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How My Mom Made Me a World Traveler

By Kach Umandap May 15th, 2022 Posted in Inspiration and Love Stories, Travel Blog 35 Comments

I’ve been writing a lot about how I quit my job last April 2013 to pursue this trip and eventually met the love of my life, Jonathan Howe, but today is the first time that I have written about my family, my childhood, and my life growing up. Why? Because it’s my mom’s birthday today and she’s turning 49, so what better way to honor her than by writing an article about how she shaped my life.

HowMyMOMmademeaworldtraveler12Mama and me during our last trip together in Jordan 2012

My mom traveled just a few times when she was younger as she dedicated most of her life to raising my two younger siblings and me. Now that my sister and I have our degrees and my little brother is in full-time study, it’s finally time for my mother to begin her traveling journey. She will fly to Colombia to join me and Jonathan backpacking around four countries this June 2015! I’m so excited; I hadn’t seen her since before I left the Middle East, so I’m dedicating this article to my MAMA!

1. My childhood with my mom made me flexible and adaptable.

At the age of seven, my parents separated. I experienced unsettling moves between different apartments and schools from time to time, never having long-term friends because we kept relocating! I was confused about my life and couldn’t understand why we didn’t have the same stable lifestyle as my classmates. We lived in a small room, a small apartment, lived in our relatives’ houses. All of these things upset me and being too young to fully understand the situation; I blamed my mother.

HowMyMOMmademeaworldtraveler8Mama with Krista, my younger sister

When I started University, I moved out of the house and stayed in a university apartment with some classmates, but the cycle continued I was changing houses every year – sometimes it was out of my control (the rent was too expensive, my flatmates were leaving). This continued as I moved to the Middle East for work and I  just became accustomed to it –  it all seemed so natural for me to buy stuff, sell stuff, settle for a bit and move again!

Now I know, at the age of 26, that I can only say thank you for my childhood experience and that maybe the Universe has been preparing me because I was destined to travel the world eventually. I can stay in dorms, tents, couch surf, sleep in cars, buses – anywhere; I can handle it! I was unconsciously trained to be flexible and adaptable to any places I’ve lived and been!

I’m so impressed with how my mom managed to adjust and move around with me and my two younger siblings in tow! So if you keep moving apartments, don’t fret about the inconvenience – maybe you’re also destined to travel around the world.

2. She taught me how to be independent at a young age!

My mother was the first person in my life to teach me how to earn money and to appreciate it! I can still clearly remember the first time I earned my money; I was 8 years old, it was summer vacation, and I wanted to have money to buy candies, but she wouldn’t give me any (nor did my grandmother) and told me I should earn my money so I can buy stuff that I want. I roamed around a small part of my hometown (San Pablo City, Laguna) with a basket full of garlic and onion which my mom harvested and sold wholesale to the wet market. She gave me a few kilos to sell to our neighbors and told me to return to the capital. I earned my first money from garlic – Maybe that’s why I love it so much!

HowMyMOMmademeaworldtraveler3My last year at UPLB was in the year 2009. L-R, Me, Mama, Krista, and Jose

A few vacations later, I had the idea of having a BBQ business (isaw-saw in Tagalog) outside our small apartment, so a few months before vacation, I started saving my allowance, so I could raise the capital to buy some meat and chicken parts. My mom gave me a table and lent me some of her kitchen utensils; she even helped me with the marinade and voila I was earning money from it! I even hired my sister to help me in my mini business; I was nine at the time. My sister eventually quit, claiming poor employee benefits and a lack of opportunities for career growth. (Code for me being too bossy!)

I had various businesses and sideline jobs during my teenage years – selling Ice-candy, a color betting game on our veranda, I was even collecting my mom’s Pampanga’s best Tocino sales so I can get commission and even help my aunts in their small grocery store so I could make my money! During my college days, I hosted and organized some events for extra income aside from the allowance that I had from my parents. The entrepreneur inside me was taking shape.

My mom taught me that if you want to have or to buy something, then you have worked hard for it so that you will appreciate it more. She would always tell me not to depend on anyone else to support me because I can do it! This lesson is a key foundation stone in our sustainable travel lifestyle.

 3. She showed me how to handle savings smartly!

“It’s not how much you earn but how much you save!”

My family is not rich, but they were able to support our basic needs and provide a comfortable life for us. Aside from the fact that at a young age, my mom taught me how to earn my money, I learned a great lesson just by observing her – When I was young, my mom always had this Bamboo Piggy Bank, where she saved her small bills and coins, which would be spent on our special occasions – my birthday, my siblings’ birthdays and even for my 18th Debut birthday! She always had something available for those special days in our lives, no matter what.

