁 Especially with the rise of influencers. This article could not have come at a better time. Love you, Trisha! Continue inspiring more people. 🙂

  5. Thanks Trish, well said. Your story is interesting, very impressive, you’ve done a lot in your young life, wish you all the best ! i always wanted to go to Israel, but afraid to go solo. Thanks for sharing your adventures!

  6. I didn’t think I could love you more until I read this. You are such an amazing woman, and I love your attitude, even when you’re unsure you still do it. That’s the way to go in life, if we hope to achieve anything. To just do it despite and in spite it all. And you’ve always inspired me in more ways than one.

  7. This is so good!!!!! People have always critiqued us for not wanting to hike a ton or trek etc. I would love to share this with them!

  8. A good reminder and it’s pretty simple and straight forward to do what you do best. I think because of social media many people tend to compare themselves to the “other guy” 24/7 and in all honesty that’s hurting everyone. I wish we could return to simpler times where we all did what we loved, not what we think we should do.

  9. Fantastic post and so many positive messages within – embracing who you are and how you travel are so important and help you enjoy the experience. Don’t look at someone else and be disheartened at how many places they’ve visited or the kind of places they stay in. Be yourself and do what makes you happy!

  10. This post is perfect. I’ve said the same thing many times. That your travel-style evolves as well as what you get from each trip. I’ve returned to the same place more than once and had totally different experiences because I had changed. I get so tired of people getting competitive or telling people that their way is wrong. Like you, I just want to encourage travel and explorations.

  11. You’re right Trisha. People should travel the way they like it and experience the travel lifestyle they want, instead of copying others. You’ve gathered many awesome experiences, and it’s good that you’re sharing your inspiring stories! Keep blogging! 🙂

  12. Live and let live is a good motto. Everyone is different, and ought to travel in a way that suits them and that they can also afford. Being true to oneself is key.

  13. I LOVE THIS ARTICLE. I just started blogging about travel and tried to take steps forward. I love this , “be where you are now” feel. Great stuff.

  14. Thank you for sharing!! I find myself feeling BAD that I am living the dream (but with that comes a lot of fricken work!) But I find myself feeling BAD when I tell people what I do because naturally they are instantly jealous. Since I am new to blogging, I rely on my husband’s income (he works remotely too) to be able to do what we are doing. I often get the “oh….well lucky you…!” I hope I can keep working on the confidence to feel good about the amazing things we are doing!

  15. I actually nodded physically and clapped as I read through this post. I am a traveler of 6 years it also grinds my gears so much when somebody says you should travel this or that you. I tell all my readers, and in all my posts I always say people should travel how they feel most comfortable and best equipped to. So if that’s as a budget backpacker, a luxury traveler, short-term or long term nobody should ever dictate you anybody how to travel. And you’re so right sometimes it does feel like a competition to how people travel, how and when did something so liberating and care free turn into a comp? P.S love your traveling evolution 😀

  16. One of the most captivating articles, that I have read in a long time. Kudos to you and your journey of self discovery, through different phases. I agree, everyone is a diferent type of traveler, and I dont think, anyone needs to justify the same to someone else. As long as the traveler is able to fill his desires, ALL IS WELL.

  17. Ahhhhh Trisha this resonates to me because I’ve been feeling a bit pressured lately. I feel like I’m trying to keep up with everyone’s timeline. I should be going to this place, I should be doing this, Why am I not there traveling and so on…But you’re right. Everyone’s different. I shouldn’t feel sorry for the type of traveler that I am. So what if some people travel 10x a year? That doesn’t necessarily mean they’re better travelers than I am. Thank you for this.

  18. What a beautiful and well-written story. Thank you for opening up and being so personal. I am so happy that your break-up in Africa did not stop you from seeing the world, just as it should be!

  19. I think reflection on our personal journey and evolution is so important, and you’ve really hit the important point here, that each persons journey is a personal one. I feel that our society has fallen into the trap of competing with each other especially now with our online culture where everything is about promoting the best of your lifestyle, but there’s no right or wrong way to travel, as long as you’re happy, and as long as it works for you, and as long as you take something from each discovery along the way. It’s important to realize that you can’t jump to chapter 4, and not compare your beginning with someone elses middle or even end. So I’m very glad you mentioned that.

    I hate the whole tourist vs traveler debate too – who cares! As long as it’s right for you 🙂

  20. I have evolved into a traveler who is skeptical of the “must see” sights. I’m willing to skip something popular in search of the interesting, the weird and the sublime

  21. This is a great post and so true. Everyone is different. We don’t need to all do the same or spend the same amount of time in a place. People have different interest too. What might be plenty for one might not be enough for other. Not everyone can travel full time or take 4 weeks holiday every year. We have to do what we can and be happy with it. The backpacker, tourists argument annoys me too as really no matter what type of traveler we are we are all tourists in a new country. Well written post. Loved it.

  22. Really interesting to read your evolution of travel. And I think the message that people should not feel like they have to compete with the long term nomads, or those who can travel for several weeks in a go… it’s not about competition but about travelling in the way that suits you and your circumstances at the time!

  23. Travel allows you to discover so many things about the world while trying to connect to the real you and your identity and how you really should be. I feel that things are always changing and to always be looking forward to experiencing new things within your own skin.

  24. Thanks for sharing your journey. Like you, we are evolving travellers, and we move back and forth between the categories, try really hard not to compare ourselves to others, and to enjoy the journey. I think when you said, “travel preferences will evolve as you do it.” you really hit the nail on the head.

  25. Such an incredible read! I loved learning about all the different travels you have been through and especially what you took away from each “chapter” in life. 😉 Life is like that, evolving chapters and no matter how old you get, they never get dull, even when repeated. Enjoy life and keep turning out stories that inspire others to travel as well.

  26. Your story is so inspiring and I am happy for you. For where you are now. And yes, travel teaches us these things and more. Each one of us have our own travel evolution story to tell and I love that you always encourage us to tell our own stories! 🙂

  27. you are such an inspiration Trisha! I totally agree that everyone should embrace the type of traveler that they are. Travel at our own pace – not because of peer pressure or whatever. Personally, I cannot see myself to long term traveling (as of the moment) but who knows, right? In the end, it’s us who are evolving because of traveling.

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