Roadblocks: Series of Challenges

This is a short break from my Thailand series to give you an update on my status on the road.

I was in Kota Kinabalu on the first two weeks of October and I did enjoy my stay there although at the same time I encountered so many roadblocks that could put this journey on a halt.

First Challenge: Big Shock with Price of Accommodation

I was so pampered with cheap accommodations in mainland Southeast Asia especially with Siem Reap and the cost of hostels in Kota Kinabalu were a big shock to me.

We got a family room (good for 4 pax) in Jalan Gaya (where you’ll find a lot of hostels) and we paid 64RM for an A/C room (shared bathroom) in Xplorers Backpackers after bargaining with the receptionists. It’s decent deal considering they offered free breakfast (bread, jam and coffee) and considering that we’re splitting the cost with four people.

But after a week, our friends flew back to Manila to take care of some errands so we decided to walk around to check for the price of a double room.

Most hostels quoted us an average of RM58 for a double room with shared bathroom. RM58 was around $19 (or $9.5/pax) that time which was a big dent to my budget considering that we have to stay for 2.5 weeks in KK before we take our flight to Jakarta.

Second Challenge: Paypal Account Limitation

To make things more challenging, Paypal decided to put my account on hold when I was about to transfer some funds to my Unionbank account. I have not transferred anything on my first week because I still have a few cash left from my last withdrawal during that time.

I went thru all the security measures of Paypal and updated my credit card number which meant it took almost a week to get resolved because I waited for the pin to appear on my bank statement.

The entire week and a half left in KK had to be on a tighter budget. I was just so happy that cup noodles exist in supermarket (LOL). I was never hungry even if I had almost no money during that time.

Third Challenge: Cancelling Wildlife Tours

We planned to see some Proboscis Monkeys in Klias or other wetland parks and we had to cancel it. It sucks but I had to make that hard decision. I could always use my credit card but I opted not to and vowed to only use it for emergency purposes. I could always borrow money from friends but then again one of the things I wanted to achieve on this trip is to be debt-free. I don’t want to travel under debt to anyone.

Fourth challenge: Google PR Fluctuation

It was like a movie when you’re least expecting and least wanting something bad to happen again, it surely happens. Google PR dropped to 2 and all my scheduled advertisers for that week cancelled. I call it perfect timing (LOL)!

Expensive accommodations, money on hold, cancelled trips, PR drop what else could happen?

Fifth challenge: Mom texted, they need some money

My mom texted and asked if I could send money again on a monthly basis just like before (aside from my brother’s tuition that I volunteered to take care of). And of course I said “Yes!” even if don’t have a clear plan yet on how to do it.

The need for employment is now looming again on my horizon.

Reality and Reflection

The things that happened made me feel so down while I was there. But I allotted only a day to wallow and sulk and pulled myself together on the next day. I told myself, “Sure, the money was on hold, but it would be fixed, sure the trips were cancelled, I could always fly back and sure PR dropped a notch lower, I still have a chance to regain it next quarter, that is if I’m still on the road.”

The challenges that I need to face now are bigger than a couple of months ago. Instead of wallowing, I spent a lot of time figuring things out and trying to map out a plan. I need to be bigger than these challenges to resolve them.

Realistically, my current funds could still last me up to my eighth month. I keep telling myself that eight months on the road in eight countries would not be that bad, although I honestly want to hit my one year mark on March 2012.

“I don’t know what the future holds for me. My trip might end anytime soon, so I’ll just try to make the most of this trip and live each day as if it’s my last day on the road.”

Roadblocks: Series of Challenges

“I love this picture! It reminds me that everything will be fine. On my last backpacking trip last 2009, our bus almost fell off the cliff. Read more about it here


  1. I feel for you Flip, these roadblocks are there for us to levitate higher, but in the meantime whatever course you’re headed, rest assured in the thought that you went there and lived the life, you might falls short of being on the road for a year. BUT I know you can go back on the road….the road is your permanent life, a job is the temporary one.

    Right now I’m on the opposite, the road is on temporary mode for me and job is the prevailing one. I’d give up to have both at the opposite spectrum.

  2. The big PR Drop. shoot.
    I admire the way you position these roadblocks as challenges that you can overcome. If I were in your shoes and I didn’t know myself better, I’d already scramble. But yes, the challenge is finding a way to survive despite these roadblocks.
    I believe you’ve been through worse, flip. So you’ll surely survive. Kaya mo yan!

  3. this surely ill take note as i have a trip to kota kinabalu next year. too sad that you experienced all this together… but too good that you have a positive perspective and even to the point of sharing it here.