HowMyMOMmademeaworldtraveler5During my sister’s 18th birthday, my father paid for it. The year 2008 – L-R Me, Krista, and Mama

Thanks to her, I’ve also learned how to allocate my money. She used to hide money in different parts of our house, which formed our rainy day fund. Unfortunately, there were also times when we didn’t have the money to pay some bills and my mom had to borrow money from someone else. The pain in her eyes was and still is my motivation not to owe or borrow money from anyone. I’ve learned that I should always have savings to support me whatever happens. I’ve never borrowed money from people to buy something that I can’t afford, maybe only from my previous banks when I had credit cards! I make sure that if I buy something, it is with the money that I have already saved up!

While working in the Middle East, aside from sending money to the Philippines, I wanted to buy my house (My mom never owned a house, but my father does!), so I invested some money into a pre-selling condominium unit (they discontinued it and refunded me in full!); I also invested some money in mutual funds and always followed my rule of 50-30-20; that’s 50% savings, 30% expenses and 20% leisure. I always had a planner and tracked all my income and expenses, all of which I learned by observing my mom!

Now, although Jon and I have been traveling the world for almost two years, we are debt-free and still have savings. We are also now investing in our insurance (we should have done this before) and are starting to invest our efforts and money into something long-term.

4. She always pushed me to my limits – to explore the unknown!

When I was younger, my mom and I used to fight a lot. I always cried and hated feeling like she wasn’t proud of me, which pushed me to do better and achieve my potential. If I ever had a minimum passing grade, she would tell me that I should have done better, that anyone can simply ‘pass!’ I would get upset about her treating me like that but not my younger siblings (I’m the eldest!). I became very competitive with others, and my life was quite tiring!


Only after a few years, did I realize that my mom was only doing that to me because she knew my true potential and she wanted me to do my best at whatever I did! She always taught me not to compare myself to others and just focus on improving myself – I finally understood this after quitting my corporate job and just letting it all go to travel!

My mom taught me how to be passionate about everything I do and to always do my best, so I don’t have any regrets. Now I know, it was never really about the grades or academic awards.

Push your limits with The Ultimate Extreme Activities in the Philippines!

5. Life is full of challenges but be optimistic!

My mom has been through a lot of life’s challenges, but she just calmly gets through them. ‘Just pray and be optimistic that something better is coming. The challenges are there to teach us a lesson.’ I remember this advice every day.

My family was reunited again on my sister's 18th birthday!My family has reunited again for that night on my sister’s 18th birthday!

Having a daughter like me who always does whatever she wants, without even telling or asking her parent’s permission, I can’t believe how my mom managed to handle my rebellious teenage years! I even ran away a few times when I was younger, but it never affected my education, as I was still very academically competitive during those times!

Now at the age of 26, I just finally realized that not all the things I want, I can get because everything happens for a reason. The Universe has its purpose whether that thing is meant for me or not. Whenever I think of something, I always try to remember to be patient and remember that whether something good is meant to happen or not, a life lesson will come to make me a better person.  TRUST IN THE TIMING OF YOUR LIFE!

6. She taught me how to love!

When you travel, aside from trusting the universe, you also learn how to love life! My mom taught me what unconditional love is and I’m thankful that I’ve felt it from her. Backpacking around the world, you’ll meet different people from all walks of life, and the only thing you can share with them is LOVE.

HowMyMOMmademeaworldtraveler9My beautiful mother!

There are countless things to love when you travel; the food, the culture, the climate, the art, the challenge, the people and their differences…The list is endless. If you know how to love and you focus on what you love, then you never have to feel sadness, hate, or any other negative feelings. Sometimes it can be challenging, but being able to love in the most challenging situations is the ultimate goal. I’m still working on it and probably always will be!

7. The most important thing – she TRUSTS me and is always my number 1 supporter!

I remember when I told her that I was moving to Iraq for a career change, she just told me to go for it. When I told her I was going to quit everything to travel, she said, ‘GO FOR IT, I believe in you!’

HowMyMOMmademeaworldtraveler13The year 2011 when I brought Mama to Kuwait (Middle East) to visit me and eventually to like it there!

I haven’t seen her for two years, but she’s still the first one to know if I’m going through something if we’re getting featured somewhere or whatever crazy plan we have in mind! She always makes sure that I know she’s got my back!

Read – An Open Letter to Parents – Let Us Go!


When I was younger, if you had asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would have said a lawyer, in University – a Diplomat, and just a couple of years ago – an Oil and Gas Consultant. But for now, all I want is to be as beautiful and strong as my mother!

