When I wrote my post Date a Girl Who Travels, I never expected it to click with readers, much less go viral. I was just very surprised to see it had been shared in Facebook 200 times after a few hours, and seeing the numbers steadily go up in the next few days gave me a feeling of unreality.
Now, two months later, it has been shared on Facebook over 26,000 times—and counting! It’s very good to know that people like your writing, especially when they take the time to comment or send personal messages.
Aside from these affirmations, though, one thing I got from that post was an opportunity to be a guest of Peter Greenberg in his radio show. For those who love to travel, his name should be familiar: he’s well known as the travel editor for CBS News in the United States, and he also has a well-syndicated radio show shared in his website PeterGreenberg.com.
I was in Venice, Italy when I received an email from one of his producers: Peter Greenberg would like to have me as a guest on his show. Would that be possible?
I haven’t had a lot of experience guesting in TV or radio shows (by choice), but I immediately said yes. Peter Greenberg is a name in the travel industry, and the fact that he knows my blog, and would like to have me as a guest, is a great honor indeed!
In lieu of the actual recording of that session, I had it transcribed (many thanks to my sister. She’s a great transcriber!). The transcript has been edited for brevity and clarity. Listening to the recording again, I wished I could have sounded more confident and more witty, but in any case, I was just glad for the opportunity.
I waited up until 1:30 in the morning for my time slot (worried that I wouldn’t catch my flight early the next day for Brussels Charleroi), but the loss of sleep was worth it. Peter Greenberg was a very good host, and the fact that he had been to the Philippines and liked my country made me all the more comfortable.
Here it goes.
Peter Greenberg: As of sort of introduction of my next guest, I have to give you a little bit of personal history. As many of you know, I am not married. I am single. I live on airplanes. I travel all over the world. I travel about 420,000 miles a year, I do so happily.
I also go to the Middle East the way people go to the supermarket. I’m back in a day. I’m not in a cruise ship for four weeks to find out if the food’s any good. I was a correspondent for Newsweek for many many years and the most number of days I could ever work on a story was about two and a half because we were a weekly magazine and if I couldn’t get the story done in two and a half days there was either something really wrong with the story or something really wrong with me.
So I am constantly confronted with people saying to me how could you ever have a relationship because you travel too much? How could you ever be in a committed relationship because you’re never home? I have news for you. I’m always home. I define it differently.
So, the other day one of my producers is reading out there in the blogosphere and comes across this piece by our next guest. I said we have to get her on the show; and for reasons now you will totally understand when I tell you the title of the piece. The title of the piece is, Date a Girl Who Travels. Amen. So joining me now, on the phone, is the writer of that piece, and I’m gonna try not to butcher her last name. It’s Aleah Taboclaon. Did I get it?
Peter Greenberg: Good. Are you laughing based on my introduction?
Aleah: Yes, very much. I’ve been told several times also about my tendency to travel a lot and the relationship thing.
Peter Greenberg: Well, listen, I mean you’ve been backpacking, you know for 70 days at a time. A little different than I travel but you know a lot of people do that at least once in their life and they see the world at a different way. And of course they end up, and sometimes by doing that in great relationships as well.
Aleah: Yeah and they are very lucky, actually because I don’t know a lot of men who would do that. That’s one of the reasons why I wrote that piece.
Peter Greenberg: Well let’s talk about that. I mean I’m assuming you’re single. Where are we talking to you from right now? Where are you right this minute?
Aleah: Right now, I’m in the city of Juliet in Verona in Italy. I arrived here this morning from Padova.
Peter Greenberg: And you’re there waiting for a gentleman from Verona?
Aleah: I wish! I’ve been to the house of Juliet earlier and all I saw were lovers kissing and using their love locks .
Peter Greenberg: Okay. But you started your blog by saying, date a girl who travels. Yes, a girl who travels knows that anytime, anything can happen as she just has to be prepared with it. Nothing takes her by surprise. Does that describe you?
Aleah: Yes, very much! Actually most of that piece comes from my own personal experience. It’s a personal piece. It’s not like a philosophical piece like others think. It’s idealized though.
Peter Greenberg: I have to put you on the spot. Let me ask you the question. You travel a lot. So are you dating a lot?
Aleah: Actually, no. I mean, you know when I told my friends in the Philippines that I will be traveling for 70 days in Europe; all they could think of was the movie Before Sunrise. They were thinking that I would meet the man of my dreams on the train, on the plane, or on a bus, but it never happened. I don’t know.
Peter Greenberg: Okay. Well there’s an old saying, “He may not be the perfect man but he’s the perfect man right now.” So have you met, not maybe the man of your dreams but if you had some great experiences?
