I have finally found my Yeti (if you have read item #3 on my about me page you will know what I am referring to)! Of course, she is more an exquisite travel heroine and oh so very real. She is no other than Lilliane Cobiao of Wanderlass Travels. She is one to look out for because she is about to break through the international travel scene by becoming the First Filipina to Circumnavigate the World Solo. She’s an avid photographer, scuba diver and blogger! I am very lucky to have her kick off my Travel Hero series.
After the post, please feel free to join Lilliane on her quest by:
Subscribing to her site at Wanderlass Travels
Liking her on Facebook
Following her on Twitter
1. What is your blog about in a nutshell and how did you get into blogging?
In a nutshell, my blog is a chronicle of a girl’s travels. I’m one of those girls who kept a diary growing up, so even if my life wasn’t all that exciting, somehow I found it worth my while to document my uneventful days, feelings, aspirations, and such. But while I no longer keep a daily journal, I normally have one when I travel, especially longish ones. I started a blog in 2007 before going to Europe. It was monumental for me as this is my first trip to Europe and first time to travel alone. I have many friends and family rooting for me and I use the blog to keep them updated of my trip.
2. When did you realize you were addicted to traveling and what has been your biggest takeaway from it?
When I was little, I had a book called Children Around the World and I love it. I’ve always been fascinated with the foreign land even as a child. I even had penpals from IYS (International Youth Service). But even if I took my first airplane ride at age 10, in my family traveling have always been considered luxurious and expensive. The breakthrough was when I traveled to US for the first time in 2004. I stayed with my college friend and we did a road trip from San Francisco to L.A. then to Las Vegas. I spent only $1,000 USD during those 4 weeks in the US. And for the first time, I realized traveling doesn’t have to be expensive.
|Conquering the Sulu Sea|
3. Who is your favorite travel hero?
I’m extremely jealous of Samantha Brown and her lifestyle. She gets to go to these exotic places, meet interesting sometimes famous people, stay in luxurious hotels, dine in the finest restaurants, sip champagne in Champagne, France, and star in her own travel show as her day time job. Actually I hate her a little.
|Lilliane in Kyoto|
4. Now for my “weirdest ever” questions: Weirdest food you ever tasted? Weirdest person you ever met? Weirdest thing that ever happened to you?
While I’ve drank coffee from civet droppings (cat pooh), bugs in Pampanga, lump still form in my throat when I thought of the turtle egg I ate in Zamboanga. It tastes exactly like eggs but the image of baby turtles in my stomach keeps haunting me! haha.
I’ve met some weird characters on the road, but the most interesting person is a guy I hosted through couchsurfing who had been traveling the world for 15 years when we met. It’s been 3 years since. And checking his facebook profile now, he’s still on the road. He started right after university and then never stopped. He’s not the digital nomads that are getting to be a popular career these days. He’s just a nomad.
Do you know I have a Twilight Zone tag in my blog? This is because weird things kept happening to me when I travel. The weirdest that happened recently is last year on a liveaboard boat to Tubbataha, our boat broke during the trip and we had to be towed back to shore. Unwilling to give up our already scheduled 7-days holiday leave, we immediately booked another dive trip to Coron. The following day at the airport, our flight got cancelled due to forest fire in Coron. That was weird right? So had to reschedule for the day after, which thankfully finally pushed through, but not without the scare of another cancellation.
5. Why do you think it’s not common for Filipinos especially Filipinas to travel solo? Speaking of which, where did you first travel solo? Oh and what does your mum say about all of this?
I believe it’s because we Pinoys are communal beings. We love our family. We love our extended families. We treat our neighbors like brothers. We love get-togethers and find every opportunity to gather to celebrate something. In our culture, it doesn’t make sense to want to be alone, to want to do things by yourself.
|Mt. St. Michel- Normandy, France|
The first time I traveled by myself was in 2007 to Europe. I had a 4 country itinerary, 2 of which I had friends who I’ll meet up, and then the other 2, I used couchsurfing. The thing about solo traveling that some people may not know is that, you’re not being a hermit in traveling solo. It’s about being completely open to new experiences. You will meet people, either locals or other travelers, who would undoubtedly give a different dimension into your seeing and experiencing. When we travel with our friends or family, we tend to bring our culture with us. So normally you don’t immerse as much into the culture. Traveling alone, you can take it over the top! I wish I could explain it better because I don’t want to sound like a smug or condescending, because I love traveling with my family and friends. I’m just saying there’s a different kind of high traveling solo.
My mum’s pretty cool. She trusts that I’m capable and sensible enough, but just the same, she always reminds me to careful.
6. Can you share with us a little bit about your RTW plan- when did you first hatch the plan, route, launch date?
RTW had been a dream since I met these travelers in my couch. The original plan was to do it with a bunch of my closest girlfriends and we were going to be like the Lost Girls World. We’re all travelers, scuba divers, and bloggers. We called ourselves the Wandersoles and we were going to scuba dive around the world. But as with traveling, it’s difficult with more people, so it’s no surprise that it didn’t happen. Middle of 2010, I decided to pursue my RTW dream even if it’s just me.
More than traveling for one year, my ultimate dream is to circumnavigate the world. I want to leave for the west and come back from the east. Which countries I hit doesn’t matter as much. I can always go to whichever country on a separate trip. I don’t know when I’m actually leaving but I’m in the process of securing the necessary visas, particularly European (Schengen and UK). Initially I want to pass by some Middle Eastern countries, but that will be a new sets of visas, so maybe I have to forego that for another time. The Planned Route — Europe, side trip Africa (if possible), North America (since I already have US visa), South America (since we don’t need visas in many of the countries), and I’ll see if I could get an Australian Visa in the US, if not then I’ll have to fly home from US. Gosh, can we count the number of times I mentioned VISA? Launch date? Dependent on the visas but I’m hoping by end of April to early May. I want to be in Europe summer time!
|During a dive trip to Tubbataha, Philippines|
7. What are you most looking forward to and what are you most dreading or have some concerns with? Any crazy or super adventurous activities planned ?
I’m really looking forward to see some of my friends in Europe. I’ve hosted a lot of people in my home and most of them went back home already. So it would be fun have our roles reversed. I’m also looking forward to go to South America. I’m so jealous of you, I want to dive in Galapagos! The new plan is no plan! The only planning involved would be the visa applications now, the rest of the trip I’ll be doing what the moment dictates.
8. What are the 3 most important things you had to do or to prepare in order to get to this point?
(1) To decide to do it and tell everyone about it.
(2) Save up some money and be at peace that I’ll be broke as a joke when I come home.
(3) Visa applications and decision to accept that it’s impossible to go to all the countries I wanted.
9. Message to others who want to travel the world solo?
I’ll come back with tons of wisdom from the road ok? But for now, I guess it’s just, “go for it!”
Ask yourself this: Who is your travel hero?