Roadtrip ~ Los Angeles to Portland

Yosemite

I remember growing up I used to watch these films wherein the lead characters would go on an epic road trip somewhere. I guess this is what compelled me to go on one with my two of my best friends.

2,766 miles. 19 stops. 8 cities. 7 days. 2 states. 3 people. 1 awesome adventure. — The formula for one unforgettable and epic trip!

After scouring what seemed to be hundreds of images, reading multiple blogs, and looking at dozens of destinations and mapping down routes with countless variations; we’ve finally decided on a route for this journey. Have you seen the video above? Let me know what you think!

Best,

Ardent Wayfarer

A glimpse of the West

As my Euro-trip comes to a conclusion, I can’t help but feel a surge of mixed emotions. 

When I was a little kid, I never would have imagined that I would be going around the world, visiting places that most people dream of. Yet, here I am sitting at one of the best airports I’ve been to; waiting for my flight back to the Netherlands. 

As I sit here in the airport lounge, sipping my cappuccino, peering outside the glass walls of this human ingenuity of a building, I can’t help but think of the past amazing weeks I’ve had. As a matter of fact, I am still pinching myself, making sure all this was and is real. This just translates how ethereal the destinations I have visited are. It was all too much but at the same time, never enough.

Walking the streets of Paris on a cool sunny day left me stunned. Not to mention I met one of the Irish Actors I adore, Sir Andrew Scott — So, quite literally and figuratively, Paris took my breath away.

The elegance and details of the architecture showed how artistic and sophisticated the French people are. And let’s not forget about the famous tourist attractions the city has to offer – being able to witness it first hand is just magnifique (insert my very baroque French accent, pardon me haha!)

But what got to me the most are the artists I saw while strolling around the City of Lights. I mean, picture this — a John Legend song being played quite beautifully by a talented dude enjoyed by almost everyone around him near the exquisite Eiffel Tower — or this guy who played a classical music with his violin, excellently; inside a tunnel of some sort, making the sound so much richer and much more haunting.

Dining at Trattorias in Rome, eating Gelato in a 10-degree weather, or just looking at the historical sights you used to hear from your classes back in high school — It’s all so surreal. I can still remember the first time I saw this place; it was in a movie. Lizzy Mcguire the movie. (Yes, I’m a Disney Kid too! haha)

The way the Italians make their food for me, is both an intricate form of art and love. Aside from the Gnocchi, I had. Everything else was great! Maybe that potato based dish is just not for me. (My apologies, Italian friends)

Also, growing up as a catholic and being enrolled in a school run by nuns, for over a decade, I think it’s fair to say that I’ve always wondered what the Vatican City was like. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to go inside St. Peter’s, but nevertheless, the century old Basilicas and Churches around the area are more than enough.

Then there is Berlin. A hub of for creativity filled with history and culture. It’s scarred past is still imminent around the city and it showed vulnerability and strength at the same time. I think this is the reason why there’s a melancholic mood and eerie feel in some parts of the city and I think that’s beautiful. Because I believe that learning from their past is what made this city great again. Just like in life – you learn to move on and be better but you never forget who you are and what you’ve been through.

And this is where I first experience the calming joy a Christmas Market brings. There’s just so much familiarity – Filipinos are known for celebrating the longest Christmas season in the world. Thus, these kind of places, give me so much feels. Especially that I’m living far from home too. The lingering smell of hot chocolate and various pastries in the air, the towering well-lit and sometimes over decorated Christmas trees, the songs you hear being played in the background, and the infectious smile people has around you. You’ll definitely feel that ’tis is the season to be jolly!

Breathing in the cold air of Munich, enjoying the long walks and commute around the city, munching on the local food and just soaking in all the glory and beauty that this vibrant capital of Bavaria has to offer — All of it is nothing short of Amazing!

Even made more special by a very dear friend, Mizuki-chan! And that’s one of my favorite things as well as a challenge (as I am somewhat introverted when it comes to stuff like this) when traveling; meeting new people and making meaningful connections with your fellow travelers. I’m glad to have met here when I visited Osaka back in 2014. Look at us now, 4 countries and 4 years later. 

I experienced a lot of first here in Munich — some of which are private but most are shareable. (:P LOL) Tried my first hot wine, authentic German beer, first legit snowfall. Actually, even now, while writing this, there is actually snowfall outside the airport, looking at those little art pieces fall down from the sky. Amazing! München, danke schön!