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35 thoughts on “How My Mom Made Me a World Traveler

  1. That was so inspiring i hope my daughter will realize it too that she needs to work hard for what she wants.
    How did you manage your expenses where did you get funds to travel after quiting your job?
    I wish I can also quit and travel around the world! Thanks for sharing your experience

  2. Hello Miss Kach..

    Your story is very inspiring and heartwarming. How i wish i could be a world traveler like you… God bless po.and to your family. More inspiring story to come…

  3. Mom’s are always great ! Your childhood was very interesting, heart touching and inspiring also. Your mom did a very great job to give you a prosperous and happy life. Now i must to say that your mom is your pride.

  4. Very inspiring and touching story. I will follow your 50-30-20 rule. 🙂 I just wish and hope that i can travel also with my parents soon. I love the closeness between you and your mom and how you survived all the challenges growing up. Im 35 and working and im just starting to travel, one country every year. i love exploring our 7,000 islands every chances i’ve got. Been to Singapore and Malaysia and will be in Thailand this coming November. Hopefully soon, i can also visit that places you’ve been.. Hugs to you and to your mom and regards to Jon! Please tell your mom that she’s my inspiration to do the hang gliding activity she did just recently.. 😀 Someday soon… 🙂 safe travels! God bless you all..

  5. A fitting tribute to a mother.. I could relate especially on the trust factor. Knowing that no matter what, fail or succeed you can always go home to a family who would still take you despite of everything. I used to think of it as my safety box. This was my source of strength in facing and doing whatever is put in front of me.. courageously. Looking back, without the unconditional love and trust from my parents, I will not be able to do half of what I have done. In my generations – bonding with parents has limitations or different.. how I wish I had the chance like you have, traveling and doing stuff with your Mother. So enjoy your mother, it is a priceless experienced. God bless.

  6. I just read this! You made me tear up! It’s like your life is pretty similar to us growing up! What your mom did to you is the best for you that’s what I do for my daughter Kach! One day my daughter just told me the same thing I just wanted to be like you mom! Keep working hard you will have all your dreams come true!

  7. Thank you for sharing a part of you in this article. You made me tear up a bit and I remembered my mother too (especially in in your last sentence). I am a side observer of your updates in fb and now exploring this blog. I hope I still have time to explore the world as well. I’m 38 already and has yet to travel some more. It is very challenging to keep a balance of independence, self sustenance and travelling at will. I look up to you and your wanderlust. You are so inspiring. =)

  8. This isn’t just an article..this is something worth reading. So happy for you…I think, it’s not yet the end for me to do what i also would like to do. TO BE A TRAVELER!

    1. Wow, thank youuu so much for that sweet message Sheila!! <3 You will be a traveler!! Dreams do come true!! Remember that! <3

  9. I called my mama as soon as I finished reading this article. I’m very close to my mother just like you with yours. Reading this like a reminder of my childhood, what my mother taught me. She always has restless feet and we travel together every year.

    I hope you mother live a healthy life and always be your good friend no matter where you are.

    1. Mima, thank you so much! I will tell that to my mom, she’s finally traveling with me and jonathan soon here in South America! So love to hear that your mom is your travel buddy too!!! <3 Positive vibes to you and your mama!! Let me know if you'd like to share an article story about you and your mom's travels!

  10. Kach, this made me tear up & hit home for me. My mother IS the reason I travel, she instilled her love for exploring in me at a very early age, and would take me along on all her work trips! I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for her, and I definitely wouldn’t be pursuing writing about my travels without her persistence! Great post


    1. Hey Christabel, I replied to you on Twitter! Thank you so much for sharing your story and would love to talk more! =)

  11. I’m a MAMA’S BOY, so I don’t need to explain anymore, LoL, your Mom is Amazing and Inspiring, and I’ts really Great to see People, recognize the CONTRIBUTION they made in our Lives, and because of what they Did and all theier SACRIFICES, we became who we are today…Thank you for this Article Kach..I miss My Nanay, and her Cooking LoL 😀

    1. Erwin, sorry now ko lang nakita! I’m a mama’s girl too! I miss Mama;s cooking too, walang tatalo sa mga nanay natin noh? =)

  12. So sweet! I miss my mom tuloy (she’s in England with my brother). We also argue about the simple stuff (savings and lotion) but I know she’s just doing that because she cares for me deeply.

    For some reason, #4 struck me the most. Do all Filipina mothers in the 90’s push their kids to do really good in school to the point of being super competitive? Haha

    1. Hello Mica!! Thank you so much for reading, really appreciate it! So, I think we have the same member, tell me, 60s din ba born ang parents mo? hehe! <3

  13. Naiyak naman ako (teary eyed). Despite the fact that I’ve already known your childhood story but upon reading it can’t help but it still moves me. You’re both amazing,lovely and strong woman. Bilib ako k Ate Lea…I really both admired and loved you. virtual hugs and kisses for now.

