These past days, I've been having minor strokes thinking about the future.
The long-term goal is of course certain - to serve in every which way that I am needed and capable. This could be done by working in an NGO or by starting my own. It is also pretty clear to me that I'm not going to work in a government agency (which is totally different from working with a government agency.) However the road to this certain far-off future is pretty uncertain.
In a few months I will be finishing my masters (inshallah!) That sentence ends there because I have no idea what follows. I don't know yet what I'm going to do or where I am going. There is, however, something that's tugging at my heart strings. Travel.
Aywa(Yes), I am considering dropping everything for sometime and just traveling. There are of course several complications to this idea. One is getting a visa. So this is why only Americans can join the Amazing Race. Imagine if I were in the Amazing Race? I'd be lining up outside the embassy and photocopying the necessary documents while all the other contestants are running halfway across the world. It's tough being a Filipino, I tell you. Still, wouldn't change a thing, though.
But I don't mind applying for visas. The real problem would be resources. I mean, the only way I am able to travel nowadays is because I have a very generous and supportive department in school. Otherwise, I wouldn't be here.
So I've been checking out blogs. I know I am not alone in this dream. I'll be trying to figure out how to do this traveling thing in the coming months. For now, let me share how others have been able to travel around without breaking the bank, or selling our house and maybe a couple of lands (I swear mom, not even thinking about it! hahaha.)
1. Get a masters! hahahaha. I know more and more people who are getting further education in other countries and this is a great way to travel to a foreign place. If you're really interested in economic development or maybe finance, you might want to check out my program, International Political Economy and Development (IPED). But I think one of the more generous scholarship giving bodies is the Erasmus Mundus. Erasmus Mundus allows you to choose from a variety of graduate courses in different European universities. The great thing about Erasmus Mundus is that you get to move to different universities throughout your stay. This is because the main idea behind the scholarship is not just education but cultural immersion. That is, they want you to expose yourself to the wonders of European culture. Now, ain't that exciting. You might want to check Tantan's blog on my blogroll just to see how much fun he's having.
2. Apply to short-term grants and awards. Aside from scholarships, there are also short-term grants and awards that you can apply for which should allow you to travel. In the Philippines there are several writing workshops such as the UP National Writer's Workshop which will bring you to a province outside Manila. Not only do you get to interact with fellow aspiring writers but you also get mentored by the most respected writers in the field. There's also the Ateneo, UST and Iligan workshops which you can apply to. I heard from friends that there's also one in Vermont. Sorry that most of these examples are for writers since a lot of my friends are writers. But you get the drift.
3.Teach English. This is very popular nowadays. I know so many people who have taught English in South Korea, Thailand and China. They got to travel and the pay, from what I heard wasn't so bad. This, ofcourse, not only assumes that one is good in English, but that you know how to teach English.
4. Volunteer. But first, a warning. Volunteering is something special to me. And it must be said that while volunteering can be a good opportunity to travel, traveling shouldn't be your main motivation. There are many organizations out there where you can volunteer and along the way, experience other places. In the Philippines there's Jesuit Volunteers Philippines, which brings you to different marginalized communities around the country. On an international level, there's Volunteer Service Organization, there's Peace Corps for Americans etc. Volunteering for this organizations won't make you rich, but they do provide you with a small allowance enough for you to survive. But again, traveling is not enough of a motivation to join these organizations. You should also have the desire and skills necessary to serve.
5. Save money strategically. This is what www.wanderingearl.com did especially at the beginning of his travel adventures. He's been traveling full time for over 12 years now. So how did he do it? At first he would return to the states for a job, save a couple of thousand dollars then go back to India or wherever his feet brought him. This would usually last him a year or two before he would need to work again as a teacher or a a staff in a cruise ship. Once he's saved enough after 6 or so months of work, he'd travel again. But since he published an e-book about his travels and his blog is doing well, he's been on the road full time.