The Summer of 2013

“When you’re young, you have all the time to go out and see the world. You’re free; the only thing stopping you is money. When you’re older–with a job, a family, and money–you realize you don’t have the time to travel. It’s ironic.”

My sister said this to me while I was brooding over a small problem I had a few months ago. I knew it was my last summer as a college student and I wanted to make the most out of it. My friends were willing travel buddies and I had plenty of time for flexible travel dates. The only problem was this: Being an unemployed (for the summer) Communication student, obviously I was broke.

Having an Italy (for the international conference) and Korea (with family) trip already lined up, I was afraid to ask my mum for further financial help. I sound so ‘spoiled’, I know. I probably am at some point, which is why I didn’t want to burden my mother even more.

Then at the right moment, Cebupac had its famous piso fare seat sale! My friends and I decided to get a roundtrip flight to Siem Reap, Cambodia and a 3-night stay at a 4-star hotel that was having a promo. The total of both amounted to only about 8k pesos, fitting my budget a.k.a allowance that I saved up since November 2012. For a while it seemed like I’d be able to handle my own expenses, be independent, free from any guilt that comes from asking too much financially. But what about food? Tuktuk fees? Entrance tickets? Ahhh. I found myself asking my mum for help in the end.

I am most grateful for my mother for allowing me (and actually making it possible)Β to experience other cultures, see some of the most beautiful sights, and meet wonderful people around the world. Which is why I never forget her when I am away from home.

As I go on Holy Week services as a pilgrim in Italy;

Our UNIV 2013 group at the Colosseo for Stations of the Cross

A view of Rome on top of a hill that we trekked from the Spanish Steps

Interior of Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore

Basilica Papale di San Francesco in Assisi

Around the Vatican

Sunset at Loreto

Papa Francesco at his first General Audience

Papa Francesco’s first Palm Sunday

trek and brave the cold winds to the tops of Mt. Seorak and Namsan Tower in South Korea;

View from Namsan Tower

and hang on for dear life as I climb the crumbling steps of ancient Khmer temples in Siem Reap;

Pre Rup temple

Inside Banteay Srei

Kind and hospitable locals who invited us into their home for a Khmer lunch at Kamphong Khleang Village, Tonle Sap Lake

Children of Tonle Sap lake

Monk at a temple near Tonle Sap

Ta Prohm

Monk at Angkor Wat

she is on my mind.

I have her to thank for the generosity and love she has showered me with. I don’t deserve to go to all of these beautiful places– she does. Especially with all of the things she has been through since she was my age. And at 20 years old she was dreaming the same things I was dreaming of (travel! cuisine! culture!). I know she has dreams to go visit places but she chooses me to go instead. I am an extension of her; I live out her dreams, I am able to see what she only dreamt of seeing.

Witnessing the famous sunrise at Angkor Wat

And in return, I try to show her all of the beauty I’ve seen while traveling through my photographs. I know it isn’t a fair trade, not even close. But for the time being, this is my way of giving thanks. πŸ™‚

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