    1. Ate Lory!! I miss youuu so much! Umiiyak din ako while writing that! Ate, please come over and let’s travel together!!! <3

  14. Hi Kach,
    Very inspiring and heartwarming.
    It’s true that when we were younger we tend to question a lot things, trying to understand and figure out everything. But as we get older, that’s when we realize the reasons why we were able to endure those experiences. that’s the time we take the full circle.
    Your mom is such a strong woman, and we really appreciate how you poured your heart in this article, in sharing us your story.
    Send our greetings and regards to your mom. And enjoy the backpacking. Your mom is so proud of what you’ve become Kach.
    Jon 🙂

    1. Jon, I really love reading your comments and you commenting on some of our interviews! I really appreciate it and I’m so happy we’re connected! I’m actually got teary eyed while reading all of your comments guys! Thank you so much! I bet my mom is also reading this and she’s thankful with your sweet words!! Hope to see you sooooon, Jontotheworld!!! haha! <3

      1. Yes, we, all kaladkarins, are excited to meet you in person. soon LOL!
        Had a blast at the BackpackerTeachers Launch. Ang saya! haha Thank you for this worthwhile project. Ingats lagi dyan

  15. I really love reading your stories, its inspires me a lot push my dream to travel and I hope someday my parents will support me like your mom.

    1. Thank you so much for reading Lecel! I know how it feels, I Just keep doing things that you’re passionate about and know your parents will eventually support you. Positive vibes to you! =)

  16. Great article Kach!

    This write-up is truly a wonderful gift to your mother and for all the love, care and influence she had on you. I lost my mom to cancer 3 years ago and just like you, she brought me up alone. I think i feel you a lot in this article and it’s very good to honor you mother while she can still read and hear all the love you have for her. * teary eyed*

    My mom wished to travel to Austria and Switzerland after she retires but oh well life took a turn and now, it’s my goal to travel to those countries one day once I get my residency permit (fingers crossed).

    Greetings to your mother by the way and Happy Bday! Ihanda ang lechon! Does Jonathan even eat lechon? ahhahah


    1. WOW Kea, you read it! Thank youuu so much! I always love reading your comments Kea! I’m always learning from you!So sad to hear what you’ve been through but I know the challenges made you a stronger person! I want to follow your trip to Austria and Switzerland, I know you’ll do it in the next few months- Claim it! =)

      Thanks much, Jonathan actually tried Crispy Pata but not yet lechon! Ohh i miss it!!! YUMMMY!

      1. Thanks Kach!

        I always follow your blog 🙂 but guilty of reading only a few …
        Yeah, maybe one day we will see each other down the road drinking hot choco up in the Alps who knows? Life has full of surprises! 😀
        …ooohh crispy pata… my favorite!!!! It’s cool Jonathan tried it since I thought it taste better than lechon.. think he will like lechon manok (Andok’s) hahah…. my hubby loves it 😛

        Happy Travels and Enjoy Food Trips!


  17. Hi Kach,

    What a wonderful way to honor your mother. She must be very proud of how you have become. Seeing your stories has inspired me a lot to travel, only recently I traveled to Bangkok alone and I wanted to travel more. I used to be so afraid of going out by myself and working abroad has made me braver. I used to work in Dubai and now based in Singapore. Working with different cultures has made me more independent and more confident.

    Keep on inspiring people through your travel experiences. God bless you and Jonathan (feeling close lang, hehehe). 🙂

    1. Hello Lei, Thank youuu so much!! Wow, I can totally relate to you and like you I was an OFW and it all started when I flew to South East Asia too. I wont be surprised if you will message me soon that you’re starting this journey, cuz I can feel there’s this big chance of you doing it and if that time happens, please message me! <3 God bless you too and Jon says hello to you! =)

  18. Hi Kach,

    Your mother is inspiring!

    Cool too how you framed the challenges of your childhood.

    Each was a stepping stone, placed there to move you higher.

    I didn’t start traveling until my Mid 30’s but wow have I learned so many lessons and have I EVER grown like a weed lol.

    Thanks Kach, keep on inspiring!

    Tweeting from Bali.


    1. Ryan!! Waiting to publish your interview as I know you have awesome story to share!! <3 Enjoy your paradise!!! <3

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Written by Kach Umandap

Founder of Two Monkeys Travel Group. Since 2013, Kach has visited all the 7 continents (including Antarctica) and 151 countries using her Philippines Passport. In 2016, she bought a sailboat and went on sailing adventures with her two cats - Captain Ahab & Little Zissou in the Caribbean for 2 years. She now lives in Herceg Novi, Montenegro where she's enjoying her expat life and living on a gorgeous Stonehouse. She writes about her experiences traveling as a Filipina traveler with a PHL Passport. Also tips on backpacking trips, luxury hotel experiences, product reviews, sailing & adventure travel.