Today on the Nomad Files I am joined by Justine of Jusz Travel. Justine is a Filipino working in Canada as a journalist. She has traveled extensively through Asia, Europe and North America and its an absolute pleasure to have her on the blog.
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Hi Justine, tell me: when did you discover that you were a travel fiend and what was the influencing factor?
I was about 8 years old when I had this strong desire to travel. I guess at that time, all I wanted to do was to experience getting on an airplane and go to a different country. I told myself that once that happens, I would be ready to die.
But after I boarded a plane at the age of 11 and went on my first overseas trip, which was in Singapore, I told myself, “nope, I can’t die yet. I have to see the whole world”.
That trip was followed by a trip to Hong Kong four years later, and then four years after that, I moved to Canada. During my younger years, my Dad paid for my trips so I couldn’t travel as much as I wanted to.
But in the past few years, since I have my own job, I travel yearly, usually once in the summer for my birthday and another trip during the Christmas holidays.
Ah yes, I can certainly relate. Traveling on your parent’s dime is fantastic, but I do tend to find it more fulfilling planning and paying my own way as well. Do you have a particular song/video/poem/quote that particularly inspires you to travel?
My go to quote is Susan Sontag’s “I haven’t been everywhere but it’s on my list.” That quote inspires me so much that my blog’s tag line is “One city at a time.” My aim is to visit every country in the world but by doing it in baby steps. :)
Can you let us in on a secret? What is one discovery you have made through your travels that really felt like ‘the road less travelled’?
I wouldn’t say I discovered this place but when I went to Sagada, Mountain Province, in the Philippines. It did feel like ‘the road less travelled’ as no one at that time knew about this place.
Is this place known for anything in particular?
Right now it is starting to get popular to tourists because of its hanging coffins, hiking spots, waterfalls, and big caves.
What did you do there and why do I want to visit?
I went there when I was about 8 years old because that’s where my grandpa came from. We went to visit some families but we also did a lot of activities like hiking, spelunking, and just enjoying nature. It is a very remote area. You should visit this place if you like nature and adventure.
What took you there and how did you find out about it?
My family took me there because some of our relatives still live there and my great grandmother who was still alive then lives there. She lived until she was 105 years old!
Tell me about the food. Was it different to anything you’d experienced before?
They grow their own food (vegetables and even their own pigs, chickens, and cows). Everything is fresh! They cook things differently over there though, I don’t know how to explain it but it’s something I am definitely not used to.
What was the culture like? Did you have much interaction with the locals?
The locals being so high up in the mountains and far away from the city, they did not have much access to a lot of things including technologies (but that was more than 15 years ago! That is not the case now especially since there are more tourists visiting their area.) The only interaction I had was with relatives who lived there.
Beyond the things to visit, do you have any tips on how one might best experience this place?
Be open to experiencing new things and bring hiking shoes! You will do a lot of walking in here! Make sure to get a tour guide to take you inside a cave. It is not recommended to go inside a cave by yourself. A permit is also needed if you want to go spelunking. Don’t miss out on the hanging coffins and ask someone about its history! Also, check out the waterfalls and rice terraces!
Can you recommend any of your favourite travel blogs?
I really enjoy reading Nomadic Boys, owned by Stefan and Seb. They are a gay couple and their blog is just so informative and funny at the same time. I love their photos too! I actually want to be friends with them in real life! Haha.
Last question, where do you live on the internet and social media for us to all come visit?
Thanks so much for telling us a bit more about your story Justine. And everyone else, make sure to go say hi to Justine over on her blog and tell her Luke sent you.
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