I like being surprised by people. Like when you meet someone who looks every bit like a person born into a rich family and you get an impression, “Nah, this person won’t do in a rugged setting,” and then she proves you wrong. That’s exactly what happened when I met Lou and she joined my friends and I when we went to Banahaw Tugtugan music festival last year. This towering lovely woman with white alabaster skin winged it like the rest of the group. And today she is our Travel Bug star, meet Lou Ongpin, the blogger behind the lifestyle blog, Going SoLou.
Tell us some things about you
My name is Lou, a 20 something Corporate Professional by day, an MBA Student by night, and a lifestyle, adventure and food blogger on my days off. I love writing stories since I was back in the grade school. It wasn’t until in Graduate School wherein these materialized eventually in the form of my blog Going SoLou and from then on I never looked back since I love documenting my experiences and dishing out my organic and no filter thoughts in this seemingly endless labyrinth called life. I would like to consider myself an optimistic person who views life like a child because up until this day I still get excited whenever something new comes along especially when it comes to new experiences and new food joints yet to be discovered and explored. Guess that’s why I became a blogger in the first place.
What inspired you to travel? How did it all start?
Since I was a kid I used to read books about fairy tales in far flung areas and other biographies of people in deplorable places and I often wondered how it would feel like to also travel the world and widen your horizons. Traveling makes you grow and mature in more ways than you thought because it opens you up to the vastness of the world and that you tend to meet a lot of interesting people along the way of your sojourns and eventually gain also a part of their wisdom in the process as they tend to share with you their experiences as well. So when I finally saved enough I began to research on places that I would like to visit and craft an itinerary on what I would like to do upon getting there, so far it has made me come out of my comfort zone, widened my horizons, gained me new friends and I couldn’t be happier.
Do you like traveling solo or with a group?
Depends actually. It’s fun to travel in a group and get to know other people who have the same passion and penchant for traveling as you do plus those awkward and random moments which you encounter along the way can be fun to look back years from now as you all erupt into fits of laughter. However, there are also times that I would just like to unwind, relax, and take a breather from the busy metropolis away from all the stress and all the pressure of the Metro. Being alone, lets me focus and be at peace with myself as I eventually gather my thoughts and sort out my pressing priorities and the things I need attending to first because sometimes I just get so excited when an opportunity comes up that I somehow leave my other thoughts scattered so it’s also good to be alone sometimes.
How do you prepare for a trip?
I am usually a very spontaneous person by nature meaning most of the time I just go with the flow and just follow the lead of my friends or I tend to pack lightly so I can make room for contingencies along the way.
What are your travel must-haves?
My phone, some cash, a couple of clothes, and some toiletries I guess.
So far, which destination is your favorite and why?
So far I would still like to go back to Sagada because it evokes a sense of freedom. If you want a respite from the daily hustle and bustle of the Metropolis then this is the place to be. Either that or in the pristine beaches of Caramoan wherein we didn’t have access to technology for a couple of days and just lounged by the clear seas discovering the aquatic wonders and the big shapely boulders that this place holds. Plus it was definitely time well spent as me and my friends got to catch up on each others lives.
How do you balance work with your passion for traveling?
I guess you just have to learn your priorities and that everything comes with proper timing. You can’t just leave work just for an impulsive travel jaunt. You need to assess first if you have the finances to sustain your travel, check the pertinent documents and papers that you will need and of course check also if it would not conflict with your work schedule and that all your deliverables are met and efficiently done.
Tell us some things about your blog.
My website is called GoingSoLou since obviously my name is Lou and I wanted something that’s easy to recall and would also be unique in a way. It is to document my travels, food trips, adventures, and other occasions in my life which I find to be worth sharing. I want to give other people an insight and some ideas as to where they might go to release off some steam, unwind and just have an awesome time through my own experiences! 🙂
Do you also write about your travel adventures in your blog?
Yes and I can’t wait to get started on my next travels as these will also be fodder for my next blog posts.
Where do you plan to go next?
Maybe in Japan to see the famous cherry blossoms or in Korea so I can hoard on their facial masks, BB Creams and fan girl at my favorite Korean actresses. Haha.
What is your non-negotiable term when traveling?
Live. I guess this word encapsulates it all because life is too short to be spent just coasting by the sidelines or living it out in your comfort zone. Just like what Forrest Gump’s Mom used to say before “Life is like a box of chocolates, you’ll never know what you’re going to get”
When you go to a place, what is the first thing that you look for?
I look for picturesque sights to see to be honest because as I mentioned earlier I like documenting the things that I find interesting so I snap away with my camera upon seeing things that tend to catch my fancy or pique my interest and then soon after walking for some time when I get tired eventually I tend to look for a nice food joint to dine in and taste the sumptuous dishes they have to offer.
What is your dream destination?
Maybe in the future I would like to see what London has to offer. Since even as a kid, I have heard that it is one of the dream cities for most of the people since it has plenty to offer in terms of sightseeing, lifestyle, culture and history.
Any traveling tips you wish to impart to our readers?
Just have fun and don’t forget to snap some memories because You Only Live Once so live it fully.