Last but definitely not the least, Amsterdam. Now I know why my brother fell in love with you. Walking the cold streets of the city will make you swoon over the tall European homes as well as the lovely and beautiful people of Amsterdam. 

You are, if not more, truly magnificent – just how I saw you in the films and photos online. I can’t wait to go back! I’ve got another day or two! 

I am truly beyond words. Overflowing with happiness, satisfaction, and gratitude. But at the same time, I hunger for more. As I’ve said, it’s all too much but still never enough. I’d like to thank my brother, Louise! For making this trip possible and so much more memorable! You rock! I always remember this quote whenever I see you – “You can’t blend in, when you were born to stand out” I love you, Broski!

I might take my time before I come back here just because Europe offers a dozen more countries I should visit. One thing’s for sure, this will definitely not be the last time I see you – Paris, Rome, Berlin, Munich, and Amsterdam!

Let me know what you think about this! Leave a comment below! Or leave a suggestion too for the next European country I should visit?

Best,

Ardent Wayfarer

An Unequivocal Beauty

Mt. Pico De Loro, Philippines

The seemingly endless wonder of Nature continues to baffle and amaze me.

Last weekend my friends and I decided to go on a trip. We decided to hike a particular mountain – Mt. Pico De Loro, which is situated near the Metropolis. At first, I felt that this little foray will surely be just like one of those usual fun and memorable trips we had before. Never have I imagined that something spectacular awaits us.

We started the hike around 9 in the morning. The beginning was indeed, fun. T’was full of jokes and laughter. We went through a rocky trail and then, we started ascending through some mild slopes. After 30 minutes of what seemed like an endless walking, we started to complain and joke about turning back while it’s not yet too late.

I felt my heart burning. I was breathing heavily. For someone with my physique, I think, climbing the mountain was an impossible feat.

But of course we continued. Every now and then, we would exchange Hi’s and Hello’s to fellow climbers we crossed paths with while traversing the challenging trail. That simple interaction made the climb somehow bearable. Seeing their smiles and energetic aura is just genuinely morale-boosting.

Slowly, we were able to feel the winds blowing harder. We begin to feel the sun rays beaming in on our skin. Which I think is an indication that we were somehow a step closer to the summit.

And finally, after two hours of rigorous walking, we reached the camp site which by the way, is a few minutes away from the summit. So Yay!😅 We had our lunch and took some photos ~ a souvenir of this experience.

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The photo above was taken near the camp site. The scenery was truly breathtaking.

After resting for an hour, we decided to continue on with the journey. We were still suppose to have two stopovers. First will be on the summit of the mountain and the next will be on the Monolith a.k.a The Parrot’s Beak. Unfortunately we were only able to climb to the summit as there were a lot of tourist and hikers that day and it’d take us until early evening to reach the infamous Parrot’s Beak.

That 20-minute hike going to the summit was something – something directly out from my nightmare. I was skeptical about the whole idea of relying on stones as my foothold on the way up to the summit. One wrong step and I know it’s the end. (We always tend to exaggerate things on our heads especialy if you’re a realistr or just plain pessimist) I was so focus on climbing this sh*t that I totally ignored my friends who were actually cheering me during that ostensibly life and death ascend. My knees felt like a Jell-O and were trembling after conquering that rocky slope. However, reaching the mountain top was truly exhilarating and fulfilling.

Words cannot describe what I was looking at during that instance. I was simply overjoyed for being able to see something as magnificent as that[this: below photo].

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It was legitimately worth all the effort and exhaustion.

Check out the featured Image. Isn’t that alluring. Seeing something like that in a photo would definitely make you want to personally visit the place and see it for yourself, right? And friends, you all should!

By all means, travel to places while you still can. It is something you can learn from. It is something that you will forever hold dear in your heart. It is something money can’t buy.

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And definitely encourage your friends to do the same. Plan something out. Go out there and fascinate yourself with the undeniable exquisiteness of Mother Nature. It may not necessarily be a mountain or something like this because as you all know, we have a vast world. There so much more than just mountains – we have falls, beaches, forests and so much more. Explore the world. And explore it to your hearts’ content.

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And you are sure to have the time of your life.

As I always say ~~ Carpe Diem, my friend. Carpe Diem.

Love Always,

Ardent Wayfarer