2011 Agenda: More traveling, more writing!

Nina rowing on the Green Venice in Marais Poitevin, France
Nina rowing on the "Green Venice" in Marais Poitevin, France

In my book, 2010 has been a year of superlatives. This year alone, I traveled to different places in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao thanks to election season and a national campaign; I rediscovered my love for jazz while covering the Miri International Jazz Festival (now known as Borneo Jazz) and traveling for free as a journalist; I went back to the Malaysian rainforest, again as a journalist at the Rainforest World Music Festival; I studied under the European Journalism Institute in Prague, Czech Republic and made friends from all around the world; and I visited girlfriends and had an absolutely charming time in Paris and La Rochelle, France. Then, to cap off the year, my husband and I are going on our much-awaited, long-overdue “mini-honeymoon” in the Philippines’s very own enchanting isles in Batanes.

I am by no means a travel junkie–we have WBP co-founder Nikka Sarthou for that enviable title–but I see travel as an integral part of personal growth. I take every available opportunity to travel not only to see new places and discover different sights, but also–and more importantly–to meet people from different cultures. I enjoy learning about the world’s history through travel, and I find that the more we learn about where people came from, their unique ways of life, and the humanity that binds us all, the less we feel judgmental about our differences. (*Insert goals for world peace here*)

All in all, travel widens one’s horizons, tests one’s character, and, in my opinion, makes one a more tolerant and better educated (and better overall!) person.

This is why I was absolutely THRILLED to see THIS POST on my Twitter feed. Not only is Travelife Magazine one of the best-edited travel magazines in town, it also has been a very supportive partner of Writer’s Block Philippines, and it aims to bring travel closer to its readers through their new programs, Travelife Tours and Travelife Experiences.

Their first tour took place last year in Turkey (which, unfortunately, we missed because of our workshops); this year, not only are they doing a reprise of the Turkey tours, but they are also taking readers to Cebu, Japan, Malaysia, India… and a couple of my personal favorites and must-experience destinations: Morocco and Spain (!!!).

The ancient and mythical ruins of Ephesus in Turkey | Image from Travelife Magazines Suitcase Tales
The ancient and mythical ruins of Ephesus in Turkey | Image from Travelife Magazine's Suitcase Tales

(Mental note for me: The Spain tour begins the day after 2nd wedding anniversary! *Hint, hint* to the Universe?)

For those who can’t leave town just yet, Travelife also offers Travelife Experiences: cultural nights that aim to introduce audiences to new destinations by previewing another country’s culture, right in our own backyard. According to their blog, the first Travelife Experience will be Travelife India Night on February 25, “a wonderful evening featuring an Indian degustation dinner prepared especially for Travelife, a talk by Indian Ambassador Yogendra Kumar, and a private concert by some of India’s top sitar and sarod musicians.”

(Hubby and I love Indian culture! India Night is a must-see as well!)

If I were to make a list of must-have experiences in 2011, I put the Travelife tours on that list. They not only make traveling to exotic destinations convenient and accessible, they also give writers plenty of inspiration–and potential face time with Travelife editors themselves. For those like me who intend to travel and write more in 2011, that’s a winning combination that’s not to be missed!


Special Turkey tour rates from Travelife Magazine!

*This is a taken from an email announcement by Travelife Magazine*

Over two thousand years in seven days,
with a little help from TRAVELIFE Magazine

TRAVELIFE Magazine is organizing a very special one-week tour of Turkey at an unbeatable price, in cooperation with award-winning Turkish Airlines. We’ll be visiting magical Istanbul, the Virgin Mary’s house in Ephesus, and the ruins of great and ancient Greek and Roman cities around Izmir. Stroll through the remnants of Constantinople. Marvel at the Blue Mosque. Go Christmas shopping in the famous Grand Bazaar.


This non-profit  seven-night tour costs US$1999* and includes all flights and tours, five-star hotel accommodations, most meals, and even a private Bosphorus cruise. You’ll see all the major sights and there will be enough time for shopping and optional opportunities to experience Turkish culture and dine in some of Istanbul’s best restaurants. Your return ticket is even flexible, in case you want to extend your stay in Turkey or head on elsewhere.


There will be two groups: Nov 13-20, 2010 and Nov 17-24, 2010.
For more information, call Rachel at the Travelife office at (+63 2) 813-8400/ (+63 2) 892-2620 or email travelife@travelife.biz. Or visit www.travelife.biz or our blog at www.travelifemagazine.com.

Isn’t it time you experienced the amazing?

Don’t miss this incredible opportunity from TRAVELIFE Magazine, the Philippines’ leading travel and lifestyle publication.

*economy class twin-sharing basis or single supplement applies
**business class upgrade option available