Trisha Velarmino was living the life a lot of Pinay girls aspire to have: after studying fashion styling and communications in Europe (in Italy, no less!) and interning for a host of international fashion brands, she returned to Manila with a running start on what could have easily been a prodigious career in the industry. But instead of climbing up the fashion world’s ranks, Trisha ended up in South America, living out of a 90-liter backpack while seeing the world one visa-free country at a time.
How did that happen?
During her days as a student in Italy, Trisha realized just how easy it was to keep traveling full-time.
"I attended a big Couchsurfing event in Lyon, France and that was the time when I learned about the different ways how people travel," she reveals. "There were hitchhikers, voluntours (volunteering travelers), digital nomads and all the types of travelers there are. I kept wondering how these people can spend their whole life traveling the world and when I found out how they do it, I told myself, 'One day, I will travel the world too.'"
And that’s exactly what Trisha did. She started her long-term voyage in Africa in 2013 and eventually wound up in South America, living in one place for a few weeks at a time before moving to another. Though it’s only been almost two years since she hit the road, she already has a lifetime of incredible memories and experiences many could only dream of having, which she documents on her blog, psimonmyway.com.
"The greatest highlight of my trip is achieving a life-long dream: I was able to attend the World Cup in Brasil," she reveals when asked about the most memorable moment of her adventure. "Growing up in a country where football is not too popular, I really wanted to go somewhere where someone will understand my passion for football. I played it growing up and coming to a football-loving continent just made my heart jump for joy!"
It wasn’t easy though, especially since Trisha didn’t do much to prepare aside from selling most of her things to have sufficient funds. Her secret? “I just really started living with what I can afford and stopped longing for material things,” she wrote in her blog. It’s not easiest lifestyle decision to make, but adopting this mindset is a must if you would rather pick a life of travel instead of settling down with a stable job.
Everything worked out for Trisha in the end, and though her current job as a social media manager is a far cry from her glitzy, fashionable life back in Manila, she has no regrets. "When you work while traveling, the world is your office. Whether you are in a beach in Rio de Janeiro, a Carribean cruise, a cafe in France–anything is possible. You are in control of your time and you don't need to commute to go to an office," she says.
Want to follow in Trisha’s footsteps but don’t have any clue on how to support yourself and save money while on the road? Follow her advice so you too could set off on your very own adventure of a lifetime.
A few hours of work a day at hostels or bars won’t just get you free food and accommodation, but it can also open a lot of other doors for you. “For me, the most beneficial part of volunteering is being able to learn a language,” Trisha says. “I am now fluent in Spanish and I learned all that just by volunteering. Also, I met my long time friends while doing work exchange and that idea still amazes me.”
2. Work online.
"I’ve been a digital nomad for over a year now and it’s the most convenient job I ever had as it is location independent. I’m a social media manager and assistant to a US-based company where I work 4 hours a day, without a specific time," Trisha says. All you need is a laptop and Internet, and you’re ready to go!
3. Exploit your English skills.
Trisha also funds her travels by being a freelance English teacher, a handy job where she earns $12 to $30 per hour. She also maximizes her proficiency in other languages by translating files from her French, Italian, and South American clients to English.
4. Stay with the locals.
Immerse yourself in a country’s culture while cutting costs by staying with a local family. "This also enabled me to know how they live their daily life and do the same," Trisha says. "I’ve been a part of many Latin families here in South America and I consider them my own."
5. Be an au pair.
"An au pair helps with house work and taking care of children in exchange for food, a room, plus a daily allowance," Trisha explains. It’s not a bad tradeoff, especially if you love kids!