Backpacker’s Hotseat: Journeying James

James on top of the Giant Cross in Camiguin, Philippines (i wonder how he got there, hehe)

James is one of the best Filipino travel bloggers I know. In his blog, Journeying James, he shares his inspiring and infectious backpacking stories which will have you squeeze all your adventure juices and challenge your intrepidness to experience his kind of adventure yourself.

He travels the cheapest way possible and never been selfish on sharing his journeys to his fellow backpackers.

He’s currently looking forward to his February 2012 expedition he calls “100 Days of Backpacking the Philippines – The cheapest way possible” which I consider as one of the best backpacking challenges in the Philippines.

I can’t wait to read his updates/post from that trip. But for now, let’s know James more and learn from his daring escapades.

Here’s my interview with James:

When and how did you discover your passion for backpacking?

I was in my college days (2002) when I bought a Philippine and SEA map. I placed it on my wall so when I wake up, I could somehow memorize the geography of the 80 provinces. Later did I realize, that it would spur me to visit each of the provinces.

 Have you been to horrible experiences on the road? How?

Yes. I was help in Johor Bahru, Malaysia in 2009. He got my passport, travel money and my borrowed digital camera. He was pretending to be police and he said that I have drugs in my bag. Turned out it was a modus operandi. Because I don’t have money left, I slept near the police station on the bench. I was stuck for a week in Malaysia. You can read the whole story here:

Share the best travel experience that you’ve ever had?

It would be my 14-day Solo Backpacking Trip where I challenged myself to live within Php250/day (all-in). The last day, I was forced to hitchhiked, asked buko for food, was given dinner by strangers.

What life lessons have you learned from backpacking?

I learned that there is goodness in everyone’s heart. I also observed that those who don’t have are the ones who share: they share themselves.

Exploring Biri Rocks, Northern Samar

If I have the special power to teleport and bring you with me somewhere, where do you want to go?

Anywhere in Europe. Europe just fascinates me

Among the places that you’ve been to, which one fascinated you the most?

Dahican Beach, Mati City, Davao Oriental. I can stay there for a month doing nothing but skimboard, snorkle and watch the sun set.

What’s a typical day for you?

If I’m traveling, I would definitely be out with my hammock hanging between 2 coconut trees. Sipping mango shake or reading a book or exploring a city/town by foot, looking for cheap street food.

If I’m just home, I think I’ll be writing something for my blog while sipping my own mix of brewed coffee. Oh, I love to listen to music too or watch DVD. By dusk you will find me running 5-10K.

I know when you travel your house is inside your backpack. But how about on your typical day, what are the top 5 things you never missed to put in your daily bag?

I don’t know, I don’t carry bag if I’m not traveling. I think only girls bring bag even if they don’t need it. hahaha But maybe camera, sunglasses, water bottle.

What’s the silliest thing you’ve ever done while travelling?

Skinny dipping in Mambukal falls. I also remember pretending to be a Boracay local so as not to pay the environmental fee. You know, I don’t actually see the point of paying environmental fee when all I see are trash on the beach.

What tips can you give to newbies like me in travel blogging?

Write what you are passionate about. Find your own niche and do your best there. Readers look for the ‘heart and soul’ in what they read. If they don’t find it in your blog, they will not visit back.

 What’s your favorite travel quote?

When I had youth I had no money; now I have the money I have no time; and when I get the time, if I ever do, I shall have no health to enjoy life. – Louisa May Alcott

running in Sabtang Island, Batanes


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