Remedios Valeriano got her first glimpse of travelling ‘by accident’ at the age of 48.
Since then, she makes sure that she is well-prepared and informed about her next destination. “I do tonnes of research about it, which cities to tour and landmarks or scenery to immerse myself in.”
I am 50 years old and I live in New Zealand, my ethnicity however is Filipino. We migrated to New Zealand 11 years ago and I used to work for a financing company for almost 8 years. I resigned in 2014 and I have not been working since.
I am not working at the moment and that’s why I have the time to travel. How do I choose my destinations? I watch a lot of travel shows where I see countries, popular or known tourist destinations and ideas from people and friends.
Travel found me and changed me for life
The first time I traveled and saw another country specifically, was Thailand way back in 2001. Philippines didn’t have a New Zealand embassy big enough to accommodate application processing, hence we had to go all the way to Thailand for the interview. Looking back now, it was a blessing in disguise otherwise we would not have had that chance to see and experience another country. Thailand was beautiful, we saw a golden Buddhas in famous temples in and around Bangkok and got to ride their local transport ‘Tuktuk’.
After Thailand I realized that there was a lot to see in the world and I decided to book a tour to Greece with my daughter (she was 21 at the time). Travelling together meant that our relationship was able to develop into a strong and unique relationship – where we created memories together.
Our trip to ancient Greece; seeing the Parthenon, Meteora and Santorini was when travel changed me on a profound level. It was also when travel bug really caught me for the first time and it caught me deep. It scarred my soul in a magnificent way. I was a changed person after Greece, it didn’t just give me a bug, it enchanted me in a very poignant way.
I love absorbing World History, ancient times and cultures and ancient cities and this was what Greece did to me. Seeing old ruins and absorbing information from the tour guide simultaneously, was magical to me (unlike how movies depict time travelling, so unreal and extremely implausible too). I used to always say or secretly wish that people could ‘time travel’ and see Greece and its ancient cities and artifacts. It felt like Greece allowed me to travel in time.
I fell in love with Italy
For my 50th birthday, my daughter insisted we do a tour of Italy. What an incredible birthday it was and what an astonishing country Italy is! I was blown away. My jaw dropped when I saw St. Mark’s square, particularly St. Mark’s Basilica. It’s not like anything I’ve seen before – the shows on TV and magazines do not do it justice. Who knew that such an enchanting building existed? Well, I know millions knew, but don’t forget I got the travel bug at 48! I can’t describe how unique and extraordinary the character of this building is. I didn’t expect old buildings to have the same effect on me as stunning scenery would.
The spectacular scenery in Capri was the highlight for me. While passing through the Love Arch, one couple in our group kissed as this was sort of the ritual there.
When you travel, you learn new things about yourself and these are the kind of changes that travelling and seeing a new place can do to a person. It’s enigmatic, like falling in love. But you fall in love with a place and the experience. Some of my most treasured mentions include the House of St. Benedict. The inside and all those intricate gold details. And not to even mention the the Vatican City, the museum and the wall/roof paintings in Sistine Chapel!
Why on earth did I only get to discover this at 48, I seriously missed a whole lot didn’t I?
Group travel is the most effective way to go!
I chose group travel and I will choose it again. It saves us trouble from doing our own research and manual bookings etc. and it ensures the chance to meet new friends and a wonderful, engaging and enjoyable trip. We developed a bond with the group, it made us more comfortable and, without us even knowing, it opened us up to absorb and learn more about the Italian culture.
We got to see little towns and wonderful scenery along the way that one wouldn’t normally see if you took a plane or cruise getting there. It allows you to meet new people and make new friends. And experiencing it with a group of people is more fun. It’s a way of travel that brings about those unexpected, special moments. Like the saying goes ‘the more the merrier’!
It was just unbelievable. Every cent we paid for was all worth it!