Aleah: Actually now I believe that, you know, there are several people for different phases of our lives. So I’ve had those relationships and they were right for that particular phase of my life, but right now, I have nobody to call like a partner or something and that’s okay also.
Peter Greenberg: Well if you’re listening to the show, you have our website, PeterGreenberg.com. Aleah is standing by the phone waiting to have a travel partner.
Aleah: Thank you for the plug, Peter. (Laughing)
Peter Greenberg: Absolutely! Because after all, you want to date a girl who travels.
Aleah: Definitely! And I also want to date a man who travels.
Peter Greenberg: Oh well, okay then, ha, we’ll talk later.
Peter Greenberg: Speaking about your trip alone, and not necessarily talking about a man in your life, when you did this trip just traveling alone a lot of people might think you’re a little nuts ‘cause people, it takes a great deal of self-confidence to spend 70 days on your own traveling, doesn’t it?
Aleah: Yeah. Especially for someone like me who’s from the Philippines you know, people are a bit conservative and they are always thinking, at least most of the women that I know, they’re afraid of traveling alone because of a lot of fears of being raped, of being scammed, of being mugged, all those things. But actually if you just use your common sense, if you follow your intuition, you won’t get into any dangers at all.
Peter Greenberg: Okay. So let me shift and ask you this, how do you pack? Because you were traveling with just a backpack, so what do you have in there? What are your must-haves? What do you have in that pack that you have to have or you can’t travel well?
Aleah: Yeah, I was just reading your article about luggage and I was thinking that was one of my mistakes because I came here during winter. It was a February (when I arrived) so the winter clothes took up most of my pack. It would be have been so different if I were here during summer when all I’ll wear are shorts or shirts. But now I have coats that I cannot even throw away because I just borrowed them. Speaking of what I should always bring, it’s my Kindle. No matter how many clothes I bring, it’s my Kindle that I can’t leave without.
Peter Greenberg: All right, but I’m talking about the real essentials to make sure that you get through any kind of situations. So for example, I always pack not one, but I have two flashlights. I have extra batteries. I have what I call a Gorilla tape. It’s better than duct tape because it fixes everything. Those are the kinds of things that you know.
Aleah: Yeah. That sounds like the contents of my bag. I have also a flashlight, a compass, a piece of string, and a Swiss knife that…
Peter Greenberg: Wait, wait, stop, wait, wait, stop right there. Wait, stop right there. A piece of string?
Aleah: Yes, a piece of string. You know, a mountaineering string you can use in your hostel bed where you can hang your sarong to use as a curtain.
Peter Greenberg: Oh so it’s basically, it’s your portable clothesline.
Aleah: Yeah, among other things, you know. You can tie your bag to yourself if you’re in a bus and you would like to go to sleep and you’re afraid of it being taken away from you.
Peter Greenberg: That’s a very good tip.
Aleah: There’s a lot of things you can do with a string.
Peter Greenberg: Okay, I want that to be your next blog item, all the different things you can do with a little piece of string.
Aleah: Definitely! (Laughing)
Peter Greenberg: Now Aleah, where are you from in the Philippines?
Aleah: I live two hours from the city of Manila.
Peter Greenberg: Most people don’t realize that the Philippines is over 8,000 islands. I’ve had the chance to be in many of them: everywhere from Ilocos Norte down to Zamboanga and Legazpi and Davao and Cebu.
Aleah: Very good memory!
Peter Greenberg: Of course, and not just Metro Manila but Makati and, and getting out there. But I have to tell you, people who have not been to the Philippines are denying themselves a phenomenal opportunity to see real beauty out there. All those islands and the water are just amazing.
Aleah: Uh huh. Actually that’s one of the reasons why I also travel a lot, within the Philippines and outside of it. I think more and more Filipinos are traveling now because of the presence of low cost carriers. Before, it was so expensive to travel. You can’t afford it.
Peter Greenberg: You’re absolutely right and you know, the low cost carrier phenomenon is just basically recent in Asia and it’s really taking over and it’s giving people the option to travel with their Kindle.
Aleah: Definitely! (Laughing) I mean, can you imagine? I always bring a book whenever I travel, so if I’m gone for 70 days, how many books would I have to bring?
Peter Greenberg: I know. So, you know what it is, here’s the name of your new book, Kindle and A Piece of String. (Laughter) Aleah, thank you so much for joining us and again the name of her post was, Date a Girl Who Travels. By the way, I love that idea. I’ll get back to you.
Yup, that was it, my 10 minutes of fame. My thanks to Peter Greenberg for the chance to be on your show!