The Essential Guide To Heading Off The Beaten Track

With coronavirus forcing us to adapt to a new normal, we have had to revolutionize many different aspects of our lives. Travel is no different. Less than six months ago you could have hot-footed it to wherever you wanted on the planet without a care in the world. Fast forward to today and you need to check out quarantine legislation, R rates, and temperature checks.

Travel has become more daunting for the ardent backpacker and the holiday-maker. This doesn’t mean that travel is off the cards forever. For the foreseeable future, we may be planning our trips rather than embarking on them, but in the near future, you will be able to take a jaunt overseas again. However, you may not want to be among the tourist crowds and the busy hotspots. Instead, you might want to venture somewhere off the beaten track to stay safe and reduce your risk of catching Covid-19. Take a look at this essential guide to help you head off the beaten track.

Photo by Porapak Apichodilok from Pexels

Look At A Map

When you plan a travel adventure overseas, the chances are you have an idea of where you want to go in the world. You might want to trek the Inca Trail in Peru, do some temple hopping in Kyoto, Japan or take a drive along Route 66 in the United States. To head off the beaten track successfully, you need to be close enough to activities and sites without being smack bang in the middle of them.

Our trip to Japan last 2017

If you are heading to Japan, Hiroshima is a must-see city. Where the atomic bomb dropped at the end of the Second World War, this city is full of history and optimism. It’s also busy. Instead of staying here, why not hotfoot it to the neighboring island of Miyajima. Beautiful, picturesque and idyllic, you are just thirty minutes away from the city, but you can stay in a traditional Japanese ryokan far away from the crowds. The floating shrines are stunning and there are some wild deer and monkeys to get to grips with. You might even want to scale Mount Misen to see the temple on the peak.

If you fancy Thailand, don’t head to the hustle and bustle of Bangkok, and take a jaunt to Nonthaburi instead. The city is rarely visited by tourists, yet it’s not far from the stunning temple-laden Lat Phrao. You could even save money by finding a cheap house for rent in Nonthaburi rather than staying in an expensive hotel in the region. You can be somewhere less dense, stay for a longer period of time, and enjoy a quieter pace of life.

GPS

If you are planning on heading off the tourist trail, make sure that you have safety as your top priority. While you might love the idea of being free from the shackles of social media and off-grid, it is still prudent to have a smartphone and GPS device on you. If traveling solo is your thing, a GPS device is vital if your set of wheels breaks down or if you get lost. A quick lookup of your coordinates can help emergency services locate and rescue you.

Smartphones are also necessary for those just in case moments. You don’t have to be scrolling through Facebook every hour of your travels, but posting photos now and again and staying in touch with family is important to many travelers no matter where they are in the world.

Image by Jonathan Valencia from Pixabay

Follow The Locals

If you are keen to see the authentic side of a destination, it’s not a good idea to go on tours set up for foreigners. You’ll see the bland and expensive face of a nation. Instead, follow the locals. If you want a great bowl of pasta in Rome, go where the Italians go. If you want some incredible dumplings in Beijing, forget following the Americans and venture where the Chinese go. They may not look the most salubrious of restaurants, but the best and most authentic eateries rarely are. 

To help you stay off the beaten track, you need to converse with the locals. This means you need to commit to learning a little bit of language. Doing this will help you earn the respect of the locals. There’s nothing more embarrassing than shouting slowly in English, expecting a local to understand you. It’s arrogant. Don’t do it. Instead, be a responsible and caring traveler, learning some of the lingo, making friends with the locals, and finding some hidden gems.

Heading off the beaten track can be exciting. Follow this guide and you can stay safe while traveling in a post-pandemic age.

Any other tips? Share it with us!

Mental Health Insights and my Thoughts about It

It’s so great to see that talking about Mental Health is not taboo anymore. I love how people are now very open to discuss things like this. Not only that. They also consider taking care of mental health to be a main concern. I watched the Globe and Inquirer #StartANewDay: Mental Health Insights for Millennials and Gen Z live session and I learned so much and felt so much.

