It all started with us bumping with each other in blogger events in which we were both invited. But it wasn’t until 55 Dapitan that I got to know her a little better and I realized what a nice person she is. Not only that, she is a also a good listener. I have to emphasize that because it’s hard for me to find people who are good listeners (most of the time I do the listening) . So here comes my fellow food and travel blogger and our 19th Travel Bug star, Arrianne Guzman.
Tell us some things about you
I’m Arrianne, I’m a full-time corporate junkie on weekdays and a part-time wanderer in between. When I was younger, I dreamt of writing as a professional career as I used to write for school publications and even served as editor-in-chief. But I ended up writing source codes in various programming languages. Unexpectedly, my knowledge in creating web applications enable me to return to my first love – writing through travel blogging. I’m a certified coffee lover. I’m also interested in foreign languages – I used to study Spanish (Berlitz) and Mandarin (Confucius Institute). I’m fascinated with the societal advancements technology had brought us but there are things I’d rather do the “traditional” way. I like sending people handwritten letters or notes. I don’t like mayonnaise and ketchup in my food. I dream of going to Bhutan one day.
When and how did your passion for traveling begin?
I like discovering and trying out things. I have always been captivated by people, food, culture, architecture, nature, adventure and history. I grew up with an ardent infatuation for photography. And travel is the only thing I know that marries all of these interests I have. No wonder around 2011, I started to fall in love with it, a time when cheaper airfares had slowly surfaced the market. And ever since I joined the corporate world, aside from making my own money, I was fortunate to always be surrounded with people bitten by the travel bug, too. I just felt the universe conspired and destined me to travel, travel and travel.
Given the fact that you have a full-time job, how often do you travel and how do you balance it with work?
I spend 40 hours of my week in my cubicle haven. But guess what? I maximize my weekends, vacation leaves and holidays to pack my bag and hit the road. I enjoy and appreciate my work in as much as I take delight in traveling. How to balance work and travel? Two important things – be productive (not busy but productive) at work and leave on time. As much as possible, do not work overtime (many studies revealed you are not achieving more when you spend longer hours at work). If you can, do not bring work at home and don’t do it on weekends and holidays. Remember, work is a never-ending process. I also try to live a healthier lifestyle and avoid unnecessary stress so I won’t get sick. Not having to skip work because of sickness makes it easier for me to file for vacation leaves.
Out of all the places you’ve been to, which one is your favorite and why?
I’d like to say Japan or South Korea, but no, it has to be Batanes. It was like I have a paradise all to myself. The sky was always blue and the wind was always caressingly cold. No matter where I look, the sight of the picturesque mountain hills meeting the sea warmed my heart. Batanes and its tranquility calmed my soul. Walking around, time seemed to move so magically slow and it made me realize to trust life unfold in its wondrous pacing – that I don’t need to rush things. I don’t know but maybe Batanes is an enchanted place because its spell would make you believe in all things beautiful and promising.
Have you had any bad experience while traveling? If yes, can you share it with us?
Yes, there are a couple of not-so-good pieces of experience already. And one of the most memorable ones was when we missed our flight going home to Manila from Japan. I’d say it was a combination of disappointing and unforgettable things. We spent our last day in Japan visiting Fushimi Inari shrine in Kyoto. With limited time, we just trudge a few of the torii gates and went straight to KIX. Arriving at the airport and thinking we still had extra minutes, we went around to spend all our remaining yen. When we finally check-in, we discovered we exceeded the maximum baggage allowance. We tried twice to re-arrange our stuff with our hand-carry but we ended up paying for additional luggage space. We thought we were good already. Calmly, we proceeded. To our surprise, when our hand-carry items were scanned, the staff asked my friend to open her bag and put out the boxes of instant curry rice she bought. Naturally, we asked why and tried to discuss. Our conversation didn’t go that smoothly – there were points where we can’t understand one another because of the language barrier. In the end, we left the curry boxes and they finally let us proceed. Off we went just to discover that our plane already left. At first we were all shocked and disappointed – we can’t believe we missed our flight! We spent all our remaining yen and we even paid for the extra baggage. It was really an insane sequence of events, haha! Moving on, we booked a flight for the next day. We chose to spend the rest of the night at KIX – borrowing airport blankets and sleeping in the lounges. The next day we prepared early for our flight. We took a shower at the airport – a coin operated one. I thought it was cool! There was a timer in the shower and once your time is up, the water will stop.
What is your non-negotiable term when traveling?
A decent toilet. I can sleep on the floor, I can endure a room without wi-fi or television but please, give me a clean toilet.
Anything specific you like to do when traveling?
I always like to try the local food.
Do you like traveling alone or with companions?
I haven’t tried traveling alone. And I’m not really into it but maybe I’d like to do it once in my lifetime. I love having companions but I prefer to travel in small group (3-4 persons).
What is the best thing you have eaten while traveling abroad?
Tough question because there’s a lot. The street food in Seoul was unforgettable. The curry dishes in Japan was something I can eat over and over again. But since I’m a coffee addict, I’d say trying Kopi Luwak in Bali, Indonesia. Also because of the experience that came with the two instances I was able to try it. The first one was when our driver brought us in a plantation which was not really part of our itinerary. Here, we were able to see the entire process of making Kopi Luwak starting from the roasting and grinding of the coffee beans. The second one was when we accidentally saw this coffee shop on our way to Tanah Lot temple. The unique thing about it was that there were civet cats roaming around, jumping from one table to another. The owner, who personally brewed our coffee, took care of the civet cats as his pets.
What is the most adventurous thing you’ve done in another country?
Brisk walking in Tokyo’s red light district during a cold, drizzling night with my girl friends. And if I may add, crossing Hanoi’s streets!
Do you know of any travel hack that you’d like to share?
Set your browser in incognito or private mode when booking flights and hotels. Incognito mode prevents browsing history to be stored in your computer. Sites often track your visits and will raise the price simply because you’ve visited them before. And oh, always bring a universal travel adapter.
Tell us about your blog Travel Habeat.
Travel Habeat is my passion project, a personal repository of my gastronomic travel adventures. It’s a combination of three words – travel, habit and eat. Even if I work full-time, I’d like to make traveling a habit, to experience and discover amazing things especially food. My infatuation for travel, writing and photography led me to create it. I am hoping to inspire corporate junkies like me to break the everyday work routine and travel. I wrote my stories to urge people pursue a memorable life because as Dustin Garis said,
“Life is not the number of years you live but the number of days you remember.”
What is the best thing about being a blogger?
At first, I thought getting invited for familiarization or press trips is amazing, I mean, who wouldn’t want to travel for free, right? And I’m very much grateful for all the opportunities offered to me in the short span of time I started blogging. But when I think about the best thing about being a blogger, I’d say three things – meeting new people, inspiring other people and sharing your passion (which in my case is my love for photography and writing).
What is the best advice you can give anyone who may want to start blogging?
Don’t wait for the right time because that perfect timing may not just come. Start where you are with what you have and with all that you are. As Zig Ziglar says, you don’t have to be great to start but you have to start to be great. Blogging, as in any pursuit, is a journey. Take baby steps. Don’t imagine “one day”, instead, decide on “day one”. And if ever you get tired or slightly lose grip of your purpose – rest, but don’t ever quit.
You can read Arrianne’s travel and food adventures in her blog, Travel Habeat.