Travel Up by Kara Santos is one of the newest blogs that I’ve been checking out lately. Kara writes about her various travels in the Philippines and other countries. Kara would probably be one of the most travelled Filipinas that I know, having travelled from Sagada to Sulu.
Her blog will definitely take you to various destinations in the country and her creative writing style will effortlessly help you re-live her travel experiences.
Get to know more about Kara and visit her blog at Travel Up.
Here’s my short interview with Kara.
How did you discover your passion for travelling?
“Since we lived in the province, I often had to travel with my parents to Manila to visit relatives when I was a kid. Long road trips and bus rides were the norm growing up. In my first job with a non-profit group, I got to travel a lot because of field work and workshops, and always looked forward to the “sidetrips” after the official work was done. I started actively looking for conferences to cover (as long as they were out of town or somewhere interesting) and I would extend my trip so I could travel for free. Since I’ve been able to publish my travel articles in some local print publications, I’ve gotten more and more invitations to travel to different places just to write about them, which I think is great. My love for photography has also been a major factor in wanting to visit new places.”
What’s the most horrible experience that you’ve had on the road?
“I’ve gotten sick a few times on the road, been scammed by Tuktuk drivers in Vientiane, questioned at the Singapore immigration office because of the amount of my pocket money, taken a long commuter train from Ayutthaya to Bangkok sitting next to chickens, and gotten lost somewhere in Hyderabad while trying to take public transport, but I can’t say that these experiences were “horrible” because I learned a lot from them. They’re actually quite interesting now that I think about it.”
What’s the best travel experience that you’ve ever had?
“Learning to drive a motorcycle and being able to travel around this way is among the best travel experiences I’ve had so far. Each ride has made me see places in a different light. When you travel by car, you’re often detached from the place itself – but traveling by motorcycle brings you right there.
As Ted Simon (author of Jupiter’s Travels) tells Ewan McGregor in the series Long Way Round: “I think the motorcycle is best because it puts you so much in contact with everything. You experience much more closely the nature of the terrain and almost taste the cultures’ that you’re riding through, because it exposes you to the climate and to the wind and rain and it’s a much more complete experience.”
I’m looking forward to more long motorcycle rides in the future.”
What’s the biggest realization that you’ve got out of travelling?
“That there are so many places in the country that are off the tourist radar just waiting to be explored.”
What keeps you going? What keeps you motivated?
“The thought of traveling itself keeps me motivated and I always look forward to the next adventure. I also have these self-imposed quests – like collecting photos of room keys from hotels/inns I’ve stayed in or trying out new food (the weirder the better), so I’m always open to new trips.”
This is a silly and hypothetical one. If you would be given a chance to travel with a popular person or a celebrity, who would it be and why?
“Since this is a hypothetical question, can it be a fictional character? I think it would be cool to travel with a superhero like Nightcrawler (or someone with the same powers) so that we could just teleport to any location and cut all the travel time. I could head anywhere in the Philippines (or the world for that matter!) for the weekend and be back for work by Monday. It would save a lot on travel costs too :p”
Where’s your favourite place in this planet and why?
“El Nido in the Philippines is at the top of my list for favorite places in the country. The trip was more than a year ago, but I can’t stop raving about the place because it is just so beautiful. I would love to be able to spend 6 months there. All the islands were postcard perfect and climbing the cliffs to the summit was surreal.
It was also awe-inspiring to be able to visit Petra in Jordan. It’s one of the most awesome places I’ve seen on the planet. I lived out my Indiana Jones dreams there.”
What’s your best tip for newbie traveller?
I have 10 travel tips learned from years of playing video games, which can apply to real-life travel! One of those is that “You may not always find what you’re looking for in every destination, but it’s the journey that matters.”
What’s the funniest and silliest thing you’ve ever done while travelling?
“Hmmm…I guess for some people taking trips without any proper planning is silly — like taking a spontaneous weekend ride on a motorcycle driving for 5 hours randomly without any plan of where to go until you end up spending the night in another province and are forced to buy extra clothes because you didn’t bring anything with you. That doesn’t sound too silly does it? ”
What do you think about yourself?
“Some of my best friends have told me that their first impression of me was that I was really aloof, but that’s before they got to know the real me. I was labeled as “one of the boys” back in college because of my interests (comics, video games, etc.) and I guess because I don’t really care how I dress when I travel. Ask me about Final Fantasy and I’ll probably warm up to you really well. I’d rather not take things too seriously in life because that can get really boring.”
“My blog Travel Up combines my love for adventure in the real and in the gaming world. I try to write stuff here diffferently from how I write in print magazines, since the blog is more of a personal account of my trips – the backstories, side quests that I find interesting, or just more photos from various trips. I like to blog about extreme adventures, motorcycle rides, interesting food finds, and real vs. video game life experiences.” – Kara Santos
Editor’s Note: All pics are provided by Kara.