Last Updated on January 3, 2023 by Tina
In 2019, I started a tradition of doing a recap of what happened to me that year. I think one of the reasons I started doing it is because many great things happened to me that year. However, the following year was the exact opposite. And I guess it was for most people because you know, the pandemic happened. The year that followed wasn’t as bad and while 2022 wasn’t the best, I would still consider it a great year for me. I was supposed to publish this on the last day of 2022, but I got busy with other things. Better late than never though so let’s start with the 2022 recap.
I got COVID
Just a few days after the new year, I tested positive for Covid-19. Not a great way to start the year, but I’m glad that I only experienced mild symptoms. Probably because I was already fully vaccinated. I got it while I was at work so I was compensated while I was in quarantine. You can read about my experience with Covid here.
I went on my first out-of-the-country trip after the lockdowns
Earlier this year, many countries started letting in tourists from the Philippines, one of which is Singapore. I was able to go back there after two years when my mom asked me to accompany her. It felt great being able to fly out again. After that trip, I was able to go out of the country two more times.
I got featured in GAFFL
The best thing that happened to my blog in 2022 was I got featured in GAFFL. GAFFL is an app that helps you find a travel buddy and meet and travel with locals worldwide. It was my first time being featured on any website so I was thrilled when I was informed that my story is already live on their blog.
I finally got to visit Sagada
From 2005 to 2013 I worked in the Cordillera region and Sagada is just 3 hours away from Mankayan, but not once was I able to visit the place. I was finally able to visit it last May. It was a work trip and we were just there for a few hours but we were able to squeeze in some sightseeing. You can actually see a lot in 12 hours. Check out my 12 hours in Sagada post for the itinerary.
I spent my 40th birthday alone in Phuket
I turned 40 this year and I wanted it to be special. Originally, the plan was to celebrate it with my two best friends in Barcelona. We have already booked the flight and even booked a hotel. But going to Barcelona or any place in Europe is not as simple as going to countries in Southeast Asia. If you’re a Filipino, you need to apply for a Schengen visa. Aside from that, traveling to Europe is many times more expensive than in Southeast Asia. To make the long story short, I had to rebook my flight and my besties had to cancel, due to many reasons.
I still wanted to celebrate it somewhere I have never been to yet. And I have always wanted to visit Phuket, so I planned my birthday trip and went alone. As with my previous solo trips, my birthday trip was great. I had so much fun and not once did I feel sad even if I was alone. I even met a fellow geologist on one of the tours and he became my tour buddy for the day and the following day. We still get in touch and he just called me this afternoon to check on me and greet me happy new year.
I got a remote job
I have always dreamed of becoming a digital nomad and I was a step closer to that dream when I got a remote job. And the best thing about it is that I’m working as a geologist again. I haven’t really done that much traveling yet while working. Hopefully, I will have more of that this year.
I got a taste of how it is like working while traveling
Last November, I was able to get a feel of what it is like working while traveling when I traveled to Thailand and stayed there for 20 days. My original plan was to stay there for 45 days as it was the maximum number of days that Filipinos are allowed to stay in Thailand visa-free. However, a few weeks before my trip, we were informed that we were going to have a face-to-face meeting in the last week of November.
I will write about that experience in the coming weeks. In the meantime, I would just like to share that it is completely different from my previous backpacking trip because I had to set aside time to work in my daily schedule. The only days that I was free the whole day were Saturday and Sunday. But I have no complaints at all. I love the setup and I am looking forward to doing it for a longer time this year.
I made new friends
One of the best things that happened to me in 2022 was making new friends on random occasions. I met new friends from my solo travels in Thailand, from selling plants in Surftown Marketplace, and from the beach clean-ups and mangrove planting activity that I attended during the latter part of the year. We relocated to La Union in 2014, but it was the first time I met people here that are not our neighbors. It’s so amazing because the girls I met in a mangrove planting activity and I now have a group chat on Instagram. We still talk to each other until now.
I got to meet people I haven’t seen in a long time
Because restrictions were finally lifted in most places, I got to reunite with friends and relatives I haven’t seen in a long time. After 2 years, my parents were finally able to come for a vacation from the US. My brother and his family in Bicol were also finally able to travel and they spent the holy week, all saints day, and new year here. We were also able to visit our uncles, aunts, and cousins from our father’s side.
In Singapore, I met my classmate in college, my mom’s inaanak and his family, and my ex.
When we had our face-to-face training in Manila for my new job, I got to meet my new workmates who happen to be schoolmates from college. And of course, since I was in Manila, I made sure I met up with my besties whom I haven’t seen for a year. We explored Binondo together, and as always, we had so much fun.
And before the year ended, I had coffee with geo friends who were in La Union for a few days.
I got a new tattoo
As soon as I arrived in La Union from my trip to Thailand, I just changed clothes and left my big backpack at home then went to my tattoo appointment. I wanted to try the Sak Yant tattoo in Thailand, but I won’t be able to swim in the sea or the pool for a month if I did it, so I didn’t.
I volunteered in most activities of CURMA
I’ve been following @projectcurma on Instagram for a few years already, but it was only this year that I got to join their activities like beach clean-ups, mangrove planting, and sea turtle release. I met a lot of interesting people because of these activities and learned a lot about sea turtles. I am looking forward to joining more activities with them this year.
So I guess that’s it for my 2022 recap. Not as eventful as 2019, but it was great nonetheless. I have many things planned this 2023 and I can feel that this will an amazing year, greater than 2022 and even 2019. This will be the year that I finally get to visit Europe.🤞Happy New Year everyone!