Mental Health and the Entrepreneur

In the world of entrepreneurship and the startup industry, this has become an issue that is also widely talked about and addressed by webinars from different incubators, accelerators and startup groups.

“According to a study by Michael Freemanentrepreneurs are 50 percent more likely to report having a mental health condition, with some specific conditions being incredibly prevalent amongst founders” Tech Crunch mentions in an article. (https://techcrunch.com/2018/12/30/investors-and-entrepreneurs-need-to-address-the-mental-health-crisis-in-startup-culture/)

I’ve been thinking about this topic the whole day today. I’m sure that a lot of the founders and entrepreneurs that I have come across occasionally in my blog, in the programs that we have joined and groups that we are part of silently suffer.

Dra. Gia Sison in the live session event mentioned that people need extra support nowadays because more people are feeling depressed and anxious. Understandably so, this is because of the uncertainties we face, daily isolation, increase of domestic abuse, exposure to negative news and negative coping mechanisms.

What can we do about it?

I also loved what Roy Dahildahil said about what we can do about Mental Health. Roy is the co-founder of #MentalHealthPH, a social media advocacy group that aims to promote and protect mental health in the Philippines. He gave us the 3S’s Framework: Self, Society and System and the 3Os Framework: Online, Onground and Onward.

With this, I thought of ways I can help the community in my own little way.

Spread positivity

I think in my own little way, with this blog and my channel, I’ll commit to releasing more inspiring and positive content. I recently interviewed Trixie Esguerra and we talked about injecting positivity into your life. I hope that you can watch it and gather nuggets of wisdom and tips from her that you can actually do.

Check up on Family and Friends

From listening to the talk, I realized that I had time to check up on friends and family. See how they are doing? A chat message of a simple “hi” and “how are you?” will go a long way.

Listen and Be Observant

Some people just need someone to talk to. I love the Globe Bridging Communities has this Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/HopeBankPH/ In Hope Bank PH, anyone can share anything they’d like. We are free to express ourselves.

Be observant of your friends posts and listen to their stories. Just being there goes a long way.

I hope that we continue to openly talk about this issue. Share with me other things that we can all do to address this.

I know that with little steps like this, we can all #StartaNewDay.

My Plan for My Life

There was a day when Zeeka asked me about heaven. She asked me, “Mom, where is heaven and how is it like there?” To that, I replied that heaven is where you want it to be. If you think that it’s a place where your loved ones are and you’re happy, then this or your life here on earth is heaven. If you think that God is also here with us, then maybe this is heaven.

I’d like to believe that there is something after this life when we pass away and I believe in God. How I think about life though is not a means to get to a better place (like heaven), but a vehicle to actually make this world that we live in a better place. Why wait for that better place when you have the power to create positive changes NOW?

I have a plan for my life, and this is how I view it to be:

This is my plan for my life. I know my handwriting sucks.. haha! Please bear with me!

So my first 25 years was really for learning, making mistakes, rising back up and trying again. My tip for those who are still in this part of the “life line” that I’m showing, just explore and try to do things that you’ve never done. If you’re scared to try, write down what’s the worst thing that could happen. You’ll realize that the worst thing isn’t as bad as it may seem.

Currently, I’m in a situation where I know what I stand for and what I believe in. This is where we usually find ourselves, make our own choices, see what we consider valuable and try our best to make a change in this life by utilizing our own actions.

This is also the the time that we try to grow our circle of influence. Because why not?

Just some thoughts about influence. Wanting to gain influence is not a bad thing. What you need to think about is why you want to grow or gain influence. The reason why I want to grow my circle of influence is that I have realized that the you can make huge positive changes when you reach more people. Think of it this way — the magnitude of the impact that you can create will obviously be bigger when you have a bigger circle of influence.

This is the reason why politicians or people in the government can make rules that affect the lives of a lot of people. We gave them our votes. Having said that, I digress… I have no plans of running for office. Haha!

What I stand for is really empowering the micro and small businesses and professionals in our country. I think most of you who follow my blog and vlog (https://youtube.com/gingerarboledavlog) know this and know my plan for my life.

