Travel Is My Soul Food

I still remember the exact way I felt: climbing up the stairs of Champ de Mars station with bated breath, catching my first glimpse of the soaring Eiffel Tower, walking my first few steps along the River Seine, and thinking to myself — with a heady mix of wonder and contentment and heart-squeezing longing — “Wow. Wow. I could live here.”

I’m happy where I actually live. Cebu, my beloved island in the heart of the Philippines, is my little corner of the world. My family is here; it is Home. But like a tree firmly rooted in fertile soil, whose branches nonetheless spread joyfully into the air, I constantly long for the experience of immersing myself in a different world.

The thing is: I’m just an ordinary person. I’m not one of those people who can afford to skip, hop, and jump across countries with nonchalant ease. I can’t name-drop Prague or the Galapagos Islands like they’re just in the next barrio. I also can’t quit my job and backpack my way across the world. I have bills to pay, mouths to feed, rainy days to save up for. I have responsibilities, ties…and it’s not that I can’t give them up, it’s that I don’t want to give them up, not for the world. And yet, despite that…

I still dream of catching — as the song goes — a midnight train going anywhere. I’ve done it before; I know I can do it again. I know it. If you’re like me, a small-town girl (or guy!) with big travel dreams, I hope the stories, tips, and tidbits in this site help you catch your own midnight train. Welcome, fellow wanderer!


small-town girl travel_you can do it too

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About Me

I’m a Cebu-based travel writer who’s always dreaming about going somewhere. My family is the most important thing in the world to me and one of the items on top of my bucket list is to take them all to Rome, and maybe a few other European cities, in the next 2 years. I believe in kindness, thankfulness, integrity, and the importance of being able to laugh at yourself. (The latter will get you through anything, I think.)

You can read about my travel philosophy here: The Small-Town Girls, Midnight Trains Travel Manifesto.

PS – I’ve noticed people have been stumbling a bit on how to address me as I haven’t got my name displayed anywhere. Please call me Gaya. 🙂

179 thoughts on “Travel Is My Soul Food

  1. Hi, I am so glad you dropped by my blog, it has lead me back to you. I loved your piece on Venice, having visited there it brought back wonderful memories. I am an oldie, who worked hard for a long time, watched by kids grow up, and now have time to travel, and to photograph the places we get to!
    Your writing is refreshing, and I am sure you will inspire many new travellers. thanks again from dropping by, I look forward to following your blog.

  2. Hello 🙂
    I really like your blog it reflects your personality. I hope I can be like you. And thank you so much for liking my blogs. I did not expect it. 🙂

    • Hey!! I went over to your blog and I can’t even begin to list the coincidences. I saw you were in Paris in 2012; my sister and I were there 2011. That moment you described when your taxi went over the Pont Neuf — that’s exactly how I felt when I emerged from the subway at Champ de Mars. I went back earlier this year, and it looks like you’ll be going back this year too! I am excited for you, and a little bit jealous at the same time. 🙂 I’ll be following your blog too. Good luck and happy travels!

  3. I appreciate you dropping by my blog. Yours is very impressive! Someday, i’ll get to visit Europe too, I am a dreamer!

  4. My feelings exactly – it’d be lovely to just up and leave at the drop of a hat, but when you need money and time away from work to gallivant the globe, it isn’t so easy to satiate your wanderlust! Nice to meet another ordinary person who is dreaming big, can’t wait to read more of your adventures 🙂

    • Yay! I think there are actually a lot of us out there, people who love to travel and immerse in different cultures but can’t afford (or even necessarily want) to cut themselves off from their old lives. It’s just the up-and-leave ones who, I guess, are more vocal or get more exposure. 🙂 Your blog is awesome. 🙂

  5. What a lovely blog you have 🙂 Love the honest and candid intro! As a “fellow wanderer”, we are keen to read about your travel adventures! As it sounds like you squeeze them in whenever you can, much like we do 🙂

  6. Hi! Thank you for dropping by my blog, and even liked my “about”. I’m a newbie here and hoping to enhance my writing skills through blogging. Haven’t browse your posts yet but I’m quite sure I’ll get inspired with what you’re sharing. Thanks again! 🙂

  7. I seen your page name, only one came into my mind, I remember a lyrics of journey song, don’t stop believing :), I like that song, found your site, I like it too, thanks for liking my post, have a nice day 🙂

  8. Reading this about page was like reading about myself, you described everything I feel about traveling! Thank you very, very much for visiting my blog and so in turn I could find this one, it is wonderful.
    Lorna ^_^

    • Thank you Grace! We have a saying in the Philippines: “libre ang mangarap” (roughly, dreams don’t cost a thing), so there’s nothing stopping us from dreaming! 🙂 I’m excited to read more from your blog; congrats on your own Freshly Pressed post. Cheers!

  9. I love your blog …very well done! I have not traveled much, but maybe one day …and for now I shall take time, when I can, to visit your blog and live experiences through your eyes and writings.

  10. i love your point about traveling not just being for those who can afford to stay at the Ritz. thank god there are more of the other kind out there– otherwise think of how boring adventuring would be…

  11. Hi,

    Hope everything is going well in your life!

    I’m Nancy and am a freelancer. During searching I found your blog very interesting.
    The writer in me is yearning to contribute a piece for your blog, maybe around 400-500 words, or whatever you are okay with.
    I will feel very happy to write for your blog.
    Awaiting your positive response.


  12. I love your travel blogs! I wonder if you are open to freelance blogging opportunities either full time or part time. Please feel free to contact me vi email 🙂

  13. Your site is so inspiring for an aspiring traveler (in a very tight budget) like me. I can’t deny how I can relate to you.. YES, I’m a small girl with big travel dreams (but never tried traveling yet even outside Cebu haha). Will definitely follow your adventures! Good bless!

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