  4. It seems like a lot of travel bloggers encountered some challenges last week. Sunod-sunod pero kaya mo ‘yan 🙂 glad you didn’t panic because if i were in that position, i could have booked a flight back to Manila LOL but that is if i still have enough money for a plane ticket 0_0 thanks for sharing this. All we need to do is sit down and try to sort things out. Mabuhay ka, FLip! 😀

  5. I feel for you Flip! We went through the whole Paypal ordeal ourselves. I really wish they would disclose that you will get a limit before you even sign up. We had just gotten back from our 6-month trip with little cash left. And then we couldn’t even cash our Paypal funds. Big hassle! But through the help of Josiah of, we got a Unionbank Eon card and it really helped us fix the problem after more than a month.

    Hang in there Flip! Let us know if we can help in any way.

  6. Isipin mo nalang Flip, those roadblocks build character. Don’t let PR drop bring you down. Don’t let the money problems bring you down. Just focus on finding a solution. The universe might even pop a couple of good surprises along the way. Remember, when you miss out on something, it just means something better’s coming up. 🙂

  7. Sometimes it gets tough but we must not give up. It’s the hard times that make us who we are… because those are the times we really have too think about things and sometimes even who we are to make sure we can do it. You make the funds last. If anything just look out for some cheaper places and try to make your way to those.

    I had no clue you were also sending money home. Wow I now have even more respect for you. I think that is amazing. You will come out ahead of all this I know it… you will make it a year on the road or longer!

  8. You certainly had a rough time of it. It seems like it is one thing after another, I know what you’re talking about when it comes to PR changes. Luckily my last change was for the best, but I know so many people who got a little sloppy, or simply got hit for no apparent reason.

  9. there are home stays outside kk, that’s cheaper than staying in kk and the best way to experience authentic sabahanon life.

    you have yet to learn how to say no to your family and i tell you it’s not a bad thing nor being selfish.

  10. hey flip, thanks for sharing this updates.
    i love to read what happens on backpackers when they are left with little amount of money. imagining myself on your situation pre.
    continue to update us and i hope you will reach that 1 year on the road. more months of traveling flip!
    dont let these roadblocks dampen your spirit

    • thanks james for the encouragement… one year or not, its been a great journey 🙂 im still trying though to stay optimistic

  11. Flip…. you can do it! people like you are my inspiration well for now in planning and eventually going out there! go go go!

  12. Hey Flip! Don’t worry too much. I understand that you want to achieve something but as our guru Rolf Potts would say, “Just don’t let that excitement and anticipation trick you into thinking you have to jam all your travel dreams and ambitions into one journey.” Continue to stay positive though 🙂

    As for what you mentioned, “My trip might end anytime soon, so I’ll just try to make the most of this trip and live each day as if it’s my last day on the road.” – true that! It’s not the number of countries one has been to or how long one has been on the road; it’s the experience that matters and that’s all we need in this life 🙂 Keep the faith!

  13. Flip, you were one of my inspirations in traveling (and blogging too), don’t worry about it. In life we always experience ups and downs. Hope all is well today! And yeah, hope to see you soon in Thailand or Cambodia? 🙂

  14. Journeys and Travels says:

    This is the most touching experience on the road Plif, one that I will keep in mind when I travel again. Moreover, what has been experienced is an enlightenment for you and what has been a drawback is a source of inspiration to achieve more, higher and loftier and after this, thank God, I bumped into you in Siem Reap and had the greatest night of sharing ideas and beers.

    Truly, I have learned so much from your own humanity Plif and I will be forever grateful for the opportunity.


  1. […] has been very kind to me (despite of the challenges I’m facing right now). I left last March 2011 and stayed for a month in El Nido and flew to Beijing last April 25. From […]

  2. […] not because of the place nor the people that I’ve met (they’re incredibly awesome)but because I encountered a lot of challenges on the road when I was […]

  3. […] has been very kind to me (despite of the challenges I’m facing right now). I left last March 2011 and stayed for a month in El Nido and flew to Beijing last April 25. From […]

  4. […] thankful to my fellow bloggers and digital nomads who never failed to cheer me up whenever I go through some bumps on the road. I’m thankful that they have the patience to answer my stupid questions about monetization, […]

  5. […] the past two years, I learned that it wasn’t a walk in the park because there have been so many challenges. Maybe if I were born with a silver spoon in my mouth then it would have been easier on the […]

Speak Your Mind


Follow my Adventures in Facebook