Another thing that I’d like to do and Frances and I are really trying hard to spread the word is to connect every women to other women who can support them. We are doing this using the Lean in PH (https://www.facebook.com/groups/leaninph/) a Lean In Network that we started here in the Philippines.

Moving on, in my 50s or probably 60s and onwards toward the end of my life, I’d like to focus on helping younger people who also want to make their voices heard and who want to make this world a better place.

At the end on my life, I want to be able to say that I left the world knowing that my daughter is living in a better world because I tried to make it a better place for her.

Where did all these self-reflection come from? Haha! Just wanted to share this super duper nice feature that the Belle De Jour team has created.

This comes with a FREE eBook/Workbook that you can download here: https://shop.ilovebdj.com/blogs/news/ginger-arboleda-on-nurturing-your-gift-of-self

This really inspired me to share my thoughts today. Now, for you reading this, I’d love to get to know you. How about you?

Where are you now? What are you doing? Do you have your own life line? Share it with me by leaving a comment below or leaving a comment on social media and use #GINspiration.

Some other articles that you may want to read:

Bloggers and Taxes

Bloggers need to pay taxes.

Today, I’ve been seeing a lot of news that bloggers, filmmakers, digital workers and freelancers need to pay taxes. Frankly, I’m not shocked. This has been the rule in the Philippines since years ago.

I’ve been blogging for more than a decade now and when I started earning and accepting revenue for my blog, that’s when I started paying my taxes. I started paying my taxes since 2013 (7 years ago). So this news today that bloggers need to pay taxes isn’t really shocking.

Advantages of Paying Taxes

Other bloggers wonder why I get to haggle on my rate and this is because I can issue an official receipt. The reason why bloggers who pay taxes can negotiate for a better rate is because companies can book this as an expense. Imagine paying thousands of pesos and you can’t declare the amount they pay bloggers as a deductible expense? That’s basically thousands of pesos going down the drain for the companies.

Another thing is that I loved that it was so easy for me to get a Visa going to Japan 2 years ago. I pretty much had every requirement in the check list that the agency had. No sweat applying for VISA.

There are a lot more benefits like securing loans, credit cards, HMOs, etc.

How to get started

First thing’s first… don’t panic. Collate all the requirements that you need. If you don’t know what the requirements are, feel free to email bizreg@taxumo.com and they will give you a super comprehensive list of requirements. Taxumo helps process BIR registration for Php 4999 (discounted from Php 6000) until July 31, 2020. You need not go to the RDO and register; they will process it for you.

Aside from the processing fee of Taxumo (you can also do it yourself, too, if you have the time), here is my own breakdown of the actual cost.

The Actual Cost of Registration

In this article from Manila bulletin, they indicated that the only cost are Php 500 for registration fee and Php 30 for Documentary Stamp.

From my perspective, here is an approximation for costs:

Php 530 – BIR Registration and Doc Stamp

Php 2500 – Approximation of your Official Receipt (first ten booklets … yes, they need to be 10)

Php 200 – Manual Ledgers (really depends on how many BIR would require; oftentimes only two books for Professionals and 4 books for Sole Proprietors)

Php 200 – Notary for my SPA since I had Taxumo do it for me

Php 350 – Occupational Tax Receipt and Barangay Clearance

Php 250 – Delivery back to your place of all the documents (approximation since depends on the distance from Taxumo)

Php 2000+ – Payment for DST2000 if you are renting.

Total will be approximately Php 6,030. Again, this is an approximation of the costs. So Taxumo will ask for an advance of around Php 5750.

To help educate the market on BIR registration and Taxation, Taxumo is doing an Ask – Me – Anything Community Roadshow. If you are a community admin or founder, feel free to contact Taxumo via customercare@taxumo.com.

For other resources, please see these links from my other blogger friends:

https://www.topazhorizon.com/2019/03/freelancers-professionals-small.html

If you have questions about bloggers and taxes, please feel free to message me in the comments section. Search for more articles on taxes and BIR registration on this blog… I have lots! haha!